One of the hardest things for startups (and small businesses in general) is the accounting side of things.
Over the years we have used spreadsheets, self-built Filemaker-based systems, MoneyWorks, and other small Mac-based accounting packages. None worked very well for our needs and you need a degree in accounting to understand or appreciate their complexity.
Earlier this year we finally made the change to Xero (www.xero.co.nz). Xero is a web-based accounting system that is simple, intuitive and downright beautiful.
It makes bookkeeping for us non-accountants really pretty simple. As a web-based application, users can login from anywhere in the world to view the state of things, fiddle with the books, etc. It has multi-user access with various user-levels so staff don't have to see everything that the boss does!
With the recent addition of the Xero Network, there is a rapidly expanding collection of other systems that integrate tightly with Xero to syncronise information such as contacts, payroll information, invoices etc.
All our job, staff and client management is handled online through systems that integrate with Xero. More about that in another post.
I highly recommend taking a look at Xero and giving it a test drive: www.xero.co.nz