Kashoo: Simple Yet Fluid Web-Based Accounting

Web-based accounting software has been increasing in popularity recently. In today’s world of cloud computing and remote working, it can help companies work more efficiently (as employees do not have to work from a fixed location) and often, web-based accounting systems can reduce a business’s IT costs, as they often charge a monthly subscription fee, rather than lumping the company with a massive bill for server upgrades and expensive licences.

Kashoo, from the Vancouver-based developers of the same name, is one of these systems. It helps users say goodbye to the days of slow and complicated accounting systems and promises to save every user 5 to 10 hours a month when it comes to doing the books. This is a bold claim, so I took the test version of Kashoo out for a spin to see how it fared.

Setting Up

Kashoo allows you to try before you buy and you can sign up to a 30-day free trial via their website. Setting up your company is really easy — simply enter your company’s name, e-mail address and country and Kashoo will do the rest. There’s also an option to choose the default currency and, to my joy, the fiscal year as well. Unlike most countries, the UK (where I’m based) has a completely archaic fiscal year which runs from 1 April – 31 March every year (and that’s for businesses; for persons it runs from 6 April – 5 April!) and I was really glad to see the option there, making Kashoo a great option for businesses around the world, not just those based in the United States.

Setting up my Kashoo account.

Setting up my Kashoo account.

Kashoo will also integrate with several web-based service providers, though for the moment these are confined mostly to a number of Farm Business Consultants groups scattered around Canada. I would have liked to have seen integration with more established services, such as e-filing with national tax authorities, such as the IRS and HMRC.

Once you’ve set everything up, you are redirected to the main screen of Kashoo — the Dashboard — which gives you an overview of your company’s bank accounts, cash-in-hand and credit cards and allows you to quickly enter an invoice or any income or expenses.

The main screen of Kashoo, showing the Dashboard.

The main screen of Kashoo, showing the Dashboard.

Running down the left-hand side are quick links to commonly used actions (such as adding a new income or expense), your reports (which we’ll look at in a minute) and any add-ons. It’s probably worth noting here that Kashoo integrates with external accounting services such as FreshBooks and payroll providers but unfortunately, most of these seem based in Canada and are of little use to anyone not living in the Great White North.

Working With Transactions

Transactions are handled really nicely within Kashoo, and as this is a feature you are most likely to be working with on a daily basis, it needs to be fluid and concise. Any transactions can be sorted either by income or expense and categorised by their date, the customer, the currency and so on. You can also assign transactions an individual account, which comes in extremely useful when it comes to reporting (which I’ll look in a bit more detail below).

Entering a new transaction.

Entering a new transaction.

 

Kashoo also gives you a quick overview of any aged receivables (sorted by date) and, when you start adding more customers and transactions, both income and expenses will also be grouped by category as well. This gives you a brief snapshot of how your books are without having to produce a full report — a really useful feature in my opinion. Other options when it comes to transactions include transfers between accounts, balance adjustments and check printing.

Reporting

One of the most important features I look for in accounting software, whether web or desktop-based, is the ability to produce accurate and detailed reports. Any business owner will know that when it comes round to tax season, being able to fill out your annual return correctly is extremely important, and the choice of accounting software makes a big difference here.

Kashoo allows you to generate reports on a number of different topics, including aged payables/receivables (i.e. those that are due), balance sheets, profit/loss accounts and transactions. All reports can be customised by date and currency (if you’re using multiple currencies, that is) and they can be exported to either Excel, CSV, PDF or HTML format.

Viewing my profit and loss report.

Viewing my profit and loss report.

Another useful feature is the Change Log. This essentially tracks every single change made in the Kashoo system by user, allowing system administrators (or anyone who is interested) to look back through the records to see who made what change. Each change also receives a unique ID, allowing it to be tracked easier.

On the Move

Kashoo also comes with a separate iPad app (available on the App Store) which allows you to manage your books on the go, wherever you are. You can view your bank accounts, add new invoices and expenses and generate reports all on the move — a really useful feature.

Kashoo on my iPad.

Kashoo on my iPad.

There no iPhone version, unfortunately, but I feel that for such an app, it deserves a place on a bigger screen. I’ve tried doing my books on an iPhone and it’s actually quite difficult — especially when it comes to viewing reports and so on (4 inches is simply not enough). There’s a flip side to the iPad version though, although the basic version is completely free (and integrates well with your Kashoo account), you’re limited to 20 transactions a month. The “premium” option, which gives you unlimited transactions sets you back an extra $49.99 a year.

I was quite disappointed at this, as I would expect from a fairly expensive service (Kashoo costs $15 monthly or $144 yearly — it’s currently on promotion) that an iPad app would be included for free — with no restrictions, too. Sure, 20 transactions does sound like quite a lot, but if you’re booking multiple daily incomes and expenses, then this figure will soon get consumed. I hope the developers will reconsider their pricing strategy regarding the iPad app, as I think an extra 50 bucks on top of the existing $144 you have to pay for a yearly subscription is a little steep.

Final Thoughts

Kashoo is a shining example of just what web accounting software should be like: powerful, accessible from anywhere (including from iPads, if you’re willing to pay of course) and packed full of features. The execution of the app is top-notch yet I would liked to have seen integration with more web-based services (not just those in Canada) and a rethink of their iPad app pricing strategy.

The app earns a very healthy 8 out of 10 rating and I can see it finding its home in a multitude of different business scenarios. Sure, it’s probably not as powerful as a fully-fledged accounting system but for web-based offerings, it’s one of the best you can get. You can always try before you buy (no credit card needed) which I highly recommend you do, because the results are pretty impressive — Kashoo is certainly an app that will make you come running back for more.


Summary

A fully-featured and intuitive web-based accounting service, with cloud sync and mobile support.

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  • I used Kashoo previously and it’s not a very good application for freelancers and sole proprietors. It tries to do too much and in that very annoying Microsoft App manner, it thinks it’s smarter than you and makes decisions that it believes are right, without your consent. The forced reconciliation of things that shouldn’t be reconciled was really frustrating to deal with and things that are as simple as “my 2012 invoices totaled together should equal this much” did not equal the correct amount in Kashoo and despite hours of forensic auditing to figure out where it was making the adjustments, additions, deductions, I could never quite get any of my calculations to match what Kashoo was reporting as my sales for any given year. I tried the app for all of 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012… …at some point in 2012, Freshbooks upgraded the options they have for bookkeeping and I’ve migrated all my data there for 2013. Thus far, everything is 100% on par.

    • @endlessdigital:disqus – Thanks for taking the time to comment. Appreciate you sharing your experience as well. Good or bad, customer experiences always help us improve the product. If you’re up for it, we’d be happy to chat further to learn more. If not, that’s a-ok too. You can shoot us an email at answers [at] kashoo [dot] com. (It’s a well-monitored inbox!)