TrulySmall Accounting comes by its name honestly. Produced by the same team that built Kashoo, TrulySmall is small business accounting software that’s only been around a little more than a year. It offers bare-bones double-entry accounting housed in an attractive, intuitive user interface. It lets you connect to online financial accounts, create and send invoices, generate a handful of reports, track bills, and charge sales tax. That’s all that’s needed for millions of very small businesses in the US, especially considering how the gig economy has blossomed since COVID-19 changed the work landscape.
TrulySmall Accounting might have a hard time competing with the best accounting applications because of all the things it doesn’t do, but it was built from the ground up to do just the things that a lot of businesses need. The service has room to grow, though it should remain simple enough for beginners—and we like where it has started. At this time, however, we have two other top choices for accounting software for microbusinesses like sole proprietors and freelancers, FreshBooks Lite plan (for paid entry-level accounting) and Wave (free). They’re our Editors’ Choice winners in this category.
How Much Does TrulySmall Accounting Cost?
There’s a 14-day free trial, after which TrulySmall Accounting costs $20 per month or $216 per year. For this entry-level application, that’s a little high. Wave is free, and FreshBooks Lite is $15 per month.
For small to medium-size businesses (rather than microbusinesses), PCMag’s Editors’ Choice winners are QuickBooks Online ($30-$200 per month) and Zoho Books (free with paid plans starting at $20 per month). They’re slightly more advanced options for slightly larger businesses.
If you only need to send a few invoices and don’t want any other features, you can subscribe to TrulySmall Invoices. This lets you create up to five invoices for free. After that, the subscriber fee is $8.99 per month. It costs 3.4% plus 30 cents per transaction to accept credit cards and 1% for bank transfers (ACH). This is in line with competitors.
Is TrulySmall Accounting Safe to Use?
TrulySmall Accounting requires multi-factor authentication, which helps keep your account secure. In addition, the company safeguards its software with processes similar to those its competitors use, like bank-grade security, encryption, and security monitor audits. The company only stores transaction information from businesses. The truly valuable piece of data would be bank login credentials, which aren’t stored.
How Do You Get Started With TrulySmall Accounting?
Setup doesn’t take much time. After you create an account, you enter information about your company and its fiscal year and transaction start date. The next step is to add bank accounts. TrulySmall Accounting uses Plaid, a third-party service that’s the industry standard to establish the connections; it also sometimes uses Yodlee. To get connected, you supply your online login information for your financial institutions. After verifying your identity using two-step verification, the site downloads your first batch of transactions and deposits them in a register. A series of pop-out windows walks you through some of the site’s basics and then drops you on the Transactions page.
(Credit: TrulySmall Apps)
Users who are absolutely new to online accounting—or accounting period—should visit the company’s home page before starting. It has a lot of really good introductory material.
What is TrulySmall Accounting’s User Experience Like?
TrulySmall Accounting’s user experience is quite good. It’s attractive, simple, and professional, and it uses standard navigation and data entry tools. A vertical toolbar on the left has links for all of the site’s core sections.
Connected accounts appear directly above the list of imported transactions, and they’re color-coded. Green means you’re connected and up to date. Yellow means there’s a delay in the service. And red means there’s a problem with your connection, like bank credentials that need updating. This quick visual status report is great. You can also hover your mouse over an account to see when it was last updated.
In the upper-right corner is your business name, a notification icon, and a link to TrulySmall Accounting’s searchable help center. Articles here are thorough and well written. Click on your initials, the final icon in this row, to edit your user profile and log out. The lower-right corner displays a link to the site’s chat function. There’s a list of common issues here that opens related articles. You can also interact with a company representative.
The middle part of the screen is your working area, which changes depending what task you’re doing. I never had any trouble understanding what was required of me while moving around TrulySmall Accounting. The site’s design and navigation tools are state-of-the-art. It’s a pleasure to use such a well-constructed application.
How Can You See Your Transactions?
Each time your transactions are imported, they go into an Inbox, the first entry in the toolbar. If you’d rather allow TrulySmall Accounting to categorize your transactions and drop them directly on the Transactions page, you can check a box on the Business Details page in Settings to have them Auto Post.
The Transactions page is simple and clear. It’s basically a register with several columns: Date, Description, Account, Category, Currency, and Withdraw or Deposit. You can’t do in-line editing of transactions. Rather, if you click anywhere on a line, an editing box opens. You can change the category, split the transaction, add details about it, and attach files. You can also filter transactions and bulk-edit them.
(Credit: TrulySmall Apps)
If you don’t want imported entries to Auto Post, they arrive directly in the Inbox. This looks and works much the same as the Transactions page. You can review the new entries there and edit them. When you’re satisfied that they’re correct, you click the Post check mark at the end of each row to send them to the Transactions page. This is as close as TrulySmall Accounting gets to bank reconciliation. But at least it can clearly separate the unreviewed transactions from the reviewed ones.
TrulySmall Accounting learns from you as you continue to categorize transactions and automates this process. Eventually, you can go to the Settings menu and open the Category Rules Editor if you want to change any of them.
What to Do Before Creating Invoices
You should enter contact records and set up any sales tax before you start creating invoices. At this writing, the site doesn’t distinguish between customers and vendors the way competitors do. Click the Contacts link in the toolbar, and then click the plus sign in the upper-left corner (eventually, you’ll be able to select from the list you’ve created). Choose between adding a company or an individual. The Add Company (or Individual) record template opens. It displays fields only for name, email, and phone number, but you can click Show details to add an address (and shipping address if it’s different), a website, business number, and notes. When you click Add, the record movies into the contact list, ready for use in invoices.
That done, when you access a contact’s page, all related transactions appear in a list there. You can also generate a statement from here.
(Credit: TrulySmall Apps)
Sales tax management is good, for such a simple site. You click Taxes in the toolbar and then Add New Tax in the window that opens. The form includes fields for Tax Name, Rate (%), Rate effective date, and End date. If you are going to collect this tax and not just have the rate available for use in expenses, you click the button next to “Are you currently collecting this tax?” and turn it on. New fields open, asking for the Tax collection date and End date. If you can deduct the tax you’ve paid from the tax you have collected, you click the button next to “Is this tax recoverable?” Click Save when you’re done, and then your invoices will include an optional sales tax field.
There aren’t a lot of form-customization options in accounting software made for microbusinesses, and that’s true of TrulySmall Accounting’s invoices. The default invoice form is sufficient for the smallest of businesses, however. Unlike in Wave, you can’t create estimates or recurring invoices.
To create an invoice, you just click New on the Invoices screen to open the template. Click the down arrow in the field below Client, and TrulySmall Accounting opens the list of contacts it pulled from the transactions it’s imported and any you’ve created. Another option is to just type the name of a new contact on the line and complete the invoice; the app then adds that person to your contact list. It’s better, though, if you create a contact record before creating the invoice, as described above, so those details are included on the invoice itself.
With your contact selected, you can move on to change the invoice date if needed. The due date defaults to the invoice date (On Receipt), but you can change it to Net 15, 30, or 60. If you need to change the currency (many are supported), you can do so in the next field.
TrulySmall Accounting does not let you create product and service records like competitors do, so you have to type in the name of the item on the next line, under Description. The invoicing system does not remember descriptions, so you have to enter them every time you use them. You select a category (account) in the next field, which is usually Sales Income. The quantity (Qty) goes in the next field and the price in the subsequent one.
The next column is labeled Tax if there was tax for this item; here you find the relevant tax options. The amount in the final field includes any tax amounts. A vertical pane on the right breaks these out and maintains a running total for the sale. When you’ve entered any additional items and added attachments you want, you have several options: Save & New, Save & Exit, Preview & Send, and Duplicate.
(Credit: TrulySmall Apps)
Completed invoices are displayed in a list back on the Invoices page. You can view All, Paid, Current, and Past Due. Check the box in front of any of them and a row of icons appears above the list allowing you to edit the invoice or remove it, send it by email or duplicate it, and open the payment screen.
Once an invoice is paid in full, the status column at the end of the row changes to Paid. A horizontal toolbar at the top of the screen displays your company’s fiscal year total, average time to pay, total outstanding, and past due invoices.
Can You Pay Bills in TrulySmall Accounting?
TrulySmall Accounting doesn’t have an online bill-pay feature, but neither do its closest competitors. You can, however, enter bills and mark them as paid. This feature works like the invoicing tools. You click Bills to Pay in the toolbar, and then select New. The only real difference between how this and the invoice form works is the choice of options for the Category column. Rather than income accounts from the Chart of Accounts, you get tax-related expense categories like Advertising and Marketing, Meals and Entertainment, Professional Services, and Personal (in case you don’t have a dedicated business checking account).
Does TrulySmall Accounting Create Reports?
TrulySmall Accounting is young enough and simple enough that it has only a few reports. These include standard financial reports like Profit and Loss, General Ledger, and Trial Balance. They’re easy to create, but businesses may sometimes need the help of an accounting professional to analyze them. They’re the kinds of reports you need if you’re going to apply for a loan, for example.
Two additional reports are All Transactions and Unpaid Bills and Invoices. You can do a bit of customizing and export reports as CSV and PDF (depending on the report) and save your customizations.
(Credit: TrulySmall Apps)
Does TrulySmall Accounting Have Mobile Apps?
Like the web-based software itself, TrulySmall Accounting’s mobile apps for iOS and Android are simple, well-designed, and easy to use. Three buttons at the bottom take you to the app’s functions. Click Home to view your company’s transactions, divided into those that need reviewing and those that have been posted. You can filter them and change the active year. You can also attach receipts to expenses by snapping a photo or selecting an existing one. If you’re away from your office and want to add an expense or income, there are forms for that.
The Invoice button opens a list of your existing invoices that you can edit, preview as PDF, and send via email. You can also create and post new ones. Three reports are available remotely in the app: Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and Unpaid Bills and Invoices.
(Credit: TrulySmall Apps)
Should You Buy TrulySmall Accounting?
Double-entry accounting applications have evolved greatly over the years. But considering how many millions of very small businesses just need some basic tools, it’s good to see a company step back and simplify. If you’re looking for the simplest, no-frills, most intuitive accounting application available, we recommend you sign up for a free trial of TrulySmall Accounting and see how it fits your small business. The company is preparing to launch a beta version of an expense app, so if you need more advanced expense management than TrulySmall Accounting currently offers, you might check back in a couple of months.
Even if you’re only managing a couple of side gigs, TrulySmall Accounting may not have all of the tools you need. You may also balk at the monthly fee. If that’s the case, we recommend you try our Editors’ Choice for free entry-level accounting, Wave. It’s been around for many years, and it has some of the features TrulySmall Accounting is missing, like product and service records, better invoicing options, and payroll. FreshBooks, particularly the Lite plan, also earns an Editors’ Choice award for being the best paid accounting service for microbusinesses. It offers the best user experience of any application reviewed here and is more feature-rich. Plus, there are multiple service tiers, so you can move up if your company outgrows it.
If you’re set to grow and potentially need accounting software that’s capable of handling more that what a microbusiness needs, you’ll instead want one of our Editors’ Choice winners for SMBs, Intuit QuickBooks Online or Zoho Books.
The Bottom Line
As other small business accounting applications add features and functionality, TrulySmall Accounting takes a step back and supports only transaction management, invoices, and bills. That may be enough for the smallest of businesses.
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