The Best Cloud Accounting Software 2024

FreshBooks is the best cloud accounting software in 2024 for most businesses, given that it streamlines accounting and invoicing, helps you track time and manage projects, and greatly facilitates client communication and collaboration.

That said, other tools might be a better fit for certain types of business. For example, FreshBooks doesn’t offer inventory management, so you might want to opt for Zoho Books or Xero instead.

That’s why we’ve reviewed and compared the 7 leading cloud-based accounting tools so you can see what each provider offers and accurately assess which software best fits your business needs.

The 7 Best Cloud Accounting Software Ranked

  1. FreshBooks: Best Overall
  2. Oracle NetSuite: Best for Enterprises
  3. Zoho Books: Best for Retailers and E-commerce Businesses
  4. Xero: Best for Multi-Currency Accounting
  5. Sage 50 Accounting: Best for Budgeting
  6. Wave: Best Free Accounting Software
  7. Bonsai: Best for Project Management

The Best Cloud Accounting Software Reviews

We’ve tested and reviewed the best cloud-based accounting software on the market, looking at their features, pricing plans, and pros & cons. Here are quick breakdowns of each of the top seven tools, so you can see what different providers offer and how they compare.

1. FreshBooks — Best Overall

A screenshot of FreshBooks' dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Customer Portal
$7.60/month – Time tracking
– Team management
– Project management

FreshBooks is a powerful cloud-based accounting solution that provides you with all the features and functionalities you need to handle every financial aspect of your business.

You can utilize the platform to create professional invoices in seconds, customize them with your company’s logo and brand colors, provide clients with a variety of payment options, and nudge them to pay you on time, thanks to automated reminders.

FreshBooks also makes it easy to track all business expenses by letting you snap photos of receipts, forward them from emails, and import them directly from your bank account.

The platform also helps you keep an eye on the big picture by giving you key insights into your chart of accounts, profit and loss, balance sheets, and sales tax summary.

In addition to accounting functionalities, FreshBooks also enables you to track time spent working on projects, facilitate communication with clients and collaborators, easily share files and project updates, and see the profitability of each project.

It also offers an intuitive mobile app, so you can leverage FreshBooks to handle your business finances anytime, from anywhere.

Read the full FreshBooks review here.

FreshBooks Pricing Plans

There are four different FreshBooks pricing plans for users to choose from, depending on what functionality they need. The first three come with a 60% discount on the first six months, and the last one is quote-based.

What’s worth noting is that all plans limit the number of users on your account, but there is an option to add more team members for $11/per month per person.

There’s also a 30-day free trial, so you can try FreshBooks risk-free.

  • Lite — $7.60/month for the first six months
  • Plus — $13.20/month for the first six months
  • Premium — $24.00/month for the first six months
  • Select — Custom quote

Pros

  • Custom invoicing with automatic payment reminders
  • Double-entry accounting and advanced dashboards
  • Automatic bill and receipt data capture
  • Built-in project management and time tracking
  • An intuitive, easy-to-use mobile app

Cons

  • No inventory management
  • All plans limit the number of users

2. Oracle NetSuite — Best for Enterprises 

A screenshot of Oracle NetSuite's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Customer Portal
Custom quote – Cash management
– Automatic bank reconciliation
– Fixed asset management

Oracle NetSuite is a full-featured business management platform offering a wide variety of products and modules to help with various aspects of running a business.

Its cloud-based platform, NetSuite Cloud Accounting, is a tool designed to help businesses improve financial controls, automate administrative tasks related to accounting, close faster, and manage their cash flow and taxes more efficiently.

The platform allows you to track invoices and expenses with ease, shorten your credit-to-cash cycle, automate the reconciliation process, and gain visibility into every financial transaction. It also enables you to fully digitize fixed asset management across multiple facilities, giving you full control over their complete lifecycle.

Another crucial aspect of NetSuite is that it’s a unified platform, meaning you can easily scale it and add new functionalities to your account, such as inventory management, HR, CRM, e-commerce, and more.

Read the full Oracle NetSuite review here.

Oracle NetSuite Pricing

The main drawback of Oracle NetSuite is its pricing. There is no public information, so you’ll have to contact the company’s sales team to get a custom quote. While that’s not uncommon, the issue stems from the fact that you’ll have to pay for the implementation and the software licensing fee on top of the quoted monthly subscription price.

Pros

  • An excellent all-in-one solution for large enterprises
  • Streamlined global business management
  • Inventory, warehouse, order, and supply chain management
  • Budgeting, project planning, and cash flow forecasting
  • Advanced, customizable financial reports

Cons

  • Extremely expensive due to the initial setup cost and the licensing fee
  • An overwhelming number of features and functionalities

3. Zoho Books — Best for Retailers and E-commerce Businesses

A screenshot of Zoho Books' dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Customer Portal
$15/month – Advanced automations
– Customer and vendor portals
– Project management and time tracking

Zoho Books is another excellent online accounting tool that helps you automate business workflows, create professional quotes and invoices in seconds, track your expenses, manage your projects, and handle your taxes.

What’s unique about Zoho Books compared to other entries on our list is that it offers both a vendor and a customer portal. The vendor portal facilitates communication and collaboration, eliminates the need for lengthy email threads, lets you convert vendor invoices to bills, and notifies you of upcoming payments. It also makes it easier to create and send purchase orders.

The customer portal is equally as important since it lets you gauge customer satisfaction, helps expedite quote approvals, lets you turn estimates into invoices with a single click, and greatly simplifies the payment process.

ZohoBooks also excels when it comes to inventory management, letting you keep track of your stock in real-time, notifying you about low stock levels with automated alerts, and allowing you to organize your inventory with SKUs, cost, and stock on hand.

Read our in-depth Zoho Books review.

Zoho Books Pricing Plans

There are six Zoho Books pricing plans to choose from, making the platform a viable option for both SMBs and well-established enterprises. What’s worth noting is that businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue can use the free forever plan to handle their finances, although the plan is limited to a single user plus an accountant.

  • Free — Free forever; 1 user + accountant
  • Standard — $15/month; 3 users
  • Professional — $40/month; 5 users
  • Premium — $60/month; 10 users
  • Elite — $120/month; 10 users
  • Ultimate — $240/month; 15 users

Pros

  • Free plan for businesses with <$50k in annual revenue
  • Advanced inventory management capabilities
  • Vendor and customer portals
  • Simple project management tools with built-in time tracking
  • Native integration with other Zoho tools (Zoho CRM, Zoho Creator, Zoho Payroll)

Cons

  • Limited number of users on each plan

4. Xero — Best for Multi-Currency Accounting 

A screenshot of Xero's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Customer Portal
From $7.50 for the first 4 months – Automatic sales tax calculations
– Multi-currency accounting
– Fixed asset management

Xero is quite similar to Zoho Books in that it excels when it comes to inventory management, handling purchase orders, and managing your clients and vendors.

Xero doesn’t have dedicated portals for vendors and customers, but it does have a distinct advantage over Zoho Books — it lets you pay your bills and accepts payments in over 160 different currencies.

Other reasons to opt for Xero include fixed asset management, unlimited online file storage, automated bank reconciliation, automated sales tax calculation, and the ability to run payroll for a small team.

Xero also offers job tracking tools that help you track the time and cost of individual jobs/projects and facilitate everything from project planning and budgeting to quoting and invoicing.

Learn more in our comprehensive Xero review.

Xero Pricing Plans

There are three Xero subscription tiers, and they all come with a 50% discount for the first four months. Additionally, you can start a 30-day free trial and test Xero in practice before committing to a monthly subscription.

  • Early — $7.50 for the first 4 months (renews at $15 thereafter); limited to 20 invoices and 5 bills
  • Growing — $21 for the first 4 months (renews at $42 thereafter)
  • Established — $39 for the first 4 months (renews at $78 thereafter)

Pros

  • Customizable invoices and automated reminders
  • Multi-currency accounting (160+ currencies)
  • Advanced inventory and fixed asset management
  • Automatic sales tax calculations
  • An intuitive bookkeeping and accounting mobile app

Cons

  • Expenses, Projects, and Analytics Plus are all paid add-ons

5. Sage 50 Accounting — Best for Budgeting

A screenshot of Sage's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Customer Portal
$58.92/month for a single user – Cash flow management
– Advanced project planning and budgeting
– Inventory management

Sage 50 Accounting is a simple cloud-based accounting tool designed to minimize the time you spend on admin tasks and provide you with real-time insights that help you make data-driven business decisions.

The app covers all the accounting essentials (invoicing, payments, expense tracking) and gives you full control over your cash flow and job costs. The dashboard lets you see all the money coming in and out of your business, run what-if scenarios to plan budgets and estimate costs, and see the status of what you’re owed and any outstanding bills you have at a glance.

You’ll also be able to leverage the platform to track inventory levels, see quantities on hand, and quickly generate and submit purchase orders. Granted, inventory management isn’t as advanced as Xero’s or Zoho Books, but it gets the job done.

Read our full Sage 50 Accounting review.

Sage Pricing Plans

Sage 50 Accounting offers three pricing plans, with the ability to pay monthly or annually. The platform is quite a bit more expensive than its alternatives, especially considering that the basic plan is limited to a single user.

That said, there is a 30-day Sage 50 Accounting free trial, so you will be able to test out the platform before deciding whether it’s worth the hefty investment.

  • Pro Accounting — $58.92/month; single user
  • Premium Accounting — From $96.58 for a single user; max 5 users
  • Quantum Accounting — From $160/month for a single user; max 11+ users

Pros

  • Super easy to use
  • Gives you full control over your cash flow
  • Lets you track job costs and identify the most profitable projects
  • Offers dozens of customizable reporting templates
  • Helps you keep track of inventory and manage purchase orders

Cons

  • Expensive
  • The UI (User Interface) is extremely outdated

6. Wave — Best Free Accounting Software

A screenshot of Wave's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Customer Portal
Free + Flat fees for payment processing – Free invoicing and accounting
– Mobile receipts
– Bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll coaching

Wave is a great option if you’re looking for a free accounting and invoicing tool. The free plan gives you access to all the essential tools you need to handle your business’ finances, and there are no restrictions regarding the number of users or monthly invoices.

You can use Wave to create custom invoices with line item details, set up automatic payment reminders, track income and expenses, connect an unlimited number of bank accounts and credit cards to your dashboard, and add unlimited partners and collaborators to your account to facilitate communication and file sharing.

In addition to invoicing and accounting, Wave offers payment processing services, which are priced in line with the industry average. You’ll also have the option to add mobile receipt scanning and payroll to your account as paid add-ons if you want to extend the platform’s functionality.

What makes Wave stand out from other solutions on our list is that it offers professional bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting coaching and support.

Notably, the tool lacks project management and time tracking functionalities, as well as inventory and vendor management, so it’s only viable for businesses in the services industry.

Read the full Wave review here.

Wave Pricing Plans

Wave’s core invoicing and accounting functionalities are free, but you will be charged a flat payment processing fee on every transaction. Additionally, there are several optional add-ons if you need a bit more functionality.

  • Payment processing — 1% for bank transfers; 2.9% + $0.60 for credit cards; 3.4% + $0.60 per AmEx transaction
  • Mobile receipts — $8/month
  • Payroll — $20/month for self-service states or $40/month for tax service states, plus $6/month per employee
  • Bookkeeping advisors — $149/month
  • Accounting & Payroll coaching — $379 one-time fee

Pros

  • Free forever invoicing and accounting
  • Easy-to-use, intuitive platform
  • Customizable invoices and automated reminders
  • Simple payroll for SMBs (paid add-on)

Cons

  • No project management, time tracking, inventory, or vendor management
  • Bare-bones accounting and invoicing features, not suitable for larger businesses

7. Bonsai — Best for Project Management

A screenshot of Bonsai's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Customer Portal
$21/month – Task and time tracking
– Workflow automations
– Branded client portal

Bonsai is an online accounting platform with built-in project and client management tools, so it’s an excellent option for businesses selling digital services like design, website building, and online marketing.

The platform facilitates quoting, invoicing, payments, expense tracking, and financial reporting, helping you automate admin tasks and giving you valuable insights into your cash flow and the overall performance of your business.

You can also leverage Bonsai to track tasks and time spent working on various projects, as well as convert billable hours into client invoices in seconds. That said, we’d also like to see the platform implement payroll functionality in the future.

Aside from the invoicing and accounting functionalities, the main selling point of Bonsai is the branded client portal. This allows you to store all records of client communication and all crucial documents in one place, as well as enables your clients to monitor the project progress, share feedback, and see any outstanding invoices.

Bonsai also helps you seamlessly onboard new clients, facilitates scheduling through calendar integrations, and helps you efficiently manage subcontractors.

Click here for a full Bonsai review.

Bonsai Pricing Plans

Bonsai has three pricing plans, all of which offer good value for money. However, in addition to the monthly subscription fee, each team seat is an additional $10/month, so the platform can get very expensive if you want to add your entire accounting and HR department to your Bonsai account.

  • Starter — $21/month
  • Professional — $32/month
  • Business — $66/month

Pros

  • Branded client portal for easier communication and file sharing
  • Client CRM, forms, questionnaires, and onboarding tools
  • Built-in project and task management and time tracking
  • Contractor and subcontractor management
  • Dozens of contracts, proposals, invoices, briefs, and scope of work templates

Cons

  • Only lets you accept payments via Stripe, PayPal, and wire transfers

The Best Cloud Accounting Software Compared

Accounting Software Best For Standout Features Payroll Customer Portal Mobile App
FreshBooks Accounting, time tracking, and project management – Time tracking
– Team management
– Project management
Oracle NetSuite Enterprises managing multiple facilities – Advanced automations
– Customer and vendor portals
– Project management and time tracking
Zoho Books Retailers and ecommerce businesses – Advanced automations
– Customer and vendor portals
– Project management and time tracking
Xero Multi-currency accounting – Automatic sales tax calculations
– Multi-currency accounting
– Fixed asset management
Sage 50 Accounting Cash flow control, project management, and budgeting – Cash flow management
– Advanced project planning and budgeting
– Inventory management
Wave Free invoicing and accounting – Free invoicing and accounting
– Mobile receipts
– Bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll coaching
Bonsai Client onboarding, communication, and collaboration – Task and time tracking
– Workflow automations
– Branded client portal

Conclusion — What is the Best Cloud Accounting Software?

For most businesses, the best cloud accounting software on the market is FreshBooks. It’s super easy to set up and use, lets you create custom, professional invoices in seconds, streamlines your expense tracking and payments, and gives you key insights into the financial health of your business.

Additionally, FreshBooks features project and team management functionalities, lets you easily track billable hours, facilitates client communication and collaboration, and lets you run payroll for your team.

The one thing FreshBooks is missing is inventory management, so if you’re selling physical goods, another alternative like Zoho Books or Xero might be a better option. Other than that, FreshBooks is perfect for any business selling digital services.

Try FreshBooks risk-free for 30 days and see first-hand if it’s the right cloud accounting tool for your business.

How We Test Accounting Software

Here are the main parameters we pay attention to when testing and reviewing accounting software:

  • Pricing — The available pricing plans, discounts, free plans, and free trials, as well as the overall value for money the platform provides.
  • Features — Core accounting features and functionalities, as well as paid add-ons.
  • Integrations — Native integrations with third-party software and the availability of the API (Application Programming Interface) for building custom integrations.
  • Automation — Automated data entry, tax calculations, payment reminders, and other ways to eliminate manual work and save valuable time.
  • Ease of use — The overall complexity of the platform, the UI (User Interface) and navigation, and the time and level of technical knowledge necessary to learn how to use it in day-to-day business.
  • Third-Party Reviews — User feedback on reputable review sites, with special attention to the most commonly referenced benefits and disadvantages of the software.

How to Choose the Best Cloud Accounting Software

If you’re still not 100% sure which of the seven tools we’ve covered in this guide is the right fit for your business, here are a few key factors that can help you make the right decision:

  • Budget — The amount of money you can comfortably invest in an accounting software solution on a monthly or annual basis. It’s vital to ensure that you’re getting access to all the functionalities you need on a pricing plan you can afford.
  • Ease of Use — Consider the level of technical knowledge of your team members who will be using the software. It’s best to opt for an app that isn’t too difficult to implement and doesn’t require extensive training to be utilized properly.
  • Compatibility — Go over all the available integrations and make sure the accounting platform can be connected to your existing software stack. Also, consider whether the accounting software offers a mobile app if you plan on handling your finances on the go.
  • Key Features — Carefully go over all the available subscription tiers and choose the one that offers all the key features and functionalities you need. Pay close attention to any limitations, additional fees, and paid add-ons that you might need to purchase.
  • Scalability — Consider the cost of scaling the product, especially if there are limits to the number of users you can have on your account.
  • Customer Support — Pay attention to the available methods for contacting customer support and their working hours. Also, keep in mind what other users have to say about the average response time and the overall quality of the app’s customer support.

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Aleksandar Stevanovic

Alex is a Senior Software Content Writer at Techopedia. He focuses on creating reader-oriented comparison pages, reviews, research pieces, and editorials. With nearly a decade of experience, he’s written for numerous leading brands across various niches, such as The Tech Report, Bitcoincasinos.com, CEX.IO, Forbes, Business2Community, and many more. His expertise in cybersecurity has made him a popular authority on privacy tools such as VPNs, password managers, blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and antivirus software. You'll find Alex working on cars, playing guitar, and cooking fantastic food in his spare time. You can reach Alex on Twitter: @stevanovic_alex