What's the Best Small Biz Accounting Tool You've Never Heard Of?

Hint: it's not Quickbooks, Quicken and Peachtree.

It's Mint.com. Yes, that same Mint.com that 1,000,000 consumers use for tracking their personal finances. And yes, that same not-yet-perfect Mint.com that my friend Hannah has issues with.

For over a year, I've used their beautiful interface to display the entire financial picture of BradsDeals.com in one place: what we have, what we owe and how is our money being spent. The budgeting, bill reminders and email alerts are as handy for small businesses as they are for consumers. Once properly setup, Mint runs on auto-pilot, aggregating and categorizing all of your company's financial transactions from all of your accounts, allowing me to swoop in briefly and get a quick but complete view of our finances. Mint can also send a weekly summary via email. Setup is remarkably headache-free and the automation is a huge time-saver.

Since I started using Mint for business, they have improved their ability to customize categories and expanded the types of accounts and financial institutions that they support. Importantly, Mint allows you to download or export all of your transactions into a CSV (comma separated value) file if you need to send them to an accountant or import them into other software. If you want suggestions on better credit cards, bank accounts or interest rates, click on "Ways to Save" and Mint will make customer-tailored suggestions based on your habits.

Best of all, Mint.com is free to use, making it hard for the bulky, frustrating and expensive Quickbooks, Peachtree and Quicken to compete. Quicken, for one, is not taking this well and has taken to sending threatening letters to Mint questioning their claims. As for Quickbooks, it was the least intuitive software I've ever used and I paid $200 for the pleasure!

The bottom-line: the nimble Mint.com has jumped a few years ahead of the aging dinosaurs and, while imperfect, is the best option yet.