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Compare business accounting software

Simplify your finances with features and reporting that scale as you grow.

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Our top pick: FreshBooks

FreshBooks logo
  • Generate unlimited invoices and estimates
  • Track time and expenses
  • Process online credit card payments
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Accounting software is designed to provide critical insight into your business’s financial health and help you make informed decisions about the future. Integrations with software and solutions you might already rely on can make for automatic updates of your business’s details.

Accounting software brands we review

Which accounting software should I choose?

When comparing accounting software, think about the size of your business, your accounting needs and the flexibility you need to provide reporting on the go:

  • Price. Accounting software for small businesses generally ranges from free to $50 a month, with discounts for annual subscriptions.
  • Features. Many split their offerings into tiers, with different rates and increasing benefits. While the ability to create invoices and track expenses are typically basic services, more powerful software can generate quotes and estimates, help you run inventory and more.
  • Usability. If you’re looking to manage your company’s finances from your phone or tablet, look for software with well-reviewed apps. Also consider whether you’ll want to access files and reporting offline or through a desktop app.
  • Scalability. Some accounting software limits the number of people who can access your account, the number of clients or employees you can track, the number of invoices you can send and more.
  • Integrations. Ensure the accounting software you choose works in tandem with other programs you use, whether that’s an HR service or payroll processor.
  • Customer service. Make sure that customer support suits your working habits. If you work through the weekend, confirm that you won’t have to wait until Monday for help. Live chat can help you untangle issues in real time without having to wait for an email response.

Are there any free small business accounting software options?

Yes, though typically with limited features. These free options will likely charge you for credit card processing, bank payments and tax filing that are included with paid options. If they generate invoices, you’re likely limited to only a few.

Popular free accounting software options include:

  • Akaunting
  • GnuCash
  • Money Manager Ex
  • NCH Express Accounts
  • SlickPie
  • Wave
  • Zipbooks
  • Zoho Invoice

What is online accounting software?

Online or web-based accounting brands like Xero, QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Wave and Sage One host your business and financial data on various company servers or on the cloud.

Cloud accounting doesn’t require software. Rather, it relies on the basic concept of cloud computing, in which multiple users can access your accounting files and data stored on a single server from just about any Internet-enabled device. After signing in, data travels to the cloud, where the cloud processes your requests and returns it to the user.

The Software as a Service — or SaaS — model similarly allows you and your employees to access your files that are stored on the cloud, but requires desktop software to access it.

With data stored somewhere other than your own computer, your business and financial information is protected if something goes wrong with your business systems. There’s also no need to transfer data if you upgrade devices, because it’s all in the cloud.

Accounting software options

Compare the fees, benefits and other details of top software options to find the best fit for your business and budget.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Price Free trial? Business size Live support?
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
$25 /month
Yes
S
Yes
Simple accounting for small businesses. New customers are eligible for a 30-day risk-free trial.
FreshBooks
$15 /month
$162 /year
Yes
S
No
Small business invoicing and accounting software that lives in the cloud so you can access from anywhere.
Intuit Quickbooks
$15 /month
Yes
S
No
50% off all QuickBooks Online plans for the first 3 months. Choose from three different tiers of cloud-based accounting.
Xero
$9 /month
Yes
S
Yes
Online accounting software loaded with a large collection of apps to manage ingoing and outgoing expenses for small businesses.
KPMG Spark
$195 /month
$395 /month
No
S
M
KPMG performs bookkeeping and tax prep for small businesses, and can facilitate access to payroll services through its partner, SurePayroll. Record expenses and manage mileage, live bank data, invoicing and payments, and more.
AccountEdge
$50 /month
Yes
S
Yes
Run business reports for sales and invoicing, purchases, payroll, inventory and more. Annual subscription only.
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What are the benefits of business accounting software?

Cloud accounting provides multiple benefits for small business owners on the go:

  • Access from anywhere. Make it easy for remote staff and traveling employees to access files from any computer, tablet or smartphone with an Internet connection. Some companies and plans offer the ability to work offline with automatic uploading to the cloud once you’re back on.
  • Access for multiple users. With your plan or for an additional fee, you decide who gets access to your company’s accounting. Employees can manage tracking their own time, and some systems even offer payroll options. And tax season is easier when your accountant can simply access your information with real-time updates.
  • Automatic updates. No longer worry about software upgrades with automatic periodic updates. Most plans also include support to help you integrate any major changes into your processes and systems.
  • Data security. Cloud accounting solutions typically store data in centers that make use of the latest technology in security controls — typically better than what you might be able to afford on your own. Most software companies also offer data backup and disaster recovery as part of standard plans.
  • Options. Online accounting software offers flexible benefits and prices to fit small business needs. If you’re on a budget or operate solo, choose a free or low-cost bare-bones package. Growing businesses with larger budgets and multiple will find stepped-up plans and resources.
  • Support. Online and real-time support is a breeze when your entire accounting system is located in the cloud.

How does QuickBooks compare to Xero?

Bottom line

You’ve got a choice between a wide variety of accounting software with the best for you depending on your business’s needs, resources and budget. Free software can give you enough of a taste to know whether to upgrade to a system that offers more flexible access, reporting, integrations and more.

Frequently asked questions

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