The Best Accounting Software for Your Business

Top10.com Staff

Most new small businesses use spreadsheets to manage their books, and some maintain this practice as they expand. 

In addition to being time-consuming, this creates the problem of having lots of different documents with conflicting or outdated numbers. The solution? Small business accounting software.

Small business accounting software can help organize your business across the board, from creating reports needed for tax purposes to helping you keep projects on budget.

We looked at a number of the best online accounting software programs to help you compare features and prices and pick the best tool for your business.

6Wave Accounting
Wave Accounting

Free and easy-to-use accounting software

Coming Soon
7GoDaddy
GoDaddy

Intuitive, beginner-friendly, and affordable

Coming Soon
8Paychex
Paychex

Payroll tools & resources for accounting firms

Coming Soon
10Netsuite by Oracle
Netsuite by Oracle

Powerful, customizable, extensible ERM.

Coming Soon
Cloud-centric accounting
Cloud-based accountingwith bookkeeper included
User-friendly invoicing and accounting
SMBs
Full-service business management
Entrepreneurs
Small businesses
Accounting firms and professionals
Small businesses
Enterprises and global companies
From $12.50 / month
From $195/month
From $13.50 per month
Customized per businessmonthly, annual, a la carte pricing
From $5-$350 per month
$0 - $35
$4.99 to $14.99 per month
Contact vendor
$10 - $25/mo
$999+
No
Free demo
Free 30-day trial
Free trial
Free trial
Free software
No
Yes (dashboard & resources)
Free trial
No (Demos available)
Yes
Yes
Yesintegrates with more than 14,000 financial institutions
Yes
Yes
US & Canada only
Yes
N/A
Yes
Yes
Additional add-on
Via integration
No
Yes
Yes
US & Canada only (costs extra
No
N/A
No
Yes (additional module)

The Best Accounting Software - An In-Depth Look

  • 1

    Quickbooks

    Intelligent OCR-backed receipt processing
    Quickbooks
    • Best For:Cloud-centric accounting
    • Price range:From $12.50 / month
    • Free trial or free version:No

    Quickbooks is a comprehensive accounting system designed for small businesses through to organizations at the advanced scales of staging. 

    The tool includes OCR-backed expense receipt tracking, invoice issuing, and for an add-on users can add the payroll functionality. Not all features are available on the mobile apps, but users can even use these, in conjunction with hardware, to process payments. 

    Pros
    • Apps for iOS and Android
    • Project profitability tracking
    • Easy hour billing with integrations
    Cons
    • No free tier
    • Not all features available on mobile
  • 2

    KPMG Spark

    A human bookkeeper is included
    KPMG Spark
    • Best For:Cloud-based accountingwith bookkeeper included
    • Price range:From $195/month
    • Free trial or free version:Free demo

    You’ve got your eyes set on an online accounting system—but a bookkeeper would be kind of useful too. With KPMG Spark there is no need to linger over this difficult choice. 

    This cloud-based accounting system from one of the most trusted brands in bookkeeping and auditing is backed by its own dedicated team and integrates with more than 12,000 financial institutions.

    Pros
    • Bookkeeper is included
    • Works with more than 12,000 financial institutions
    • Cloud-based tool
    Cons
    • Small support team
    • No free trial option
  • 3

    Freshbooks

    Easily fillable document editing
    Freshbooks
    • Best For:User-friendly invoicing and accounting
    • Price range:From $13.50 per month
    • Free trial or free version:Free 30-day trial

    If you’re a business owner looking for a quick and easy way to bill your clients, then Freshbooks could be the user-friendly option you have been looking for.

    Creating invoices and expenses with Freshbooks is as easy as clicking and typing into fillable document fields. The system can also scale to support more than 500 clients. 

    Pros
    • Scalable to bill more than 500 clients
    • Clickable document editing
    • Payroll via integration
    Cons
    • No built-in payroll functionality
    • Mobile mileage tracking only on higher tiers
  • 4

    Finance Pal

    SMB accounting & compliance made simple
    Finance Pal
    • Best For:SMBs
    • Price range:Customized per businessmonthly, annual, a la carte pricing
    • Free trial or free version:Free trial

    FinancePal is a leading small business accounting software that checks off all the boxes. From bookkeeping to accounting, tax compliance, and online payroll services, FinancePal really covers the spectrum. And since everything is done online, the entire process is smooth and painless, a welcome alternative to breaking your head over dizzying accounting numbers, complicated tax laws, and compliance requirements.

    Not your average, generic business accounting software, FinancePal assigns each business a personal accounting team consisting of trained professionals who have worked in the fields of business financing, tax compliance, and accounting. So you can rest easy knowing your business is financially-compliant at all times.

    Pros
    • Your own dedicated accounting team
    • Custom pricing plans
    • Easy to use dashboard + lots of features
    Cons
    • No upfront pricing to compare
    • Doesn’t work directly with vendors
  • 5

    ZarMoney

    Comprehensive biz management & accounting
    ZarMoney
    • Best For:Full-service business management
    • Price range:From $5-$350 per month
    • Free trial or free version:Free trial

    With all the functionality packed into this single software, you might be surprised that ZarMoney doesn’t do your dishes too! Much more than your typical accounting software, ZarMoney has features galore that cover every aspect of business management, from inventory management to invoicing and even team collaboration tools. In each area that it provides services in, ZarMoney truly goes all out. Inventory management lets you manage multiple warehouses, customize product fields, track items with real-time data, split transactions, utilize FIFO cost methods, cover units of measurements, compare received inventory with POs, transfer between locations, and so much more.

    And it’s like that in every area. Collaboration includes IM app, notifications, file attachments, customizable calendars, access permissions, and note attachments. Invoicing and billing includes advanced payables, approve to pay, emailable purchase orders, related transactions, and so much more. We could stand here all day listing the many features ZarMoney has on offer. But your best bet is to just give the free trial a spin.

    Pros
    • Dizzying number of features
    • Affordable plans
    • Inventory, project, vendors, invoicing, accounting in one
    Cons
    • Scheduled maintenance can get in the way of night-time logins
    • A lot to learn
    • No graphic displays
  • 6

    Wave Accounting

    Free and easy-to-use accounting software
    Wave Accounting
    • Best For:Entrepreneurs
    • Price range:$0 - $35
    • Free trial or free version:Free software

    Wave offers free, easy-to-use accounting software, geared towards entrepreneurs and small businesses. There are a few hiccups: the mobile experience could be improved, there’s not much in the way of integrations, and it falls short for complex inventory management. That said, the accounting features are quite powerful, and very easy to set up and use. 

    Paired with useful guides, an intuitive dashboard, and an unbeatable price, there’s a lot to like. Entrepreneurs and small businesses who are just looking to get a better handle on their invoices, payments, and expenses, will find most of what, if not everything they need. It’s free, so you’ve nothing to lose by giving it a try, and you may find it to be a more intuitive software than your current solution, or an excellent starting place if you’re not yet using one. 

    Pros
    • Software 100% free to use
    • Designed for entrepreneurs & small businesses
    • Unlimited income and expense tracking
    Cons
    • Missing some features
    • Limited integrations
  • 7

    GoDaddy

    Intuitive, beginner-friendly, and affordable
    GoDaddy
    • Best For:Small businesses
    • Price range:$4.99 to $14.99 per month
    • Free trial or free version:No

    GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping certainly isn’t the most powerful online accounting software we’ve used, but it does everything it claims to. It’s extremely easy to use, fast to set up, and designed for beginners without any accounting knowledge to speak of. 

    Although features like inventory management and multi-currency support are notably absent, we do love the tools that are on offer. Invoicing and expense management are clear and straightforward, and Ecommerce and bank integrations support fast transaction tracking. Overall, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping is a great choice if you’re looking for a cheap, simple accounting program that will get the job done. 

    Pros
    • Very competitively priced
    • Streamlined integrations with various Ecommerce platforms
    • Tidy, user-friendly interface
    Cons
    • Time tracking tools are quite basic
    • No multi-currency support
  • 8

    Paychex

    Payroll tools & resources for accounting firms
    Paychex
    • Best For:Accounting firms and professionals
    • Price range:Contact vendor
    • Free trial or free version:Yes (dashboard & resources)

    Paychex is a well-known HR and Payroll software, but many accountants may not know the company also offers an array of tools and resources to help accounting firms better advise clients on the intersection of HR, payroll, and accounting. 

    The AccountantHQ dashboard provides accountants with an overview of clients’ HR and payroll situation, access to key information in real time, and tools and reports to analyze everything and find areas of opportunity. The paid HR Support subscription service includes 24/7/365 access to a specialized team, while CPE webinars and classes and other resources are available for free.

    Pros
    • Tons of free resources for accountants
    • 24/7/365 HR and Payroll advisory service
    • Powerful AccountantHQ dashboard
    Cons
    • Utility depends on clients’ use of Paychex software
    • Must contact vendor for pricing information
  • 9

    Sage

    Feature-rich, extensible, and straight-forward
    Sage
    • Best For:Small businesses
    • Price range:$10 - $25/mo
    • Free trial or free version:Free trial

    Sage’s cloud application is functional and, while utilitarian in appearance, well laid out and relatively simple to use. The sheer breadth of features means there’s a learning curve, and the set-up process was a bit lengthy, but the software is nothing if not thorough. 

    We’d recommend going for the full $25/mo package, as the $10/mo plan is missing some pretty key features, but this is still a reasonable price given the offering. If you deal with stock, especially, Sage has a lot to offer, although billing and invoicing is equally powerful, with clever features like the electronic Pay Now button. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular accounting software solutions out there: functional, extensible, and straight-forward. 

    Pros
    • Plenty of integrations
    • User-friendly, powerful interface
    • Excellent inventory management
    Cons
    • Some key features cost extra
    • Utilitarian layout, with a bit of a learning curve
  • 10

    Netsuite by Oracle

    Powerful, customizable, extensible ERM.
    Netsuite by Oracle
    • Best For:Enterprises and global companies
    • Price range:$999+
    • Free trial or free version:No (Demos available)

    NetSuite is hard to beat in terms of power and customizability, although it comes with a steep learning curve. The user support is also quite limited for basic subscribers, another reason why smaller businesses may find the experience too labor-intensive. The suite, however, is extensive enough to replace a variety of other operational and logistical applications (like CRM and HR), which can ultimately reduce the overall cost, both in terms of labor and money. 

    NetSuite is an excellent solution for enterprises and global companies that need to manage large operations with many moving parts and which have the human and financial resources to use NetSuite’s powerful platform to build the perfect ERM solution.

    Pros
    • Highly customizable
    • Extremely powerful budgeting, forecasting and reporting
    • All-in-one solution (HR, project management, inventory, etc.)
    Cons
    • Complex to set-up and operate
    • Can be very costly

What You Need to Know About Accounting Software

What is Accounting Software?

Accounting software is software that automates accounting and bookkeeping tasks like invoicing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, income, and expenses. Small business accounting software puts all your financial information in one place, making it easier to share data across teams or externally and saving your employees from double entries or having to type things in manually.

The best accounting software for small business comes in 2 forms: desktop accounting software or online accounting software. Desktop accounting software is an application you install on your company’s computers. Online accounting software, also known as software-as-a-service or SaaS, has the same functions but runs on the cloud.

What Features Should You Look for in Your Accounting Software?

At a minimum, your accounting software is an online bookkeeping program that carries out the core accounting processes we mentioned earlier–such as invoicing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, income, and expenses. But that’s not all it should do. Below are some of the advanced features included in the best accounting software for small business.

Tax integration. Your accounting software should provide balance sheets, profit and loss reports, and any other customized reports you or your accountant require in order to file taxes. The top bookkeeping software even lets you photograph and save receipts using a mobile device so you have it all stored securely for tax time.

Payroll management. Payroll usually isn’t built into accounting software but is offered through integrations with third-party payroll and HR software. Once everything is set up, your software will be able to calculate and file your payroll, pay payroll taxes, pay with same-day direct deposit, and manage employee benefits.

Business insights. Online accounting software programs gather a lot of data about your business, so why not use all that data to your advantage? The best programs offer business insights and intelligence through user-friendly reports and dashboards.

Custom invoices and receipts. Remember, every interaction with customers and service providers is an opportunity to promote your brand. Some accounting programs let you create custom invoices and receipts, helping to make your brand more memorable.

Multi-user access. Depending on the size of your business, you may want to grant access to more than one person. The best accounting software programs offer plans for multiple users, including access for your accountant.

Support for mobile. You never know when you might need to capture or access data from a mobile device. Most of the big names in accounting software offer free iOS and Android apps.

Unlimited cloud storage. One of the benefits of using online accounting software is that all your data gets stored in the cloud, where capacity is virtually unlimited. 

Free support. If something goes wrong, then you want to know your software provider has your back. Premium subscriptions usually include a dedicated account team.

Scalability. Accounting software is perfect for the rapidly-expanding business that finds that manual entries no longer cut it. The sky’s the limit for your business–and so you need software that offers small business accounting services that scale with you.

User-friendly. Last, but not least, is user-friendliness. Your accounting and invoicing software should be easy enough for anyone on your team to learn how to use it within a couple of hours.

How Much Does Accounting Software Cost?

Like most software-as-a-service, the cost of online accounting software really depends on how many features you need and how many users need access. Pricing models can really vary when it comes to accounting software. Some providers charge a fixed per-month price with all or most of the features included, while others offer tiered pricing that gradually gets more expensive as more features are integrated.

Based on our research of the top providers, accounting software could cost anywhere from $12 to $300 per month. The cheapest subscriptions automate basic accounting functions such as tracking income and expenses, invoicing and accepting payments, managing cash flow, tracking sales and sales tax, and sending estimates. Integrating payroll costs extra—it’s built into some of the more expensive plans or costs another $4 - $10 per employee per month as an add-on. Advanced features like income tax return preparation almost always cost extra.

What is the Best Free Accounting Software?

Believe it or not, there is such thing as free accounting software–and we’re not just talking about Excel or Google Sheets. The biggest names in free accounting software include Wave, ZipBooks, and SlickPie. All of these are web-based accounting programs offering basic functions like managing accounts receivable, tracking expenses, and creating profit & loss and balance sheet statements. 

Free accounting software is a good stepping stone for sole proprietors and very small businesses looking to upgrade on spreadsheet programs like Excel and Google Sheets. They essentially let you do all the things Excel and Google Sheets could potentially do for you if you had the time to program all the necessary formulas yourself.

While free software is handy for doing basic things, the reality is it won’t give you anything close to the features offered by paid accounting software. If you need software that can carry out functions like managing payroll, tracking inventory, or handling tax preparation—then you’re going to need to pay for it.

Conclusion

If you can afford to automate administrative business tasks, then you probably should. Carrying out accounting tasks manually may be cheaper in the short-term, but you’ll quickly find it takes away time from growing your business and exposes you to the risk of potentially costly errors. The best accounting software grows with you, so you can start by automating just the core accounting tasks and then add on more complex tasks like payroll and tax reporting as you go. Once you begin using small business accounting software, you’ll quickly find yourself wondering why you ever did things manually.

Top10.com Staff
Top10.com's editorial staff is a professional team of editors and writers with dozens of years of experience covering consumer, financial and business products and services.