The 8 Best Free Accounting Software for 2024

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.

The Best Free Accounting Software Ranked

Here’s our list of the best free accounting software in 2024:

  1. Wave — Best for unlimited free invoicing and accounting
  2. Zoho Books — Ideal for SMBs with less than $50k in annual revenue
  3. ZipBooks — Excellent for online retailers, thanks to free vendor management tools
  4. Odoo — Perfect as an all-in-one platform for accounting, HR, sales, and marketing
  5. FreshBooks — Ideal for combining accounting with project management
  6. GnuCash — Free forever, with no contracts, setup fees, or any charges whatsoever
  7. FreeAgent — Perfect for businesses with global clients, thanks to multi-language invoicing
  8. Melio — A decent accounting tool with free ACH bank transfers

The Best Free Accounting Software Reviews

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:

1. Wave — Best for Free Invoicing and Accounting

A screenshot of Wave's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
Free Invoicing and accounting – Free custom invoicing
– Unlimited income and expense tracking
– Mobile receipts
Paid add-on

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 Pricing Plans

  • Invoicing — Free forever
  • Accounting — Free forever
  • Payments — 1% per transaction for bank payments / 2.9% + $0.60 per transaction for credit card payments
  • Payroll — $40/month + $6 for active employee/contractor
  • Mobile Receipts — $8/month
  • Advisors — $149 for bookkeeping support / $379 for accounting and payroll coaching

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.

prosPros

  • Free accounting and invoicing with unlimited users
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Customizable invoices
  • A built-in payroll functionality (paid add-on)
  • Unlimited mobile receipt scanning

consCons 

  • Fees on every payment received
  • No automated late payment reminders for outstanding invoices

2. Zoho Books — Free Forever for Businesses With <$50K Annual Revenue

A screenshot of Zoho Books' dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
Free for companies with <$50,000 in annual revenue – Automated payment reminders
– Customer portal
– Multi-lingual invoices

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 Pricing Plans

  • Free — Free forever for 1 person + 1 accountant (only for businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue)
  • Standard — $15/month
  • Professional — $40/month
  • Premium — $60/month
  • Elite — $120/month
  • Ultimate — $240/month

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.

prosPros

  • An excellent free plan for small businesses
  • Multi-lingual invoicing
  • Online and offline payments
  • Chart of accounts and sub-accounts
  • The ability to schedule financial reports

consCons 

  • The free plan is only available if you make less than $50k per year
  • Zoho Books becomes expensive if you want access to all of the advanced features

3. ZipBooks — An Excellent Choice for Online Retailers

A screenshot of Zipbooks' dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
Free forever – Unlimited Invoices
– Vendor and customer management
– Basic financial reports

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.

ZipBooks Pricing Plans

  • Free — Free forever with unlimited invoicing
  • Smarter — $15/month
  • Sophisticated — $35/month
  • Accountant — Custom quote

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.

prosPros

  • Free forever plan with no limits regarding the number of invoices
  • No fees for accepting digital payments (Square and PayPal)
  • Simple, effective vendor management tools on the free plan
  • Auto-billing and automated payment reminders (paid plans only)

consCons 

  • Can’t add more users on the free account
  • The free plan is pretty bare-bones

4. Odoo — A Robust Platform for Accounting, HR, Sales, and Marketing

A screenshot of Odoo's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
One app free – AI-powered invoice capture
– Automated email and SMS follow-ups
– Dynamic tax calculations

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.

Odoo Pricing Plans

  • One App Free — Free forever for a single functionality
  • Standard — From $24.90/month per user
  • Custom — From $37.40/month per user

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.

prosPros

  • Unlimited users on the free account
  • Super fast and easy to use
  • Eliminates the need for manual data entry
  • Custom invoices with line items and descriptions
  • An excellent mobile app

consCons 

  • The free plan only covers a single functionality
  • The paid plans aren’t worth it for accounting alone

5. FreshBooks — Combines Accounting With Project Management and Time Tracking

A screenshot of FreshBooks' dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
$6.80/month for the first 6 months 30-day free trial – Professional invoices with automated reminders
– Double-entry accounting tools
– Project profitability and time tracking
Paid add-on

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.

FreshBooks Pricing Plans

  • Lite — From $6.80/month for the first 6 months (renews at $17/month)
  • Plus — From $12/month for the first 6 months (renews at $30/month)
  • Premium — From $22/month for the first 6 months (renews at $55/month)
  • Select — Custom quote

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.

prosPros

  • Custom invoices with your company’s branding and direct payment links
  • Robust accounting dashboard with a chart of accounts, profit and loss, sales tax summary, etc.
  • Expense tracking with custom rules for automated categorization
  • Time tracking with the ability to convert timesheets to invoices with one click
  • Built-in project management and scheduling tools

consCons 

  • No free plan
  • Payroll is a paid add-on

6. GnuCash — Free Forever, but With a Bit of a Learning Curve

A screenshot of GnuCash's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
Free forever – Double-entry accounting
– Scheduled transactions
– Multi-currency support

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 Pricing Plans

GnuCash is free forever, with no contracts, setup fees, paid add-ons, or any charges whatsoever.

prosPros

  • Free forever
  • Double-entry accounting
  • The ability to schedule transactions
  • An integrated reporting module
  • Can be used to manage your team’s payroll

consCons 

  • The UI is heavily outdated
  • Still requires a ton of manual entry

7. FreeAgent — Great for Creating Multi-Language and Multi-Currency Estimates and Invoices

A screenshot of FreeAgent's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
$12/month for the first six months 30-day free trial – Multi-currency, multi-language estimates and invoices
– Individual employee expenses
– Advanced time tracking on all devices

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 Pricing Plans

  • US Business — From $12/month (renews at $24/month)

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.

prosPros

  • Customizable estimates and invoices
  • A rich dashboard with a great overview of all key financial details
  • Time tracking on desktop, mobile, and tablet
  • Essential project management tools and clear project profitability
  • Automated sales tax calculations

consCons 

  • No free plan
  • A single pricing plan

8. Melio — The Easiest Way to Get Paid and Pay Your Vendors

A screenshot of Melio's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Payroll Reporting
From 1% per transaction Free ACH bank transfers – Combined and split payments
– Payment tracking and updates
– Personalized payment links

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.

Melio Pricing Plans

  • Core platform — Free
  • ACH bank transfer — Free
  • Account receivable — Free for ACH bank transfers; 2.9% per credit card transaction
  • Accounts payable — From 1% for fast ACH transfers up to 2.9% per credit card transaction

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.

prosPros

  • Free ACH bank transfers
  • No setup or subscription fees
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Custom estimates, invoices, and payment links

consCons 

  • Lacks core accounting features
  • Can get extremely expensive for credit card transactions

The Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses Compared

Accounting Software Best For Standout Features Free Plan Offer Payroll Reporting Mobile App
Wave Free invoicing and accounting – Free custom invoicing
– Unlimited income and expense tracking
– Mobile receipts
Free invoicing and accounting Paid add-on
Zoho Books SMBs with <$50,000 annual revenue – Automated payment reminders
– Customer portal
– Multi-lingual invoices
Free for companies with <$50,000 in annual revenue
ZipBooks Online retailers – Unlimited Invoices
– Vendor and customer management
– Basic financial reports
Free forever plan
Odoo Accounting, HR, Sales, and Marketing – AI-powered invoice capture
– Automated email and SMS follow-ups
– Dynamic tax calculations
One app free
FreshBooks Project management and time tracking – Professional invoices with automated reminders
– Double-entry accounting tools
– Project profitability and time tracking
30-day free trial Paid add-on
GnuCash Free forever accounting – Double-entry accounting
– Scheduled transactions
– Multi-currency support
Free forever
FreeAgent Multi-currency invoices – Multi-currency, multi-language estimates and invoices
– Individual employee expenses
– Advanced time tracking on all devices
30-day free trial
Melio Vendor payments – Combined and split payments
– Payment tracking and updates
– Personalized payment links
Free ACH bank transfers

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.

Conclusion — What is the Best Free Accounting Software?

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.

How We Test Free Accounting Software

When it comes to comparing and reviewing free accounting software, we primarily consider the following factors:

  • Pricing — Does the software have a free plan, what the free plan’s limitations are, and how much value for money do users get by upgrading to a paid plan.
  • Features — What features are available on free and paid pricing plans, and which features are online available as paid add-ons.
  • Integrations — What third-party software can the accounting platform integrate with, and does it offer an API (Application Programming Interface) for custom integrations.
  • Automation — Which automations are available, how easy/difficult they are to implement, and how businesses can benefit from them.
  • Ease of use — How easy it is to navigate the software and learn how to fully utilize all of its features and functionalities.
  • Third-Party Reviews — What do other users have to say about the software and its pros & cons on popular, reputable review sites.

How to Choose the Best Free Accounting Software

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:

  • Budget — Does a particular tool’s free plan cover all of your business needs? If not, does your budget allow for a premium version of the tool, which offers all the functionalities you need?
  • Ease of Use — How difficult would it be to utilize the accounting software in day to day business? You don’t want to have to spend months learning all the intricacies of a super complex tool, but you don’t want to sacrifice functionality in favor of simplicity either.
  • Compatibility — Consider what operating systems the app is compatible with, especially if you plan on using it on multiple devices. Also, see if there’s a mobile version of the accounting software, which would enable you to keep manage your finances on the go.
  • Key Features — Go over all the key features available on different pricing plans and ensure that the plan you can afford covers all of your needs. It’s best to pay a little extra for a full-featured software than to end up paying less for a tool that doesn’t do what you need it to.
  • Scalability — Carefully go over any limitations regarding the number of users you can have on your account. Tools that allow for unlimited users are super easy to scale, whereas those that have a per-user subscription model get exponentially more expensive as you grow your team.
  • Customer Support — Check the available methods for contacting the customer support, as well as their working hours. In case you encounter an issue with the software, you ideally want to be able to connect with a knowledgeable support rep as fast as possible.

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Aleksandar Stevanovic

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…