Managing Your Small Business Finances Online

Online accounting software means that your financial records will be accessible from any computer and eliminates the need for constant backups and fiddly upgrades. Make the right choice with our roundup of online services for managing finances for Australian small businesses.

While we’re all in favour of free software here at Lifehacker, finance software remains a category where, for the most part, you’ll have to pay. Given the frequency with which accounting and tax rules change, this makes sense; using out-of-date information can be costly for your business.

An important issue to consider when choosing software is how easily you can share it with your accountant. Easy data export makes the process much easier. Having the ability to export information is also vital if you want to switch services, so take time checking that you have suitable options before signing up.

Many businesses resist online computing solutions because they’re concerned about control. While you need to be comfortable with the business choices you make, knowing that your data is backed up online is in itself one less major issue to worry about on your premises.

MYOB LiveAccounts

MYOB is one of the two dominant providers of desktop business finance software, but LiveAccounts is an entirely separate, online-only product. A free trial is available for 30 days; paid versions start from $25 a month, including unlimited transactions and users.

Reckon Online

Reckon Online hosts the online version of QuickBooks, the other major small business desktop accounting package. Pricing starts from $295 per user per year, which covers the features of the QuickBooks Enterprise package.


Australian-based and entirely hosted online, Saasu’s feature set includes automatic bank reconciliation, automated invoicing and a customised reporting module. Saasu offers a basic free version which is limited to 20 transactions a month. Paid versions start from $25 a month.


Also Australian-based and only available as an online offering, Xero includes automatic invoicing and banking facilities, and offers a wide range of add-ons to integrate with other systems. Paid versions start from $29 a month, and you can set up a trial account with any version.

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  • Small typo in MYOB LiveAccounts – online Only :). It’s also functionally the equivalent of their BusinessBasics product (read, limited).

    You’ve also missed Xero, an Aus/NZ company which is online only and offers selected bank feeds for a monthly price. Has a host of 3rd party developers to cover areas like payroll, time billing and inventory.

  • So was this article even researched at all? How could you miss Xero?

    A quick google of ‘online accounting’ brings up a range.

    On another note: LIVEACCOUNTS links to

  • No open source offering LH?

    Wow. dudes… check out

    All you pay for is documentation and help. And its based on real SQL db, not some proprietary piece of storage mayhem.

    Export, import, install local, use online- a web interface for your accountant (or you when your on the road) is all part of the system. (Aussie tax tables supported too)

    SQL-Ledger is all I’ve used for years. Dumped the tripe the clowns peddle and never looked back…

    • SQL-Ledger looks interesting, but doesn’t fit into the category of stuff that runs purely online without you being required to do any installation.

  • I’ve tried 3 of those products, Quickbooks online, Xero and Saasu. I’m not a big fan of Quickbooks, it’s basically a RDP linked to the standalone software, so not really web-based at all (although I haven’t checked it out recently). Xero and Saasu offer a much better web experience, easier to understand for non-accountants like me and accessible anywhere you have an internet connection. I went with Saasu due to the lower price and the Payroll function.

  • Plenty of options around, xero is a kiwi company btw.

    For mid sized businesses on premise is still the way to go and for many smaller businesses too. Try to look through the hype and judge the actual business benefits.

  • just stumbled across this posts. Ever heard of COWORKER ONLINE? I am surprised to see all this talk. I have been using CoWorker Online in my patisserie for the past 5 year (yes, they had a online version 5 years ago) I always look for new things and so far nothing has come close: Bank Statement Imports (you can even pay supplier invoices when you do your import…awesome one step accounting). They have professional accountants to set up your books. Little chance of posting to the wrong account. Last time I checked there were 7 different packages available (including a FREE one). I have about 3000+ transactions a month and the system is very quick. I thought my wife how to do the payroll in CoWorker in 20 min. (try this with MYOB and see where it will get you?).
    If you are serious about a full feature accounting package, that is easy to use and has all the bells and whistles just google” CoWorker Online”.

  • As a Charted Accountant I usually have an involuntary shudder when a new client comes in and has quick books. Hate it. oh it’s very powerful but constantly powerfully stuffed up by most clients who have it. The jobs that constantly run over budget and are nightmares to do are quick book jobs.

    I can’t say enough how much I loath it.

    Last time I checked Sasu was open period which means you can put entries in any date you like to adjust year end figures. MAJOR problem. Think of it this way. There is limited control on the date you enter data. Most people when they are entering data in Janauary still forget to enter the new years date so constantly enter the last year. This causes the financials for the prior year to be adjusted. Just great. Takes most people two months to stop doing this type of thing. Like. To see them find the transactions then

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