Expert’s choice: Top accounting apps

Accounting Today readers love technology. They’re passionate about how apps and other tech tools make them more effective accountants, benefit the clients that they love, and make life a bit easier in general.

This year has been anything but easy, and the COVID-19 pandemic truly tested the ability of accountants’ tech stacks to hold up to a completely remote environment, quickly. Apps with superior functionality and easy remote access were the easily identifiable favorites this year, but apps that deal specifically in forecasting, budgeting and cash-flow management have taken on special importance as businesses experience disruption on a massive scale.

The apps featured here function as extensions of the central accounting software platform that accountants choose to use. A key feature of a favorite or very popular app is the strength of its integration with accounting software, but there are other apps that don’t necessarily integrate that prove their value nonetheless. Ultimately, the tools serve to add value on top of standard accounting functions.

The apps below were selected by a panel of passionate and tech-forward users for their functionality, but also for how well they “play” with other platforms — i.e., the quality of integration they offer. This year, we also featured some favorite apps that accountants like to take home and use in their personal lives. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep a good work-life balance, and these apps help.

Category: Workflow

Karbon’s tagline these days is, “Enable your firm to work remotely.” As the world has gone remote, apps like Karbon that provide a cloud-based workflow platform have become indispensable — but as an app, Karbon was already indispensable to accountants who implemented it. Karbon provides workflow automation, project management, team collaboration, client management and performance analytics. Karbon also now powers Intuit Practice Management for tax professionals, a huge stamp of approval for its functionality.
Gusto payroll
Category: Payroll

As far as payroll goes, Gusto is a favorite app among accountants. The app offers full-service payroll, health insurance, time tracking, hiring and onboarding features, and employee finance tools.
Category: Timekeeping

TSheets is a workforce time tracking app, but also offers team management and some reporting capabilities. The company was acquired by Intuit in 2017, and has exceptional integration capabilities with QuickBooks products, which makes it a popular option for QB users.
Category: Document management

The quality of integration with accounting software is sometimes the key factor that makes an app “good” or not. HubDoc is very popular among accountants for its document collection and management features, but the app grew in popularity swiftly in past years for its strong integration with Xero’s accounting software. Xero acquired HubDoc in 2018, but the app integrates with other accounting software, including QuickBooks.
Category: Document management

In a remote environment, e-signature capabilities are a must. DocuSign is a robust app on its own, but has strong integrations with the Microsoft and Salesforce platforms as well.
Category: Bookkeeping tools

VerifyIQ scans client files monthly to check for anomalies and errors, and provides a dashboard visualizing file quality. The app integrates with QuickBooks and Xero.
Category: Forecasting, analytics and reporting

Forecasting and analytics have taken on an exaggerated importance in 2020, the year of pandemic and social unrest. Small businesses across the U.S. that never worked with an accountant before are looking for guidance on how to navigate intense disruption. Jirav comes out on top for readers who appreciate its attractive visuals for charts and tables, and functional dashboard.
Category: Forecasting, analytics and reporting

Qvinci provides automated reports, a secure portal for communication, error detection, and workflow management capabilities. Our readers like it as an effective reporting tool for QuickBooks Desktop clients.
Category: Forecasting, analytics and reporting

Focusing just on cashflow forecasting and management, CashFlowTool is a snappy app to help businesses stay on top of cashflow trends. The app integrates with QuickBooks.
Category: Payments, AP and AR

Veem offers global and cross-border business payments on a very large scale with no upper limit on what you can send, because it uses blockchain technology to send those payments. Accountants using the app get to see an early unfolding of what blockchain can do for the profession, and for business in general.
Category: Payments, AP and AR

Routable offers both invoicing and payment capabilities. The app integrates with major accounting platforms Xero and QuickBooks Online, and integration with NetSuite is in the works.
Category: Payments, AP and AR

Melio is a vendor/contractor invoicing and payment app. Payments can be made via card or bank transfer, and users can choose whether vendors get paid by check or bank transfer.
Tax Help Software (THS)
Category: Tax tools

THS makes it easy for tax professionals to download IRS account transcripts and tax return transcripts (users have downloaded over 300 million in the past decade), and to handle tax resolution monitoring.
Category: Tax tools

Tax1099 offers year-end form creation and electronic filing for 1099s, W-2s and more. The app also can help with amendments for prior years when applicable.
Category: E-commerce

In the age of online shopping, A2X has become an important tool for any accountant who is serving clients who do business over the internet. In 2020, many brick-and-mortar companies were forced to go online, increasing the need for e-commerce management apps like A2X, which provides accounting specifically tailored to Amazon and Shopify businesses.
Beyond accounting
One of the important functions of technology tools for accountants is that they make work easier, freeing up time to take on more clients, and then to service those clients at a higher level. But the apps that accountants use for non-business functions are just as important as accounting-related apps, because if life is easier, then they are better accountants. With that in mind, here are some popular apps that our panelists take home with them and use in their lives outside of work.

USPS Online. The U.S. Postal Service’s app allows users to create their own priority mail labels for sending documents to the IRS, clients or otherwise — again, an invaluable tool in the remote age, particularly in a time of social distancing.

Evernote. Evernote is one of the pioneering note-taking apps, but it also offers templates, organization of notes, document scanning, and the ability to scan handwritten notes, as well as some workflow capabilities driven by artificial intelligence.

Slack. For accountants that love Slack, it has more than a messaging app. It offers collaborative tools as well as audio and video calling, and it has become an effective refuge from email for accountants who choose to move all internal communications there.

Kindle. Who doesn’t love a good book? For downtime, Kindle is a favorite e-reader app forAccounting Today’s panelists. Connected to Amazon, the Kindle app has access to a wider array of books than any other e-reader app, and it also offers the attractive front-lit option on some of its e-readers to save tired eyes.

Smart Things. You’ve heard of the Internet of Things — Smart Things is an app for that. It can connect various home devices, as well as light bulbs, door locks and some appliances. The big promise of the IoT is creating ease of movement through everyday tasks and routines — and our readers like Smart Things for that.
Our panelists
Special thanks to our panelists: Dawn Brolin, CEO, Powerful Accounting; Jay Kimelman, founder and chief accounting officer, The Digital CPA; Kenji Kuramoto, founder and CEO, Acuity; Sherrell Martin, founder and CEO, Nitram Financial Solutions; Liz Mason, founder and CEO, High Rock Accounting; and Marcus Mire, partner, PRM CPAs and Advisors.