Cloud Accounting for Small Businesses in the Philippines: A Beginner’s Guide


So you finally launched the small business you have been dreaming of for years! Dream come true! Congratulations! Now, back to reality. As a new small business owner, how do you stay on top of everything from operations, management, and especially your finances?

You can always hire a team of accountants to do accounting stuff. But you still need to be on top of your accountants, at least in what matters most to SMEs in the Philippines:  like managing cash flow for instance. Enter the tool small businesses need: cloud accounting software.

What is cloud accounting software? Cloud accounting software is an accounting software that pretty much does what traditional on-premise accounting softwares do, but on steroids! Instead of installing the accounting software in the hard drives of the user’s pc or in the local network server, the cloud accounting software and databases reside in “the cloud,” remote servers that are accessed over the Internet.  Cloud servers are located in data centers all over the world. By using cloud computing, users and companies do not have to manage physical servers themselves or run software applications on their own machines because the computing and storage takes place in a remote data center instead of on a user’s device.1

Dictated by the needs of multinational companies with several offices around the world, it’s believed that cloud accounting was born sometime in 1999 with NetLedger, now known as NetSuite.  Cloud technology enabled these multinationals to work in each of their various locations on the same data. And the small business community? They had to rely on desktop software such as Sage 50 and Quickbooks. QuickBooks Online was actually released in 2004, but didn’t sell well compared to its desktop version. Such irony: small businesses preferred desktop accounting that required significant investments into their computer infrastructure over their cost-efficient cloud versions.

What are the benefits of cloud accounting for SMEs?

  1. Minimizes cost. Reduce overhead. Business is about minimizing cost and maximizing profits. With cloud accounting, SMEs can save a considerable amount of money as cloud accounting eliminates the need for SMEs to to invest in their own servers and an entire IT infrastructure.
  2. Quicker and cheaper to roll out and maintain. Let’s face it: the cost to deploy on-premise software, from installation to expensive on-premise support by specialists, hardware requirements, an entire IT infrastructure and IT team … These could easily cost you what feels like an arm and a leg! On the other hand, most cloud accounting software are “Software as a Service” or SaaS. Which means your initial financial investment is painless as you will only be paying a monthly subscription fee. And in most SaaS cloud accounting software business models, you can cancel the service anytime.
  3. Anytime, anywhere advantage. Your accounting staff and anyone authorized can access the same data from any device and from anywhere with an internet connection… in real time!
  4. Security – your cloud accounting software vendor invests in advanced encryption and access control to make sure only those authorized can access your financial database so you can have peace of mind when sharing data with your colleagues.
  5. Automation of manual and repetitive tasks and the seamless ability to pull up various reports make you wonder why you didn’t go cloud accounting sooner.
  6. SaaS advantage of always getting the latest version of the cloud accounting software. Say goodbye to expensive on-premise upgrades with its attendant downtime.

Check out the usual suspects. These accounting softwares pretty much perform the basics: accounts receivables, account payables, billing and invoicing, purchase and sales orders, general ledger, and reporting. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

So which cloud accounting software is best for small businesses in the Philippines?

Here are the brands that keep getting mentioned in most lists of “Best of this, and Top of that.” You may want to check which one fits your needs.

  1. Quickbooks Online Essentials – starting at about USD30 per month for three users, Quickbooks Online deserves this popularity and reputation. After all, they were launched in 2004, which means they have almost two decades of experience in cloud accounting. That’s plenty of time to fix bugs in the software. That explains why there’s no transaction limit and accounting work volume is a non-issue with Quickbooks Online.
  2. Xero Standard – starting at USD35 per month with discounts offered to multiple organizations with one subscriber email address. Xero is great for reconciling accounts, managing sales and purchase transactions, and for tracking projects. Considered by many as a worthy contender to Quickbooks Online, Xero was launched in New Zealand in 2006. It is safe to say that they had sixteen years to fix bugs and improve their software.
  3. Freshbooks – accessible in your mobile device as well as your desktop, Freshbooks Plus starts at USD30 per month good for 50 billable clients. It links all tools you need to send invoices, manage and track expenses. It features an easy and intuitive interface, data encryption, and automatic data backups to various data hubs.
  4. Zoho Books Standard – starting at USD20 per month for three users, Zoho tracks money coming in by generating invoices, and money going out by following your expenses and vendor balances. Recommended for those already with Zoho tools like Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects. Zoho Books packs an impressive collection of features and capabilities for the low price you pay.
  5. easyFS – starting at USD70 per month for three users, easyFS is your cloud accounting software that’s as homegrown as dried mangoes. Designed and created by Cebuanos for the Philippine market, EasyFS is BIR Computerized Accounting System compliant. And you have a dedicated server assigned exclusively to you to guarantee speed and security. Book your free demo at

Indeed, technology is a great equalizer. With cloud accounting, SMEs in the Philippines can now enjoy the benefits of business tools that used to be exclusive to large multinational corporations. Now, your dream business start-up is as equipped as the large enterprises with cloud accounting software.

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