Comparing Accounting Software For Small Farms and Farmers

Managing finances is as crucial as tending to the fields. Selecting the right accounting software is not just about keeping track of expenses and revenues; it’s about finding a tool that aligns with the unique needs of your farm business. Understanding the features and capabilities of different software is critical to making an informed decision.

Table 1: QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, FarmBooks

FeatureQuickBooks OnlineQuickBooks DesktopFarmBooks
PricingModerate – Starts at $25/month, reasonable for its features.Moderate – Quote-based, varies based on features and scale.Moderate – $495 one-time fee, cost-effective for long-term use.
Ease of UseHigh – User-friendly interface, suitable for users without technical expertise.High – Intuitive for users familiar with QuickBooks products.Moderate – Traditional interface, may require some accounting knowledge.
User-Friendly InterfaceHigh – Modern and intuitive design.High – Familiar layout for QuickBooks users.Moderate – More conventional, might appeal to long-time software users.
MobileYes – Comprehensive app for on-the-go management.No – Desktop-based, lacks mobile functionality.No – Desktop-based, no mobile application available.
Automation FeaturesHigh – Strong automation for various accounting tasks.High – Robust automation, similar to the online version.Low – Basic automation, focuses on essential functions.
Tax FeaturesHigh – Comprehensive tax functionalities for diverse needs.High – Comprehensive, similar to the online version.Moderate – Strong with Schedule F inclusion, tailored for farming.
Project ManagementYes – Capable of handling multiple projects and revenue streams.Yes – Suitable for managing different aspects of a farm business.No – Focuses more on accounting than project management.
Customization & ScalabilityHigh – Highly customizable and scalable as per business growth.High – Adaptable to various business sizes and needs.Moderate – Some level of customization possible, less scalable.
Integration High – Extensive integration options with other systems.High – Good integration capabilities, though less than the online version.Low – Limited integration with other systems.
SupportHigh – Strong customer support and extensive resources.High – Access to QuickBooks’ wide support network.Moderate – Basic support available, might be sufficient for small-scale users.

Note: The information in this table is based on general features and may vary based on specific plan details or updates from the software providers.

Table 2: Wave, EasyFarm, The Farmer’s Office

FeatureWaveEasyFarmThe Farmer’s Office
PricingLow – Free, ideal for small or part-time farmers.Moderate – Quote-based, upfront cost with long-term benefits.Moderate – Quote-based, varies based on features and scale.
Ease of UseHigh – Very user-friendly, great for beginners.Moderate – Farm-specific interface, easier for those in agriculture.Moderate – Requires some bookkeeping knowledge, not as intuitive.
Mobile AppYes – Basic functionalities available on mobile.Yes – EasyFarmHand app for on-the-go management.No – Lacks mobile app, desktop-focused.
Automation FeaturesLow – Basic automation suitable for simple accounting needs.Moderate – Adequate for typical farm management tasks.High – Advanced features for detailed farm management.
Tax FeaturesLow – Basic tax features, more suitable for simple setups.Moderate – Adequate for most farming tax needs.High – Advanced tax functionalities, including specialized farm requirements.
Project ManagementNo – Basic project tracking, not extensive.Yes – Good for managing specific farming projects.Yes – Detailed cost accounting for in-depth project management.
Customization & ScalabilityLow – Limited customization, more suitable for smaller operations.Moderate – Some scalability and customization to farm needs.High – Highly customizable for various farming operations.
User-Friendly InterfaceHigh – Simple and modern interface.Moderate – Tailored interface with farm-specific terminology.Low – More complex, suited for users with accounting experience.
IntegrationLow – Basic integration capabilities.Low – Limited integration with external systems.Low – Focused on farming, less emphasis on broad integration.
SupportLow – Basic support, primarily community-driven.Moderate – Adequate support for most users.High – (Paid) Advanced support available at an additional cost.

Note: The information in this table is based on general features and may vary based on specific plan details or updates from the software providers.

What This Table Means For You:

  • Best for Pricing: Wave: It’s free, making it the most budget-friendly option.
  • Pricing Definition: Pricing refers to the cost of using the software. It includes the initial cost, any recurring subscription fees, and additional costs for extra features or services.
  • Best for Ease of Use + User Interface: QuickBooks Online and Wave: Both are known for their ease of use and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Ease/User Interface Definition: Ease of use refers to how user-friendly and intuitive the software is. It assesses how easy the interface is to navigate, including the clarity of menus, ease of finding features, and the visual appeal of the software.
  • Best Mobile App: QuickBooks Online: Offers a powerful mobile app with extensive features.
  • Mobile App Definition: The Mobile App column (above) indicates the availability of a mobile application for the software.
  • Best for Automation Features: QuickBooks Online: Known for strong automation capabilities.
  • Automation Definition: This evaluates the software’s ability to automate repetitive tasks such as invoicing, data entry, transaction categorization, and financial reporting.
  • Best for Tax Features: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop offers comprehensive tax features.
  • Tax Definition: Tax features refer to the software’s capabilities in handling tax-related tasks, including automating tax calculations.
  • Best for Project Management: QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, EasyFarm, and The Farmer’s Office: All provide project management capabilities, with QuickBooks products being particularly robust.
  • Project Mgmt. Definition: Project management refers to the ability to manage projects, including tracking project expenses and budget management for individual projects.
  • Best for Customization & Scalability: QuickBooks Desktop and The Farmer’s Office: Both offer high levels of customization and scalability.
  • Customization Definition: Customization and scalability refer to how customizable the software is to a business’s specific needs and how well it can scale as the business grows.
  • Best for Integration Capabilities: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop: Extensive integration capabilities with various third-party apps and services.
  • Integration Definition: Integration refers to the software’s ability to integrate with other tools and systems, such as CRM software, e-commerce platforms, payroll systems, and banking services.
  • Best for Support: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop: These are known for strong customer support.
  • Support Definition: Support refers to the quality and availability of customer support provided by the software company.

Selecting the Right Software & Still Can’t Decide?

Selecting suitable accounting software requires a balance of ease of use, cost, and essential features for effective management. It should match your farm’s financial management approach and what is most important for you. If you still cannot decide, consider the table below:

Consider What Is Most Important to You:

Affordability:Regarding affordability, Wave stands out for part-time farmers, while FarmBooks offers a cost-effective one-time payment model. QuickBooks Online, though slightly pricier, offers comprehensive features that justify its cost.
Ease of Use and Accessibility:QuickBooks Online and Wave score high in user-friendliness, making them suitable for those who prioritize ease of use. EasyFarm’s unique input screens are designed for farmers without extensive accounting knowledge.
Mobile App Functionality:The availability of mobile apps with QuickBooks Online and EasyFarm enhances flexibility and on-site management, which are crucial for modern farming operations.
Automation and Integration:QuickBooks products offer strong automation and integration capabilities, which are essential for farms to streamline their accounting processes and integrate with other business tools.
Tax Preparation and Compliance Features:FarmBooks and The Farmer’s Office provide specialized tax features, which is beneficial for farms needing detailed tax reporting and compliance.
Project and Client Management Capabilities:QuickBooks Online and The Farmer’s Office offer robust project management features, which are suitable for diversified farms with multiple revenue streams.
Customization and Scalability:QuickBooks Desktop and The Farmer’s Office stand out for their customization and scalability, catering to farms with complex and evolving needs.

Finally, What You Need to Know About Each Software Product

  • QuickBooks Online: A versatile option for those prioritizing a user-friendly interface and robust integration capabilities. Its mobile app ensures management on the go, making it a top choice for bookkeeping software.
  • FarmBooks: This software stands out for its affordability and farm-specific reporting capabilities. It’s a solid choice for simple farm accounting software, especially for those who manage their finances with little external help.
  • QuickBooks Desktop: This is a top contender for those who prefer a desktop solution with robust customization and scalability. It’s particularly suited for your farm’s business accounting needs.
  • Wave: The best free option for part-time or small farmers. Its easy use and accessible price point make it ideal for “free farm accounting software” seekers.
  • EasyFarm: Tailored for self-employed or small farmers, this software offers unique input screens and mobile functionality, aligning well with the needs of dairy or poultry farmers.
  • The Farmer’s Office: This software excels in detailed cost accounting and is ideal for more extensive operations that require advanced features like pesticide application reporting, aligning with the needs of large agricultural or ranch operations.

What To Do Next

Explore these software options, evaluate your business needs, and select a solution that empowers your farm’s financial health and growth. Remember, the right tool can transform how you manage your farm’s finances.