Most small eBay businesses get by with a very basic set of books, at least at the beginning. Many of them track only a few things: what they earn (income), what they spend (expenses), money they owe (accounts payable), and money they are owed (accounts receivable). Usually this can be done with a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel.
But if you’re handling more than 20 or 30 eBay transactions a month, and you're unfamiliar with spreadsheets, you should consider software that's designed for accounting novices. There are several products for small business owners, the most popular of which are QuickBooks, Peachtree, Microsoft Office Accounting, and MYOB.
For eBay businesses, one good choice is QuickBooks. If you use QuickBooks with eBay’s Accounting Assistant, you can download your eBay sales information and PayPal transaction history directly to QuickBooks — no need to manually enter the information. Not only does the QuickBooks/Accounting Assistant integration increase accuracy, it’s a tremendous time-saver if you're handling many transactions. In addition to Accounting Assistant, many of the software tools mentioned in Auction Management Tools also integrate with QuickBooks. And keep in mind that QuickBooks also integrates with TurboTax.
eBay’s Accounting Assistant will work with most post-2002 versions of QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise editions. These products cost from about $200 (Pro) to $300 (Premier) to $3,000 for the Enterprise edition. (Accounting Assistant also is supposed to work with QuickBooks Simple Start, but some users report problems integrating Accounting Assistant with this QuickBooks version, the most basic of the QuickBooks programs.) On the QuickBooks home page, you can take an online interview to determine the best version of QuickBooks for your eBay business.
Microsoft Office Accounting. Rather than Quickbooks, you may want to try Microsoft Office Accounting. The new version of Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 is also aimed specifically at eBay users and reportedly will track your eBay auctions in real time while making and receiving payments through PayPal." The program also allows you to list items and triggers Outlook so that you can email invoices. (And, as of December, 2007, Microsoft was providing free downloads of Office Accounting Express.)
eBay Accounting Assistant. You get Accounting Assistant for free when you subscribe to eBay Stores, Selling Manager, Selling Manager Pro, or eBay Blackthorne products. You must have one of these subscriptions in order to take advantage of the download capability.