Best Accounting Software for Small Business Needs – Top 10 Compared for 2024

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Are you a small business owner looking for the most efficient and cost-effective approach to handle your finances? With the best accounting software designed for small businesses like yours, you’ll be able to have a tight grip on your financial records, prepare for tax accurately, and ensure compliance with financial regulations.

No doubt, there are many accounting software out there catering to different business needs. We’ve reviewed the best accounting software for different small businesses to help you make the right choice for you and your business.

QuickBooks - Most popular one-stop-shop solution

QuickBooks - Most popular one-stop-shop solution

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $15/month
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FreshBooks - Best accounting software for small businesses

FreshBooks - Best accounting software for small businesses

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $19/month
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Zoho Books - Cost-effective accounting for SMBs

Zoho Books - Cost-effective accounting for SMBs

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $15/month/user
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Xero - Feature rich accounting for established businesses

Xero - Feature rich accounting for established businesses

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $15/month/user
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Bonsai - Simple financial management for creatives

Bonsai - Simple financial management for creatives

  • 7-day free trial
  • Price from $21/month
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Melio - Free iOS payment management system

Melio - Free iOS payment management system

  • Free to use
  • Transaction fees
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Wave - Free easy-to-use accounting platform

Wave - Free easy-to-use accounting platform

  • Free plan available
  • Price from $16/month
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Sage - Solves complex problems for enterprises

Sage - Solves complex problems for enterprises

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $59/month/user for Sage50
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TurboTax - Beginner-friendly tall-in-one tax solution

TurboTax - Beginner-friendly tall-in-one tax solution

  • Free to use, pay when you file
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Oracle NetSuite - First-grade business management platform

Oracle NetSuite - First-grade business management platform

  • Custom pricing
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The Best Bookkeeping Software for Small Business

  1. QuickBooks: Best for Comprehensive Accounting with Inventory Management
  2. FreshBooks: Best for Simple & Easy Usage
  3. Zoho Books: Best for Accounting Automation
  4. Xero: Best for Multiple Users & Features
  5. Bonsai: Best for Smooth Business Operations
  6. Melio: Best for Easy Online Payment
  7. Wave: Best for Free Accounting Solution
  8. Sage: Best for Inventory Tracking
  9. TurboTax: Best for Accurate Tax Filing
  10. Oracle NetSuite: Best for High-level Automation & Payroll

The Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses Reviewed

To ensure a fair and concise analysis of the best small business accounting software, our team considered factors such as features, prices, third-party reviews, and more. If you want to learn more about how we choose featured software, we encourage you to read our “How we Choose” section below.

1. QuickBooks – Best for Comprehensive Accounting with Inventory Management

QuickBooks Logo

Best For Comprehensive accounting with inventory management
Free Trial Yes, 30 days free trial
Price From Starting from $30/month (you can save 70% for 3 months)
Top 3 Features Bookkeeping Automation, Seamless Integration, Excellent Inventory Management
Why We Picked It

We chose QuickBooks as the best for comprehensive accounting and inventory management because of its wide range of features. With QuickBooks’ unique inventory management, you’ll gain critical insights for business growth, like identifying best-selling products. At the same time, its excellent automated features–encompassing everything from expenses and income to time tracking–mean accurate bookkeeping, saving your manual entry and paperwork.

Beyond its powerful accounting and inventory features, we have to praise QuickBooks for its superb range of integrations, including HubSpot, Google Docs, and Salesforce. On the flip side, small businesses with many team members may have to choose the highest plan or consider alternatives like Xero.

Features
  • Seamless Integration: QuickBooks integrates with over 750 popular business apps, including Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify.
  • Reporting: You can easily view reports and get real-time insights quickly with QuickBooks’ intuitive report dashboard.
  • Inventory Management: QuickBooks offers a comprehensive inventory management tool which allows you to track products and receive notifications when inventory is low.
  • Tax Management: You can easily organize income and expenses into tax categories as you track business expenses and income. QuickBooks helps you to automatically organize all expenses into the right tax categories while saving your income.
  • Bookkeeping Automation: QuickBooks automation fosters spending less time on transaction categorization and sorting of taxes accurately with less manual intervention. You can also set up rules to help you work smartly, boosting work efficiency.
Pricing Plans

QuickBooks offers four plans with each offering loads of features as well as free mobile apps, customer support, and app integrations. See the table below for the full price list.

Plan Simple Start Essentials Plus Advanced
1 month $30/month $18/month $27/month $60/month

Simple Start – This is the most basic plan that offers income and expenses tracking, tax deduction, reporting, receipts capturing, and bill management, with the support of only one sales channel. The Simple Start plan is suitable for solo businesses that have one sales channel.

Essentials – The Essentials plan comes with everything in the Simple Start plan, plus the support for 3 users, multiple currencies, and employee time tracking. It is suitable for growing businesses with only three sales channels and three team members.

Plus – This plan supports up to five users and allows you to track project profitability and inventory with financial planning.

Advanced – The Advanced plan is suitable for small businesses that need advanced features and have a wide number of team members. With this plan, you can add up to 25 users, sync with Excel, track fixed assets, automate workflow, custom access control, and restore data.

QuickBooks pricing is adaptable to different business needs and currently offers a discount to new users. You can either choose a 30-day free trial or purchase a subscription for 70% off for 3 months. It also offers add-ons like tax assistance and assisted bookkeeping at an extra fee.

Who's It Best For?

QuickBooks is suitable for small businesses, retailers, and freelancers that need a comprehensive accounting system to track expenses and income, manage inventory, and automate bookkeeping.

Pros pros

  • Automation for categorizing bank transactions
  • A cloud-based system supporting easy file accessibility
  • Wide range of accounting features
  • Exceptional integrations with sales channels like Amazon, Shopify, etc

Cons cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Premium features are only available on higher-tier plans
  • QuickBooks’ constant feature upselling is intrusive and disrupts workflow.
  • Lack of free forever plan
  • The payroll feature comes at an extra fee

Read our full QuickBooks review

2. FreshBooks – Best for Simple & Easy Usage

FreshBooks Logo

Best For Simple & easy-to-use
Free Trial Yes, 30 days free trial
Price From Starting from $19/month (50% Off for 6 Months)
Top 3 Features Automated Bank Reconciliation, Payment Reminders, Seamless Collaboration with Accountants
Why We Picked It

FreshBooks made our list due to its ease and simple usage. We love that FreshBooks offers top-notch, easy-to-use tools for financial management at not-too-expensive prices for small business accounting services and bookkeeping.

What makes FreshBooks stand out, in particular, is its consideration of the customer management process together with accounting. On top of features for invoicing and bookkeeping, the platform comes equipped with tools to help you automate proposal creation, streamline your estimates, generate invoices, and communicate with your clients–all in the app. Although FreshBooks key features aren’t as robust and in-depth as QuickBooks, its features cater to freelancers and small businesses looking for a simple and easy-to-use accounting platform to track expenses.

Features
  • Integration: FreshBooks integrates with over 130 apps, including payroll and marketing services, allowing you to streamline various accounting tasks and manage them from a single platform.
  • Mobile Application: With FreshBooks’ mobile app, you have everything you need about your business finances at your fingertips whenever you need it.
  • Flexible Payment Options: FreshBooks accepts payments from popular gateways, empowering customers to pay however they want, whether with a credit card or ACH.
  • Team Collaboration: FreshBooks supports teamwork, allowing you to collaborate with an accountant and up to ten others.
  • Invoicing: FreshBooks offers an invoice generator, which makes it easy to create and customize your invoice, add your logo, and personalize your thank you email to your client.
Pricing Plans

FreshBooks offers four subscription plans, which cater to different business needs. See the price plans as highlighted below:

Plan Lite Plus Premium Select
1 month $19/month $33/month $60/month Quote-based
1 year $228/year $396/year $720/year Quote-based

Lite: The Lite plan is for freelancers or solopreneurs who manage up to or less than five clients. This is because this plan supports sending unlimited invoices to five billable clients alone, alongside other features such as unlimited expense tracking, unlimited estimates, the ability to run reports for taxes, and payment with credit cards and bank transfers (ACH).

Plus: You can send unlimited invoices to up to 50 clients with the Plus plan. It offers all the features in the Lite plan, recurring bills, set up client retainers, and collaboration with your accountant.

Premium: This plan supports unlimited invoicing to an unlimited number of clients, making it suitable for small businesses with unlimited capacity for clients. It supports all the Plus plan features with unlimited client management, tracking project profitability, and access to customizing email templates.

Select: This is a customized plan designed for businesses in need of branding and more flexible features. It comes with everything in the Premium plan with 2 team members’ accounts, dedicated customer support, automatic bills and receipt capturing, unlimited client invoicing, a dedicated account manager, and data migration.

FreshBooks offers you the opportunity to save 10% on any price plan whenever you choose the yearly option. You also get 50% off for 6 months for any purchased subscription. As with most accounting software, FreshBooks also offers a 30-day free trial. Add-ons like team members, advanced payments, and payroll are available at $11, $20, and $40 + $6/per person each month, respectively.

Who's It Best For?

With FreshBooks’ easy set-up and usage, it is suitable for freelancers, solopreneurs, businesses with a low number of employees, and contractors that need automation with invoice generation, flexible payment options, and simple financial management processes.

Pros pros

  • Finance, client, and team management tools in one space
  • Incredibly intuitive user interface, easy to navigate
  • Excellent 24/7 customer support via live chat
  • Secure platform with industry-standard 256-bit SSL encryption

Cons cons

  • Only one free seat is available on all plans except the Select plan
  • Limited billable clients with lower-tier plans
  • Quite basic reporting
  • Higher-tier plans are pricier for new businesses
  • Using many add-ons may lead to more spending

Read our full FreshBooks review

3. Zoho – Best for Accounting Automation

Zoho Books Logo

Best For Automate accounting tasks
Free Trial Yes, 14 days free trial and free plan
Price From Starting from $15/month billed annually
Top 3 Features Advanced Analysis, Sales Tax, Accounting Customer Portal
Why We Picked It

We consider Zoho Books as an accountant in your pocket with its advanced feature set, which simplifies financial management for small businesses. It offers capabilities from tracking business expenses and inventory levels to business bookkeeping and creating professional invoices so clients can view transactions via the client portal. This makes it ideal for small business bookkeeping and accounting, centralizing your tasks in one intuitive platform.

Zoho Books isn’t as cheap as the other platforms like Xero or QuickBooks in this list. However, we think that the platform is still great value for money. Compared to Sage 50 Accounts, for example, it is still competitively priced for the fantastic range of in-depth features it offers, like tax management, cash management, invoicing software, profit and loss statements, online payments, accounts receivable, and more.

Features
  • Advanced Analysis & Reporting: Advanced analysis tools are at your disposal to help you understand your financial data, which is handy for small business owners. Its intuitive dashboard view and custom reports make it easy to get insights into your business’s financial health.
  • Automation: Zoho Books offers various automation to give you more time for business growth. For instance, automated reminders, managed recurring payments, and direct transactions are all streamlined in one place, which lets you spend less time on redundant tasks.
  • Integrations: Similarly to accounting software like FreshBooks and Xero, Zoho integrates with a range of popular apps, including the company’s inventory management software, which can help streamline product tracking and prevent costly overstocks. This is a significant perk for businesses, keeping you abreast of stock status.
  • Sales Tax: Zoho Books makes tax season stress-free for you. It automatically calculates your sales tax returns while you continue managing other business activities.
  • Customer Portal: You can easily manage and maintain smooth communication with your customers with the help of Zoho’s customer portal. You can also use the Zoho Sign integration to get quotes digitally signed by your customers.
Pricing Plans

Zoho offers a free plan and five flexible paid plans loaded with features to choose from, giving you more wiggle room for your budget and scalability as your business grows.

Plan Free Standard Professional Premium Elite Ultimate
1 month $0/month $20/month $50/month $70/month $150/month $275/month
1 year $0/month $15/month $40/month $60/month $120/month $240/month

Free: This plan comes at no cost, offering mileage tracking, invoice creation, bank reconciliation, payment reminder automation, tracking 1099 Payments, and 50+ reporting. It is suitable for businesses with annual revenue of less than 50,000 USD.

Standard: The Standard plan supports three users and includes everything in the free plan, with the management of up to 5,000 invoices, custom field addition, journal templates, custom reports, API access, and sales tax tracking.

Professional: Zoho Books Professional plan supports five users and includes all the features in the Standard plan, with inventory tracking, multicurrency transaction recording, business workflow customization, user role customization, and project expenses and invoice tracking.

Premium: The Premium plan supports ten users and includes all the features in the Professional plan, with a vendor portal, budgeting, 50 custom reports, dedicated customer support, and a custom domain.

Elite: This plan supports ten users and includes all the features in the Premium plan, with advanced inventory control, unlimited custom reports, and multi-currency support.

Ultimate: Zoho’s Ultimate plan supports fifteen users, all the features in the Elite plan, with advanced analysis and tracking of key financial metrics, customized reports and dashboards, and collaboration.

Zoho offers a 14-day free trial to allow you to explore the features available in its paid plans before making any financial commitment. You can also request a demo to have a guided features experience of Zoho before you sign up. Add-ons are available with Additional users available for $3/user per month, and Advanced auto-scans, which cost $10 for 50 scans each month across all plans.

Who's It Best For?

As a scalable accounting software, Zoho Books is an excellent option for sole traders, retailers, and service-based and growing businesses with several suppliers that need advanced customization and automation. Also, businesses that are already using Zoho products can benefit more from Zoho Books’ seamless integration with other Zoho apps.

Pros pros

  • Seamlessly integrates with Zoho apps like Zoho CRM and Zoho Inventory
  • Supports automation
  • Free and affordable plans are available
  • Scalable to support business growth

Cons cons

  • A limited number of users support; the highest tier supports only 15 users
  • No in-built payroll capability
  • There are lots of plans to choose from
  • A limited number of invoices per year for every plan
  • Zoho’s navigation can be confusing and requires a bit of learning for new users

Read our full Zoho review

4. Xero – Best for Multiple Users & Features

Xero logo

Best For Multiple users & features
Free Trial Yes, 30 days free trial
Price From Starting from $15/month (75% off for the first 6 months)
Top 3 Features Bulk Bank Reconciliation, Unlimited Users Support, Multiple Currency
Why We Picked It

Xero is our choice for small businesses seeking accounting software offering multiple users and features. We appreciate the software’s user-friendliness, feature-rich offerings, intuitive mobile app, unlimited user and multi-currency support.

With the capability to set up various bank feeds and automatically import transactions, Xero saves small business owners valuable time. It simplifies tasks and processes by letting you oversee accounts payable and cash flow and manage expense tracking and inventory, among other things.

Unlike competitors like QuickBooks and Zoho Books, Xero supports unlimited seats on all plans. It also offers over 1000 integrations and automation features that enable you to step back from the accounting process completely.

Features
  • Bulk Bank Reconciliation: This is a time-saving feature that assists in reducing errors and maintaining precise accuracy with financial records.
  • Business Snapshot: With Xero analytics, you can quickly get an idea of cash flow and your overall business financial health.
  • Multiple Currency: Xero allows you to do business in multiple currencies with its support for over 160 currencies. Xero converts international business transactions for you, records them, and reports them on your dashboard.
  • Project Tracking: It’s easy to track time and expenses against each job on Xero, helping you invoice faster, make better-informed decisions and drive profitability.
  • Unlimited User Support: Unlike many accounting software like FreshBooks and QuickBooks, Xero supports an unlimited number of users across all its plans at no extra cost. This special feature fosters easy collaboration without restrictions.
Pricing Plans

Xero’s price plan is feature-based and not user-based. Its price plans are available in three tiers to support different business needs.

Plan Early Growing Established
1 month $15/month $42/month $78/month

Early – The Early plan is suitable for sole traders, new businesses, and the self-employed, as it supports only the basic features these business categories need. It features online invoicing, bill tracking, bank transaction reconciliation, bills and receipts capturing with Hubdoc, short-term cash flow and business snapshot, W-9 + 1099 Management, and sales tax.

Growing – In this plan, you can access all the features in the Early plan, plus unlimited invoicing, bill management, and bulk reconcile transactions. This is suitable for growing small businesses.

Established – As its name implies, this plan is suitable for established businesses. It features everything in the Growing plan, with multiple currencies, project tracking, expense claiming, and analytics plus.

Xero offers a 30-day free trial and also 75% off your plan for the first six months when you buy Xero. You can integrate Gusto payroll software with Xero at $40 per month plus $6 per month per person.

Who's It Best For?

Xero is suitable for small businesses managing multiple people to access their accounting software. It’s also great for businesses that need multiple features to support their finance management at a budget-friendly rate.

Pros pros

  • Mobile app for iOS and Android
  • Integrates with a wealth of apps from the Xero App Store
  • All plans support unlimited users
  • Highly-scalable

Cons cons

  • Irregularity in price changes
  • Costs extra to integrate Gusto payroll services
  • Multiple currencies are only available on the highest-tier plan
  • Xero’s menu layout can be confusing to new users
  • Limited number of invoices on lower-tier plans

Read our full Xero review

5. Bonsai – Best for Smooth Business Operations

Bonsai Logo

Best For Smooth business operations
Free Trial Yes, 7 days free trial
Price From Starting from $21/month
Top 3 Features Library of Templates, Tax Management, Project Management
Why We Picked It

Bonsai is the powerhouse that lets you take care of business and your accounting needs from the ground up, simplifying operations. It’s a well-rounded tool for managing finances, taxes, projects, and customer relations all in one space.

We appreciate its wide range of features that are ideal for small businesses. You can create eye-catching invoices to capture your client’s attention, and it’s easy to track time spent on projects so you can bill accurately. You can also send contracts and proposals to clients and track 1099 expenses for contract work. Although it is an excellent choice for managing all business operations in one place, its level of integration falls short compared to Xero.

Features
  • Built-in CRM Tools: It has a built-in CRM to manage your clientele so that you can handle your client base, projects, and accounts from a single, unified platform.
  • Tax Management: Bonsai helps you stay tax compliant to avoid penalty pitfalls and legal complications, so you’re able to spare yourself any hassles and focus on growing your business. Also, it offers an array of tax templates, making tax season a stress-free experience.
  • Library of templates: Bonsai offers over 500 templates that are ready to use with little adjustment. You can adapt any of the templates, such as contracts, proposals, invoices, and more, to your business situation.
  • Invoicing: You can quickly create professional invoices and automate payment reminders with Bonsai’s invoicing tools.
  • Robust Time Tracking: With full integration with project management and billing, you can easily track your team’s hours, generate accurate timesheets and get instant reports.
Pricing Plans

Bonsai’s price plan is user and feature-focused. With its three price tiers, businesses can choose the most appropriate option for their needs.

Plan Starter Professional Business
1 month $25/month $39/month $79/month
1 year $21/month $32/month $66/month

Starter: This plan is suitable for freelancers and contractors. It offers unlimited clients and projects, access to all templates, expense tracking, invoicing, scheduling, clients CRM, forms and questionnaires, and payments.

Professional: The Professional plan includes everything in Starter, plus workflow automation, client portal, integrations, unlimited scheduling events, and up to 15 project collaborators. It is designed for an established independent business.

Business: The Business plan offers everything in the Professional plan, plus subcontractor management and onboarding, custom task fields, profitability reporting, premium customer support, and unlimited project collaborators. With its feature package, it is suitable for small businesses and agencies.

You can enjoy Bonsai’s 7-day free trial when you choose to use any of the plans for free. Also, there’s an opportunity to use the platform for free for the first two months when you choose a yearly plan. Add-ons like additional team seats and tax management are both available at $10 per month.

Who's It Best For?

Bonsai is highly recommended for freelancers, agencies, and professional services looking to streamline their business and accounting processes using a single platform.

Pros pros

  • Manages CRM, projects, and finances in one place
  • The clean interface is easy to navigate
  • Supports automation of repetitive tasks
  • Integrations with QuickBooks, Calendly, and Zapier

Cons cons

  • Lack of forever free plan
  • Short free trial duration when compared to competitors
  • Unlimited users are supported only on the highest plan
  • Tax management is only available at an extra fee
  • Customer support could be better

Read our full Bonsai review

6. Melio – Best for Easy Online Payment

Melio Logo

Best For Easy online payment
Free Trial Yes, Start for free
Price From No monthly plan, but transaction fees
Top 3 Features Seamless Integration with Accounting Software, Mobile Accessibility, Free ACH Bank Transfer
Why We Picked It

Melio is our best choice for a seamless online payment process that transforms the mundane business payment process into a convenient and easy experience for small businesses, freelancers, and contractors, all while offering a variety of flexible features.

Even when Melio charges for other payment options, it’s a breeze to make payments for free via ACH bank transfer. We think that’s a game-changer as it allows you to make cross-border payments and access a vast network of local and global billers. Finally, Melio seamlessly integrates with Amazon Business, QuickBooks Online and Xero, allowing a two-way sync, so you’ll have fewer manual entries when working with other popular accounting solutions. While it doesn’t offer a comprehensive accounting solution like Xero or FreshBooks, it makes payment easy for small businesses.

Features
  • Workflow Approval: You can invite team members or accountants to your Melio account and set up roles, permissions, and approval amounts to stay in control at all times.
  • Payment Security: Melio ensures secure bank transfers by privatizing users’ bank details.Melio also uses a third-party card processor which is a certified Level 1 PCI Compliant.
  • Payment Scheduling: You can schedule payments in advance to avoid the repetition of recurring activities.
  • Mobile App: With the Melio app, you can easily make payments from anywhere and check payment status – all from your mobile phone.
  • Integration: Melio synchronizes with accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero to avoid double data entry and manual input. You can also integrate your Amazon Businesses to pay all your invoices in a few clicks easily.
Pricing Plans

While ACH bank transfers are free, take a look at Melio’s transaction fees:

  • ACH bank transfer — Free
  • Mail check — $1.50 (first two are free)
  • Pay by card — $2.9%
  • Instant transfer — 1% (up to $50)
  • Fast ACH bank transfer — $1% (up to $30)
  • Fast check — $20
  • International payments — $20 (flat fee)
Who's It Best For?

Melio is an excellent alternative for small businesses looking for an easy and simple way to manage online payments with a variety of options. It benefits small businesses that use QuickBooks or Xero because they can integrate with Melio to optimize cash flow.

Pros pros

  • Clean, user-friendly interface
  • Free ACH bank transfers
  • Easily integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks
  • Free to sign up

Cons cons

  • International transactions get pricey
  • Not suitable for accounting processes
  • It doesn’t manage tax preparation
  • Customer support needs improvement
  • Delay in payment notification

Read our full Melio review

7. Wave – Best for Free Accounting Solution

Wave Logo

Best For Free accounting solution
Free Trial There is no trial but a free plan
Price From Starting from 2.9% + $0.60 per credit card transaction
Top 3 Features Unlimited Invoicing, Cash Flow Management, Easy Usability
Why We Picked It

We love Wave because of its feature-rich free plan with an advanced paid option. As a free tool, Wave provides a completely free suite of solutions for accounting, invoicing, and US banking, so you’ll only have to pay for payroll, personalized bookkeeping, and unlimited digital receipts capturing.

Starting with its free features, you can create and send invoices to customers within minutes, set up recurring invoices, and automate overdue reminders, syncing all of your bookkeeping with the free Wave Accounting software. Wave lets you centralize all your financial details in its dashboard, so you’ll be able to manage them all in one place easily. However, unlike QuickBooks, which allows you to track employee time, Wave will leave you wanting, as it lacks this feature.

Features
  • Smart Dashboard: Wave’s smart dashboard lets you organize your invoices, expenses, income, and payments, as well as view credit card and bank transactions. Plus, it’s simple to view profit and loss reports, balance sheets, and cash flow — ideal for gaining insights into your finances and data-driven decision-making.
  • Mobile Receipts: Wave allows you to import invoices anywhere you are, so you won’t lose track of expenses, irrespective of your location.
  • Data Security: Wave prioritizes your business data security like no other, implementing bank-grade encryption. As an authorized PCI-DSS Level 1 Service Provider, Wave is serious about protecting your credit card and bank account information.
  • Unlimited Bookkeeping Records: You can add your business’s bank transactions to your Wave account, either by entering them manually or connecting your bank account to Wave. This enables unlimited and accurate record-keeping.
  • Late Payment Reminders: Wave automatically sends reminders to your clients once sent invoices are due.
Pricing Plans

Wave offers a free and paid plan with advanced features.

Plan Starter Pro
1 month $0/month $16/month
1 year $0/year $170/year

Starter – The Starter plan is for self-employed individuals who are just starting out and need a basic free accounting software. It offers unlimited invoicing, bookkeeping, estimates, and bills, on-the-go invoicing via the Wave app, and cash flow management.

Pro – This plan is suitable for small businesses that need more advanced solutions with their accounting solutions. It includes all the Starter plan features with the option to accept online payments at a discounted rate, auto-import bank transactions, digital capturing of unlimited receipts and track expenses, and automation of late payment reminders.

With Wave’s annual plan, you can save $22 as a new user. Also, Wave’s advanced features are available at extra fees. For example, accepting online payments starts at 2.9% + $0.60 per credit card transaction, while payroll begins at $20 per month.

Who's It Best For?

All in all, Wave is an excellent choice for digital freelancers, sole proprietors, and small businesses just getting started with accounting.

Pros pros

  • Feature-rich free package
  • Its mobile app lets you manage invoices and upload receipts
  • Straightforward and easy-to-use interface
  • Automatic import of expenses from bank accounts

Cons cons

  • Payroll service is an additional cost
  • Only USD and CAD currencies are supported
  • No time tracking
  • No inventory management
  • Lack of a free trial

Read our full Wave review

8. Sage – Best for Inventory Tracking

Sage Logo

Best For Inventory tracking
Free Trial Yes, 30 days free trial
Price From Starting from $58.92/month
Top 3 Features Automation, Advanced Reporting & Intelligence, Advanced Inventory
Why We Picked It

Sage is a powerful, cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping tool for small business functions. It made our list because of its scalable, comprehensive features that offer more than what most small businesses need. With Sage, you’re able to monitor balance sheets and cash flow, so you can get a bird’s eye view of your financial health and make data-driven decisions.

While Sage offers comprehensive and advanced features to cater to small business needs, its limitation with users may be a concern to businesses with many team members. A competitor that beats Sage’s limitation with users is Xero.

Features
  • Automation: You can add secure smart rules to your bank transactions and automatically categorize them before posting them to the ledger to reduce errors.
  • Payment Reminders: You can forget about chasing clients and use automated payment reminders instead. There’s an option to add a “Pay Now” button to email invoices so customers can pay you instantly from their devices.
  • Time Tracking: Although Sage’s time tracking features are available as an add-on, it still makes it easy for you to view how much time is spent on projects to ensure billing accuracy.
  • Advanced Reporting & Intelligence: Sage helps you to gain accurate and meaningful insights into your business to make informed decisions. Also, Sage’s intelligence for accounting makes it easy for you to customize financial accounting reports even without any advanced accounting knowledge.
  • Advanced Inventory: Sage offers an advanced automated way of calculating the quantity and true value of your inventory after every sale, helping you save time and reduce errors that are often caused by manual data entry.
Pricing Plans

Sage offers a no-long-term contract price package. Its price plans are flexible and allow you to choose the right Accounting subscription for your business.

Plan Accounting Start Accounting Standard
1 month $11/month $22/month

Accounting Start – This plan is ideal for sole traders and micro-businesses who are just starting out because you will only get basic accounting features such as unlimited invoice creation, debt tracking, and the ability to work from anywhere.

Accounting Standard – The Accounting Standard is ideal for small businesses in need of advanced features. It offers everything Accounting Start offers, plus advanced reporting, CIS management, cash flow forecast, adding up to five users, and receipt capturing automation.

With the Sage’s no long-term contract technique, you can cancel or upgrade at any time. You can also explore Sage with its 30-day free trial offer.

Who's It Best For?

Sage is suitable for growing small businesses that need advanced tools to keep track of their inventory while managing their business finances.

Pros pros

  • Simple to set up with any device
  • User-friendly interface
  • Customer support is very helpful
  • Comprehensive reports are available

Cons cons

  • Payroll, time tracking, and automatic data entry cost extra as add-ons
  • Confusing product offers
  • Expensive advanced plans
  • Lack of a forever-free plan
  • Customer service needs improvement in terms of response time

Read our full Sage review

9. TurboTax – Best for Accurate Tax Filing

Turbotax Logo

Best For Accurate tax filing
Free Trial Free to use
Price From Custom until first filing
Top 3 Features Accurate Tax Calculations and IRS Compliance, Tax Planning Tools, Integration with QuickBooks
Why We Picked It

We chose TurboTax as the best accounting software for tax filing for small businesses. It leads the tax software pack as a household name for tax season, boasting accurate tax calculations, an extensive tax form library, and comprehensive guidance for various types of businesses.

Tailored to support small and growing businesses, TurboTax streamlines bookkeeping tasks, offering personalized tax-saving suggestions and error detection for optimal accuracy. With an easy-to-navigate dashboard and visual icons, it simplifies the tax filing process all around. Its mobile app allows for convenient on-the-go filing, too, and its elite audit support makes filing taxes a walk in the park. And while TurboTax doesn’t offer payroll services like accounting software like Sage, Xero, and Wave, it remains a trusted, solid, and IRS-compliant tax solution.

Features
  • Automated Data Entry: TurboTax supports automated data entry to avoid manual input, which is prone to human error.
  • Live Expert Support: If you need tax assistance, TurboTax can connect you with a live accountant for guidance.
  • Unlimited, Year-round Advice and Answers: TurboTax offers you direct access to its small business tax experts, who are available at all times at no extra cost.
  • 100% Accuracy: TurboTax ensures your business taxes are done accurately with no error with the guidance of its tax prep provider. However, in a case where you pay an IRS penalty because of an error made by a TurboTax Live expert, TurboTax takes the responsibility and pays you the penalty plus interest.
  • Full Audit Representation: TurboTax offers TaxAudit representation where its experts represent and speak on your behalf for your business income tax.
Pricing Plans

TurboTax plans for small businesses are available in three tiers without the free option of leaving all the tax processes to you. You can choose any of the three options depending on your business needs.

Plan Do your own taxes TurboTax Live Assisted Business TurboTax Live Full Service Business
Custom $0-$129 $89-$219 Starting from $129

Do your own taxes – This plan is designed for solo businesses with the confidence to do their taxes. This plan offers 100% accurate calculations by the system, a minimum refund guarantee, and easy scan and upload.

TurboTax Live Assisted Business – This plan involves filing with unlimited

expert help as you go. It offers you expert assistance, a final review, and added protection with audit defense. However, you have to note that this plan is only available in some selected states.

TurboTax Live Full Service Business – This is a full, hands-off tax filing process where a business tax expert takes taxes off your plate. In this plan, you can choose a preferred business tax expert, hand over all your business tax processes, and audit defense representation.

TurboTax concentrates on tax filing and does so effectively with its human expert advice, assisting small businesses in staying compliant.

Who's It Best For?

Turbotax tax filing help is designed for small businesses such as S-corps, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietorships to make file processes easy and accurate without penalties.

Pros pros

  • Exceptional user experience
  • Accessible, detailed guidance
  • Phenomenal error detection
  • 100% human expert and live assistance available

Cons cons

  • Doesn’t offer payroll services
  • Cannot perform major accounting features
  • It’s expensive compared to other comprehensive accounting software
  • Upsells easily rack up in final costs
  • Technical support needs to improve on accurately addressing customers’ concern

Read our full TurboTax review

10. Oracle NetSuite – Best for High-level Automation & Payroll

Oracle NetSuite Logo

Best For High-level automation & payroll
Free Trial No
Price From Custom-based
Top 3 Features Comprehensive Accounting Management, Real-time Financial Reporting and Analytics, High-level Automation
Why We Picked It

Given NetSuite’s place in the market, it’s no surprise that Oracle’s all-in-one solution makes our best cloud accounting software for small business needs, thanks to its accounting, e-commerce, automation, and CRM features. Our best features include its top-tier financial reporting and analytics, which provide you with actionable insights. NetSuite’s dynamic automation makes invoice processing and approvals easier, too, increasing productivity and eliminating discrepancies.

Everything you need to streamline your business processes and accounting is provided with NetSuite. With cutting-edge features and a built-in payroll service, NetSuite fosters informed decision-making for your business. And the icing on the cake? If you want to take your business to greater heights, NetSuite’s scalability makes it possible.

Features
  • Automated Tax Management: NetSuite’s indirect tax management solution, SuiteTax, is an advanced tax management tool that delivers end-to-end global tax management. This tool streamlines tax calculation, saves time, reduces error, and eliminates manual data entry.
  • Payment Management: You can easily integrate NetSuite’s payment solution, SuitePayments, to accept customer payments via credit card, direct debit or other supported payment services. It also supports online bill pay, ACH payments, direct deposit and other electronic funds transfer (EFT) options.
  • Customizable Reports & Analytics: SuiteAnalytics is NetSuite’s in-built analytics that provides you with a real-time overview of your business’s operational and financial performance across all business functions. You can choose to use the prebuilt template or customize it to suit your preference.
  • Multiple Currency Support: You can easily conduct international transactions without any barriers. NetSuite supports over 190 currencies, enabling you to do business with customers and suppliers globally.
  • High Scalability: NetSuite has a wide range of built-in tools that you can easily integrate with its online accounting software to monitor other business processes. Also, these tools are comprehensive enough to scale with your growing business.
Pricing Plans

To offer a tailored solution, Oracle NetSuite has a bespoke approach to pricing, tailoring custom quotes that are dependent on your business’s unique needs. As a result, it doesn’t offer public pricing plans. At the same time, NetSuite charges custom-based monthly fees according to the amount of users and features included, as well as a setup cost. However, we recommend taking NetSuite’s free demo for a spin to understand its functionality.

Who's It Best For?

NetSuite is ideal for small businesses seeking a comprehensive, scalable, cloud-based accounting software for business administration. It is suitable for a variety of organizations, including merchants, professional services, ecommerce, NGOs, and consulting firms.

Pros pros

  • Centralizes finance and business operations
  • Real-time insights for making informed decisions
  • Cloud-based and accessible anytime, anywhere
  • Highly scalable to support business growth

Cons cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Implementation is costly
  • No free plan
  • Pricing information is not publicly available
  • The user interface could be more appealing and up-to-date

Read out full NetSuite review

The Best Accounting for Small Businesses Compared

Take a look at our comparison table below, review the key details of the best small business accounting software, and see what they can offer your business:

Accounting Software Best For Free Trial Starting Price Top Features
QuickBooks Comprehensive Accounting with Inventory Management Yes, 30 days free trial $30/month Bookkeeping Automation, Seamless Integration, Excellent Inventory Management
FreshBooks Simple & Easy Usage Yes, 30 days free trial $19/month Automated Bank Reconciliation, Payment Reminders, Seamless Collaboration with Accountants
Zoho Books Accounting Automation Yes, 14 days free trial and free plan $15/month billed annually Advanced Analysis, Sales Tax, Accounting Customer Portal
Xero Multiple Users & Features Yes, 30 days free trial $15/month (75% off for the first 6 months) Bulk Bank Reconciliation, Unlimited Users Support, Multiple Currency
Bonsai Smooth Business Operations Yes, 7 days free trial $21/month Library of Templates, Tax Management, Project Management
Melio Easy Online Payment Yes, Start for free No monthly plan, but transaction fees Seamless Integration with Accounting Software, Mobile Accessibility, Free ACH Bank Transfer
Wave Free Accounting Solution Forever free plan 2.9% + $0.60 per credit card transaction Unlimited Invoicing, Cash Flow Management, Easy Usability
Sage Inventory Tracking Yes, 30 days free trial $58.92/month Automation, Advanced Reporting & Intelligence, Advanced Inventory
Intuit TurboTax Accurate Tax Filing Free to use Custom-based Accurate Tax Calculations and IRS Compliance, Tax Planning Tools, Integration with QuickBooks
Oracle NetSuite High-level Automation & Payroll No Custom-based Comprehensive Accounting Management, Real-time Financial Reporting and Analytics, High-level Automation

Methodology

How We Review and Test Accounting Products

To provide our readers with accurate and well-informed recommendations, we test the most popular accounting products on the market to find the best options for you. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Features: We examine the features of each accounting software to determine what capabilities are offered- such as creating, editing, and deleting transactions.
  • Compliance: We evaluate accounting software based on whether it offers local compliance when it comes to payroll, taxes, documentation, and more.
  • Bank Reconciliation: We test the reconciliation process to ensure transactions match bank statements accurately.
  • Multi-Currency Support: We verify the accuracy of currency conversions and transactions in multi-currency environments.
  • User Experience: We get hands-on with each product and act as a new user, testing each platform to gain understanding if the platform is easy to use or not.
  • Reporting and Documentation: We verify the accuracy of financial reports generated by the software such as balance sheets and income statements.
  • Integrations: We evaluate the integrations of each piece of software to determine how well it fits in with other key pieces in a business’s software stack, and whether its functionality can be expanded as required.
  • Audit Trails: We ensure the software maintains comprehensive audit trails for tracking changes made to financial data.

What is Accounting Software?

Accounting software for small businesses is a digital tool designed to manage finances, track expenses and income, generate business reports, track inventory, and make tax filing stress-free. Features like automation help you free up more time to focus on important business matters. Accounting software also ensures the accuracy of your accounts, greatly reducing human errors and preventing nightmare tax audit scenarios.

It’s common for small businesses to choose easy-to-use, simple, and budget-friendly accounting software. Common accounting software options for small businesses include Wave, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Xero, and others on our list.

Benefits of Using Accounting Software for Small Business

Small businesses will benefit greatly from using accounting software that’s tailored to their business needs. Below are the benefits attached to using accounting software designed for small businesses:

Automation

Small businesses need software that can automate repetitive tasks like invoicing, payment, and finance monitoring to free up valuable time to focus on other business activities. Automation also improves productivity and business efficiency.

Data Accuracy

Most accounting software supports data synchronization from different sources, which they seamlessly integrate with. This integration makes it easy to access and update business information while eliminating manual data entry that’s prone to error.

Tax Compliance

One of the automation that accounting software offers is automated tax calculations, which helps you maintain tax accuracy and compliance with less paperwork. Also, accounting software keeps track of regulatory changes to ensure your tax calculation is up-to-date with tax laws.

Data Security

Cyber risks can devastate your business; therefore, financial security is critical to its growth. As a result, accounting software ensures that your data is handled safely and properly by using industry-standard security measures in conjunction with other safety precautions.

Accessibility

Manual financial recordkeeping limits data access and causes delays in company decision-making. Modern accounting software, on the other hand, is cloud-based, with some supporting mobile devices, giving access to accounting data from anywhere while also simplifying remote work and multi-location administration.

Who is Small Business Accounting for?

Small company accounting helps business owners, freelancers, consultants, nonprofit organizations, sole traders, startups, merchants, service-based professionals, and corporations manage their financial procedures and track profitability. As a solopreneur who manages all aspects of your business, you will be able to bill clients and track income, expenses, and profitability with an efficient accounting approach.

To ensure effective monitoring of your business finances, you can choose either traditional or modern accounting processes. While the former is useful, it is prone to errors and may have an impact on data accuracy. Therefore, regardless of your business type and level, having accounting software for your small businesses can help you with making accurate data-driven decisions, automating recurring activities, managing your team members effectively, and improving financial processes in your organization.

Blake OliverAccounting Expert
EXPERT INSIGHT

“When choosing accounting software a business must first assess its usability - it's not worth investing in a tool if people don't use the software. Price is also important. Unfortunately, many small business owners are a little stingy about this kind of software because it doesn't generate revenue. However, you have got to think about the value of your time. If you buy a certain accounting software and it saves you hours of time every month, you can figure out the ROI pretty easily.”

Best Cheap Accounting Software for Small Business

Generally, small businesses choose cheap accounting software based on preferences aligning with their business needs. Wave is one of the cheapest accounting software for small businesses due to its user-friendly interface, powerful feature set, and the extra benefit of a feature-rich free plan. Also, if you decide to scale with its paid option, it is reasonably priced and has functionalities comparable to more expensive accounting software.

Out of all the accounting tools listed, other affordable ones include QuickBooks, with its currently ongoing 50% price discount, and Xero with 75% discount for the first six months. However, you need to consider your business needs before settling for cheap or affordable accounting software.

Free vs Paid Accounting System for Small Business

Free accounting systems are usually good for startups or solo traders seeking basic options to track expenses and income without any contract commitment. At the same time, paid accounting software offers advanced features that can help small businesses that are growing to make data-informed decisions, customize financial processes, and provide more support.

At different stages of business growth, a free or paid accounting system may suffice, but it is critical to consider scalability when selecting any free accounting software. Choosing a free accounting system with scalable paid options will help you avoid data loss when switching to another platform.

How to Choose Small Business Accounting Software

Choosing the best small business accounting software can be a daunting task, especially with myriads of accounting software available today. Here are key factors to consider, each playing an important role in helping you determine the best solution for your business needs:

BudgetKey FeaturesCompatibilityEase of UseUser LimitationIntegrationsScalabilityCustomer SupportAutomation

Consider your business’s continuous spending capacity on software. Then, weigh out the features presented in the accounting tools and determine your must-haves and non-negotiables, including features you’re willing to compromise on.

While all common accounting software offers major features businesses need, you need to map out your business’s unique key features. As stated previously, determine the must-have features for your small business. Examples of features are expense and time tracking, invoices, payroll services, multi-currency support, and reliable integrations.

Make sure that the software you select is compatible with your devices, operating system, and other business tools you regularly use.

Choose a platform that’s easy to use and navigate. You don’t want to spend too much time figuring out how it works rather than getting a job done, all because the learning curve is too steep.

Figure out how many employees in your business will need to use the accounting software and if you plan to scale up. That is because some accounting programs allow unlimited users (great for growing businesses) or have a maximum limit.

Select accounting software that seamlessly integrates with business apps you will need to use, such as CRM systems, payment gateways, e-commerce platforms, etc. This helps you transform your accounting tools into a powerhouse.

Consider your business’s long-term growth plans and evaluate whether the software offers the flexibility to scale as your business expands.

In case of hiccups, having a reliable customer support team is essential. Ensure the chosen provider offers easily accessible support, preferably through 24/7 live chat.

You need automation to free out valuable time for other business activities. Ensure your chosen accounting software offers automation that will avoid spending time on recurring business finance activities.

FAQs

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John Iwuozor
Tech Writer
John Iwuozor
Tech Writer

John Iwuozor is a writer at Techopedia with over three years of experience and expertise covering topics on HR, business software, IT security, and finance for small and medium-sized businesses. His work has been featured on reputable platforms like Forbes Advisor and EsecurityPlanet. Leveraging his background in mathematics and data analysis, he specializes in delivering original and high-quality content with a keen eye for detail and accuracy.