Cloud-based apps and software have revolutionized the digital landscape for businesses and consumers alike. By removing the need to store everything on physical drives, and making information available at all times through the cloud, a new world of possibilities have emerged that simply weren’t possible 20 years ago.
When it comes to accounting for your store’s transactions, cloud-based apps offer a wide range of ways to simplify your activities and free up more time to focus on higher value tasks.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows anyone to build their own online store, and removes the need for complex computing knowledge and expensive developers.
Just like how Shopify takes the hassle out of developing and maintaining an online store, cloud accounting software such as Xero and QuickBooks Online simplifies bookkeeping and makes it easier for anyone to look after their own financials.
In this article, we take a closer look at the best Shopify apps for accounting. More specifically, we focus on:
Xero – doing beautiful business
“The sheer number of features available with Xero have made it a staple amongst larger ecommerce merchants for years. With multiple apps available on the side you can make sure to keep track of your accounting needs on the go and sync with other apps at the same time.”
Coming from humble beginnings, Xero was founded in a Wellington apartment in 2006 by two New Zealanders who felt that traditional desktop accounting software had become outdated.
From day one, Xero has been 100% cloud-based, which has allowed them to stay nimble and innovative with their product offerings and software architecture. Fast forward to today, and Xero is now a global leader in the world of cloud accounting technology.
Useful Xero features for Shopify sellers
- Unlimited users – there is no cap on the amount of people that can collaborate on the same set of accounts. If you’re using an outsourced bookkeeping solution, this feature is handy as it allows anyone to make changes to the accounts in real time.
- Automatic software updates – being a cloud-based technology, Xero is constantly making changes and improvements which are rolled out with ease. Gone are the days when we would need to install a new version or patch every time an update was published!
- Intuitive interface – with beautiful design elements, a handy mobile app and a dashboard that puts all the information at your fingertips, Xero’s interface offers elegant simplicity without sacrificing the range of features that are available.
- Detailed reporting – “the system can generate 65 reports based on the core elements of balance sheets, payrolls and profit/loss.” In the world of eCommerce, keeping a pulse on your analytics is key to staying relevant and remaining profitable.
- Extremely customizable – Xero is adaptable and can be customized to meet your needs. We recommend getting in touch with a Xero expert accountant to set up your system at the outset rather than doing it later on.
If you’re looking for an elegant solution that can scale to meet your needs at an affordable price, then look no further: Xero is a fast moving tech company that is constantly innovating to stay at the leading edge.
Not only does Xero proactively bring out new updates every 3-6 weeks, but they also have a core focus towards getting the basics right first – which makes life easier for businesses of all types around the world!
Most of the feedback that people have posted about Xero is positive. However, there are a number of people who have raised issues about the customer support services. Xero offers a wide range of online resources to help people get set up – which is designed to reduce the amount of people that call their staff.
“Really easy to use and seem to have all the features I need, and more. The only thing that hasn’t been so great is that I can’t call you guys when I’m trying to do something”
“Absolutely love it!! I was a MYOB fan until I started using Xero, now I believe Xero is a much better user friendly accounts program for any small to medium business.”
“Xero is an excellent, easy to use accounting software system. It does what it says on the box and perfectly meets my business needs.”
QuickBooks Online – cloud accounting software made for small business
“With a friendly interface that’s easy to navigate there’s good reason that Quickbooks is the top of most searches when looking at Shopify accounting. But its visual attractiveness is certainly not to be taken for shallowness.”
QuickBooks is a tried and tested accounting system that has been around for a very long time. The developers, Intuit, created Quicken (a precursor to QuickBooks) in 1983 which soon claimed up to 85 percent of the small business accounting software market.
Following on from the roaring success of Quicken, Intuit released QuickBooks in 2002 and launched the online version shortly thereafter. Whilst many things have changed since the early beginnings of QuickBooks Online (QBO), they have remained committed to creating elegant accounting software for small businesses.
Xero is focused on supporting all different sized business. However, QuickBooks is more catered towards small companies. For Shopify store owners, QBO offers a wide range of features in an easy to use interface.
Useful QuickBooks Online features for Shopify sellers
- Cloud-based – by operating in the cloud, QBO is much more flexible than traditional desktop accounting software and can be adapted to suit your lifestyle. Access your accounts across a wide range of devices and stay organized from anywhere in the world.
- Powerful reporting features – easily generate reports to get an accurate gauge on where things are at in your business.
- Accountant access – your accountant can look after your financial records at any time, from anywhere in the world. This makes it possible to collaborate in real time.
- Automatic backups – one of the benefits of being online is that you don’t need to keep manual copies of your accounts and constantly update them.
- Sharp pricing – QuickBooks offers all the features that you’ll need, at a price that won’t break the bank.
As with Xero, most users are very happy with the quality of the software and functionality, but often have issues with getting specific answers to their questions from customer support staff. This may be because of the wide range of potential questions that people ask accounting customer service departments every day.
“Overall, QBO is wonderful software for bookkeepers, accountants, and small business owners. It is arguably the most powerful and robust software on the market, and is priced fairly well. Its integrations with other pieces of software and/or websites that small business owners use is second-to-none, and I am glad Intuit continues to work on that area. I would only say that support’s knowledge of their own product is incredibly limited in my experience.”
“The QBs Online product is a fairly different product than the QBs Desktop product. But they are both still accounting software products are fairly intuitive if you know what you want to accomplish. After using the online version for a few years now, I actually like it much better than the desktop product.”
“Quickbooks Online is easy to use and smartly built. The company cares about its clients and makes resources available online to solve user problems. There’s a large community of advisors and experts on the product that support it.”
Bridging the gap between Shopify and accounting systems
On their own, Xero and Quickbooks Online are very useful for managing your accounts, and Shopify makes it much easier to run an online store. However, as sales increase, store owners often run into issues with accurately recording and reconciling their Shopify transactions without manually entering every data point in the accounting system.
Some business owners get around this issue by recording payouts received as sales revenue. This is also known as the cash accounting method. Whilst it may seem suitable on the surface, recording payments as revenue doesn’t take into account the cost of Shopify fees, refunds or other adjustments that can happen between making a sale and receiving the money in your bank account.
It also means that if a payout includes sales spanning over two different months, they will both be lumped into one month’s financials. Because of the inherent inaccuracy of recording payouts this way, it results in an incorrect set of accounts that makes it hard to compare performance between different time periods and sales channels.
To get around these issues, you can use an integration to pull all of your transaction data from Shopify and load it into your accounting system.
Automating your Shopify accounting with A2X
A2X is a bookkeeping integration made to simplify the flow of financial information between Shopify and your accounting system. It was originally created to help Amazon sellers with the same issues, which was a major challenge prior to the introduction of A2X.
Earlier this year, A2X launched their new version for Shopify stores after successfully supporting Amazon merchants for over 4 years.
“Until now, there hasn’t been an automated Shopify accounting tool that we would trust for our ecommerce accounting practice. Other integrations post inappropriate detail or the wrong information or they fail the reconciliation. A2X for Shopify provides us with a fast and accurate Shopify accounting connection that we can trust.”
- Scott Scharf, Founder of Catching Clouds, leading eCommerce accounting firm
How it works
When you receive payouts from Shopify, the amounts received are made up of a range of transactions – sales revenue, transaction fees, refunds and other data. A2X collects this information and organizes it into a format that is much easier to work with.
Rather than simply dropping all of the data into your accounting system as individual entries, A2X creates accurate summaries of each group of transactions in your payout.
When processing the information, A2X:
- Separates revenue from fees to ensure that they are added to the correct part of the income statement.
- Lumps transactions of the same type (sales, fees, refunds and other adjustments) together to avoid overloading your accounting system with masses of individual orders and unnecessary amounts of detail.
- Splits the information into separate entries when a payout spans across multiple months.
This way, your transactions are properly recorded using the accrual accounting method, and can be compared to sales from other avenues with higher levels of accuracy. By starting with the settlement payments instead of individual sales, A2X for Shopify is designed to reconcile perfectly every time.
- Automated revenue recognition – it takes two minutes to set up, then runs on autopilot every time a payout arrives in your bank account.
- Customizable to your needs – you can control the mapping of each type of transaction in your chart of accounts to fit your ideal accounting setup.
- No risk to your financial data – if something goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world. “A2X’s statements are easy to reverse, reconfigure and re-post without risk to your financial data integrity”
- Multi-currency support – A2X works with all currencies, and can even be used to look after multi-currency Shopify stores.
- Use it on all your stores – A2X for Shopify can be used to automate the finances of multiple stores within the same account.
Here’s to hassle free Shopify accounting
Cloud accounting software provides flexibility and choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes. By using the best Shopify apps for accounting such as Xero, QuickBooks Online and A2X, it is possible to set up a system that automates away most of the work required to look after your books.
This way, you will have more time to focus on other things whilst knowing that your financial data accurately reflects the business activities going on in your organization.