The 8 Best Free Accounting Software for 2024

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Discover the best free accounting software with our expert guide. From managing expenses to generating financial reports, we’ve reviewed top tools that can streamline your business finances effortlessly.

These free software solutions offer powerful features without the hefty price tag. Stay on top of your finances and make tax season a breeze with our top picks, ensuring you have the best tools at your fingertips.

Best Free Accounting Software

Wave - Free easy-to-use accounting platform

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Zoho Books - Cost-effective accounting for SMBs

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ZipBooks - Established SaaS accounting platform

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Odoo - Basic accounting with a sleek platform

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FreshBooks - Best accounting software for small businesses

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GnuCash - 100% forever free open-source accounting tool

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FreeAgent - Free accounting software for Sole Traders

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Melio - Free iOS payment management system

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Top Accounting Software for Free

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

  1. Wave — Best for unlimited free invoicing
  2. Zoho Books — Best for SMBs with less than $50k in annual revenue
  3. ZipBooks — Best for online retailers
  4. Odoo — Best free all-in-one platform
  5. FreshBooks — Best for combining accounting with project management
  6. GnuCash — Best free open-source accounting platform
  7. FreeAgent — Best for small businesses with global clients
  8. Melio — Best for payment processing

The Best Free Accounting Software Reviewed

We tested, compared, and reviewed the leading free accounting software for budget shoppers 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, their free version features, and how they compare:

1. Wave — Best for Free Invoicing

Wave Logo

Best For Unlimited free invoicing
Free Plan Free invoicing and accounting
Price From Flat fee for payments
Top 3 Features Free custom invoicing, Unlimited income and expense tracking, Mobile receipts
Why We Picked It

Wave is the best choice for unlimited invoicing as it’s invoicing and accounting features are completely free. However, you do pay a flat fee for every payment received.

The basic bookkeeping tools you can access on the platform, such as profit and loss statements and manual receipt entry, allows new businesses to kick-start their accounting journey and take control over their business finances.

The standout feature of free, unlimited invoicing is easy to use and includes customization as well as range of templates to start from. Worth noting is that Wave charges a fee for payments received via the platform. This makes the platform unsuitable for businesses handling large volume of accounts receivable.

Pricing

Wave’s pricing is rather unique, making it a great deal for small businesses that work with a single client or a handful of clients.

On the other hand, well-established small businesses and enterprises with large teams will find that most of the alternatives on our list are far more cost-effective.

  • 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
Who's It Best For
Waves’ free unlimited invoicing and double-entry accounting makes it an ideal choice for new small businesses and freelancers.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

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

Zoho Books Logo

Best For Small businesses
Free Plan Free for companies with <$50,000 in annual revenue
Price From Paid plans start from $15/month
Top 3 Features Automated payment reminders, Customer portal, Multi-lingual invoices
Why We Picked It

Zoho Books is the best free accounting software for small businesses thanks to it’s free plan for companies with less than $50,000 in annual revenue.

The free plan allows your accountant to, alongside basic accounting tasks, manage up to 1,000 invoices per year, track all expenses, and general advanced reports. You even get a client portal on the free plan.

Additionally, you’ll receive real-time notifications for every client action, including when they view your invoice, accept or decline it, leave comments, or make payments.

You can send automated reminders to customers with overdue or sent invoices. Large payment volumes or other priorities might delay their payments, but don’t let this hinder your cash flow. Simply send a manual reminder or set up an automated reminder for your customers to ensure timely payments.

Pricing

Zoho Books offers one of the best free plans on the market for businesses with budget in mind, given the fact that you’ll have access to virtually all of the essential accounting features.

Most small 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 accounting software.

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

Zoho Books is the best free accounting software for small businesses thanks to it’s comprehensive free plan offering for businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Zoho Books

3. ZipBooks — Best for Online Retailers

ZipBooks Logo

Best For Online retailers
Free Plan Free forever
Price From Starting from $15/month
Top 3 Features Unlimited Invoices, Vendor and customer management, Basic financial reports
Why We Picked It

ZipBooks is a simple free accounting software suitable for online retail businesses. 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 and doesn’t incur any fees for accepting payments.

The limiting factor of ZipBooks’ free plan is that you can only connect a single bank account to the accounting software. It also only offers rudimentary reporting, doesn’t include automatic payment reminders on the free plan, and doesn’t cover payroll.

Pricing

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.

  • Free — Free forever with unlimited invoicing
  • Smarter — $15/month
  • Sophisticated — $35/month
  • Accountant — Custom quote
Who's It Best For

Zoho Books is best suited for online retailers thanks to the accounting solutions free plan including vendor management.

Pros

  • 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)

Cons

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

4. Odoo — Best Free All-in-One Platform

odoo logo

Best For All-in-one accounting platform
Free Plan One app for free
Price From From $24.90/month per user
Top 3 Features AI-powered invoice capture, Automated email and SMS follow-ups, Dynamic tax calculations
Why We Picked It

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 Odoo is a decent option if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution.

Pricing
  • 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.

Who's It Best For
Odoo is a good choice for businesses wanting a all-in-one solution and are willing to allocate budget to get the most out of the software.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Con 1
  • Con 2

5. FreshBooks — Best for Combined Accounting and Project Management

FreshBooks Logo

Best For Combined accounting and project management
Free Plan 30-day free trial
Price From $6.80/month for the first 6 months
Top 3 Features Professional invoices with automated reminders, Double-entry accounting tools, Project profitability and time tracking
Why We Picked It

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. It helps you monitor your cash flow, create a detailed chart of accounts, handle financial statements, track every billable hour, and ensure your team is in sync and all projects are delivered on time.

Pricing

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.

  • 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
Who's It Best For
FreshBooks is best for small business owners that want their project management tool to include accounting functionality.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

6. GnuCash — Best Free Open-Source Accounting

A logo of GnuCash

Best For Free forever open-source accounting
Free Plan Free forever
Price From N/A
Top 3 Features Double-entry accounting, Scheduled transactions, Multi-currency support
Why We Picked It

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, your small business can use it to run payroll for your team completely free, which is a huge plus.

That said, there are a few drawbacks of the platform for your small business that 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.

Pricing

GnuCash is free forever, with no contracts, setup fees, paid add-ons, or any charges whatsoever. Which is great if your small business is on a budget.

Who's It Best For
GnuCash is suitable for businesses requiring a 100% free accounting solution that are willing to accept a dated user interface.

Pros

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

Cons

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

7. FreeAgent — Best for Global Client Management

FreeAgent Logo

Best For Unlimited free invoicing
Free Plan 30-day free trial
Price From $12/month for the first 6 months
Top 3 Features Multi-language estimates, Individual employee expenses, Advanced time tracking on all devices
Why We Picked It

FreeAgent offers a one-month free trial, so you’ll be able to see the free version 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.

Pricing
  • 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.

Who's It Best For
FreeAgent is suitable for global client management thanks to it’s multi-language invoicing and multi-currency support.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • No free plan
  • A single pricing plan

8. Melio — Best for Payment Processing

melio logo

Best For Payment processing
Free Plan Free ACH bank transfers
Price From From 1% per transaction
Top 3 Features Combined and split payments, Payment tracking and updates, Personalized payment links
Why We Picked It

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.

Pricing
  • 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.

Who's It Best For
Melio is the best free tool for processing payments.

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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 Unlimited free invoicing - 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 All-in-one accounting platform - AI-powered invoice capture
- Automated email and SMS follow-ups
- Dynamic tax calculations
One app free
FreshBooks Accounting with project management - Professional invoices with automated reminders
- Double-entry accounting tools
- Project profitability and time tracking
30-day free trial Paid add-on
GnuCash Free open-source accounting - Double-entry accounting
- Scheduled transactions
- Multi-currency support
Free forever
FreeAgent Global client management - Multi-currency, multi-language estimates and invoices
- Individual employee expenses
- Advanced time tracking on all devices
30-day free trial
Melio Payment processing - Combined and split payments
- Payment tracking and updates
- Personalized payment links
Free ACH bank transfers
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.

Free accounting software can be a great starting point for growing businesses with tight budgets. The free version 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.

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 choose the right accounting software for your business:

BudgetEase of UseCompatibilityKey FeaturesScalabilityCustomer Support

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?

How difficult would it be to utilize the accounting software for day-to-day business tasks? 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.

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 that would enable you to manage your finances on the go.

The best free accounting software for you will have the features most crucial to your operations. 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 full-featured software than to end up paying less for a tool that doesn't do what you need it to.

 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.

Check the available methods for contacting 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.

FAQs

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Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert
Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert

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…