Yendo Accounting: Almost Absurdly Powerful

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This might just go down as the year Intuit ( INTU) lost its lock on the accounting software market.

Assuming you are still in business, chances are sales are up over the disaster that was 2009. And we all know that with increased sales comes increased expenses, payroll and, yes, taxes. One tough lesson I have learned over the years is that it's important to get a feel for the taxes you'll be facing next April before this year ends. That way you still have time to reconcile your accounts, invest in new products and work with your accountant to get your business on the right side of the tax code.

If you think you are limited to well-known accounting tools such as Intuit's QuickBooks software, think again. A startling number of excellent, low-cost accounting packages are on the market these days. I have been particularly impressed with small, Irish accounting software firm Yendo (free for a single user and limited features, $9 per month for more users and robust functions), which brings a unique blend of powerful accounting and budgeting tools to small businesses.

What you get
Yendo is an almost absurdly powerful and easy-to-use accounting tool for not a lot of money.

At first blush, Yendo looks like an entry-level Web-based accounting package. It has a bland, tab-based layout of pages such as Home, Sales, Contacts and Tasks. But behind the boring look is some serious accounting and budgeting power. Yendo supports a solid invoicing app that manages bills. It has a clever Purchases concept that lets you tag your spending by who does it, when and for what -- effectively bringing the notion of the purchase order to even a tiny firm. I especially liked the Reports sections, which breaks out Profit and Loss, Trial Balances and a surprisingly accurate Balance Sheet. It's sort of a hallelujah moment for bean counters trying to manage a small firm.

In all, if you want to get a feel for what Uncle Sam will take out of your pocket, Yendo is a darn impressive way to do it.

What you don't get
This tool is not based specifically on U.S. generally accepting accounting principles.

Yendo is an international company that focuses on doing business around the world. The tool supports not only U.S. dollars, but also dozens of other currencies -- even some obscure ones such as the Somali shilling. All this accounting globe-trotting means the system must have customizable features. And therein lies the rub.

Yes, all this flexibility is interesting, but it can also be overwhelming. Are you ready, for example, to edit your numeric chart of accounts, or manage your tax rates or otherwise define your own ledgers? If you use Yendo, without question, go through the settings with your accountant and make sure the program is properly set up to work for your business.

Bottom line
Considering the power and low cost of a tool such as Yendo, you really have no excuse for not having more accurate books by the end of the year. Assuming you start now, you should be able to tally up your top-line sales and expenses for the year and get a sense of your potential tax exposure. Then you can make year-end adjustments and sensible tax plans for next year.

And even more remarkably, you can do it all without the need of pricey software from a company such as Intuit. Accounting tools, just like every other forms of content on the Web, are rapidly becoming low or no-cost.

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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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