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Reviews

Best Accounting Software

There’s a reason people spend thousands of dollars and their entire lives learning accounting—it’s a complex yet necessary evil. But, these days, even the most skilled accountants want to lean on powerful software to make the routine elements less time-consuming and reduce potential errors. Based on our experiences, QuickBooks is the clear winner and the best accounting software for most people. It comes with the most robust set of features in the category and costs less than two Starbucks lattes a month on its entry-level plan.

The Best Accounting Software for Most

QuickBooks logo

QuickBooks

Best for Most

QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software on the market. And it comes with a ton of features, including inventory management, invoicing, advanced reporting, automatic mileage tracking, expense categorization, automatic sales tax calculations, and more. Paid plans start at just $6.75 per month.

From freelancers to large enterprises and everything in between, QuickBooks simplifies, streamlines, and automates your accounting processes while minimizing the risk of human error. It’s an incredibly well-known—and comprehensive—accounting software you can count on.

There are numerous plans to choose from starting at just $6.75 per month for individuals, making it an affordable option even for the smallest of businesses.

The 7 Best Accounting Software Options to Consider

  1. QuickBooks – Best for most businesses
  2. Sage Business – Best accounting software for basic needs
  3. FreshBooks – Best accounting tool for freelancers
  4. FinancePal – Best customized accounting solutions
  5. Zoho Books – Best for managing accounts on the go
  6. Xero – Best for businesses that want to stay small
  7. Kashoo – Best quick-setup accounting tool

When it Make Sense to Invest into Accounting Software

Ideally, every business should use accounting software. You may be able to use spreadsheets if you’re just getting started or only deal with a handful of transactions every month. But that’ll get old… fast.

Plus, it’s not a long-term solution nor does it offer any reassurance that your bookkeeping processes meet local, state, and federal regulations.

It’s never too early to invest in accounting software. But it’s past time to invest if your manual accounting process is too time-consuming, you frequently find errors in your work, want compliance peace of mind, lack the analytics you need, or are looking for better security.

#1 – QuickBooks — The Best Accounting Software for Most

QuickBooks logo

QuickBooks

Best for Most

QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software on the market. And it comes with a ton of features, including inventory management, invoicing, advanced reporting, automatic mileage tracking, expense categorization, automatic sales tax calculations, and more. Paid plans start at just $6.75 per month.

QuickBooks is incredibly popular accounting software for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

It’s scalable, affordable, and incredibly easy to learn, making it a great match for solopreneurs, freelancers, small teams, large enterprises, and everything in between.

Whether you have a full-time accountant or prefer doing most of the heavy lifting on your own, QuickBooks has everything you need to stay organized and manage cash flow like pro.

From tracking inventory and managing invoices to detailed reporting and intuitive data management, the software includes essential features plus advanced features you can use as your business grows and your accounting needs expand.

Other advanced features include:

  • Automatic expense categorization for tax purposes
  • Advanced invoice and online payment management
  • Custom estimates you can easily turn into invoices
  • Automatic sales tax calculations
  • Online bill paying with recurring payment options
  • Billable and non-billable time tracking
  • Project profitability tracker

Plus, you don’t sacrifice essential features like connecting your bank accounts for seamless and automatic account consolidation, snapping photos of your receipts, and configuring custom notifications.

QuickBooks advanced analytics and reporting dashboard

Another standout feature is QuickBooks’ automatic mileage tracker. It utilizes your phone’s GPS system to track miles for tax deductions.

You can separate personal trips from business trips with one swipe, which isn’t easy to do without the right software. Instead, you’re stuck trying to remember which trips were for what and how far you went.

To make things even better, the software is packed full of advanced accounting features, integrations, and automations you won’t find with other small-business accounting tools. Despite its higher price tag, you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck.

For freelancers and anyone who’s self-employed, plans start at just $6.75 per month for the first three months.

After that, pricing goes up to $15 per month. For small businesses who also want to be able to pay contractors, create estimates, and track taxes, plans start at $11.25 per month for the first three months. Pricing goes up to $25 per month after your promotional period. Both of these plans include access for one user.

If you need more than that, you’ll need to upgrade to at least the Essentials plan or higher.

There’s no doubt that QuickBooks pricing can be a bit confusing. To clarify, there are five different plans to choose from including:

  • Self-employed – $6.75 per month for three months, then $15 per month
  • Simple Start – $11.25 per month for three months, then $25 per month
  • Essentials – $18 per month for three months, then $40 per month
  • Plus – $31.50 per month for three months, then $70 per month
  • Advanced – $67.50 per month for three months, then $150 per month

Essentials includes three users, Plus comes with five users, and Advanced comes with 25 user seats. You can opt for a free 30-day trial instead of QuickBook’s promo pricing, but we recommend testing it out using a sample company and sticking with the promotional pricing to get the best deal.

Take QuickBooks for a free test drive using a sample company to see the inner workings of the software today!

#2 – Sage Business — The Best Accounting Software For Basic Needs

Sage Business logo

Sage Business

Best for Basic Needs

Sage Business delivers basic account features, making it perfect for beginners and small businesses. Includes an intuitive mobile app, expert customer service, automatic syncing with your bank account, digital receipt storage, and intuitive machine learning capabilities. Paid plans start at $10 per month.

If you don’t need something as complex or advanced as QuickBooks, the Start plan from Sage Business is an excellent choice. The price is incredibly approachable and it’s very easy to use.

It doesn’t have as many features as QuickBooks, but it’s more than enough for most small businesses looking for a better way to manage their books. It covers all the accounting essentials you need without feeling too complex or heavy for basic use. Plus, you don’t have to pay for features you’re never going to use.

The Start Plan includes:

  • Invoicing and invoice tracking
  • Automatic syncing with your bank account
  • Machine learning for automatic rule creation
  • Basic or advanced reporting (depending on your plan)
  • Digital receipt storage
  • Automated data extraction
Sage analytics dashboard

And unlike some other low-priced options for small business accounting, Sage has a strong mobile app that allows you to manage your accounting needs from anywhere. Just like the desktop software, the app is well-designed and easy to use.

There’s also an integration marketplace with more than 130 apps you can use to extend the capabilities of your accounting software even further.

From automations and sales tax to analytics, compliance, and ecommerce apps, there’s an app for just about everything.

If you’re a beginner or nervous about doing your own accounting, you can take advance of multiple customer service options, including a knowledge base, community forum, free training, and the ability to schedule an appointment with customer support so you never waste time waiting around.

From walking you through the software to answering questions on the fly, their service team is ready and equipped to help you out along the way.

There are two pricing plans, including:

  • Accounting Start – $10 per month
  • Accounting: $25 (your first six months are only $7.50 per month)

Sage keeps things simple. As such, it’s not really suited for medium or large businesses handling thousands of transactions every day. But, it’s perfect for small businesses or freelancers looking to improve their accounting processes.

Sign up for a 30-day free trial to see if Sage is right for you today!

#3 – FreshBooks — The Best For Freelancers

FreshBooks logo

FreshBooks

Best for Freelancers

From time tracking, expense tracking, taxes, and invoices, FreshBooks comes with everything you need as a freelancer or small business. If you're ready to simplify your finances, it's definitely the way to go, with plans starting at just $15 per month and plenty of room to grow alongside your list of clients.

Freelancers and businesses with a small number of employees will find everything they need to manage their finances with FreshBooks. Not only is it easy to use, but it’s also affordable as well.

FreshBooks excels in two areas where freelancers and small businesses famously struggle: Invoicing and general accounting. Thankfully, the software makes generating invoices and tracking them as they move through the pipeline a breeze.

Plus, you’ll enjoy the option of integrating payment processing so clients and customers can pay you directly from your invoices.

As a freelancer, tracking time and taxes are the two worst t-words imaginable. But FreshBooks makes both easier than ever.

You can easily track time with the software and keep track of your expenses throughout the year. As such, you know if you’re charging enough and you know exactly how long each project takes.

Plus, you’ll never have to make that last-minute scramble for receipts and expenses at tax time. Read: you can spend more time on client projects rather than navigating taxes.

We also really like the layout and usability of FreshBooks’ mobile app, which greatly simplifies using the service. The mobile app is also a nice touch, giving freelancers the freedom they need to manage their finances from anywhere.

Rather than being built for accountants, FreshBooks is built for business owners with simplicity and ease of use in mind.

So, you’ll never feel confused with industry jargon you don’t understand. Everything is written in plain English, complete with excellent documentation at every step of the way. You can even reach out to the five-star customer support team any time you have questions.

Aside from ease of use and fantastic invoicing capabilities, FreshBook’s incredibly affordable pricing is the best part about it.

There are four pricing tiers to choose from, including:

  • Lite: $15 per month (5 client limit)
  • Plus: $25 (50 clients)
  • Premium: $50 (unlimited clients)
  • Select: Custom price for specialized features

If you’re just getting started, it certainly won’t break the bank and you can upgrade to a higher tier as you land more clients and start generating more revenue for your business.

#4 – FinancePal — The Best Customized Accounting Solutions

FinancePal logo

FinancePal

Best Custom Solutions

Complicated needs require custom solutions. Whether you're behind because of inaccurate bookkeeping or are looking for ways to improve your operations for a better financial outlook, FinancePal's bespoke packages and dedicated team of professionals will help you improve your accounting. Get a custom solution, tailored to your specific needs.

Everyone’s finances are a little different. On a macro level, a lot of the concerns are the same: Are you books balanced? Are you prepared for tax season? Can payroll processing be improved?

But, on the other hand, every company has those little quirks that aren’t so easily answered, from industry-specific tax issues to informal deals that make revenue or payments harder to track. That’s where the bespoke services from FinancePal come in.

There are no set pricing plans or standard feature packages—FinancePal sets up custom solutions for each of their clients. But, rest assured, any FinancePal offering covers all the bases of accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll. They can even help with business formation.

It all flows through the team that FinancePal assembles, dedicated to your operations. They’ll lend a hand with the work and lend their insight on areas to improve.

FinancePal’s pros take care of:

  • Transaction recording and reconciliation
  • Bill payment
  • Tax strategy for maximum savings
  • Financial recordkeeping
  • Delivering weekly and monthly statements

That’s a big help in the grunt work of payroll and accounts payable and receivable. But their insight can be crucial in improving your bookkeeping or helping you catch up. Their team will give you recommendations on where to improve your operations, help you with financial projections, and fix missing or incorrect data entries.

But it’s not just all about FinancePal’s dedicated assistance. The software is easy for you to use yourself, so you can see reports, projections, and status with just a few clicks.

To get started, reach out to FinancePal and start the conversation about what services and level of assistance you need. Only pay for the services your company will use, via a flat monthly or yearly fee. Plus, the offerings you choose can scale as your business grows—which will be easier with more reliable bookkeeping and accounting.

Talk to FinancePal today to see how much their team and software can improve your company’s accounting.

#5 – Zoho Books — The Best For Mobile Access

Zoho Books logo

Zoho Books

Best for Mobile Access

For a small business owner who's always on the go, Zoho Books has a strong and highly compatible mobile app that allows for accounting from anywhere.

If you’re looking for accounting software you can use from anywhere, Zoho Books offers the best accounting mobile we’ve seen. It’s available on both Android and iOS, making it a great option if you prefer managing your finances from your phone.

From the app, you can accept online payments, monitor expenses, pay bills, create invoices, and view dozens of crucial reports regarding cash flow in and out of your business.

To sweeten the deal, it plays well with other features of your device’s operating system.

With the latest iOS update, Apple users can add widgets to their home screens. With the Zoho mobile app, you can easily add a timer, an invoice list, a running total of your receivables, a quick link to invoice creation, and more right into your home screen for easy access with one tap.

It also works with Apple Maps, giving you an easy way to track mileage accurately and turn it into an expense in a few taps.

There’s even an app for Apple watches.

So, it’s more than just another app that sits on your phone, never to be opened again. You can integrate it deeply into your mobile device so you always have the most important links and information at your fingertips.

Aside from the mobile app, Zoho’s feature set is extensive and covers everything a small or midsize business needs to manage finances, pay people, get paid, track expenses, and link bank accounts.

Plus, you can easily create purchase orders, estimates, proposals, and sales orders as well.

You can even create custom online client portals that let customers see all of their payments and transactions in one place.

It’s full-fledged accounting software that covers all of your bases with a rock-solid mobile app.

There are four pricing plans to choose from, including:

  • Free: $0 for one user with up to $50k in annual revenue
  • Standard: $15 per month for up to three users
  • Professional: $40 per month for up to five users
  • Premium: $60 per month for up to ten users

You can also add additional users for an extra $2.50 per month per additional user. Regardless of what you need, Zoho Books is affordable and accessible for even the smallest of businesses.

#6 – Xero — The Best For Small Businesses that Want to Stay Small

Xero logo

Xero

Best for Small Businesses that Want to Stay Small

Get everything you need to simplify business finances in one place. Includes receipt capture and storage, up to 20 monthly invoices, monthly bill tracking, and the ability to connect your bank account to eliminate manual entries. Plans start at just $11 per month.

For small business owners who do not want to spend a ton of time on accounting, Xero hits all of the basics. It greatly simplifies the process of tracking and organizing small business finances.

Plus, the two lower tiers are incredibly affordable. The introductory plan lets you send up to 20 invoices or quotes a month, automatically track up to five bills, and automatically reconcile bank transactions.

On top of that, you can capture receipts and organize them digitally with Hubdoc.

As such, you get everything you need to streamline business finances without hiring new staff or acquiring an expensive piece of software you’ll spend months trying to learn.

The middle tier includes unlimited invoices and bill tracking if you outgrow the limits imposed on the introductory plan.

And you get 24/7 online support if you run into snags or ever have questions regarding your business finances plus a 30-day free trial to take it for a test drive before you invest.

For a limited time, you can get 50% off your first two months.

Pros

  • Excellent overall feature set
  • Low starting price
  • Especially popular among Mac users
  • Strong mobile app integration

Cons

  • No phone option for customer support

Pricing Tiers

  • Early: $11 per month (20 invoice limit)
  • Growing: $32
  • Established: $62

#7 – Kashoo — The Best to Be Up and Running Fast

Kashoo logo

Kashoo

Best to Be Up and Running Fast

Don't panic when you suddenly need to generate invoices for your business, as Kashoo's accounting software allows you to be working within a few minutes of starting the sign-up process.

For most small businesses, finding the best accounting software requires a lot of study and comparison shopping. For a new sole proprietor or freelancer who suddenly needs to be able to generate invoices and track expenses, though, getting up and running quickly may be the primary focus.

Kashoo makes the setup process as easy as possible, and you can be using the software within a few minutes. This is one of the easiest software accounting packages to use, as it gives you basic features with no hassles.

Pricing is easy to understand with Kashoo, but considering its lack of advanced features, we’d prefer that it carried a slightly lower price per month. However, it does not put a limit on the number of people who can use the software, which is a nice feature.

You can use the cloud based Kashoo anywhere through its impressive iOS app, but, unfortunately, no Android version of the app exists yet. 

Pros

  • Setup only requires a few minutes
  • Strongly performs the basics, like invoice generation
  • No limit on the number of individual users you can have
  • Easy-to-understand pricing

Cons

  • No Android app version
  • Report generation feature is not as good as some others

Pricing Tier

  • $16.65 to $19.95 per month

Methodology For Choosing The Best Accounting Software

As you are seeking an accounting software package that will work for your business, figure out which areas and features will be most important for your business, and then look for those packages that successfully match those needs.

Make sure you consult with those in your business who will be working with the software regularly (if others besides you handle the accounting). Those who work with it every day may want specific features to simplify the job. Here are the areas we emphasized when selecting the best accounting software packages. 

Cost

The majority of accounting packages will have various pricing tiers based on the number of billable clients or on the number of people in your organization who have access to the software. Some packages have an introductory price for a few months. Additionally, some offer discounts if you pay for a year in advance, rather than month to month.

Understand that some manufacturers have add-on costs for certain features in the software, such as payroll generation. If you only need the basics, these fees won’t affect you. But if you will need some extra features or regular tech support, the cost of the software could rise quickly.

Some software packages give new users a free trial period to try out the software. This is a good way to determine whether the accounting software’s interface is easy to use, and whether the feature set is able to match your needs.

Permissions

With some accounting software packages, you can set up user permissions. This is a good feature if only one or two people at the business need full access to the software with full editing permission. You then can give other people at work access to financial reports only.

Cloud Access

Some of the best accounting software packages are cloud based only, which means the software manufacturer stores your data on remote servers, rather than you storing the data onsite. You’ll pay a monthly subscription fee for cloud software, versus paying a one-time fee for on-premises software. 

Using the cloud provides you with a higher level of security for your data than you probably can attain on your own. Additionally, software makers can update cloud accounting packages regularly, ensuring plugging of any security holes immediately and giving you access to the latest features right away. You also can access your data from anywhere when it’s stored in the cloud, whereas with on-premises software, you primarily will work at the physical office.

However, if you feel more comfortable having a software package that runs the traditional way, on your computing hardware at your site, those options exist too. Cloud software continues to grow in popularity, so finding an on-premise vendor probably will become more of a challenge in future years.

Mobile Access

The majority of accounting software packages will offer a mobile app, so you can check your invoices and other financial data from anywhere. If being able to work on accounting away from the office is especially important to you, make sure the app gives you nearly all of the features you’d have with the desktop interface.

Data Sharing Compatibility

For an accounting software package to be truly beneficial for your business, it should have the ability to send and receive data from your various financial partners. 

If you can download transactions from your bank, send employment data to your payroll generation provider, and send tax information to your preparer, you’ll save quite a bit of time and you’ll reduce the chances of data entry errors.

Expansion Capabilities

If the goal for your small business is to grow into a large business, you may want to look for an accounting software package that has the ability to grow with you, such as through gaining extra features for customization or for batch invoicing. 

If you suddenly need to add several freelancers to your workforce, or you need to hire multiple full time employees on a temporary basis, the accounting software needs to be flexible for those changes.

Business Specific

Certain accounting software packages may have features to help specific types of businesses track their finances more successfully. For example, a construction company or a plumber will have different needs than a retailer.

For certain businesses, tracking inventory is extremely important. But if you operate a service oriented business, you may not carry inventory, and accounting software that focuses on inventory will not match your needs.

Extra Features

Some accounting software can help you track multiple areas of your business beyond incoming and outgoing finances. Depending on how your business operates, you may want some extra capabilities in the software. Some of the options may include:

  • Generating payroll
  • Customer contact information storage
  • Automatic invoice creation on a certain day of the month
  • Merging data into tax prep software
  • Payment acceptance
  • Reminders of due dates for bills
  • Setting company budgets
  • Tracking sales
QuickBooks logo

QuickBooks

Best for Most

QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software on the market. And it comes with a ton of features, including inventory management, invoicing, advanced reporting, automatic mileage tracking, expense categorization, automatic sales tax calculations, and more. Paid plans start at just $6.75 per month.

Summary

With the best accounting software, there is no one-size-fits-all option. But QuickBooks and FreshBooks are excellent for most users.

With that said, what’s good for your business may not meet the needs of the business across the street. 

At a minimum, your accounting software should give you clear information about your company’s finances and it should save you time. Certainly, the majority of accounting software packages can do far more. But if the software you select can’t handle the basics, it doesn’t matter how many add-on features it gives you; it won’t be as useful as it could be.


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