For small businesses on a tight budget, Patriot Software Accounting is an attractive choice. It lacks some features offered by competitors, but it’s cheaper than many other small business accounting services—in some cases, quite a bit. It supports contact and product records, invoices and estimates, transaction and bill tracking and reports. Both desktop and mobile access is simple, clean and understandable, and support is plentiful. However, its lack of time tracking, inventory management and detailed records may deter some users from adopting it. Patriot Software Accounting has a ways to go to seriously compete with our Editors’ Choice winners, QuickBooks Online and FreshBooks, but there’s room for it.
How much does Patriot Software Accounting cost?
A basic version of Patriot Software Accounting ($20 per month, unlimited users) lacks some tools such as user permissions, estimates, recurring invoices and payment reminders. This review looks specifically at the Premium version, which has everything you need. At $30 per month for unlimited users, Patriot Software Accounting Premium is the least expensive application compared to comparable versions of other accounting software. All of these cost more: QuickBooks Online Plus ($90 per month for five users), Zoho Books Premium ($70 per month for 10 users), Xero Established ($78 per month, unlimited users) and Sage 50 Accounting Premium ($96 per .month for five users). Xero offers an entry-level accounting application for $15 per month. month, but it limits the number of bills, offers and invoices you can create. With Patriot you also get a 30-day free trial.
Get started with Patriot Accounting
Even before you sign up for a free trial, I recommend spending some time exploring the site’s demo account to see how easy it is to use and determine if it would work for you. Once you’ve created an account, a setup wizard guides you through the necessary steps. If you need help, you can ask questions via chat, email and phone, as well as consult online help and guides. The support options for setup and other questions are excellent.
Patriot Software Accounting’s user interface is spacious and attractive, and navigation is intuitive, driven by a vertical toolbar. I got tripped up a few times because Patriot’s accounting and payroll applications share the toolbar, but it wasn’t hard to find my way. It is rarely necessary to roll. The simplicity and order can ease some of the anxiety newbies tend to feel when doing accounting.
The site does not have a traditional dashboard. What it calls a dashboard is a simple page that contains links to both accounting and payroll tasks. The overview for the accounting page is more like a standard dashboard. It only has links to accounting tasks, account balances and recent invoices and paid bills, without any pretty charts or graphs.
As part of the setup process, the site references some back-end accounting conventions that competitors tend to avoid (such as period closings and journal entries). Using them is optional. Even so, it can be confusing for non-auditors.
How does Patriot Accounting Software handle sales?
Before you start entering transactions, it’s a good idea to create your customer records, although you can enter them right away. You can import XLS, XLSX or CSV files or enter them manually. Post templates are less detailed than what you get in other small business accounting software. You can only enter contract information, standard payment terms and notes.
Invoice and estimate forms include only the basics, although you can choose from three templates and a color and add a logo. I like the page that appears when you open a completed invoice because it shows all your options for handling the form. Invoices are also displayed with their status on a sales website.
Product and service listings also contain minimal information, including sales price and income account, VAT and a description. You can’t enter cost information, track inventory, or set a reorder point like you can in QuickBooks Online. However, the site’s item tracking tools may be enough for a service-based business or a product-based business that doesn’t need an automated way to count its widgets or measure the profitability of individual products.
Limited tools for managing invoices or business purchases
You can’t pay bills electronically through Patriot Software Accounting Premium like you can through Intuit QuickBooks Online Plus. You also can’t upload documents, such as bills and receipts, to your account via email forwarding like you can with other apps. However, Patriot has separate pages for entering bills and registering bills once approved. You can upload documents, e.g. pictures of receipts you have taken and include them as attachments.
Supplier records, like customer records, only contain fields for the most basic details. But you can specify whether individual suppliers should receive a 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC after the first of the year and process them through Patriot Software. You can create and print as many 1099s as you need, but if you want to e-file them, there is a $20 minimum charge that covers the first five you file.
Patriot Software Accounting Premium puts its accounting and payroll reports on the same page. You get 21 accounting reports, fewer than the amount offered by some competitors.
Reports are divided into several categories: Customer, Vendor, Financial (complex standard reports that accountants generally run and analyze), 1099 Contractors, and 1099 Contractor Forms. Customization is minimal, but some reports, such as debtor aging, include a chart. You can’t drill down on most reports to get to the underlying data, but you can export reports to CSV and PDF.
Here’s something that Patriot does that I haven’t seen on other accounting sites: It lets you take action on individual line items in reports. For example, the Invoice Details report has links to related tasks such as applying payments, emailing the invoice, or canceling it.
Is Patriot Accounting Software Safe to Use?
Patriot Software is safe to use. It protects your data in exactly the same way that the company protects its own critical data. Patriot Software also complies with all necessary federal privacy, anti-fraud and security laws. The company participates in external audits and checks by experts. It bonds its employees after putting them through reference checks, background checks, drug screenings and skills/aptitude tests.
No mobile apps
Patriot does not have a mobile app for its accounting software, but you can log in on a mobile browser. It looks and works a lot like the desktop version, except the navigation bar is collapsible and the pages run vertically instead of horizontally, so you have to scroll a lot more than you do on your computer.
Although there are no downloadable apps, Patriot has done a good job with mobile access. One shortcoming, however, is that you cannot take a picture of a receipt and have the application read it. Minus the one point, it is comprehensive, attractive and very easy to use.
Is Patriot Software Accounting Right for You?
Patriot Software Accounting is a great choice for a small business that needs basic income and expense management tools and wants them to be simple, clean, understandable and affordable. Excellent support also makes this a smart solution for beginners. Businesses that need time tracking, more robust inventory support, and extensive detail in contact records and transactions should consider one of our Editors’ Choice winners, QuickBooks Online or FreshBooks. Both have what Patriot Software Accounting lacks – although they are more expensive – and both offer excellent feature sets, customization options and ease of use. FreshBooks is better for very small businesses.