Besides having an unusual name, Kashoo, as in cashew ( “making your nut”), has several attributes that make it attractive to those ready to automate their small business accounting. For example, the company was the first to develop an iOS app for its online service. It offers free chat, voice, and email support. Kashoo offers project cost tracking, and it can be integrated with SurePayroll, one of the best services of its kind.
After adding a flurry of functional and usability features in 2016 and 2017, the company has spent the last couple of years fine-tuning its existing tool and planning how best to use the technology available in the future. The company is developing a major upgrade that will be released later in 2019 (more on that later). Kashoo continues to focus on the low end of the small to midsize business (SMB) market, and it serves that demographic well, but not as well as Editors’ Choice Intuit QuickBooks Online.
Kashoo’s monthly subscription fee is $19.95 per month (with extra fees for payroll and merchant accounts). That compares with $25 per month for Intuit’s barebones entry-level plan, Simple Start. For your Kashoo subscription price, you get a good selection of tools for managing your company’s income and expenses, while staying compliant with double-entry bookkeeping rules. The site ably covers the basics required by accounting applications. Included are a Chart of Accounts, record templates for clients and suppliers and inventory items, transaction forms for invoices and other income, bills and other expenses, and pre-formatted reports.
Kashoo can connect to your financial institutions, download transactions, and then reconcile accounts. The site makes all these activities easy by housing them in a clean, simple user interface with equally simple navigation tools. Email, chat, and phone support are free and unlimited, and the online documentation is good.
Laying the Groundwork
Kashoo’s setup tools simplify your first hours with the website. You access them by clicking the Settings link in the upper-right section of the screen. Here, you enter descriptive information about your company, supply invoice details, and provide information about sales taxes you need to charge customers. You also enter your login information for your financial institutions so that you can set up a bank feed and import transactions.
Other setup tasks include specifying user roles (Admin, View/Edit, or View Only) and integrating with Square or Stripe or setting up a merchant account with Kashoo’s own payment processor. If you’re moving over to Kashoo from FreshBooks Classic (not the latest version), you can import clients, invoices, payments, and expenses.
Once you’ve done your setup tasks, you spend most of your time selecting options from drop-down lists, with occasional data entry. From these screens, you can add new customers, items or accounts, and more as you go along.
Kashoo’s client and supplier records are not as detailed and flexible as those in Zoho Books, but they work well to support the site’s other functions. They contain fields for things like contact information, terms, and income or expense accounts. There’s a history of interaction with each individual or business, a list of related transactions. While you’re in an individual record, you can click links to generate statements, invoices, and bills directly, rather than saving your work and moving to another area of the site.
Item records are not quite as detailed as on the most capable competing sites. You can enter the information needed to describe items that you buy and sell, along with their prices or costs and the accounts associated with them, just as you can in Xero. You can’t, however, set a starting inventory number, reorder point, or anything that would let you track stock levels and make adjustments. So, at this point, Kashoo remains behind tools like Zoho Books.
Not every small business accounting service offers project tracking. Kashoo does: You simply enter a name and description, and then assign projects to transactions where applicable. You can even track costs by project on a dedicated page. These tools aren’t as sophisticated as QuickBooks Online’s overall, but they can be quite useful.
A Different Dashboard
Kashoo’s user interface and navigational tools are clear and effective. Its opening screen, the dashboard, differs from what some competitors offer, though. Most sites put an overview of your finances front and center, displaying the current (and sometimes, past and future) state of your finances, using tables and charts. Kashoo lacks this, which I consider a drawback (the iPad app does display a standard financial dashboard). Instead, Kashoo makes its home page a working screen.
The most prominent area displays one-time and recurring income and expense forms. You use these for transactions not connected to invoices or bills. Current account information—the data that most sites feature prominently, like income/expenses and account balances—is over in the right vertical pane. Kashoo doesn’t display a profit-and-loss chart here, like others do.
The left vertical pane contains the site’s navigation tools. Kashoo’s minimal feature set makes it possible to go anywhere on the site from there. The top third of this menu is devoted to the real meat of the site, such as Invoices, Bills to Pay, and Banking. Links to all the site’s lists are below that (Clients, Items, Projects, and so on), followed by the seven reports available on the site and a history log.
Easy, Thorough Transaction Forms
Kashoo’s transaction forms are attractive and clean, though not as aesthetically pleasing as those in Editors’ Choice FreshBooks. They’re also not as detailed as some of the competition’s. The site’s invoice and bill data-entry screens are accessible through individual entries in the navigation pane. These screens are designed to include all the information you need when you’re completing transactions. On the Invoice page, for example, you complete the actual invoice form at the top of the screen..
Below each invoice is a set of housekeeping tools. You can make the transactions recurring, enter payments, allow credit card remittances, and more. That section is followed by a list of all of your invoices. Click on one, and the original transaction is displayed. You can export this list to Excel, CSV, and—unique to Kashoo—Google Sheets. FreshBooks and others also make historical invoice data available from the actual data-entry screen.
The pane on the right side of the screen is dedicated to accounts receivable data. You’ll see totals for income and expenses; account balances; unpaid invoices and bills; and sales taxes. All are links that take you to the underlying data.
Because Kashoo makes data like this available from working screens, its users have less need to run standard reports. The site does offer reports detailing unpaid invoices and unpaid bills, but the rest are the standard financial reports often created and analyzed by accounting professionals. This is quite different from sites like Xero and QuickBooks Online, which offer many customizable report templates. But then, those sites are more robust, with a greater variety of features.
Mobile Kashoo and the Future
Kashoo does not yet offer an Android app, though that addition is in the works. The iOS app offers a simple dashboard (accessible via the menu on the opening screen) that displays a monthly income chart by year (for four years), as well as dollar totals for income and expenses. It also shows you account balances. Other links on the home page take you to screens where you can view, add, and edit income and expenses; you can also record transfers, adjustments, and payments.
Registers for financial accounts, a transaction list by account, and reports are also accessible from the home page. Kashoo’s iPhone version doesn’t duplicate absolutely everything from the website version, but it comes close. You won’t see lists of clients, suppliers, and projects, for example, but you’ll have access to list data within transactions.
Kashoo for Your Cash
Kashoo is planning to launch a major revamp later on this year or early next that will include, among other things, a more standard dashboard, custom reports, and streamlined sales tax management. It will also simplify setup, making it easier to start where you are and work backward to reconcile past transactions. The site will take a proactive “inbox” type of approach, which will encourage users to keep up with account reconciliation and other tasks every time they log in. It will continue to focus on the low end of the SMB market.
As it stands now, Kashoo is a good value for the $19.95 per month it costs, thanks to its excellent interface, project-tracking, all-in-one mobile app, and integration with SurePayroll. It just can’t beat out QuickBooks Online, our Editors’ Choice for small business accounting, which excels in every area it touches.