More Black Than Purple
Accounting & Bookkeeping for SMEs

Top Accounting Websites for Startups

In today’s fast-paced, constantly evolving business world, things can change at a moment’s notice and leave you in the dust if you don’t stay on top of things. Accounting is not immune to this phenomenon. Professional accountants worldwide need to stay on top of current business trends, be willing to learn new skills, and constantly continue their education in order to make sure that they’re providing their clients with the best possible, most up-to-date information and services possible. Gregory Atkinson, of in Brighton & Hove, tells us that “staying on top of emerging trends, in UK tax law in particular, is an essential part of our profession.” Here, then, are the best websites for keeping on top of changes in accounting practices: whether you’re a CPA, business owner, or aspiring entrepreneur.

Accounting Coach

            This educational site is designed to teach the finer points of accounting to people from all walks of life, regardless of any existing accounting background. Since its start in 2003, the goal of Accounting Coach has been to provide high-quality accounting education without all the costs typically associated with tuition, books, and other expenses. To this day they have stayed true to this goal, while also introducing a professional version of their program with expanded features that helps to finance the free version.


            Sleeter is targeted toward professional accountants and small business owners handling their business’s accounting needs on their own. They have a team of more than 700 accounting professionals that serve as consultants for their students, and they also hold an annual conference and trade show where members can get together and network.

The Blunt Bean Counter

            This blog, maintained by Mark Goodfield, offers a wealth of expert advice on such topics as income taxes, finance, and managing money in all aspects of life. While anyone may benefit from the information on this blog, it is particularly valuable to high net-worth individuals and the owners of private companies.

Accounting For Management

            This site provides clear and concise information about a range of accounting topics pertaining to business ownership and management. It has four main sections- examples, explanations, problems, and calculators so that wherever you are along the learning spectrum, there’s something for you to engage with.

Accounting Learnatorium

            This whimsically-named blog aims to keep business owners up-to-date with tax laws and exemptions that somehow seem to always change from year to year faster than one can keep up. The “Learnatorium” helps entrepreneurs master their own unique tax situations while still having time to oversee the regular operations of their businesses. It is updated weekly and also provides accounting strategies, advice, tips for finding and working with a good accountant, and reducing the stress of managing your own accounts. There’s something for everybody at the Accounting Learnatorium.


The best use case for an outsourced core function is efficiency. It seems backward, or counter-intuitive, that a company could do better with its internal resources like money if it were to send out key functions to a higher-priced agency. While there have been fads of “right sizing” over the years, this transition away from a corporately held employee/hostage situation seems to be sticking more than it has before.

1. Leaving it to the pros

The trend to get the risky and unpredictable people off of the books lets companies look leaner. There are fewer variables for health coverage and 401K involved. It also helps companies to truly be a customer of the outsourcing firm, instead of feeling a little bit shuffled to the side by an in house accounting team.

2. Liability

To break these advantages down into more specific points, let’s take the liability challenge that so many companies are feeling. When they have a data breach or a leak, or they suffer from social hacking, they do not want to point to their own employee when they say the screwed up.

They would much rather point at someone else. To outsource to a large enough organization, that group is outsourcing, too.  And so on. So the insulation is thick around everyone and there’s enough plausible deniability to go around.

3. Cost Effective

There are also considerations of additional costs that they’re putting on this year. The Affordable Care Act is a lovely act. However, it’s not proving to be very practical. When companies are not sure that a legislative action will not cost them money, they can send every minute thinking about possibilities that don’t involve closing sales. Because the company is vulnerable to a cost shift, and in some respects the employee is as well, this is just an unknown.

Escaping from the unknowns is appealing, some days. Having the sweater and jeans on, and big glasses?  It would be gorgeous! Almost as nice as knowing that, as a business owner, I don’t have to pay for insurance, or dental, and I don’t have to contribute to my employee’s retirement savings account or IRA.

We also recommend that you take a look at this 30min presentation published by Journyx on their YouTube channel:

The bottom line is that no matter what you do, you can still be fooled.  But by following this system, you get a good feeling about the people who are able to walk along with you.



Looking for an accounting firm for your small to mid-sized business can be very challenging. The directive to find someone who knows their stuff, does math their sleep, and understand how to work with other human beings is a lot to look out for. Fortunately, there are some excellent tips and tricks from experienced people who visit this site and have become Friends!

Interview three different companies, and only discard one at a time

This tidbit of complex mathematical wisdom is from Shelby. She recommends doing a bracket approach to interviewing service providers, and going beyond the bare minimum.

The job market has changed and will continue to change over the next coming years, and being a little bit more competitive is only smart. If none of the three make the cut, that’s absolutely OK too, Shelby says. It’s better to have interviewed and lost than never to have interviewed at all.

Ask your accountant friends for recommendations. Do not interview your accountant friends.  Seriously.

Per Robert, who says there’s an excellent story about this which he will one day tell me, the business services community runs on a lot of scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours.

When there’s business to be had the scratching can quickly turn to clawing and leave some bruises. So keep your friends and keep your work, and happily take recommendations.

They will surely help your business as they are qualified accountants who serve startup entrepreneurs, contractors as well as established SME.

When you’re looking for accountants online, don’t think math.

Assume (which I know, I told you never to do) any accountant can do basic math skills. You’ll need to do some skills testing, but unless you’re hiring for a C level strategic role, there’s no real need to discuss theories of cash handling. Make sure you thoroughly test out their handling of a customer service situation, since that skill set is so opposite to the analytical one.



For small business people, especially people who are not accountants, the idea of balancing the books can be terrifying. This is panic attack style fear, closely followed in fear factor by the idea of zombie pit bulls.  Freshbooks is geared specifically toward this individual.

The sole practitioner or collection of a few pros in the creative arts, information technology, business services and trade services can all benefit from the intuitive and simplified Freshbooks accounting program.

Freshbooks Cloud Accounting


Yes, this is the same Freshbooks that you may have found on the web using your PC. Now with a great app in your app store (Android/Apple), accounting easy to do from the road. The mobile platform of Freshbooks is aligned to the web based platform closely.

Kashoo Cloud Accounting


Kashoo’s claim to fame is its simplicity. It can be used either in a web browser on any computer, or from an iPhone or iPad.  The invoicing process is incredibly streamlined. Tax documents are prepared for Kashoo users, so that there is limited stress when it is the end of the year.

It’s not just an invoicing system, though. The full featured accounting system has GL, AP and AR are all included, and the modules interact well to prevent dual entry requirements. Bank reconciliations and other long running chores can be traded off among users as one person’s functions shift and adjust throughout the day. They even offer Quick Entry, an innovative way to quickly and easily to input transactions.

TurboTax SnapTax


TurboTax is probably the most well-known tax product on the planet. Intuit has taken their investment in the great brand and turned it into a powerful and easy to use app. For iPhone and iPad, the SnapTax app is in the store, and it’s free. The app gets amazing props for being easy to use and intuitive.

The only challenges reported were on iPhones or iPads lower than the software supports, or when there were unusual circumstances that prevented them from filing a 1040-EZ.