Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto,…
Sofia Rebuck is an Editor at Techopedia with over five years experience researching and writing about tech and software products, working across the North American…
Wave is the best free accounting software in 2024, thanks to the fact that businesses of all sizes, in any industry can utilize its invoicing and accounting functionalities completely free of charge. You only pay for the payments you accept, and at rates that are more favorable than the industry average for payment processing.
That said, every business is unique, so you may find that a different software is an even better fit for your organization. That’s why we’ve reviewed and compared the top eight accounting tools in 2024 to help you make informed decisions.
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Here’s our list of the best free accounting software in 2024:
We tested, compared, and reviewed the leading accounting software with free plans and/or free trials, looking at their features, pricing plans, ease of use, and user feedback. Here are our in-depth reviews so you can see exactly what each provider offers and how they compare:
Wave is a perfect solution for freelancers, solo entrepreneurs, and small business owners who work with only a handful of clients on a monthly basis. The reason for this is that Wave’s invoicing and accounting features are completely free, but you’re paying a flat fee for every payment received.
The main advantage of Wave over its competitors, like Zoho Books, is that it doesn’t limit the number of users you can have on the free plan. This means you can add as many partners, collaborations, and accountants to your Wave account as you want without paying a single dollar. Additionally, you can get paid add-ons and professional accounting coaching later down the line, so Wave is super easy to scale as you grow and expand your business.
That said, Wave also has the potential to turn into one of the most expensive accounting software solutions if you invoice dozens of customers each month and if you want to use it to run payroll for a large team.
Read the full Wave review here.
Wave’s pricing is rather unique, making it a great deal for companies that work with a single client or a handful of clients. On the other hand, well-established businesses and enterprises with large teams will find that most of the alternatives on our list are far more cost-effective.
Zoho Books is another excellent accounting tool with a free forever plan that gives you access to all key invoicing and accounting features. The free plan is limited to a single user (you) and one accountant, but if you’re running an SMB, a single accountant using Zoho Books can handle all financial aspects of your business.
With the free plan, you’ll be able to manage up to 1,000 invoices per year, set up recurring invoices, track all your expenses, connect multiple bank accounts to the platform, import bank statements, and generate advanced reports. You’ll even have a customer portal with the free plan, which most other accounting software solutions like ZipBooks and FreshBooks only offer on paid plans.
Another thing worth noting is that Zoho Books seamlessly integrates with other Zoho apps, so if you’re looking for other solutions, like project and inventory management, you’ll be able to easily consolidate the data between the different apps and have an accurate overview of your cash flow.
Read our full Zoho Books review here.
Zoho Books offers one of the best free plans on the market, given the fact that you’ll have access to virtually all of the essential accounting features. Most businesses will also greatly benefit from the fact that there are five different paid pricing tiers, meaning you’ll only pay for the features you’ll be using if you decide to upgrade to a paid version of the software.
ZipBooks is a simple accounting software that can help you streamline invoicing and accounting without paying a single cent. It’s an excellent option for online retailers since it lets you manage an unlimited number of vendors and customers on the free plan, whereas most other entries on our list either don’t have vendor management or only offer it on the more expensive pricing plans.
Another advantage of ZipBooks over solutions like Zoho Books is that it doesn’t limit the number of invoices you can send monthly or annually. However, it only supports Square and PayPal as digital payment options, but it doesn’t apply any charges on payments like Wave does.
The limiting factor of ZipBooks’ free plan is that you can only connect a single bank account to the software. It also only offers rudimentary reporting, doesn’t include automatic payment reminders on the free plan, and doesn’t cover payroll.
Learn more in our in-depth ZipBooks review.
The free plan is quite decent, but it limits you to a single bank connection, and you’ll have to do everything yourself since you won’t be able to add more users to your ZipBooks account. The paid plans are competitively priced, but if you’re willing to invest in premium accounting software, other alternatives like FreshBooks and QuickBooks offer slightly higher value for money.
Odoo is a comprehensive platform that lets you digitize, automate, and streamline all aspects of your business, from project management and marketing to CRM (customer relationship management) and accounting.
The unique aspect of Odoo is that all of its core functionalities are split into different apps. In other words, accounting, invoicing, and expenses are considered standalone apps for the free plan, so you’ll only have access to one of these functionalities. Compared to Wave, which gives you all accounting and invoicing features for free, and Zoho Books, which is free forever (for up to 1,000 invoices/year), Odoo’s free plan is quite restrictive.
The value of Odoo comes from its paid plans, which give you access to all apps in the platform’s arsenal. In addition to invoicing, expenses, and accounting, you’ll get HR, sales, marketing, and project management functionalities, so Oddo is a decent option if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution.
Learn more about Odoo in our in-depth review.
The free plan doesn’t offer enough to warrant choosing Odoo over alternatives like Wave, Zoho Books, or ZipBooks. The paid plans are costly, given the per-user pricing structure, but you’re getting a ton of utility on top of accounting, so it might be worth it for larger companies who want to handle every aspect of their business with a single platform.
FreshBooks doesn’t have a free plan, but it does offer a 30-day free trial, so you can try out the platform risk-free for an entire month before you commit to a monthly or annual subscription. It’s also a more robust platform than other alternatives like Wave and ZipBooks, offering functionalities like project management and time tracking on top of the core invoicing and accounting modules.
FreshBooks is a bit more advanced than other tools we’ve covered so far. In addition to helping you create and send professional invoices, receive payments, and keep track of your expenses, FreshBooks helps you monitor your cash flow, create a detailed chart of accounts, track every billable hour, and ensure your team is in sync and all projects are delivered on time.
What FreshBooks lacks is inventory and vendor management, so ZipBooks is a better option for brick-and-mortar businesses and online retailers.
Read our comprehensive FreshBooks review.
Since you’re looking for a free accounting software solution, FreshBooks might not be the best option for you. Its Lite plan is also quite limiting, given that you can only send invoices to five different customers.
The Premium plan is the best value for money, given that it removes all limitations and gives you access to a myriad of advanced accounting features, but at $55/month after the first six months, it’s only viable for larger companies who have the budget and can utilize the platform’s full potential.
GnuCash is a free, open-source accounting software, making it a great option for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses with limited resources. The platform is developed, translated, and maintained exclusively by volunteer programmers, so it will stay free for as long as it’s functional.
For a completely free solution, GnuCash offers impressive functionalities, such as a checkbook-style register with split transactions, transaction scheduling, detailed financial reports, and bank reconciliation. What’s more, you can also use it to run payroll for your team completely free, which is a huge plus, considering that most competitors either don’t offer payroll or only offer it as a paid add-on (e.g., Wave, FreshBooks).
That said, there are a few drawbacks of the platform you should be aware of. It has a bit of a learning curve, the UI is heavily outdated, and it’s not cloud-based, meaning you have to install it locally on your PC and won’t be able to access the data from a different device.
Read our full GnuCash review here.
GnuCash is free forever, with no contracts, setup fees, paid add-ons, or any charges whatsoever.
FreeAgent is another tool with a one-month free trial, so you’ll be able to see it in practice before deciding if it’s worth your money. It’s also one of the only solutions on the market with a single pricing plan, which can be both a pro and a con, depending on whether or not you intend to use all of the features and functionalities it offers.
The features in question include custom estimates and professional invoices, in-depth reports and business insights, project management, time tracking, and sales tax management. In other words, FreeAgent is quite similar to FreshBooks in terms of the two platforms’ functionalities, with FreshBooks being slightly more advanced but also slightly more expensive in the long run.
What’s also worth noting is that FreeAgent doesn’t offer inventory and vendor management, so it’s outperformed by QuickBooks in this department.
Check out our in-depth FreeAgent review here.
FreeAgent isn’t exactly the most affordable accounting platform, and the lack of distinct pricing tiers makes it rather inflexible. Put simply, it’s only cost-effective if you’re going to utilize every single feature the platform offers, but even then, other solutions offer better value for money, like Zoho Books and ZipBooks.
Melio is technically a free platform, in that there are no setup or recurring subscription fees. That said, you’ll be charged for every payment you make to your vendors, save for ACH bank transfers, which are also completely free.
One thing to note is that Melio is more of a payment processing tool than a robust accounting platform. You can use it to send payments to your vendors and receive payments from your clients, but it lacks other core accounting functionalities like bank reconciliation, expense tracking, and cash flow management.
If you just need a fast, secure way to send payments and get paid, Melio is an excellent option. It lets you create custom invoices, send personalized payment links to clients, track every payment, combine payments, split bills, and export all key financial data.
That said, when it comes to vendor management and accepting payments, other solutions like ZipBooks and FreshBooks provide these functionalities on top of all the other essential accounting features, so they’re a better option in the vast majority of cases.
Find out more in our Melio review.
While the core Melio platform is free, the cost quickly adds up if you need to pay your vendors any other way than by direct ACH bank transfer. You’ll also be charged for every payment you receive via credit card, so Melio can end up being extremely expensive.
Free accounting software can be a great starting point for growing businesses with tight budgets. Free plans are a great way to test out the tools in practice and learn how to fully utilize their features to streamline and automate your finances.
That said, most free solutions come with certain limitations, usually in terms of the number of users and the number of invoices you can send. Additionally, most of the advanced features are only available with the paid versions of the apps.
All in all, the best accounting software solutions are all paid tools, but you can get by with a free plan until your budget allows for an upgrade.
After reviewing and comparing the leading accounting software solutions on the market, we have to give the title of the best free accounting software to Wave. Both the invoicing and the accounting functionalities of the platform are 100% free, so you can streamline and automate your finances without paying a single cent.
Additionally, the payment processing fee for credit card transactions is just 1% with Wave, whereas the industry average is between 1.5% and 3.5%, depending on the payment processing solution. This makes Wave super cost-effective, but keep in mind that the transaction fees can quickly add up if you’re submitting dozens of invoices monthly.
When it comes to comparing and reviewing free accounting software, we primarily consider the following factors:
If you’re not sure which of the eight tools we’ve recommended in this guide would be the best fit for your business, here are the key factors you should consider to ensure you make the right decision:
Yes, there are plenty, and we’ve covered them in this guide. Scroll up to read our reviews and find the best free bookkeeping software for your business.
Invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reports. Other features are nice to have, but these three are essential.
Yes, since these tools deal with sensitive business data, they rely on the latest encryption standards, secure socket layer (SSL), and multi-factor authentication (MFA). They also regularly pass third-party security audits.
Unless you want to spend countless hours filling in spreadsheets and risk data inaccuracies, you absolutely need accounting software. And since you can get started for free, there are literally no risks involved.
Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…
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