How Much Should You Pay for Accounting Software?

Sarah Badani
accounting software
How much you should pay for accounting software is certainly a question with a variety of answers. Obviously, the larger your organization, the more features you’re interested in, and the less manual labor or time needed, the more you’re going to pay. On the other hand, if you are willing to give up on certain features or don’t need various services, you can reduce the overall costs.

One thing is for certain, though; accounting software is a must in the 21st century. So, regardless of which price range fits your budget, be sure to secure your business standing with a solid app.

Accounting Software Price Ranges

It’s tough to pin an exact amount on an accounting software, partially because there are so many different brands, plans, and service options. Additionally, companies like to offer customized pricing for a more tailored fit with their services. That makes it even harder to give you an accurate guesstimate. You can get accounting software for as little as $5 a month with companies like KPMG Spark. Meanwhile, other players in the field might charge as much as $500 and upwards for their services. So the range is pretty wide.

For SMBs, you can definitely settle for a smaller scale version of accounting software. Your books aren’t going to require the extensive knowledge and detail that a larger company’s will. So, why waste your money on a lot of fancy features that you’ll never end up using? Which brings us to another important question. Which accounting software is right for which types of business? Let’s talk about that for a minute.

The Right Size Fit: SMBs Vs Big Dogs

The accounting software that's right for a major corporation won’t be an appropriate match for a small business owner. If you have 5 employees and churn out a modest $5,000 a month, you certainly don’t need the extensive capabilities (nor the price tag that comes along with them) that a multi-million dollar corporation does. Ideally, you want to look at your operations to determine which accounting software is right for you. 

For SMBs, the most important thing to look for is:

  • User-friendly dashboard and actions
  • Mobile app or cloud-based software
  • If you’re in Ecommerce, only payment acceptance
  • Partial tax compliance services
  • Payroll, if you want to alleviate this headache
  • And, of course, an affordable price tag

Also read up on the various options. Many accounting software options will specifically gear their offerings towards smaller businesses. That’s an easy way to narrow down your options. You can also find industry-specific services that will better cater to your business (Ecommerce, restaurants, retail, warehouse, etc.)

For larger corporations, you’ll want to focus on:

  • Integrations 
  • Number of clients or team members
  • Onboarding and training
  • Dedicated accounting point person or team
  • Unlimited feature counts
  • Complete tax preparations and payroll services
  • Inventory, customer, and vendors management

And it’s always a good idea to get your accountant’s opinion if you have one.

Accounting Software: What You’ll Get for Your Money

So what is accounting software good for anyway? Well, here are some of the labor-intensive tasks a good app will take off your shoulders:

  • Expense tracking
  • Invoice creation and management
  • Inventory management
  • Vendors management
  • Customer management
  • Reporting and insights
  • Send estimates
  • Track sales
  • Calculate sales tax
  • Manage 1099 contractors
  • Generate W-2 and EOY 
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Track time
  • Track project profitability
  • Full bookkeeping and accounting services


And that’s not the whole list. Bottom line, accounting software is extremely useful for any size business. So the question really is, can you afford not to have this necessary business management solution in your tool kit?

Free Account Software Options

There are also some free accounting software options out there, including xTuple PostBooks, ZipBooks, Wave, and Brightbook. But we can’t in good conscience recommend any of them. It’s as it is with most things: you get what you pay for. So, you can opt for a freemium version, but you won’t get the same level of professionalism, accuracy, or security, or nearly the same depth of features as you will with a paid-for plan. And since plans start at just $5 a month, there’s no reason not to splurge.

The Best Accounting Software for Business Success

Check out 3 of our top picks for feature-rich, user-friendly, and powerful accounting software that’ll give your business a competitive edge:

QuickBooks


Simple Start
Essentials
Plus
Advanced
Pricing
$12.50 per month
$20 per month
$35 per month
$75 per month
Number of users
1
3
5
25
What’s included
Track income and expenses, invoice and accept payments, maximize tax deductions, run general reports, capture and organize receipts, track miles, manage cash flow, track sales, sales tax, send estimates, manage 1099 contractors
All Simple features plus manage and pay bills, time tracking
All Essentials features plus track inventory, track project profitability
All Plus features plus business analytics and insights, batch invoices and expenses, customize access by role, dedicated account team, on-demand online training, automate workflow, restore company data

The unrefuted champion of bookkeeping software, QuickBooks provides businesses with a cornucopia of easy-to-use, efficient, and advanced features and services to make managing all aspects of your business easier. From accounting software to payroll, payments, and time tracking, QuickBooks truly does it all. With the proficient accounting software, small businesses will be able to track income and expenses, as well as send out detailed invoices to their clients. Even the most basic plan gives you general reports to deliver insights into your business practices. And using QuickBooks, you can track miles, sales, and expenses with ease.

QuickBooks also provides extensive tax preparations. You can take a picture of receipts, track mileage, and sync various bank accounts for the most complete and accurate tax calculations possible, helping to maximize deductions and ensure compliance. QuickBooks will manage your 1099 contractors too, pay your bills, and keep track of employee time sheets.

To get the most out of QuickBooks, you’ll opt for the Advanced plan which includes features like invoice and accept payments, estimate sending, and cash flow management. You can also send batch invoices, customize access roles, and enjoy a dedicated accounting team at your fingertips. We really love the automated workflows, and the fact that QuickBooks restores company data is a real life-saver.

KPMG Spark


Plan 1
Plan 2
Plan 3
Pricing for annual plans
$179 per month
$362 per month
$454 per month
Number of users
1-3
4-6
7-10
What’s included
Real-time accounting dashboard, easy onboarding, payroll services, invoicing, tax preparation, payments, expense tracking, bookkeeping services, dedicated point person
Real-time accounting dashboard, easy onboarding, payroll services, invoicing, tax preparation, payments, expense tracking, bookkeeping services, dedicated point person
Real-time accounting dashboard, easy onboarding, payroll services, invoicing, tax preparation, payments, expense tracking, bookkeeping services, dedicated point person

KPMG Spark doesn’t hold the same immediate name recognition as QuickBooks, but that doesn’t make it any less useful. Boasting an impressive array of features, KPMG Spark is a solid solution for small businesses that can’t manage their own bookkeeping. SMBs will enjoy a whole suite of tools, including payroll, online accounting, and expense management all in a single tool.

KPMG Spark connects with all of your accounts for seamless reconciliation. Payroll is done directly through ADP, one of the country’s biggest payroll services. It does automated runs according to your company’s payment schedule. You can track mileage and add it to your invoices, create professional invoices from pre-made templates, and accept online payments from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and more.

But the absolute best feature of all is KPMG Spark’s dedicated point person. You’ll be assigned your own accounting specialist who will deal directly with you on all matters of finance and bookkeeping. If you have any questions, you’ll go directly to your point person and get solutions that are tailored to fit your business exactly. KPMG Spark has 3 plans and also has a custom plan.

FreshBooks

Lite
Plus
Premium
Select
Pricing per month
$4.50
$7.50
$15
Custom pricing
Number of billable clients
5
50
500
500+
What’s included
Account statements, stored credit card info, client self-service portal, automated recurring invoices, estimates, esignatures, customized invoices, late fees and reminders, accept deposits, manage budget, project billings, online CC payments and bank transfers, checkout links, time-tracking, expense tracking, bank import, mileage tracking, tax time reports, performance dashboards
All Lite features plus direct CC charge, unlimited proposals, client retainers, double-entry accounting reports, bank reconciliation, accountant access
All Plus features plus up to 500 clients
All Premium features plus access to lower transaction rates, subscription-based payments, over-phone CC payments, secure card storage, 2 team member accounts, dedicated account manager, customized onboarding, data migration

FreshBooks is known as the double-entry accounting software for businesses that want to stay compliant, ensure accuracy, and easily prepare financial reports. It’s a great choice for entrepreneurs (solo proprietors), startups, freelancers, and other small businesses because of its robust features offering and affordable pricing plans. In fact, it’s even won awards to prove it. 

FreshBooks has a highly-user-friendly interface. The dashboard gives you a nice overview of your finances and lets you control the various functionalities from a single location. FreshBooks allows you to create invoices with just a few clicks, send estimates and proposals, and includes e-signatures for faster turnaround. Excellent features include bill-linked time-tracking, top-notch security, and tax calculations and preparations. 

Pricing is simple with FreshBooks. It offers 3 basic plans and a customizable option for businesses that want to tailor their services. FreshBooks also has a 30-day free trial, so you can test out the software and see if it’s the right fit for your business. 

Sarah Badani
Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way.