Senate Republicans who in the weeks since the election declined to recognize President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the presidency have now begun to acknowledge Mr. Biden as the next president after Monday’s meeting of the Electoral College that affirmed his victory.
With California’s 55 electors casting their votes for Mr. Biden, the president-elect cleared the 270-vote majority he needed to secure the White House and deny President Trump a second term. Electors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia gathered across the country Monday to vote individually by paper ballot for the president and vice president, and those votes will be counted by Congress on January 6.
The formalization of Mr. Biden’s victory with the Electoral College vote marks a turning point for Republicans who have defended the president in his unsuccessful efforts to challenge the results of the presidential election and said the legal process and recounts should play out before they would recognize Mr. Biden as the president-elect.
“I think he’s president-elect subject to whatever additional litigation is ongoing. I’m not aware of any,” Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas told reporters of Mr. Biden, adding “there comes a time when you have to realize that despite your best efforts, you’ve been unsuccessful. That’s sort of the nature of these elections. You got to have a winner. You got to have a loser.”
GOP Senator Mike Braun of Indiana said that while he was disappointed by the results of the Electoral College vote, “today marks a watershed moment where we must put aside politics and respect the constitutional process that determines the winner of our presidential election.”
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, said the vote of the Electoral College “makes clear that Joe Biden is now president-elect.”
“I think we need to respect this process the Founding Fathers established, and we must respect the will of the voters,” he said in a statement. “As I’ve said previously, the Trump campaign had every right to pursue recounts and legal challenges. That has now happened over the past six weeks, and although there were instances of fraud and irregularities, it has not been shown to be widespread enough to change the result of the election.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told reporters “it’s time to turn the page and begin a new administration,” while Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said the constitutional process for electing the next president has played out.
“The electors have voted, so there’s a president-elect,” he said. “We have the constitutional threshold and we’ll deal with Vice President Biden as the president elect.”
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican who is one of Mr. Trump’s closest allies in Congress, told reporters “it’s a very, very narrow path for the president” to reverse the outcome of the election, adding, ‘I don’t see how it gets there from here, given what the Supreme Court did.”
Graham revealed he and Mr. Biden had a “pleasant” 10-minute phone conversation some time ago, and aides to the president-elect confirmed to CBS News that the two spoke privately after the election about ways they could work together.
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee issued a blunt statement saying “the presidential election is over.”
“States have certified the votes,” Alexander said. “Courts have resolved disputes. The electors have voted. I hope that President Trump will put the country first, take pride in his considerable accomplishments, and help president-elect Biden get off to a good start. Especially during this pandemic, an orderly transition of power is crucially important.”
While Mr. Biden was projected the winner of the presidential election November 7 and has announced nominees and appointees to key positions in his administration, the president has refused to concede, instead claiming that the election was rife with fraud.
Mr. Trump filed lawsuits in a slew of key states where he lost, alleging millions of illegal ballots were cast against him, and asked federal and state court judges to block certification of the election results. But his legal challenges were largely unsuccessful and dismissed due to a lack of evidence to support those claims.
Last week, Texas, with the backing of 17 attorneys general, more than 100 House Republicans and the president, filed a lawsuit directly with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the results of the election. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the court to block electors from four battleground states from voting in the Electoral College, but the Supreme Court rejected his bid.
Despite the president’s willingness to accept the results of the election, Mr. Biden’s transition officially began last month, and he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are receiving high-level intelligence briefings.
The president-elect, who won a total of 306 electoral votes, celebrated his victory in a speech Monday night and said it’s “now it is time to turn the page, to unite, to heal.”
“The Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the National Institutes of Health on Monday joined the list of known victims of a months-long, highly sophisticated digital spying operation by Russia whose damage remains uncertain but is presumed to be extensive, experts say. The list of victims of the cyberespionage, which already included the Treasury and Commerce departments, is expected to grow and to include more federal agencies and numerous private companies, said officials and others familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is under investigation,” The Washington Postreported Monday night.
“SolarWinds, the maker of widely used network-management software that the Russians manipulated to enable their intrusions, reported in a federal securities filing Monday that “fewer than 18,000” of its customers may have been affected. That’s a small slice of the company’s more than 300,000 customers worldwide, including the Pentagon and the White House, but still represents a large number of important networks. Russia has denied any role in the intrusions,” the newspaper noted.
On Monday, the 11th richest person in the world , Oracle co-Founder Larry Ellison, announced that he has moved out of California, becoming only the latest billionaire to leave Silicon Valley.
In his Monday announcement to employee’s, Ellison confirmed that he moved to the island of Lanai in Hawaii permanently. The billionaire owns around 98% of the property on the island and had been building up hotels and residences for years.
“I’ve received a number of inquiries about whether or not I will be moving to Texas,” said Ellison in a memo on Monday. “The answer is no. I’ve moved to the State of Hawaii and I’ll be using the power of Zoom to work from the island of Lanai. Mahalo, Larry.”
Ellison, who is worth $75 billion, became only the latest wealthy Californian to leave the state in recent months, following an exodus of other billionaires including Elon Musk, who announced a move to Texas earlier this month.
“It’s not surprising,” San Francisco-based tech lawyer David Singth told the Globe. “Ellison had more and more going on out there for years, and all the recent moves spurred by high taxes and restrictive business practices finally forced him out.
“Like all these moves, it’s not so much hurting California as it is the Bay Area. California gets a small hit, but they still can pool from a big tax base. For the Bay Area, it hurts, especially when you focus on a county or city level. Billionaires are a huge tax base locally, and if they are out, that’s a big gap.”
“Other counties, like LA County and San Diego County, they haven’t had this sort of issue as much because, if as they’ve lost wealthy people moving out of state, their growth happened slower and more gradually, so now people are moving right in to any housing or tax gap spots. And other counties and cities are benefitting too. Sacramento and Stockton are seeing a lot of Bay Area people move out there for affordability, bringing those tax bases out of the Bay.”
“Ellison is just a big example of what’s happening. California is pricing people out in general, but the Bay Area is not only pricing people out, they aren’t replacing them. This is bad for the region. Really bad.”
Other wealth Californians are reportedly also mulling moves later in 2020 and 2021, with the tech industry itself expected to lose more companies moving out to tax-friendlier states next year as well.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and President of the European Council Charles Michel offered the winner of the U.S. presidential elections Joe Biden to reconsider the transatlantic relations of his country with Europe and meet the European allies of Washington next year as Reuters reported.
During the phone talk, Stoltenberg thanked Biden for his long support of NATO and transatlantic relations, while Michel offered to restore strong transatlantic links.
Jens Stoltenberg and Charles Michel congratulated Biden on victory at the elections and invited him to visit the headquarters of the military alliance in Brussels that is the center for 27 countries of the EU.
The EU has also positively estimated the position of Biden in keeping peace and stability at the sensitive Irish border, despite the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
Biden stated to official London that he must fulfill his agreement on withdrawal from the EU 2020 and in this context; he expressed commitment to the peacekeeping in Ireland island. Otherwise, the U.S. will refuse from the conclusion of the trade deal with the UK.
It became the long-term change of ton of Washington for the EU that constantly argued with President Donald Trump who supported Brexit and had a skeptical attitude toward NATO. Trump often criticized the European countries as they spend insufficient funds for defense.
The federal government recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, formally starting the transition of power after President Donald Trump spent weeks testing the boundaries of American democracy. Trump relented after suffering yet more legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election with baseless claims of fraud.
Trump still refused to concede and vowed to continue to fight in court after General Services Administrator Emily Murphy gave the green light Monday for Biden to coordinate with federal agencies ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. But Trump did tweet that he was directing his team to cooperate on the transition.
The fast-moving series of events seemed to let much of the air out of Trump‘s frantic efforts to undermine the will of the people in what has amounted to a weekslong stress test for the nation’s confidence in the political system and the fairness of U.S. elections. Those efforts haven‘t ended and are likely to persist well beyond his lame-duck presidency.
Murphy, explaining her decision, cited “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”
She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.
It also came as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden‘s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. The Republican president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.
In recent days, senior Trump aides including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone had also encouraged him to allow the transition to begin, telling the president he didn‘t need to concede but could no longer justify withholding support to the Biden transition.
Meadows, late Monday, sent a memo to White House staffers saying that their work was not yet finished and that the administration would “comply with all actions needed to ensure the smooth transfer of power,” according to a person who received it.
Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”
Murphy, a Trump appointee, had faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration. The delay denied the Democratic president-elect access to highly classified national security briefings and hindered his team‘s ability to begin drawing up its own plans to respond to the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Murphy insisted she acted on her own.
“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official _ including those who work at the White House or GSA _ with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” she wrote in a letter to Biden.
Trump tweeted moments after Murphy’s decision: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”
Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticized the delay but said Biden‘s team would be able to overcome it.
“Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges,” he said. “The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”
Under an earlier deal between the U.S. and the Taliban that outlined a gradual pullout, the remaining U.S. forces were to leave Afghanistan by April. The Pentagon now says some 2,500 troops will leave by January, just days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, leaving another 2,000 or so U.S. forces in place. Biden has said he prefers a small, intelligence-driven, counterterrorism presence in Afghanistan.
A U.S. withdrawal would be welcome in most of rural Afghanistan where civilians are increasingly caught in the crossfire between Taliban and government forces, said Torek Farhadi, a former Afghan government adviser and political analyst.
“After a bombing by any side of the conflict, no one has gone back to rebuild any infrastructure. No one has really worked on healing hearts and minds,” he said.
The U.S.-Taliban deal, signed in February, was largely propelled by Washington’s fear of an expanding Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, said a U.S. Defense Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
With terrorist plots that he said had links to Afghanistan, Washington sought a deal with the Taliban that would bring them into a coordinated fight — along with Afghan security forces — against the Islamic State militant group, which lost its self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.
A U.S.-led coalition toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan for harboring former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Taliban has regained strength in recent years in the country, although the Islamic State and a degraded al-Qaida still carry out attacks in the region.
“Washington has looked at Afghanistan largely through a counterterrorism lens. And that will certainly be the case for the incoming Biden administration,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center.
NATO has fewer than 12,000 troops helping to train and advise Afghan national security forces. The 30-nation alliance relies heavily on the U.S. armed forces for transport, logistics and other support.
Kugelman said President Donald Trump’s approach to ending America’s longest war was always a gamble.
“While the idea of the Taliban making peace with the Afghan government and then working together to target ISIS sounds great in theory, it’s a very tall order, and especially anytime soon.”
A Biden administration strategy of maintaining a residual force — even a narrowly focused one — would require a renegotiated deal with the Taliban, which the insurgent movement has already rejected. The Afghan government, which has complained bitterly about being sidelined in U.S. negotiations with the Taliban, wants the deal scrapped entirely.
With word this week of the accelerated U.S. troop withdrawal, Afghans also fear powerful warlords in Kabul with a long history of infighting could again turn their guns on each other once the current deterrence of an international troop presence is sharply reduced.
“One of the most critical roles of the U.S. in Afghanistan … is to keep their own Afghan allies from fighting among themselves and bringing down the state,” said Anatol Lieven, a New America Foundation Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Qatar campus. “It seems unlikely, however, that the U.S. will be willing or able to do this indefinitely.”
Analysts fear the accelerated withdrawal could significantly compromise the defense capabilities of Afghanistan’s forces. Kugelman says even a small number of U.S. forces can have an impact on the direction of the war.
“The numbers (of troops being pulled out) may seem small, and they are, but the impacts of even small numbers of troops are considerable,” he said. “U.S. air power has helped Afghan ground forces repel Taliban offensives. U.S. troops help strengthen much-needed capacity within Afghan security forces.”
Yet Afghanistan’s acting Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid told Parliament on Tuesday that the security forces were holding their own and only 4 percent of their operations need U.S. air assistance.
“There might be up and down in numbers of troops, but we are not concerned. We are ready to defend Afghanistan independently,” Khalid told lawmakers.
Afghan National Army commandos stand in formation in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 28, 2020. (Spc. Jeffery J. Harris/Army Reserve)
Afghanistan remains desperately poor, even after 20 years and billions of dollars in investment. More than 25 million of its 36 million people survive on barely $1.40 a day. For many, the presence of international forces brings little relief.
“There’s certainly good reason to believe that the U.S is wearing out its welcome in Afghanistan, given its inability to rein in rising insurgent and terrorist violence and given its own contribution to the violence through actions that maim and kill civilians,” Kugelman said. “And that’s aside from perceptions of U.S. complicity in Kabul’s corruption.”
Afghanistan’s government is among the world’s 10 most corrupt, according to Transparency International. Since 2002, Washington’s own watchdog says the U.S. has lost $19 billion of aid to Afghanistan to waste, abuse and fraud.
The U.S. spends $4 billion a year on Afghanistan’s National Security and Defense Forces, yet relentless violence in the country has been demoralizing and U.S. air power has been the key to the ability of Afghan forces to hold territory against Taliban onslaughts.
Afghanistan’s security forces also have been degraded by corruption. According to an August report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, about half of all police in the Taliban strongholds of the southern provinces use drugs and up to 70 percent of police positions in those regions are “ghost” jobs — in which they are not actually filled but the salaries are diverted to officials on the take.
The U.S. troop withdrawal seems certain to feature prominently in the first visit to Afghanistan on Thursday of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. The neighbors have an uneasy relationship, with Kabul accusing Islamabad of strengthening the Taliban by harboring its leadership. Pakistan says Afghanistan has become the staging arena for Indian-sponsored attacks on its soil.
Pakistan has been critical in getting the Taliban to the table, and Khan has warned against a messy retreat by U.S. troops, fearing that the chaos in Afghanistan will spill into Pakistan, which still houses nearly 2 million Afghan refugees from four decades of war.
But Kabul worries about Pakistan might use proxy Taliban fighters to retaliate if Islamabad feels threatened by India-sponsored attacks from Afghan territory.
“In the end, the future of Afghanistan depends on the Afghans themselves and Afghanistan’s neighbors. The USA is not going to be in this region forever,” Lieven said.
“As for most other Afghans, it seems that they are just desperately anxious for an end to the war,” he added.
The past week brought further evidence of how deep and wide the propaganda war is on ordinary Americans. Trump supporters converged on Washington, D.C., last Saturday for the “Million MAGA March.” The crowd was enormous, but — like so much else these days — it is nearly impossible to get accurate information about how many people were there. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted out that it was “more than one MILLION” people, which seems highly unlikely. Yet, themajormedia — predictably — went in the opposite direction, downplaying the event to one that only thousands attended. How many thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Just eyeballing the crowds from the vantage points of the many overhead shots provided on social media and elsewhere, it looked like enough people to fill the largest college or NFL stadium and then some. You wouldn’t know that from reading the articles.
It isn’t just the numbers that the media manipulates; it’s the motives.
The crowd was diverse in age, race, ethnicity and every other conceivable characteristic. However many there were in our nation’s capital, they were clearly there to express their love of their country, their support for the president and their support of his efforts to determine whether the vote count on Nov. 3 was accurate or the product of manipulation, deceit and fraud. They were peaceful, unmasked, walking with flags and many with children and pets. At various points throughout the event, they prayed and sang the national anthem. There was no looting, no vandalism, no attacking people, destroying monuments or burning buildings.
Until the rally ended, that is, and out came the attackers, believed to be part of the antifa and BLM groups, screaming obscenities, instilling fear, inciting violence and causing bloodshed, as they have in cities across the country for months. Rally attendees were screamed at, pelted with eggs, doused with liquids, shoved and assaulted, their flags and clothing stolen and burned. Diners at a D.C. restaurant had exploding fireworks and debris thrown at them. One of the most disturbing videos showed a man getting sucker-punched from behind, falling onto the pavement and then being kicked as he lay unconscious. He wasn’t wearing a mask, but his attackers were. One even stole the cellphone that he dropped when he collapsed.
The media is no more honest about the march itself than it is the concerns behind it.
Meanwhile, the screamers and sucker-punchers and firework throwers were mere “counterprotesters,” the violence they instigated called “scattered clashes.” In fact, the Washington Post accused rally attendees of having come to D.C. “intent on clashing.”
Oh, so it’s the fault of those who were attacked.
This started even before Trump was elected, but the narrative has remained the same: Trump supporters are ignorant racists, sexists and bigots, making them — all 73 million of them, apparently — purveyors of “lies, hate, chaos and division,” at least if one listens to former first lady Michelle Obama.
Buried in the Washington Post article is this statement: “Organizers of the event falsely claim that the election won by President-elect Joe Biden was stolen.”
There’s the real issue.
The press — like the left generally — is treating all claims of election fraud as an absurd impossibility concocted in the fevered dreams of QAnon (whoever that is). But in truth, whether there was serious fraud in the Nov. 3 election is unknown and under investigation.
I wonder sometimes whether Republicans — including Trump’s team — truly understand what’s meant by a “propaganda war.” It is a war. You cannot sit back while your opponent does battle. The anti-Trump forces are lobbing round after round, and the Trump side keeps saying, “Just wait!”
Trump’s people don’t seem to get that teaser after teaser is not going to cut it. Conservative voters have heard this stuff for years: “We’ve got the goods on ‘Fast and Furious’ now!” “Lois Lerner is going to prison!” (She retired with a full pension.) “Just wait until you hear the big bombshell about Hillary Clinton’s emails!” “Hunter Biden smoked crack — with Russian hookers!”
This week, attorney Sidney Powell dropped the biggest teaser of all: Trump really won, and by millions of votes!
But no proof.
Meanwhile, two Republican election officials in Wayne County, Michigan, caved in and agreed to certify the votes — after they were accused of racism and their children were threatened, but whatevs.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has lost recent court challenges in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Pound. Pound. Pound.
The diehards stand waiting for the Mother of All Bombshells to drop. But that group is shrinking. Because the rest of the 73 million Americans (or 75 million or 77 million or whatever the number really is) are getting that sinking, familiar feeling again. They’ve seen this movie way too many times, and they know how it ends.
The propaganda war is not the electoral victory, which is — perhaps understandably — where the Trump team is focusing all its efforts. But if Team Trump loses the propaganda war — and he is behind there, too — even if Trump finds the votes to flip the states and claim election victory, he will face popular opposition that cannot be underestimated.
Whatever information Powell, Rudy Giuliani and the rest of Trump’s legal team have, they need to drop it soon if they want it to matter, not to the judges but to the American people.
Update: This page has been updated to include changes Xero made to its Early plan, which is geared toward very small businesses.
Managing your finances is a vital part of your small business, and the right accounting software can make all the difference. To help you choose the software that best fits your business, big and small, we spent weeks researching and analyzing more than 50 options. We pored over user reviews, watched tutorial videos, and scrutinized each application’s features and customer resources. We considered factors such as cost, ease of use and limitations. In the end, we selected five solutions.
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Intuit QuickBooks Online: Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses Overall
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FreshBooks Accounting Software: Best Accounting Software for Invoicing
FreshBooks Accounting Software VISIT SITE COMPARE QUOTES Although all accounting software programs have invoicing tools, FreshBooks’ are incredibly easy to use, which is why we picked it as the best invoicing software program for small businesses. FreshBooks has a very fast, easy-to-use invoice generator. The WYSIWYG format is intuitive, and with just a few clicks, you can add billable time and expenses, customize the look of the invoice, and set up recurring invoices, automatic payment reminders and late fees. This accounting software connects to your bank, generates several reports, tracks time and helps you manage projects. We recommend FreshBooks to any business where invoices play a role in its daily operation. The price, features and usability of FreshBooks make it one of the best accounting solutions on the market. READ REVIEW
Zoho Books: Best Accounting Software for Really Small Businesses
Zoho Books COMPARE QUOTES Zoho Books caters to the specific needs of very small businesses. It does not overwhelm you with tons of features and options. Zoho offers three plans: Basic, Standard and Professional. It can support as few as two users, including you and your accountant, and provides access to 50 contacts. Using Zoho Books, you can create invoices, schedule recurring transactions, automatically send payment reminders, and track expenses, projects and timesheets. You can access Zoho Books from just about anywhere and through any device, including Apple, Android, and Windows phones and tablets. Zoho Books caters specifically to really small businesses like freelancers and new entrepreneurs, and it shows. The company has created an affordable product that adequately meets the needs of the smallest businesses. Even home-based businesses can gain a lot by using Zoho Books. READ REVIEW
Xero: Best Accounting Software for Growing Businesses
XeroCOMPARE QUOTESAlthough many businesses start small, they don’t always stay that way. You want an accounting software solution that can grow alongside your business. Xero does that. Unlike accounting software programs that base pricing on the number of users each plan supports, Xero’s subscription plans support as many users as you wish to add, so as your business grows, you can add new employees to your account for no additional cost. All plans include most features – even estimates, inventory tracking and recurrent invoicing. The software features more than 700 app integrations, and it comes with 24/7 email and live chat support. We believe that Xero’s assortment of features, combined with its customer support, makes it one of the better options on the market. When you add in the company’s cloud-based solution, you get an ideal accounting software app for growing businesses. October 2020: Xero has announced updates to its Early plan that are designed to meet the needs of new businesses and sole traders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It removed limits on bank reconciliations and raised the invoice limit to 20 per month. The company is now promoting the Early plan with a 50% discount to new accounts for their first four months. READ REVIEW
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KEY FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE
There are many aspects of accounting software that help make it a useful tool. As a small business owner, it’s important to know which features to look for. Most online accounting software offers accounts receivable, accounts payable, banking and reporting features. Some include tools like inventory management, project management, time tracking and payroll tools.
Here are some of the core features to look for in accounting software:
This feature connects the software to your business bank and credit card accounts to receive a daily update of your transactions. This saves you the time it would take to manually upload transactions into the system. It also gives you a daily, rather than monthly, overview of your accounts. A real-time bank feed feature can assist with reconciliation, allowing you to make it a small daily task rather than a monthly ordeal.
When you log in to your account, you’ll be greeted by a dashboard that shows you an overview of your account activity and key metrics such as cash flow, profit and loss, account balances, expenses, accounts payable and receivable, and sales. Some allow you to customize what you see first by rearranging the information.
If your business sends invoices, being able to email them and accept online payments helps you get paid faster. Some accounting software programs integrate with third-party payment processors; others require you to use their in-house processing services. It’s a plus when accounting software can also serve as an invoice generator.
With this feature, you can schedule the system to automatically generate and send invoices for recurring charges, such as subscriptions. You can choose how frequently invoices are sent – daily, weekly, monthly or annually – and indicate whether there’s an end date to the billing. Very few of the accounting applications we evaluated include recurring invoice functionality.
Automatic Payment Reminders
This feature helps you remind customers about upcoming and past-due payments. Some have sample email text that you can use as is or customize. You can then choose when you want the reminders to be sent. Some programs give you the option of sending thank-you emails to customers after you receive their payments.
Smart reconciliation tools identify potential matches between your bank transactions and the bills and invoices that you’ve entered into the accounting software, saving you the hours it would otherwise take to sift through your bank account for this information. You can then approve or deny the suggested matches. The best applications suggest potential matches as you reconcile your accounts and a few include a reconciliation tool on their mobile apps.
Every accounting program can generate financial reports, but some are more basic than others, and some applications require you to subscribe to a pricier plan for advanced reporting. If you need specific types of financial reports, you’ll want to make sure they’re included in the software application and plan you choose. Detailed reports can help you better interpret your financial data to make informed business decisions.
Not every accounting and invoicing program has a mobile app, but the best ones do. There is, however, quite a range in the capabilities of mobile apps. Some can only capture receipts for expense tracking, some allow you to create and send invoices, and others have almost every feature the web-based software does. It’s worth checking if the software you’re considering purchasing offers a mobile app and, if so, what features are included in the app that will help you manage your business while you are away from the office.
The ability to connect your accounting software to other business programs you use saves you valuable time, because you don’t have to manually transfer data from one system to another. Payroll, payment processing, POS systems and CRM software are just a few of the popular types of integrations that are available with accounting software. Integration with systems you already use also cuts down on training time for employees who will use the software.
Tracking for Billable Hours
If you’re a consultant or your business bills clients by the hour, you need software that allows you to track and bill your time or that integrates with the time-tracking program you already use. This is an important feature for freelancers.
If you have a retail or distribution business, you need an application that helps track your inventory and helps with purchase orders. You may need to subscribe to a top-tier plan to get this feature. If you need more advanced inventory features, look for software that integrates with a dedicated inventory management system.
Firms, freelancers, and consultants who work with clients on projects or jobs should look for accounting software that helps them track their projects’ tasks and budgets. The software should allow you to invoice customers for tracked time and bill them for project expenses.
Support for Multiple Businesses
Several programs we evaluated let you add more than one business to your account, though some companies charge extra for this convenience. Also, depending on your business, one type of accounting tool may be especially important for you, which may not be as critical for another type of business. For example, if you’re running a small freelance business, project-based billing might be the most important feature on your list. If you plan to do some work on your mobile device, a full-featured mobile app might be at the top of your list for what you consider to be the right accounting solution.
ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE PRICING
Accounting software should help business owners significantly streamline billing and accounting. However, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Depending on the software and features you’re looking for, most programs offer several plans to accommodate your needs and budget. With multiple options, you can choose what you want and how much you pay.
There are typically two types of pricing models for accounting software: perpetual licensing or a recurring subscription. With a perpetual licensing model, you make a one-time payment for unlimited access for the software. Subscription pricing models require users to pay a monthly or annual fee for access to the software.
For subscription pricing, expect to pay anywhere from $10 per month for a basic starter plan to as a much as $60 per month for a more advanced service plan. Other factors like the number of users you have and features you want access to will affect the monthly cost as well.
Regardless of the pricing model you select, watch out for hidden fees, which can include added charges for customization options, installation or setup services, integrations, and maintenance or support services.
If your business is on a really tight budget, there are software programs that are free. Wave, for instance, is free but still offers many of the accounting and invoicing features you would find in paid programs such as unlimited income, sales tax and expense tracking, and unlimited partners and accountants.
Many programs offer free trials and demos, which you should take advantage of. When you’re choosing accounting and billing software for your business, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the free trials to test out the solutions and see which one offers the features and tools you need.
Spending time with software beforehand helps you feel more confident in your decision, and it reduces the likelihood that you will be stuck with a program that’s confusing to use or lacks the features you need.
Q: What is the best accounting software for accountants?
A: The best accounting software for accountants is a program that makes their job easier. Key features include income and expense tracking, bank reconciliation, and invoicing. Depending on the type of business, especially if it’s a business that carries inventory, a good program should contain all the basic financial capabilities a company needs plus inventory management. Third-party integrations are also super helpful, because they make managing your finances easier, without having to leave the program to find specific tools elsewhere. You also want to give your accountant the ability to customize certain features to their liking. This streamlines their process.
Q: Paid vs. free accounting software: Which one should you choose?
A: When it comes to choosing between free and paid accounting software, it depends on what you’re looking for and how sophisticated you need the software to be. When using a free program, you may have access to basic features, but it may fall short with its customer support options, data security, and it might be more susceptible to digital errors. Paid services, on the other hand, tend to offer more in terms of features, security and customer support.
Q: How does accounting software work?
A: The software records transactions and tracks different accounting metrics. You can set up the software to automatically sync with your bank account, or you can use an extremely basic version that might require manually entering data. We encourage small business owners, though, to use software that links to your bank and credit card provider to track your business’s finances. Further, most software solutions store the information in the cloud, and your data is secure and safe. And if your computer or server crashes or you experience other technical issues, you have an up-to-date version of your transactions.
Q: Which small business accounting system is best?
A: Based on our research, QuickBooks Online is the best overall small business accounting application. Depending on the specific needs of your business, though, another system may be a better fit or better value. For example, if your business provides a service and works with clients on a project basis, FreshBooks might be the best choice for you because of its project management features. See our best picks above and then read our reviews for our recommendations about which accounting software is best for different business sizes and needs.
Q: What do you need from your accounting software?
A: You need accounting software that tracks the money moving in and out of your business, with both accounts payable and accounts receivable features. Some software solutions, however, don’t include both accounts payable and accounts receivable information. Also, accounting software should connect to your bank and credit card accounts, and automatically download your transactions. In addition to the above, if your business is service-based, you may need project management tools. If your business sells products, you may want an accounting solution that has inventory management features. Last, look for software solutions that offer you greater advantages by connecting to other business applications you already use, such as your point-of-sale system, customer relationship management or email marketing software apps.
Q: Do you need online bookkeeping software instead of accounting software?
A: For small businesses, the term “online bookkeeping software” is interchangeable with “online accounting software” (There is a difference between bookkeepers and accountants; read this article to learn more). The best online accounting programs for small businesses have bookkeeping capabilities that allow you to record debit and credit transactions as well as accounting features that let you run reports and analyze your business’s financial performance. Look for more than just a bookkeeping solution; accounting software should include more detail, and let you generate invoices and detailed reports.
Q: Should your accounting software also act as an invoice generator?
A: It depends on your business. If you generate (or expect to generate) a lot of invoices to send to clients and customers, we recommend that you purchase a comprehensive accounting application with invoice-generating features. Freelancers should consider solutions with invoice generators as part of the software.
Q: What does an online accounting service do?
A: Online accounting services can perform several tasks for busy business owners. Some focus on bookkeeping duties, such as entering and categorizing transactions, reconciling accounts, and generating financial statements and reports that you can take to your CPA at tax time. Others provide payroll and tax preparation services. Some, such as virtual controllers, CFOs and CPAs, provide high-level accounting services like internal audits and financial planning and analysis.
When searching for accounting software, it is important to find a solution that not only offers all the features and tools you need but also fits within your budget. Candace Galiffa, the founder of NewWay Accounting, said she chose QuickBooks Online because it checked both of those boxes.
Not only does Galiffa feel the software is affordable, but it also has a number of key features that stand out to her, such as its ability to connect with banks and its invoicing platform.
“At the end of the day, most business owners are on a cash basis, and we want to make business banking as simple as possible,” said Galiffa. “This really allows business owners not to miss any deductions.”
QuickBooks’ customer service was also a plus to Galiffa. Their representatives offered guidance on using the software, which made the accounting program easier to navigate.
FreshBooks was the software of choice for Katie Thomas, CFO of Diamond J Accounting. One aspect of the software she finds particularly appealing is its bank reconciliation process. This is a key function she looks for in accounting software, because business owners receive automatic transaction updates.
However, one concern Thomas had with FreshBooks was the lack of customization available with the software’s features. “As small business owners, you want something that is going to be easy to use, accessible and can grow with you,” Thomas said. “Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you have to think small. You want something that can adapt and something that offers project tracking.”
Thomas referred to Xero as a fair program because of its open API and project management software integrations. For Thomas, these features were worth mentioning because they help make operations more organized and streamlined.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020
The best accounting systems have features that save you time, which is important since many accounting tasks are repetitive and tedious. Despite existing timesaving features, Xero says that manual data entry takes up to 30% of a bookkeeper or accountant’s time. It’s for this reason that in 2020, software companies will continue to introduce features that use artificial intelligence to further reduce manual data entry and other repetitive tasks. Existing examples of timesaving automation include recurring and batch invoicing, recurring online payment remittance, and automated bank reconciliation and expense categorization.
As with other types of business software, more accounting systems will become cloud-based and have mobile apps in 2020, giving busy business owners anytime, anyplace access to their accounting data. The best accounting systems already have this functionality, with mobile apps that support various on-the-go tasks, such as creating and sending invoices, accepting and recording customer payments, and capturing receipts and creating expense reports.
These advances, together with an improved user interface, are making it easier for small business owners to handle accounting on their own – even if they don’t have an accounting degree. However, small business owners have many demands on their time and need help with day-to-day bookkeeping tasks. For this reason, more accounting software providers will offer bookkeeping services as an add-on to their accounting software.
Outsourcing remains a good option for small businesses, according to Purdue University Global, because it’s less expensive than hiring full-time accounting staff, plus it gives small business owners on-demand access to accountants and can lower a small business’s risk of fraud. Also, whether or not you outsource your bookkeeping, industry experts recommend working with an accountant for business analysis and strategic advice that can help your businesses grow.
To find the best accounting software for small businesses, we spent dozens of hours researching the top applications. Here is an explanation of our selection process.
Locating the Best Services
We began our research by asking business owners which accounting software program they use, what they love about it and what they think makes it the “perfect” application. We also researched popular accounting software apps that frequently appear on reputable review websites, top lists and business websites.
Choosing the Best Services
We then created an extensive list of accounting software that included the apps we identified from our research, applications we were already familiar with and vendors that have previously pitched their software to us.
We narrowed this list further based on different use cases and a wide range of criteria, including cost, features and limitations. As part of our research, we studied user reviews, watched tutorial videos, and checked out customer resources offered by each vendor, such as knowledgebases, blogs and guides.
Researching Each Service
Next, we evaluated each program by signing up for a trial or demo account and testing the software ourselves. This firsthand experience helped us understand how the features work, whether the programs are worth their price tags and if the software is as easy to use as the vendor claims it is. To further inform our decisions, we contacted each vendor to measure the quality of its customer support.
Analyzing Each Service
We started with more than 100 accounting software products on our list; however, following our research and evaluation, only 11 made it to our shortlist: FreeAgent, FreshBooks, Intuit QuickBooks Online, Kashoo, OneUp, Sage One, Sunrise, Wave Financial, Xero, ZipBooks and Zoho Books. Our picks for the top accounting software programs are QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Xero, Zoho Books and Wave Financial.
FULL LIST OF ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
Here’s a full list of accounting software vendors and a summary of what each company says it offers. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.
AccountEdge – AccountEdge offers two versions of its accounting software, plus an ERP through its parent company, Priority. AccountEdge Basic helps sole proprietors automate their bookkeeping, while AccountEdge Pro is full-featured accounting software for small businesses. Both are desktop-based with a one-time fee. If you want remote access, a cloud collaboration tool is available for the Pro plan as an add-on. accountedge.com
Account IQ – Account IQ is an accounting software that streamlines your company’s financial processes and provides business insights through management tools. This program helps companies consolidate their reports and allows users to customize features for easier use. Through cloud accounting technology, Account IQ has a heightened digital security system and an API system that supports connectivity with other systems like payroll programs. accountsiq.com
Accounting Seed – Accounting Seed is a customizable accounting software application that empowers users to connect their business applications to their banks. This makes transactional data and complete financial reports available to users. Accounting Seed also includes inventory, order management and salesforce connections tools, which makes it useful to a range of industries. Its bill automation also makes creating projects and managing invoices easy to manage. accountingseed.com
Activity HD – Activity HD is an accounting and payroll solution that makes sorting and filtering financial information effortless. This program is ideal for a range of industries in need of business management like tech, transportation and healthcare. It offers flexible reporting solutions along with add-on features to accommodate growing businesses. nqativ.com/products/activityhd
Acumatica Cloud ERP – Acumatica’s cloud-based ERP system integrates accounting, CRM and other business management applications, such as order and inventory management, project accounting, contracts, HR and payroll. It can be used by businesses of all sizes, and offers multiple versions, including options for businesses in commerce, construction, distribution, field service and manufacturing industries. acumatica.com
And Co – And Co from Fiverr is free business software for freelancers that provides many of the standard services associated with accounting software, including invoicing, subscription billing, expense and time tracking, and reporting. Its app is available for both iPhone and Android phones, and it integrates with other popular applications like Stripe, PayPal, Zapier, Slack and MailChimp. and.co
BeBills – BeeBills is an automated invoicing system for small businesses and freelancers from Norwegian company Totalkapital. You can customize invoices with your logo and brand colors, send recurring invoices, and request customer approval for billable time before sending the final invoice. If invoices are past due, you can set up the system to automatically send payment reminders or send invoices to a collection agency. beebills.com
Bokio – Based in Sweden, Bokio is a free accounting software solution for small businesses. The solution is designed to make life easier for small business owners. Bookkeeping and invoicing are two of the basic features of Bokio. bokio.co.uk
CenterPoint Accounting – CenterPoint Accounting from Red Wing Software has multiple editions of its accounting software for different types of organizations, including businesses, farms, nonprofits and municipal government. It supports an unlimited number of transactions, customers, suppliers and products, and there’s no limit to the years of historical accounting data you can store. Payroll services are also available. redwingsoftware.com
CheckMark MultiLedger – CheckMark MultiLedger is desktop accounting software for small businesses. It supports up to 10 simultaneous users, and its features include A/P, A/R, bank reconciliation, commissions, general ledger, inventory, invoicing, job tracking, purchase ordering and reporting. The company offers a cloud backup add-on for a monthly fee. The company also offers 1099 software, which you can use to print or e-file tax forms. checkmark.com/multiledger
Crunched – Crunched is cloud-based accounting software designed for both new and established small businesses. With it, you can track your finances, send quotes and invoices to customers, track bills and expenses, reconcile transactions, and generate reports. The company offers its own payment processing service, which you must use if you want to accept online invoice payments, and integrates with Gusto for payroll and HR services. crunched.io
Deltek Cost Point – Deltek offers ERP solutions to project-based businesses in more than 80 countries and across many industries, including accounting, architecture, construction, defense, energy, engineering, government contracting, healthcare, legal and marketing. It helps you manage projects, resources and finances, has advanced reporting capabilities, and is a scalable solution that can support your growing business. deltek.com/en
Denali – This on-premises accounting system from Cougar Mountain Software can be used by businesses of all sizes, including those with multiple locations. The software is modular, allowing you to customize it with just the features you need. Modules include payroll, inventory and POS. POS hardware and e-commerce websites are also available from this company. cougarmtn.com
FreeAgent – FreeAgent is cloud-based accounting software for small businesses, freelancers and consultants. It supports unlimited users, clients and invoices for one monthly price. Features include automatic bank feeds, recurring invoices, automated payment reminders and time tracking. It also has project management tools to help you track billable hours and expenses. freeagent.com
*FreshBooks – A favorite among small business owners, FreshBooks is one of the most user-friendly, cloud-based accounting applications for nonaccountants. It makes it easy to bill clients, set up recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders, and accept online payments. Its mobile app allows you to accomplish many accounting tasks on the go, such as invoicing, time tracking and managing expenses. Read our full review here. freshbooks.com
Harvest – Harvest makes it easy to bill clients and get paid. It offers a simple platform that lets you easily track time and turn billable hours into professional invoices. You can also log expenses, take snapshots of receipts, generate reports, and connect the accounting program to Google Apps, Salesforce, Basecamp and more than 50 other business programs. getharvest.com
Hiveage – Hiveage is online invoicing software for freelancers and small businesses. It allows you to create estimates and quotes, then convert them to invoices after client acceptance. The software tracks time, expenses and mileage. It also lets you accept online payments, including recurring payments such as subscriptions. All plans support unlimited clients and invoices. hiveage.com
infor Cloud Suite Financials Infor offers cloud-based enterprise software solutions, including its CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management, Expense Management and SunSystems financial management software. It also offers industry-specific ERP solutions for automotive, banking, construction, distribution, fashion, healthcare, hospitality, industrial manufacturing and retail businesses. infor.com/products/cloudsuite-financials
Kashoo – Kashoo’s online accounting software can handle your invoicing, expense tracking, and double-entry bookkeeping on your computer, iPhone and iPad. It connects to your bank accounts, accepts online invoice payments, generates reports, and offers collaboration features that let you share your books with your bookkeeper, accountant and business partners at no extra cost. kashoo.com
Less Accounting – Less Accounting is accounting software for small business owners who want to spend less time managing their finances and more time running their businesses. It automates tasks such as data entry and billing, and it has features for invoicing, tracking expenses and mileage, managing contacts, and generating reports. The company also offers bookkeeping services. lessaccounting.com
myBooks – myBooks by Zetran is affordable cloud-based accounting software for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It has enterprise-grade security and connects to your bank feeds to automatically import transactions. Your key accounting metrics are displayed as charts and graphs on the dashboard, and you can easily create attractive invoices using its built-in templates. zetran.com/mybooks/
Netsuite – NetSuite is a financial management tool dedicated to streamlining daily transactions and business operations. Through its cloud-based system, all of your company’s information is kept up to date in real time. The software includes features like revenue recognition, which helps companies comply with accounting standards. netsuite.com
OneUp – OneUp is online accounting software for small businesses that’s especially well-suited for businesses with sales teams and inventory. With it, you can create and send quotes or sales orders, convert them to invoices, track bills, and manage inventory in real time. It uses AI technology to speed bank reconciliation and includes CRM tools so your sales team can use the software to follow up on leads. oneup.com
Patriot Software – Patriot Software’s online accounting system for small business owners allows you to choose between cash, modified cash or accrual accounting methods. You can invoice your customers, track payments and expenses, and generate reports such as a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and paid and unpaid customer invoices. The company also offers payroll software. patriotsoftware.com
Payvouch – Payvouch offers standard accounting software features as well as project management and communication tools. Its instant notification and reminder tools lets users know when an invoice is due or paid so you can properly manage your cash flow. It also holds your clients accountable by sending reminder emails to them when their payment is due. payvouch.com
*QuickBooks Online – QuickBooks Online from Intuit has both accounts receivable and payable features, and it can track projects and inventory, making it a great choice for nearly every business type. If you want to customize the software with additional features, you can choose from hundreds of apps that integrate with this system. For those who prefer to install software rather than use an online app, the company offers QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Desktop for Mac, QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise. Read our full review here. quickbooks.com
Quicken Home & Business – Quicken lets you manage both your personal and business finances in one place, making it a convenient solution for very small businesses and home-based entrepreneurs who don’t need accounting software designed for larger or more established businesses. Although it’s only available for Windows, it has iOS and Android apps, and the Quicken on the Web feature allows you to access key features from any browser. quicken.com
Spendwise – Formerly known as Alatus, Spendwise is web-based accounting software for small businesses. It has month-to-month subscriptions and offers a free plan for very small businesses. You can use it to send quotes and invoices, manage bills and expenses, create purchase orders, track inventory, create budgets, and generate more than 50 reports. spendwise.com
Sunrise – Sunrise is attractive, basic accounting software for small service-oriented businesses. With it, you can record expenses, generate reports, and create quotes, estimates and invoices. It connects to your business bank and credit card accounts to automatically download transaction data and has a proactive reconciliation process that predicts matches. It has an iPhone app and a Chrome extension for capturing receipts. sunriseapp.com
Sage 50 Cloud Accounting – Sage 50cloud Accounting is a desktop accounting solution that automatically backs up your data to the cloud and has remote access capabilities. It integrates with Microsoft Office 365 and connects to your bank accounts to help you manage your cash flow. Features include invoicing, inventory management, expense tracking and reporting. sage50cloud
Sage Intacct – Sage Intacct is an advanced, cloud-based financial management software solution for midsized businesses. It automates processes and generates a wide range of reports, giving you the ability to evaluate your business’s performance from any financial angle. It integrates with Salesforce CRM and other popular business systems. Other Sage accounting products for midsized and large businesses include Sage 100cloud, Sage 300cloud, Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management and Sage Fixed Assets. sageintacct.com
SlickPie – SlickPie is online accounting software for freelancers and very small businesses. Two plans are available: The Starter plan is free, and the Pro plan carries a monthly subscription fee. Features include bank feeds, online and recurring invoicing, automatic past-due reminders, bill and expense tracking, sales tax tracking, and reporting. slickpie.com
Tipalti – Tipalti’s online accounts payable platform is designed for small and midsize businesses with 100 or more suppliers or 1099 contractors, including international ones. It estimates that it can eliminate 80 percent of your accounts payable workload by automating multiple processes, including supplier onboarding, invoice processing, tax and regulatory compliance, and account reconciliation. tipalti.com
*Wave Financial – Wave’s cloud-based accounting platform is free to use and offers many of the same features as paid accounting software. It connects to your bank and credit card accounts, tracks your income and expenses, and allows you to create and send invoices, including recurring billing. Online payment and payroll services are also available from this company. Read our full review here. waveapps.com
WorkingPoint – WorkingPoint is all-inclusive, cloud-based accounting software. It connects to your bank and credit card accounts and includes tools for invoicing, bill and expense tracking, inventory management, contact management, and financial and tax reporting. The company also offers payroll and email marketing services. workingpoint.com
*Xero – Xero online accounting software for small businesses is affordable and easy to use, and it integrates with more than 700 third-party business solutions. Features include invoicing, inventory, bank reconciliation, bill tracking, reporting, and project time and cost tracking. Xero has mobile apps for Apple and Android devices, allowing you to accomplish accounting tasks on the go. Read our full review here. xero.com
Yendo – Yendo small business enterprise resource planning (ERP) software comes with accounting, CRM and project management modules as well as a dashboard that gives you a holistic look at your business. The financial module has tools to help you create invoices, send reminders, record payments and expenses, generate reports, and reconcile accounts. yendo.com
ZipBooks – This online accounting software offers several plans, including one that’s free and one that includes bookkeeping services. ZipBooks uses double-entry accounting, connects to your business bank accounts and generates a variety of reports to help you manage your business. It also includes invoicing, recurring invoicing, online payment acceptance, and billable time and expense tracking tools. zipbooks.com
*Zoho Books – Zoho Books is full-featured accounting software with a small business price tag. Features include invoicing, automatic payment reminders, time and expense tracking, reporting, and reconciliation. It has client portals that your customers can use to approve estimates, pay invoices and view statements. This software integrates with other Zoho applications, payment gateways like PayPal and Square, and popular business solutions like Office 365 and Slack. Read our full review here. zoho.com/books
The Swedish defense ministry published a 181-page document on October 14 that outlines a defense bill to be put before the Riksdag (parliament). Having gained cross-party support, the bill is scheduled to become law on Feb. 1, 2021. Known as Totalförsvaret (total defence) 2021-25, the bill covers the largest increase in defense spending in Sweden for many decades. Funding levels are to increase by SEK27.5 billion ($3.1 billion) compared with 2020.
“This represents the largest increase in the level of ambition in defense capabilities in 70 years,” said defense minister Peter Hultqvist. “It is a signal to the Swedish people and our neighborhood that we are taking the security situation extremely seriously. The proposals in the bill should be seen against the background of the deteriorating security situation in Sweden’s neighborhood and in Europe over time. Sweden will be affected if crisis or an armed conflict arises in our region. An armed attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out.”
The bill sets out a series of measures that improve equipment, readiness, training, and organization across the Swedish armed forces, including the reestablishment of a number of units, including Flygflottilj (air wing) 16 at Uppsala. All wings will be expected to maintain dispersed operating locations in addition to their main bases. Overall military personnel numbers are set to rise to 90,000 from the current figure of 60,000. The document also specifies improvements and expansion in civil defense, and in cybersecurity and foreign intelligence-gathering.
In terms of Flygvapnet (the Swedish air force), the bill proposes that the current force structure of six combat aircraft squadrons will be maintained through the 2021-25 period. Four will convert to the JAS 39E Gripen as they are delivered, while two will retain the JAS 39C/D. Under initial plans, the Gripen E was to have replaced the C/D completely, but in recent times it has been seen as increasingly likely that C/Ds would be retained in view of growing regional tensions. The bill expects the Gripen C/D to be “an important part of the war organization beyond 2030,” while noting that C/Ds can also be employed for advanced training. Currently, Sweden has 60 Gripen Es on order, and the bill gives no details of future Gripen numbers, although it is estimated that the force will comprise around 90-100 fighters.
To increase combat effectiveness the bill proposes to buy more air-to-air missiles and to strengthen electronic warfare capabilities. A new missile with “sea target and some ground target capability” is to be acquired, referring to the latest extended-range version of the RBS 15F anti-ship weapon. Beyond that, a long-range strike capability is to be introduced in the 2026-2030 period. For reconnaissance duties, the Gripen currently employs the SPK 39 pod, for which new sensors will be acquired to replace current systems that are approaching obsolescence.
One of the air force’s most pressing needs is for a new airborne early warning and control system, as the current Saab 340-based S 100D/ASC 890 aircraft are overworked and aging. A decision on their replacement is due to be made in the 2021-25 period, with the acquisition to be completed after 2025. The two S 102B Korpen signals intelligence-gathering aircraft—modified Gulfstream IVs—are to be maintained, with no replacement plans to be made until after 2025.
Transport aircraft are to be divided between three squadrons assigned to regular transport, “special” transport, and government support. The helicopter wing will also be divided: two squadrons will be dedicated to land warfare, one to the maritime mission, and another to special forces support.
The final air-related items in the bill relate to continued co-operation with the UK-led Future Combat Air System, which Sweden joined in 2019, although the bill notes that, for now, initial technology development will primarily support the JAS 39 Gripen. The document also notes the opportunities for co-operation with Finland in both technology and operational development should Sweden’s neighbor opt to select the Gripen E as its next fighter.
Hundreds took to the streets in cities across Bulgaria on Friday, marking the 100th consecutive day of anti-government protests in the country.
Demonstrators are decrying widespread, deep-rooted corruption and degradation of the rule of law.
They are calling for Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s centre-right government and Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev to resign over allegations they allowed an oligarchic mafia to seize control of the Balkan country.
Protesters also say they are fed up with the ruling style of Borissov, who has been at the helm of three consecutive governments since 2009.
With the support of some two-thirds of the population, according to latest opinion polls, demonstrators want the date of parliamentary elections moved forward from the scheduled one in March.
European members of parliament were amongst those expressing support during Friday’s rallies and said any change in Bulgaria should come in the form of elections early next year.
In response to the protests, which first began on July 9, Borisov proposed reforms to the constitution which have been decried by protesters as a means of keeping his government in power until the next elections.
Rallies in recent months have been mostly peaceful, but there have been occasional clashes with police and some arrests.
Governance watchdog Transparency International ranks Bulgaria as the most corrupt of the 27 nations in the EU.
Bulgaria’s economy is said to be one of the poorest in Europe, mainly due to corruption.
A 2019 report from the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Sofia on corruption in Bulgaria said that at least 35% of public procurement contracts involve corrupt practices.