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As a small business owner, there’s simply no way to avoid this often offensive “a word.” Accounting can be a dreaded task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Investing in the right small business accounting software will save you a ton of time and money in the long run, and the best solution is likely more affordable than you think.
- Top Picks
- Comparison of Table
- Other Accounting Software Reviews
- Common Accounting Mistakes (Video)
- Other Online Financial Tools
All of the software reviewed here is cloud-based, so no downloading or installation is necessary — and you can tackle your accounting tasks from almost anywhere, including your smartphone. See our top three picks, from pros and cons and available features to pricing and customer support.
FreshBooks takes our top spot for this small business accounting software comparison. FreshBooks is just what its name implies — a fresh take on a tedious task, with an easy, intuitive interface, tons of great features and excellent mobile apps.
Freshbooks has grown to more than 10 million users since being created in 2003 out of a small business owner’s sheer frustration with his billing options. The major downsides for some potential users? It’s geared toward service-based small businesses, so if you need inventory support look elsewhere.
Freshbooks also lacks some of the more advanced accounting features other software services provide (including payroll). Think of FreshBooks as more of a small business bookkeeping software. FreshBooks offers a wide array of add-ons and integrations, so it’s easy to make up for most of those shortcomings.
- Best for independent contractors, agencies, firms and consultancies
- Robust API for developers
- 75+ add-ons/integrations, including Paypal, Zapier, Gusto, wufoo, Live Chat, Mailchimp and more
- Project budgets
- Credit card processing, even with mobile app
Try them for free with their 30-day free trial (no credit card required). All plans include free customer service, import and export data, credit card processing, and data backup. You can save 10% off the following pricing if you pay annually.
- Lite: $15/month for 5 clients
- Plus: $25/month for 25 clients
- Premium: $50/month for 500 clients
- Select: Contact FreshBooks
- $10/month/person for additional users
Who knew accounting could be enjoyable? Xero, our number two pick for best accounting software, is (dare we say it?) fun. It’s easy-to-use interface takes a lot of the headache out of having to do your books.
Cloud-based Xero is one of the fastest growing small business accounting solutions on the market and an excellent QuickBooks alternative. A New Zealand team launched Xero in 2006. Xero is anything but stale — one of its greatest features is a “feature request” in their community forum, and long-time Xero customers say they really do act on feedback by continually improving their software adding new features frequently.
- Best for small to mid-sized businesses
- Full-accounting features and tools
- Supports multiple currencies and tax rates
- 700+ add-ons/integrations, including Salesforce, PayPal, Fathom, Square and Stripe
- Payroll tool with Premium Plans allows for 10 employees, direct deposit and e-file payroll taxes (Standard Plan allows for 5 employees)
**Xero Payroll will be unavailable in the U.S. as of December 31, 2018. (Their payroll services are moving to Gusto).
Try out Xero with their 30-day free trial.
- Starter plan: $9 per month (limited to 5 invoices and 5 bills per month)
- Standard plan: $30 per month
- Premium plan: $70 per month
Intuit QuickBooks rounds out our top three picks for the best small business accounting software. QuickBooks has all the features a small to medium-sized business would want and more, with both an online small business accounting version and downloadable software.
You don’t have to be a financial wiz to use its wealth of accounting features. QuickBooks’ interface is relatively easy to navigate and organized well. The issues keeping QuickBooks out of the top two?
They dropped many features and lost some of their functionality when they revamped their online software in 2013. And their customer support needs improvement – no email support, long call-in wait times and minimal online support tools.
- Best for small to mid-size businesses
- Online version supports PC, Mac and Mobile
- More than 200 add-ons/integrations, including TSheets Time Tracker, PayPal, Method CRM, Zapier and more
- Easy-order products: printable checks, W-2 and 1099 tax kits, custom printed envelopes, labels and forms
- Searchable “Find a QuickBooks Expert” near you
- Self-employed plan calculates and pays quarterly taxes and puts deductions into Schedule C format
Comprehensive 30-day free trial that includes all features, Online Payroll and Quick Books Payments. If you opt to purchase without using the free trial, you get the first 3 months at 50% off.
|Price Per Month||$25||$40||$70||$150|
|Number of Users||1||3||5||25|
See our side-by-side table to help you compare small business accounting software features, pricing and more.
|1st Place: FreshBooks||Xero||3rd Place: QuickBooks Online||IONOS||Bench||Kashoo||Sage||Wave||Zoho Books|
|Free Trial||30 Days||30 Days||30 Days||None||30 Days||14 Days||30 Days||Free Plan||14 Days|
|Lowest Price Per Month||$15.00||$9.00||$25.00||$5||$115||$29.95||$10||Free Plan||$9.00|
|Highest Price Per Month||$50.00+||$70.00||$150.00||$25||$295||$29.95||$25||Free Plan||$29.00|
|Number of Clients||5-unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||N/A||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||50-Unlimited|
|Number of Users||1 ($10/additional user/month)||Unlimited||1-5||1-10||Unlisted||Unlisted||1-Unlimited||Unlisted||2-10|
|Number of Invoices||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||N/A||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Print & Mail Invoices||N/A|
|Credit Card Processing||N/A|
|Supports Payroll||Integration Only||Additional Charge||Integration Only||Integration Only||Additional Charge|
|Supports Contract Payments||Integration Only||Additional Charge||Integration Only||Integration Only|
|Payroll Tax||Integration Only||Additional Charge||Integration Only||Integration Only||Additional Charge|
|Prints Checks||Integration Only||Additional Charge||Integration Only||Additional Charge||Additional Charge|
|Prepares 1099s||Integration Only||Additional Charge||Integration Only||Integration Only|
|Recurring Bill Payer|
|Sync with Bank Accounts|
|Number of Reports||20+||40+||65+||2||Financial Statements Each Month||7||23||9||30+|
|Mobile Apps||iPhone Only|
|Customer Support||M-F: 8am-8pm ET phone & email ticket||24/7 email||24/7 chat support||24/7 phone & email||Via phone & email||M-F: 6am-5pm PT phone, email, live chat||Phone, email, live chat||Email; live chat for paying customers||M-F: 24 hours phone & email|
|1st Place: FreshBooks||Xero||3rd Place: QuickBooks Online||IONOS||Bench||Kashoo||Sage||Wave||Zoho Zoho Books|
On average, only half of small businesses survive after five years and one-third after 10 years, according to an article from The Washington Post. Of course, there are many reasons for the longevity of a small business, but having sound accounting practices is a major key to survival.
The companies below didn’t make our top three, but you might find that one of them suits your needs perfectly. Click on one of the links below to see the other accounting software for small business.
IONOS (previously 1&1) is best known for its web hosting and domain name services but has recently added a cloud-based set of bookkeeping packages. The software is a breeze to use and navigate, and you get 24/7 customer support. All pricing plans, however, lack several features you’ll get with alternative software (and often at a lower price).
Plans start with Invoice, a bare-bones package that only prepares quotes and invoices. Their middle-tier plan adds cashbook management, scan and capture apps, document filing, an overview of cost centers and separate access for employees and tax advisors. IONOS’s highest plan adds warehouse and stock management tools.
If you’re looking for simplicity, IONOS Accounting is a good choice, but we think it’s overpriced for what you get.
IONOS Accounting offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
|Includes||Quote & Invoices||Quotes & Invoices|
+ Online Accounting
|Quotes & Invoices|
+ Online Accounting
+ Inventory Manager
|Price Per Month||$5||$15||$25|
|Number of Users||1||3||10|
Bench differs from the other software services we include in these reviews, but we think they’re worth including (although they’re expensive). A Canada-based company, Bench offers a team of bookkeepers to do your books and intuitive software to monitor your financials. They do all the legwork for you.
Each month, your Bench team reconciles your accounts, categorizes your transactions and produces your financial statements. They also ensure everything is tax-compliant. The cost is high, which will be a deal-breaker for a lot of small businesses, but if you’re behind in your bookkeeping, you can sign up for a month or two to catch up.
Bench offers a 30-day free trial (no credit card required). The following prices are if you pay annually.
- Micro Plan: $115/month
- Boutique: $165/month
- Venture: $215/month
- Corporate: $295/month
Why weed through a bunch of advanced features you won’t ever use if you can quickly get down to business? Kashoo may be perfect for you if simplicity is what you seek in accounting software.
Based in Canada, Kashoo has kept their approach to accounting simple and streamlined since launching in 2008. Not feature-rich by any means (on purpose), Kashoo does offer most of the basics an independent contractor or micro or small business would want.
However, Kashoo won’t be enough for many small business owners. You can take advantage of the 14-day free trial to decide for yourself – and they offer a money back guarantee with each plan.
Each plan offers unlimited transactions, invoicing and expense management, automatic bank transaction sync, reporting and more. Kashoo also offers a 14-day free trial, and a money back guarantee with each plan.
- $29.95 per month (no contract required)
- $199.95 per year
Sage offers several accounting platforms and other business software, but its Business Cloud Accounting is best for small business owners. This cloud-based software has good bookkeeping and basic accounting features and is a steal at $25 per month for its highest plan.
What’s Sage Business Cloud Accounting missing? There’s no time tracking, no project management, and no payroll, but if you don’t need these features and are looking for an easy-to-use software, this software could be right for you.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting offers a 30-day free trial for either package (no credit card required).
- 1 user
- Unlimited users
Self-employed or own a mom-and-pop shop and can’t afford accounting software? Cloud-based Wave could be your solution. Wave’s essential accounting and invoicing functions are entirely free, and they have an impressive number of features for free software — and a lot of usability with their iPhone app.
There are some limitations, and the system can be buggy at times. Customer support is only available via email (and it can be slow), but hey, it’s free. You do get live chat if you pay for add-ons. Overall, Wave is worth looking into if your needs are basic — and you can use it for free for as long as you like!
Wave accounting offers a free plan plus several add-on services.
- Payroll tools: $20-$35/month + $4 per employee per month
- Credit card processing: 2.9%+30¢ per transaction
- Bank payment processing: 0.1% per transaction
Zoho Books has demonstrated a great deal of promise since its rocky launch in 2011 by software powerhouse Zoho. This cloud-based program offers some great features including excellent invoicing and one of the most functional mobile apps we’ve seen in this industry.
What’s missing? Zoho Books has no payroll features or add-ons (other than with other Zoho software), unlike most other small business accounting software products. This omission could be a deal-breaker and makes ZohoBooks best suited for micro- to smaller-sized businesses who don’t require payroll as part of their bookkeeping.
They offer a 14-day free trial. You can also get 2 months free if you pay annually.
- Basic plan: $9/month/organization
- Standard plan: $19/month/organization
- Professional plan: $29/month/organization
Most small business owners don’t have an accounting background. There are a lot of things to learn about managing your business’ finances. Watch this video to avoid some common mistakes small business owners make when doing their accounting.
Another thing to consider is how you want your business to handle payroll. Companies like Quickbooks offer accounting and payroll needs, so you can do two things with one program. Take a look at this payroll software comparison to see if your business could benefit.
We also have reviews of many other small business financial tools including inventory management software, point of sale software, online lending services, online time clocks, receipt organization and a guide to self-employment tax deductions.
What do you like or dislike about your accounting software?
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