Whether you’re a small business owner, independent consultant, blogger, or freelance professional, keeping tabs on your money is an important aspect of running your business.
Unfortunately, bookkeeping and accounting related tasks tend to be a challenge for most entrepreneurs or self-employed folks. In fact, up to 60% of self-employed and small business owners feel that they are not knowledgeable enough about accounts and finances.
A further 35% of self-employed contractors get stressed over making mistakes when they do their accounts. Mistakes aside, another concern for most entrepreneurs is the time it takes to complete accounting tasks and how complex they can get.
If any of these have been your headache, accounting software may be the solution and thanks to technology, you don’t necessarily need to be a tech wizard to make the most of it.
With a plethora of accounting software, bookkeeping software, and invoice generators available today, you’ll find something suited to your business.
What is the Best Accounting and Bookkeeping Software?
Just as every business is unique, most accounting and bookkeeping software options available today vary widely. There are options suited for creative professionals, small businesses, growing business and even those that come with custom features upon request.
The best software for your business ultimately, will be one that not only best suits your current business needs, but can handle your business’ needs especially when it starts growing.
It should also offer specific features that will help to smooth your business interactions with clients e.g invoicing and contracts.
In our post today, we’ll look at the best accounting and bookkeeping software based on their features, user-friendliness and budget so you can make an informed decision about which one will best fit your business needs.
Let’s get started!
Best Cloud Financial Management Solution and ERP Software for Large Businesses and Enterprises.
NetSuite is known for its pioneering work in cloud-based software. Established in 1999, it was later bought by Oracle in 2016, to form Oracle NetSuite.
Unlike other software mentioned on this list, NetSuite is in a class of its own because it does more than just accounting, it is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software.
This simply means it lets you use a system of integrated applications to manage your business and automate different parts of your business including finances. From project and warehouse management, to inventory and even CRM and ecommerce management, NetSuite does it all.
Its accounting features are extensive, covering all major bases of both accounts payable and accounts receivable including
- Cash management and expense tracking (income and expenditures)
- Fixed asset management
- Payroll management
- Tax compliance and management
- Purchase orders
- Duplicate payment alerts
- Fraud detection
- Recurring billing, online payment processing and partial payments.
The most outstanding feature of NetSuite is its customizable workflows. Because the software has so many layers of functionality and integrations, you can customize it to suit your organization’s workflow and needs if you have the tech muscle.
NetSuite’s pricing is different from its competitors in that it sells the base software license for a one-time fee of $999 per organization after which you’ll pay $99 per user per month.
- Solid customer relationship management features.
- ERP features can work for a large variety of businesses.
- Thorough accounting features
- Unlimited reports for all aspects of your business.
- Custom process workflows
- Customizable software with API support
- Feature set may be overwhelming and confusing
- Not beginner or user-friendly
- Expensive to get started with and maintain
Best Feature-Rich Accounting Software and Invoice Generator for Small Businesses and Freelancers.
As one of the leading names when it comes to accounting software, Quickbooks Online created by Intuit offers multiple bookkeeping and accounting software products aimed at different kinds of business owners; be it the freelancer, small business or medium sized business.
Considering its wide number of powerful features available even on their most basic plan, Quickbooks Online has rightfully earned its reputation as the go-to accounting solution for small to medium-sized businesses.
The fact that it is cloud-based and comes with free mobile apps make it easily accessible from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. Thus you can take your accounting along with you no matter where you go.
Track your cash flow, manage bill payments and receipts and do your taxes all from within one easy-to-use platform designed precisely for your business.
Whether you’re a one man team or a group of twenty, Quickbook has features that will help you and your team keep a thumb on your financial health at any point in time.
One thing that is unique to Quickbooks online is their Live Bookkeeping Service. It’s one thing to enter financial transactions into the software, issue invoices, send out contracts or manage payroll.
But it’s a whole different ball game to make sure those records are up-to-date, accurate and closed properly at the end of each month. This is where their live bookkeeping service comes in handy. The service is billed in addition to your regular Quickbooks online subscription.
You’ll be assigned a virtual bookkeeping expert available via one-way video chat who will help you set up your bookkeeping, link it to your accounts, do mid-month checks and reconciliations and close your books properly by month ending, sending you a trial balance via PDF for approval.
Other notable features include
- Third party integration with apps like Square, PayPal, Shopify etc.
- List and manage your products from anywhere on the web to increase brand awareness and find new customers e. g. Woocommerce, eBay, Amazon, Shopify, Squarespace etc.
- Track employee or client time and billable hours to automatically add to an invoice.
- Manage your projects and know-how profitable each one is with clear visuals and reports on expenses vs income.
Quickbooks Online has four pricing plans. All plans allow you to track expenses and income, capture receipts and payments, issue invoices, track both business and personal trips and create reports.
The Freelancer plan starts at $15/month and is perfect for consultants and freelance professionals who have to do everything on their own, including 1099 forms if you’re in the U.S.
The Simple Start plan bills at $25/month and is perfect for small business owners who deal with 1099 contractors.
The Plus plan bills at $70/month and gives you time, inventory and project profitability tracking and allows up to 5 users.
Finally the Advanced plan, which bills at $150/month gives you 25 users with customizable roles and access, automated workflows, batch invoices and expenses, business analytics and on-demand online training.
If you’d like their Live Bookkeeper Service in addition to your subscription, you’ll have to pay a minimum of $200/month for your $25k in expenses monthly, $400/month if your monthly expenses are between $25k-$150k and $600/month if its above $150k.
Currently Quickbooks Online is offering 50% off all its plans for the first three months so if you sign up today, you’ll get your first three months at half-price!
- Free 30-day trial
- Third party app integrations
- Free mobile apps for both iOS and Android
- Receipt capture for easy expense uploads and matching
- Large tutorial and webinar library for learning
- Software is sometimes glitchy
- Customer support isn’t always responsive
Not sure if you’re ready to sign up now? Take Quickbooks online for a test-run with their FREE 30-Day trial today.
3. Sage 50cloud.
A Good Accounting Software Tool for Medium-Sized Businesses, Accountants and Accounting Firms
Formerly known as Peachtree Accounting, Sage 50cloud accounting is the ideal solution for medium-sized businesses. Trusted by 400,000+ users, it is available in both cloud-based and desktop versions, making it easy to manage your accounting regardless of where you are.
Sage 50cloud lets you connect your bank account so you can automatically track receipts, record sales, and monitor your overall cash flow, saving you time and helping you get more accurate records of your business transactions.
Again in relation to your business transactions, the software lets you manage multiple payment methods including cash, cheque, and card payments.
You get profit and loss as well as balance sheet reports too so you know how well your business is doing and can even set lock dates for when you want to close your books.
Not sure how to do your month or year-end processing? Sage 50cloud comes with built-in step-by-step guides to show you how.
If you tend to do a lot of collaborating with your accountant, the Sage Drive feature makes it easy. Sage Drive lets you work together from home, office or even on the road without having to leave the software running at work.
You get to securely share your accounting data in real-time without having to wait for file transfers and see the exact changes your accountant makes and how they are influencing your business.
Sage 50cloud has three pricing plans, all of which offer automatic bank reconciliation, multi-currency invoicing, custom quotes, and branded invoices.
The Sage 50Cloud Pro accounting plan is perfect for solopreneurs, traders, and small businesses. It allows access from any device from anywhere. The plan starts from $56.08/month per user.
The Sage 50cloud Premium accounting plan is better suited for businesses with 1 – 5 users and bills at $84.58/month per user and provides advanced features.
The Quantum plan which gives you all premium features of Sage 50cloud plus industry-specific customizations at $139.58/month per user.
- 30-day free trial available
- Videos and tutorials for easy learning
- Link directly to bank accounts for easy tracking
- Desktop and mobile apps available for both Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android respectively.
- Allows real-time collaboration with your accountant.
- The software may be a bit confusing for new users
- No third party app integrations
- Doesn’t have the time-tracking feature
Currently, Sage 50cloud is offering 50% off annual subscription on all plans if you subscribe for the annual plan. Take advantage of the offer today!
Best Budget-friendly Accounting Software for Medium-Sized Businesses with the Most Features.
FreshBooks is another popular accounting and invoicing software owned and run by 2ndSite Inc. founded in 2003.
It initially started out as an invoicing software but has grown over the years to become a trusted name in accounting for solopreneurs, start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses.
FreshBooks has two versions, FreshBooks Classics which is the older version. The main difference being that FreshBooks Classics is mainly invoicing software without accounting capabilities, whereas FreshBooks is actually accounting software plus invoicing software.
The tool has seen regular updates over the years to include functionality like double-entry accounting which is the industry-standard bookkeeping method for accountants and other small business accounting.
Some other recently added features to FreshBooks include Chart of Accounts, General Ledger, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for all your sales transactions, reconciling your bank accounts and additional standard financial reports i. e Trial Balance and Balance Sheet.
In terms of pricing, if you’re a freelancer or solopreneur on the go, the FreshBooks Lite plan billed at $7.50/month covers everything you need to keep your business running smoothly while on the go.
It comes with unlimited custom invoices, allows you to accept multiple payment methods, up to five billable clients, unlimited time tracking and 200+ workflow integrations.
The Freshbooks Plus plan is perfect for small businesses with a growing clientele and offers all the features of the Lite plan plus 50 billable clients instead of 5, double-entry account reporting, automated recurring invoices, reminders and unlimited proposals for $12.50/month.
If your business is thriving with ever-increasing clients and a large team, the FreshBooks premium plan is designed for large and comes with 500 billable clients for $25/month.
If you have custom needs or would like a personal accounts manager, they also offer a custom pricing option which gives you more flexibility over which features you’d like for whichever number of clients.
- Free 30-day trial period
- Very user-friendly
- Time tracking and collaboration tools available
- Double-entry accounting function
- Third-party integrations available
- Customization option in case none of the plans fit perfectly
- Estimate and retainer functionality.
- Simple product and service records.
- Built-in proposals and project tools
- Free and easy-to-use mobile apps.
- Dashboard could use some improving
Freshbooks is currently offering an additional 10% OFF if you choose to pay annually on any plan and 50% OFF for the first 3 months of your subscription if you sign up now.
Not sure if FreshBooks is right for you? Get started with a free 30-day trial here.
Best Accounting Software for Medium-Sized to Large Businesses.
Xero is a cloud-based accounting software based out of New Zealand that has been providing some serious competition for big-name accounting software brands since 2006. It supports over 2,000,000 users and is the main accounting solution for over 15,000+ accounting firms.
It was created from scratch with business owners in mind, providing every major financial feature you’d look out for in a small business accounting software; from cash flow management, bills, inventory, payroll, etc.
The software is a robust accounting solution with sophisticated accounting features, several reports, 500+ integrations, and no limit on users. One of its major drawbacks previously was the absence of project management features but its recent updates have solved that issue.
Now Xero offers two choices of project management features, Xero Projects for small to medium sized businesses which provides simple financial oversight into projects and WorkFlowMax which offers more customization and can be used without Xero for large businesses.
You can create separate records for your staff, suppliers, customers, and these can be further customized and used in your transaction records like purchase orders and invoices. Xero goes further to even let you manage your fixed assets too which you rarely find in other software.
Apart from its double-entry accounting feature, you still get all other standard accounting features including payroll tracking, bank account reconciliation, income and expense tracking, sales tax handling, accept multiple payment methods and financial reporting.
Xero’s has three pricing plans, each with the option to add paid extra users per month. The Starter plan goes for $20/month and allows you to send up to 20 invoices or quotes and 5 bills. You can also capture bills and receipts with their native solution, Hubdoc.
The Standard plan billed at $30/month comes with everything in the starter plus unlimited invoices and bills.
The Premium plan lets you handle multiple currencies in addition to reconciling accounting and sending unlimited invoices and bills for $40/month.
Currently Xero is offering 50% OFF its starter plan price for the first four months making it a perfect time to get started.
Not sure if Xero is for your business? Try it out with a free 30-day trial.
- Free 30-day trial
- Project management and tracking tools built-in
- 500+ integrations in its app market
- Expense tracking
- Poor customer support especially via phone or chat
- Mobile app doesn’t work smoothly
Get started with a free trial of Xero today!
6. Zoho Books.
Best Accounting Software For Small Teams and Solopreneurs
Zoho is better known as a creator of online productivity software than financial solutions, but it’s cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping solution is simply exceptional. With a rich set of tools and a visually appealing interface, Zoho Books is a great choice for small business accounting.
The software is easy-to-use, very flexible and provides features like standard bookkeeping, inventory tracking, sales and purchase logs as well as project and time-tracking.
Its crisp and clutter-free user interface shortens the learning curve making it easy to get started fast. Navigation-wise, everything is as simple as a well-labeled vertical panel with all the commands you need from banking to reports.
Because of its advanced functionality like extensive custom fields, automated workflows and a dedicated inbox for expenses, Zoho Books works great for businesses of all sizes, including large businesses. The only drawback being its limited payroll.
Zoho Books comes in three affordable pricing plans all made to suit any budget and with essential features for even those on a strict budget.
All plans come with customized invoices, recurring transactions, bank reconciliation, sales approval, projects and timesheets.
Their basic plan starts from $9/month per organization and offers 2 users plus up to 50 contacts for whom you can create transactions for.
The standard plan bills at $19/month per organization and allows up to 500 contacts, bills, vendor credits, reporting tags, 3 users and 10 automated workflows which is perfect for medium sized growing businesses.
The professional plan bills at $29/month for all standard plan features plus 500 contacts, 10 users, 10 automated workflows, custom domain, sales and purchase orders and a vendor portal.
- 14-day free trial or demo available
- Clean and easy-to-understand user interface
- Scalable and streamlined features
- Mobile apps for iOS and android available
- 40+ third party app integrations including Stripe. G-Suite, Square, Zoho CRM and Uber
- Very limited payroll support
Currently Zoho Books is offering 2 months FREE if you subscribe to their annual billing so take advantage and get started with Zoho Books today.
Best Financial Workflow Software for Automation of Accounts Receivable and Invoicing
While Bill.com is not actually an accounting software, its A.I powered automation and invoicing makes it worthy of being mentioned. Founded in 2006, it is the only software of its kind made solely to reduce how much time you spend entering cash inflows and outflows.
The software cuts down the time you spend on paying bills by learning which processes you do repetitively and moving the entire accounts payable process online. This means less data entry errors and better control of the software for you.
Aside from automating your accounts payable, Bill.com also has an accounts receivable function in addition to its invoicing feature, but it ends there. Since the software by itself is not an accounting software, you’ll need to integrate it with other accounting software to sync your data.
So why use Bill.com? Its accounts payable function is simply unbeatable. It will give your business a big efficiency boost by reducing your payable cycle. If your business mails out a lot of checks or invoices, Bill.com will cut down your time and paper costs significantly.
Again, if you want easily retrievable records especially for auditing, you can leverage the fact that Bill.com’s software moves your accounts payable process to the cloud. Thus there is an electronic trail of all transfers, so no data is lost.
The only downside is that Bill.com’s accounts receivable feature severely underperforms compared to its competitors, hence you’ll need some help from other apps if you’re looking for better performance.
Bill.com’s pricing starts from $39/month which lets you manage both accounts payable and receivable with up to 5 users. But if you’re looking to use accounting software, you’ll need to sign up for their $49/month Team plan which lets you integrate with Xero or QuickBooks.
The corporate plan billed at $69/month is perfect for medium to large businesses that need more automation for invoices and payments as well as custom approval limits. They also have custom pricing which is available upon request.
- Demo and free trial available
- A.I powered automation to give greater control
- Saves processing time for accounts payable
- Low processing fees for checks, wire transfers and other payment options they provide
- Not a budget-friendly considering its limited features
- Invoicing software and accounts receivable are too basic
- Poor customer care
If you’re looking for user-friendly accounts payable software, look no further than Bill.com. Try bill.com risk-free today with a free trial.
A Beginner-Friendly Cloud Accounting Software for Small Businesses and Contractors.
Touting itself as the ‘World’s Simplest Accounting Software’, Kashoo (pronounced like the word cashew) is your small business accounting software without fluff that helps you get all your accounting done in seconds.
The company built its software to specifically serve the small business owner and it does that exceptionally well. They provide simplified accounting software with the most essential features at pocket-friendly prices.
This they do by simplifying the entire onboarding process for their new users so the software can provide a more personalized solution to your business.
New users to Kashoo will first provide a description about their business, anticipated number of transactions, invoice details and sales tax for customers. You will also be able to link your bank accounts to the software so you can directly import transactions.
You can also specify roles like admin, editing and viewing permissions or integration with payment processors like Stripe, Square or Kashoo’s native payment processor at setup. Once the setup is done, your accounting comes down to drop-down lists with occasional data entry
For those moving to Kashoo from the old FreshBooks version (FreshBook Classics) you can easily import your existing clients, payments and expenses into the software.
One thing that stands out about Kashoo is that it offers double-entry accounting with a smart tool that automatically puts everything in the right category so you’re tax compliant. There are controls to prevent overwriting official bank data and prevent duplicate entries.
Other features that Kashoo offers include tracking income and expenses, invoicing, payment methods and financial reports just like standard accounting software.
Kashoo offers a single payment plan which bills at $19.95/month and offers unlimited users, scan-to-upload/picture to upload receipt matching, sales and sales tax tracking, and categorization with machine learning.
- 14-days free trial
- Clean user interface
- Simple, clean user interface.
- Automates most data entry
- Project cost tracking.
- Free and timely email, phone, and chat support.
- Payroll covered by integration with SurePayroll
- No time tracking available
- No mobile app available
Save up to $40 when you subscribe to Kashoo’s annual plan. Not sure if Kashoo is right for you? Try Kashoo for FREE with their 14-day free trial.
Best Invoice Generator for Subscription-based Businesses and Receiving Payments Online.
It’s one thing to send out invoices and bills, but when you need software that simplifies your entire monthly billing process for your subscribers, Chargebee is your answer. Founded in 2011, the company has quickly become the go-to-solution for accounting with recurring payments.
Chargebee is a cloud-based, PCI Level 1 compliant solution for recurring billing, SaaS and subscription-based businesses. This means maximum security for all your data. It has a fraud alert system to check any suspicious looking transactions and their IP addresses.
Where the software really shines is its integrations. Chargebee integrates with nearly every leading app that’s linked to running an online business or even a blog.
Be it CRM, email, shipping, payment collection etc, the software lets you automate anything that is linked to your revenue cycle. The list includes popular apps like Salesforce, Avalara, QuickBooks, Stripe, Paypal, Braintree, Zapier, Slack, Shopify, ShipStation, MailChimp etc.
On top of helping to streamline your business, Chargebee provides over 80+ detailed reports on your finances.
It also comes with GAAP-compliant Revenue Recognition and Deferred Revenue reporting to simplify anything technical in your accounting no matter your business size.
Chargebee offers a free trial but billing starts from $299/month billed monthly on their Rise plan. The plan offers 10 Users with unlimited payment gateways, multiple tax regions and metrics to track your business growth.
The more advanced Scale plan billing at $599/month billed monthly offers multiple payment methods in addition to the payment gateways, 25 users, advanced invoices and custom user roles.
If your business has specific customization needs, you can try the custom pricing by simply contacting their sales team.
- Free demo available
- Multiple third party integrations
- User-friendly interface
- Responsive customer support
- RevenueStory visual tool to understand your inflows better.
- Price may be a little steep for small businesses
- No mobile app available
Sign up for Chargebee’s annual billing plan and save up to $600. Schedule a demo or start with a free-trial today.
Cheap Bookkeeping Software for Freelancers, Solopreneurs and the Self-Employed.
Better known for its web hosting services, GoDaddy’s Online Bookkeeping service provides a simple way for you to manage your income and expenses, even if you don’t have the slightest idea about accounting.
You can quickly review any uncategorized transactions each month and can easily categorize them without having to do tedious data entry.
If doing taxes have always been a headache, GoDaddy Bookkeeping automatically calculates estimated taxes quarterly, so that by the year’s end most of your taxes have already been done.
It’s strongest selling point is its direct integration with Amazon, eBay and Etsy, making it a good choice for sellers who use these platforms because it lets you import all your sales data directly from these websites, removing the need to manually enter this information.
It also offers standard invoicing, lets you link directly to your bank account and import transaction history, tracking personal mileage and sending out quotes and estimates.
GoDaddy Bookkeeping plans start from $4.99/month(the Get Paid plan) making it one of the most affordable options on the list. With this plan you get
- Single-user access
- Accept payments via Stripe or Paypal
- Do your bookkeeping on your phone using the mobile app
- Track time and mileage
- Get reports for the current business year
The Essentials plan bills at $9.99/month and includes everything in the Get paid plan plus tax worksheets, bank and credit card transaction data imports as well as sales data from Etsy, Amazon or Ebay.
Finally, the Premium plan billed at $14.99/month gives you all the features of the previous two plans plus recurring billing and invoicing.
- Simple and easy to use
- Import sales data from Amazon, Etsy, Ebay etc
- Easy categorization and done-for-you tax worksheets
- Very budget-friendly
- Available on mobile
- Single user access only
- Extremely limited capabilities
- Can only be used if you have an existing GoDaddy account with any of their other products.
If you’re self-employed, a seller on Amazon, Etsy or Ebay or looking for an easy tax compliance solution, then GoDaddy Bookkeeping Online is for you.
Best Invoicing and Billing Software with Built-In Accounting for Service-Based Businesses.
PaySimple is better known as a payment processing platform that allows you to collect payments, send invoices and handle recurring billing. However, it is equally a worthy contender in terms of managing your finances.
With features such as cash flow reporting, customer management and electronic invoicing, this software may be all you need to keep tabs on your finances especially as a service-based business.
Because PaySimple is designed primarily as a payment processor, you get top-notch payment processing functionality including accepting mobile payments, POS and electronic checks which is a rare feature among its competitors.
Invoices are automated so you get timely payments and send out reminders to any outstanding or late payments thanks to PaySimple’s real-time reporting.
Apart from its great invoicing and customer management features, it integrates with QuickBooks Online so you can sync your transaction data easily and securely.
Your accounting becomes a breeze as QuickBooks automatically does accounting and taxes for you, reducing the risk of error.
The best part about PaySimple is you get all these features for a single monthly fee of $59.95/month and if your business processes more than $50,000 a month, you may qualify for an even lower quote.
- 14-day free trial available
- Responsive customer support
- Very user-friendly
- Electronic check processing
- Better automation of payments and billing
- Easy merchant account set-up
- Needs integration with Quickbooks for accounting functionality
Best Business Management Software for Collaboration and Streamlined App Integrations.
Like NetSuite, Scoro offers more than just accounting functionality as it is a full-fledged business management software. This award-winning product is loved by agencies, teams and consultancies around the world for its ease of use, customizability and efficiency.
With excellent reviews on platforms like G2 crowd and Capterra, Scoro has been listed in the Technology Fast 50 list by Deloitte, in the Inc. 5000 list, and has also been selected as one of the top software companies in EMEA by G2
Scoro claims to help you manage your entire workflow all in one place, from the first hello to the final invoice and that is exactly what the software does. It comes with a powerful combination of project management, billing and reporting as well as CRM tools.
Plus, it has excellent API integrations that let you connect with popular third party apps like Zapier, Google Calendar, MailChimp, Xero etc. No need to hop from one app to another just get work done anymore because Scoro lets you do it all from one place.
One of its most popular features is its live customizable dashboard. No need to go digging to find reports on your revenue, cash flow and other key indicators of your business health. Simply create a dashboard that shows you what you need to know daily from your settings and that’s it.
Scoro has four tiers of pricing all with a minimum of 5 users and offers free onboarding for teams of 9 people or less.
- The Essentials plan bills at $26/month per user with $6 per additional user and comes with full collaboration tools including shared calendars, timesheet views, quotes, receipts and invoicing.
- The Work hub plan bills at $37/month for the standard version and $49/month for the pro version which gives you added accounting functions like purchase orders, accounting objects and activity-based billing.
- The Sales hub plan also bills at $37/month and $49/month respectively for the standard and pro versions. If your team deals with in-house and outsourced services, suppliers, issues contracts and has mark-downs, this plan is ideal for you.
- The Ultimate plan is their custom pricing option especially if you have software customizations you’d want to include
Scoro is designed to suit businesses of different sizes and in different industries, especially in cases where there are many remote teams working together.
- User-friendly interface
- 14-day free trial available
- Easy to implement and set up
- Great tool for collaboration on business tasks
- Impressive project management features
- Customizable dashboard
- Expensive onboarding for large teams
Get started with a 14-day free-trial of Scoro today.
Best Full- Featured Free Option for Invoicing and Accounting for Small Businesses.
In terms of free accounting and invoicing software, Wave is simply as good as it gets. While many of its competitors are charging anywhere from pennies to fortunes, Wave is 100% free.
Don’t be fooled by its free price tag as its features are as good as any of its paid counterparts.
Wave gives organized and stress-free accounting at absolutely zero cost and yes, it’s double-entry accounting too. It lets you connect your bank accounts, sync your expenses, balance your books, and be tax-ready in no time.
Security wise, Wave leaves nothing to chance. Your bank data connections are not editable and use 256-bit encryption. It is PCI Level-1 certified for handling credit card and bank account information, so you have no need to fear.
Automate your invoicing, recurring billing and accept payments with Wave’s in-built payment processor.
Send out custom-branded invoices complete with its native payment processors so you can close more deals. You’ll get notifications once invoices are paid and it automatically reflects in your income.
Another special feature is its scan to upload for receipts. Whether you’re online or offline, simply take a photo of any receipt and it will automatically be synced into the software after you review and approve it.
While it may not have some of the flashier functions like (e.g payroll and time tracking) of its counterparts, its design and functionality work perfectly for its target market, which is small businesses and solopreneurs.
- Accounting and invoicing features are completely free
- User-friendly interface
- Integrated payment processing at a fee
- Multi Currency support
- Unlimited partners, collaborators and accountants
- Unlimited bank and credit card connections
- Add multiple businesses on one account
- Comprehensive reports on profit and loss, cash flow, and annual financial statements
- Capable mobile apps for both iOS and Android
- Payroll comes at a fee
- No time tracking
- No third party app integrations
Get started with Wave accounting for FREE today.
A Good Low-Budget Invoicing Software for Personal or Freelance Accounting.
Debitoor is a simple and intuitive invoicing and accounting software designed for anyone who is looking to send customized invoices on the go. The software claims to help you design and create your first invoice in under 1-minute, which goes to show how user-friendly it is.
Designed by UK-based company Sumup, the software is designed to appeal to the international market but with a bigger focus on European businesses.
Hence it is GDPR compliant and takes privacy seriously, while at the same time offering multiple currencies to appeal to a wider customer base. Apart from its security, it also lets you manage expenses and payments, send out reminders and delivery notes in a few clicks.
One of its unique features includes being able to set the price of taxes according to the laws of the country which you’re in. It has a dedicated section for the control of your expenditure and also integrates with Paypal so you can accept payments.
Other notable features include
- Open API for easy automation of workflows
- PieSync that supports contact syncing and imports
- Automatic bank accounts reconciliation
Debitoor has four pricing plans starting from just under $5.50/month for up to 100 invoices and expenses per year and one user through to approximately $26/month for unlimited invoices and expenses, 3 users, custom invoicing and tax plus profit and loss sheets.
- Free trial available
- Very intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Customized invoicing
- Very efficient and smooth-running mobile app
- Automatic bank reconciliation
- Functions are too limited even on advanced plan
- Allows three users maximum
- No time tracking, payroll or collaborator tools available
Sign up for a 14-day free trial of Debitoor and see if it’s a good fit for your business.
A Great Invoice Generator and Invoicing Solution for Small Businesses.
Created in 2002, Invoice2go was initially meant to be a Windows app but was quick to adopt the cloud-based SaaS model with a focus on building an excellent mobile app. Fast forward today, the software has 250,000+ users and counting.
Like some of its competitors, ease of use and an outstanding mobile app are its main selling points. In fact, its mobile app functionality rivals, if not surpasses, its desktop version which is unusual since mobile apps tend to be watered down versions of their desktop counterparts.
This all became possible after a major overhaul in 2016 to both the mobile and desktop apps, which now included the ability to use both offline and UI improvements.
In terms of features, Invoice2go gives you all the basic tools you need to create and send invoices on the spot plus a few little extras like time tracking, purchase orders, expense tracking and appointment scheduling.
Simple email reports will be sent to you too so you can track your revenue on a monthly basis, depending on the number of invoices sent and paid. The software also simplifies doing your taxes by creating readily exportable pdfs of your expenses to send to your accountant.
There are four pricing plans to choose from with Invoice2go.
The cheapest plan starts from $5.99/month and gives you 5 invoices, 5 clients and one user whereas their more popular Standard plan starts from $9.99/month and gives you 20 invoices and estimates, 25 clients, time and expense tracking as well as integration with Xero.
For unlimited invoicing, clients ,estimates and up to 5 users, try their premium plan which starts from $39.99/month.
- Clutter-free and user-friendly interface
- 30-day money back guarantee
- 30-day free trial
- Send estimate tool available
- Budget-friendly tools
- High-performance mobile app
- Very limited features on basic plan
- No live bank feed or collaboration tools
- Limited app integrations
- Hidden invoicing fees that inflate amount customer pays
Not sure if Invoice2go is right for your business? Try it out risk free for 30-days here.
Best Client Management and Invoicing Software for Small Businesses.
HoneyBook, is a relatively new online bookkeeping software that lets you streamline and automate your entire onboarding process for clients.
From sending out contracts, scheduling calls to generating invoices and following up on payments. If your current business workflow is disorganized, HoneyBook will help you automate the entire process, making it easier to book new clients and keep tabs on projects.
The software is designed specifically with small businesses, consultants and freelance professionals in mind, taking care of all the little tasks you need to successfully manage and cater to your clients.
Some of its outstanding functionalities include
- Easily create branded proposals to send in minutes using their built-in templates. No need to let a hot lead go cold just because of trying to write the perfect proposal.
- Have your clients pay directly and instantly when you send an invoice with their native payment options included with each invoice.
- Book multiple calIs directly from within the Honeybook app using its scheduling feature.
- Reach potential customers and manage your prospects with their impressive contact form and lead management system. Get notified when your prospect opens your email or goes through your proposal.
- Third Party app integration with zapier, Quickbooks, gmail and Google calendar.
HoneyBook features a single payment plan of $40/month for all their features including custom branding, payment processing and fraud protection.
- Free 7-day trial available
- Very beginner- friendly
- Great visual interface
- Unlimited clients and projects
- Built-in project management
- Responsive tech support team
- Notifications when a client views a proposal or pays an invoice.
- Community support for sharing business opportunities and referrals.
- May not be budget-friendly
- Features may be overwhelming to some
Sign up for HoneyBook today and enjoy and save up to $80 when you subscribe annually.
What is Accounting Software?
Accounting software is any software or computer program that allows you to track, record and monitor your business transactions and cash flow. In fact, in some instances, accounting software may temporarily replace the need to hire a full-fledged accountant.
This may be as simple as a providing a few columns to track incoming cash and outgoing expenses, or a customized solution that combines a lot amount of information from many different department
Today, software products for managing your business’ finances do more than just tracking expenditure and income. Some come with built-in payment processors, collaboration tools, receipt and invoice generators and as well different kinds of reports.
Generally speaking, accounting software comes with features like
- invoicing and billing to send invoices and reminders to customers regarding payments
- payroll to simplify employee tax deductions, benefits, salaries, overtime and generating payslips.
- reports like income statements, cashflow, trial balances and balances to help you know your company’s financial standing
- bookkeeping to help you track your sales, purchases and reconcile accounts and transactions.
Accounting software makes calculations and balancing expenditure and income easier to do and analyse. Apart from making calculations and tracking expenses easier, it also replaces physical paperwork or accounting books, meaning less need for physical storage.
Software that is designed for small businesses, freelancers or consultants and individuals may provide simple, easy-to-use features right out of the box whereas large businesses may need more customized and unique features to do the heavy-lifting for them.
For most small to medium-sized businesses, managing and keeping track of expenses and income can quickly become a chore.
Thus using accounting software will help you streamline the processes you use to track your expenditures and determine if your business is profitable or not.
Apart from determining if your business is in the red or not, accounting software also helps with simplifying taxes and audits. It provides the records you’ll need to do your taxes on time and accurately.
If you happen to have external or internal auditors, your software’s records provide a reference point for review. Because all your financial information is in the software, you’re less prone to having missing or mismatched records.
Regardless of your business size, needs or budget there is an accounting software that will suit your needs.
Benefits of Using Accounting Software (including Invoice Generators).
Whether you run a blog, an e-commerce business, or are a coach/consultant, you’ll need to track your numbers. It’s important to know how much revenue your business is generating and how much more effort you’ll need to hit your next income goal.
This is where accounting software can come in handy. The best software will help you streamline your finances and stay on top of client payments, salaries, taxes, etc. The right software will make it easy to manage and automate your cash flow.
Let’s look at some of the main benefits of using accounting software and invoice generators.
1. It Saves You Time and Money.
The number one reason most entrepreneurs use business management software is to save time and money. Accounting software is no different. Bookkeeping and manually entering all business transactions can be time -consuming.
Apart from how much time it would take to enter the data and add all supporting documents, there is also the issue of storage space. Papers and books are bulky and easily get mixed up.
Using an accounting software will save you from all the stress of handling and filing paper documents as well as the added cost of paper. It makes it easy to enter and track all your financial details.
Again, aside from fast data entry accounting software reduces your staff needs. If you are a start-up or small business, you won’t need to hire an accountant from the get-go because the software will help you cover the basics.
2. It Reduces Errors.
As you are reducing paper costs and manual entry time, the next big problem is mistakes with entering details and calculations. Much as you may try to be accurate with calculating expenses and all, sometimes mistakes are unavoidable. This is where a software may come in handy.
Using an accounting software will automatically tally all your financial entries and expenditures, giving you a ready report without errors at any time. This is especially useful if your business has a lot of high volume, large sum transactions.
Again, in terms of bookkeeping and keeping track of your sales and purchases, there could be missed or wrong entries when these are entered manually. Using an accounting software to automate the process reduces the risk of missing out important data.
3. It Provides a Scalable Solution.
When you start your business, it’s normal to want simple, straightforward solutions to simplify your bookkeeping process. But as your business grows and you employ more staff, you may need something that allows multiple users and gives more functionality.
Using accounting software makes this process simple. Some software come with varied plans that allow multiple user accounts and more advanced features based on your business needs. This streamlines your business’ growth.
Accounting software makes it easy to increase your records without having to worry about losing some records or without having to move all your records each time you reach a new growth milestone.
4. It Simplifies Tax Compliance.
Filing taxes for a lot of small business owners can be a headache. From filling forms and making sure that you don’t miss any details.
An accounting software helps you properly track your revenue so that you avoid the risk of fines or penalties that come with tax errors.
If you previously used to hire someone to do your taxes for you, a good software may eliminate the need to do that.
Since all your records will already be properly logged, stored and calculations will be done. All you’ll need to do is simply fill your forms and submit them.
5. It Lets You Track Your Revenue.
The number thing that keeps any business open is cash flow. Not just any cash flow but positive cash flow.
In fact, 82% of businesses that failed cited a lack of cash flow as a factor in their demise according to one study.
You can only be sure of your business revenue and how profitable the business when you track your cash flow. When you keep tabs on your expenses that’s when you’ll be able to tell how much closer you are to your business goals.
An accounting software gives you options to enter details for any cash inflows and outflows( for example accounts receivable and accounts payable) to create balance sheets and make sure all your business spending is within your budget.
This makes it easy to know when your business is overspending so you can quickly correct and redirect your budget.
6. You Get Detailed and Actionable Reporting.
It can be a pain to create reports and track expenditures with manual accounting. In fact it’s not unusual for businesses to wait till the end of the year or the end of the quarter to do their calculations to know how profitable they were.
With accounting software, this is no longer a challenge. Your books are kept up to date and balanced always. Generating reports becomes as simple as the touch of a button.
This feature is also helpful in determining which products/services are best-sellers and which ones need to be scrapped. You can even find out which customers generate the most revenue for your company.
Whatever kind of financial report or documentation you need, leading accounting solutions are capable of providing detailed and actionable reports only limited by the data you enter in them.
7. Automated Invoicing and Payment Tracking.
Invoicing and payment tracking are key components of running any business. Invoices are a time-stamped itemized record of how your business transactions, deals and agreements with your clients or customers.
Thus generating accurate and readily editable invoices on-demand is important if you are looking to boost efficiency at work. Using accounting software that has a built-in invoice generator makes it easy to create multiple invoices easily.
This can be handy especially if you need to prepare detailed invoices in bulk to cover long lists of items or hourly rates. All you have to do is select what is being billed, enter any needed specifics and the software will do rest for you.
How to Choose the Best Accounting Software?
There are lots of great accounting software options available today, thanks to SaaS technology.
While that’s a good thing, it can equally be confusing since most of them come loaded with amazing features.
Below are a few key points to consider when choosing an accounting software for your business.
1. Your Business Needs.
One of the biggest factors that should influence your choice of software is your business needs and your industry.
Given that there is considerable overlap in accounting software features, it helps to note down what you think your business really needs.
Do you do a lot of invoicing or handle lots of clients? How big is your team? Will you be using the software alone or sharing it with an accountant?
All these are important because some software charge per user or limit invoices while others may not allow collaboration at all.
Knowing your business needs will help you narrow down your options based on the most important features first.
2. Ease of Use.
No matter how experienced you are in accounting, the last thing you want is a software that makes you spend more time figuring out how to use it or getting it to work right than actually using it.
This is an even bigger issue if you have a team with varying levels of tech and accounting experience. You want a software that is easy to understand with a straightforward user-interface that leaves little to confusion.
This could mean a neatly arranged, single dashboard with all important info and functions you’ll need or simple drop-down menus that make data entry easy. An intuitive user interface and software directly impact how useful and efficient it will be for you.
You may also want to check with customer support about any training, installation or onboarding processes necessary and if they come at a fee, as some companies charge extra for these services.
3. Feature and Price Flexibility.
Accounting systems are as diverse and varied as business itself can be. Thus no one accounting solution may be a perfect fit for your business.
If you have unique needs, it is worth looking out for a software that offers flexibility in add-on features and custom pricing to match.
Some software come with an API that lets you add your own customizations and imports while for others you’ll need to contact their support team for personalized changes to the software. A lot of companies offer custom pricing and customizations on their software for clients.
4. Reliable Customer/Tech Support.
Responsive customer support is crucial when you’re signing up for any software. With technology, things can go south at any time, and you’ll need responsive customer or tech support to resolve issues.
Check out review websites for feedback on how responsive a company’s support team is to complaints, fixing bugs and releasing updates to correct glitches.
5. Integrations and Connectivity.
In terms of connectivity, you need to consider if you’d like an online or offline product. Do you want cloud-based software or a desktop software? Or one with its own cloud storage to automatically sync data once there’s an internet connection.
Many businesses use multiple apps to run smoothly. Hence it’s important to find accounting software that can work seamlessly with your existing apps or better still pick the accounting software first and maximize whichever app integrations it has.
For most cloud-based apps, they offer integration with anywhere from 1 to 100+ other third party service providers.
Tips and Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Accounting and Bookkeeping Software
Accounting solutions today are advanced and have found ways to combine user-friendliness with what should have been a complex accounting process.
This makes it easy to master the basic accounting tasks fast and get set-up relatively quickly.
The mistake happens when business owners don’t explore beyond the basic functionality that their software provides especially if it is capable of doing so much more.
Applying some of the strategies and tips below will help you get the most out of your software and get a better grip of your business.
1. Review How You Work With Your Accountant.
Most software today allows for some level of automation especially of tasks that your accountant or bookkeeper would have done. An example is preparing taxes or balance sheets. A good software will probably have that functionality already built-in.
This means there’s no need to ask your consultant to do this, which may reduce billable hours or better yet, allow him/her to use that time for another productive financial duty.
You’ll maximize your accountant’s skills especially since accountants can do more than just crunch numbers.
2. Try out Budget and Forecasting Features.
Not every software may come with budget and forecast features, but if your software happens to have these features, don’t let them go to waste!
Forecasts let you see how your business will behave under different circumstances like losing a major client, introducing a new product or hiring extra staff.
Budgets on the other hand let you manage your spending especially as you grow and expand your business, so that you don’t end up incurring debt. They help you focus on specific areas of your business that you are looking to grow.
Once you have drawn up a budget, your software will help you match your spending to it so you stay on track.
3. Use the Mobile App.
A lot of business owners downplay how key your software’s mobile app can be in boosting its efficiency. You may assume you don’t have a need for it, but mobile apps are designed to keep your accounting close when you need it.
Some software let you directly upload photos of receipts to the cloud, while others help you send out instant invoices and estimates so you can close deals on the spot, rather than waiting. This is especially useful for independent contractors and consultants.
Whatever you use your software for, spend some time exploring how you can incorporate its mobile app functionality into your accounting to boost the software’s efficiency.
4. Use It With Your Team.
Some managers are weary of sharing financial information with employees, but with the right software you can share only what each person needs to know to get the job done.
You can create roles and grant varying levels of access to your team. This will boost efficiency and productivity at work. No more repeat requests for financial information just to complete another task.
For instance, you could allow your marketing team to have direct access to the company’s sales figures, let different departments view and update details of their own spending or let your sales team access client details.
5. Leverage Reporting.
Standard financial software can usually create multiple reports about profit and loss, balance sheets, invoicing etc. Knowing what kind of reports your software offers you is the first step to better understanding your finances.
The next step is paying attention to what the reports say and what patterns it may be pointing you to.
You may be surprised at some details like when you have the most sales, how long your sales cycle is, which items lead to repeat purchases, how many top paying clients you have etc.
By taking time to analyse what the reports say, you better position your business to explore opportunities, plug loopholes in your sales and better handle setbacks.
Types of Accounting Software Systems
We already know that accounting software is simply an application that is used to record how money flows in and out of your business especially for both internal and external review. It helps you determine how well your business is doing financially.
Any basic software that has features like account payables and receivables, stock management, billing, tax worksheets and balance sheet reporting. Basically, if it has to do with your business money, accounting software is supposed to handle it.
Nonetheless, it is clear from our list that not all accounting software is created equal. Apart from the basics of tracking your expenses and helping you do your taxes, accounting software today offers so much more.
Knowing the types of accounting software available on the market will help you make an informed choice especially when choosing something you intend to use long term or scale with your business.
Based on specific functions, accounting software can be grouped into four main categories.
However many software products available today combine some aspects of either two, three or even all four different systems to provide a one-stop financial management solution.
Billing and Invoicing Systems.
As we’ve seen from a number of options we reviewed earlier, billing and invoicing apps form a large chunk of popular accounting software.
This is understandable because every business runs on revenue or cash received from invoices and pays overheads.
These systems help you manage your daily financial tasks including but not limited to issuing invoices, writing checks, sending reminders about overdue invoices and sometimes even forwarding contracts.
Billing and invoicing software may or may not come with built-in payment processors, even though the latter is preferable to make payments easier for your customers.
They are necessary because they help you keep accurate records of outstanding payments as well as those received. They also let your business appear more professional and trustworthy to your customers.
The right billing and invoicing tools also help you keep accurate records of your business transactions so that it’s easier to do your taxes and compile reports like profits and loss statements.
Good examples from our list include Bill.com and Zoho Books
Payroll Management Software.
While the name may seem like it is meant only for businesses with large employees, payroll management software can actually do a lot more than just help out with salaries.
The best payroll management systems give you control over your account payables and receivables too. They can handle a wide variety of tasks including cutting deductions, salary deposits directly into staff bank accounts, creating tax forms and payslips etc.
Ultimately, they help you reduce calculation errors in relation to salaries and bonuses, save time, avoid data entry mistakes and possibly automate the entire process of paying your contractors and employees.
You also get detailed reports so you can track your salary spending.
Xero is a good example of a multi-faceted software that offers payroll management.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software.
This category may not be purely related to managing your finances but that is exactly why it is a whole category on its own.
As the name implies, it gives you a full 360 view of how your business manages all its resources so you can plug loopholes and maximize opportunities.
Thus ERP software covers everything from product planning, materials purchases, inventory and warehousing, distribution, marketing, finance and accounting and even HR. It shows you how all these different parts of your business are using cash and time resources.
Today’s ERP solutions take it a step further and even offer added modules for Customer Relations (CRM) and business intelligence so that your company can review its strategies and practices for better growth.
Oracle NetSuite is a good example of ERP software with accounting functionality.
Time and Expenses Management Software.
Time is money, that’s why being able to keep track of billable hours and expense tracking is a critical function of accounting and managing finances.
Most entrepreneurs are looking to shorten billing cycles and speed up approval of necessary expenditure.
Time and expense management systems will help you speed up the time between sending out invoices and collecting payments while tracking how much your business spends in overheads monthly. This is also especially useful if your business charges billable hours.
These apps let you collect payments faster and remove hidden bottlenecks from your billing cycle and expenses. They usually give you a graphical representation of how time and your expenses are influencing your cash flow, be it positively or negatively.
Like we mentioned earlier, most accounting software today, especially cloud-based versions combine parts of these functionalities together in a comprehensive solution for your business.
The extent to which these systems may be integrated depends on the kinds of businesses the software aims to serve. For example, ERP software is more likely aimed at large businesses compared to solopreneurs or independent consultants.
Always remember to choose a software based on your unique business needs, level of tech knowledge and also your budget.
Accounting Software FAQs
As one the very first accounting software to enter the market in 1998, QuickBooks is by far one of the most popular accounting software in use today.
It has seen numerous changes since then, including the creation of their cloud-based version, QuickBooks Online which is the preferred choice by most businesses.
Again, QuickBooks is one of the easiest accounting solutions for beginners and experienced users alike. Nonetheless, there are other options like Wave for freelancers and solopreneurs as well as Xero for medium-sized businesses and small accounting firms.
With its comprehensive suite of tools, Xero is one of the go-to choices for accountants and accounting firms alike. FreshBooks comes in a close second because it allows taxes for Schedule C type clients.
There are a large number of product offerings for small businesses today in terms of accounting, but QuickBooks Online is still the best option due to its ease of use, flexibility and adaptability for small businesses.
Xero and Sage 50cloud come in a close second due to their extensive feature set.
For freelancers, Wave (free) or HoneyBook are two of the best options. Both options provide essential features for running a freelance business like invoicing, overdue reminders and receipts.
They both also provide in depth reports on profit and loss, balance sheets and tax worksheets.
When it comes to choosing accounting software, the first thing to consider is your business needs, followed by budget and the number of users.
Free software usually comes with limits or without advanced features which you may need for your business, whereas paid options give you the option to choose what you need and pay accordingly. They may also offer better security, customer support and customization options.
That aside, some free accounting software options are good enough to use as a solopreneur, self-employed person or a cash-strapped start-up. They may be a good starting point to use temporarily before moving to a paid option.
Ideally your accounting software will automatically sync with your bank account to record transactions including both credits and debits. It may then categorize your transactions as either expenses or income based on how you set up the software.
The software may either be downloadable or cloud-based. Cloud-based software offers more flexibility since it keeps your transactions up-to-date regardless of whether or not you have technical issues. It is also very secure and safe.
Apart from banking data, the software may also include details from invoices and uploaded receipts to create a more accurate picture of your cash flow. If bank data syncing is not available, you can enter some of these details manually.
This depends on the unique needs of your business. If invoicing is a big part of your business and deals with a lot of clients or contractors, then it would be best to go for an all-in-one solution.
Otherwise most invoice generators offer integration with third party accounting apps so you can still get the benefit of accounting software without necessarily having to pay separately for one.
Accounting Software Comparison
Whether you run a physical or ecommerce store, run an agency or blog or are simply self-employed, accounting software is an invaluable part of your business. It will simplify the recording and managing of your financial transactions.
Being able to track your expenses and income, reconcile bank accounts, manage projects and track time are all key features of any accounting software.
On the more advanced end are features like account payables, account receivables, tax worksheets and balance sheets.
- Our overall top recommendation is QuickBooks Online, as it offers many advanced tools that can work for small or medium businesses and is scalable.
- For freelancers and solopreneurs, Wave is a great free option that offers basic accounting plus invoicing for small businesses.
- If you’re looking for something suited towards large businesses and enterprises, try out Xero or NetSuite for a comprehensive solution.
- For billing and invoicing, FreshBooks and Bill.com let you send reminders when an invoice is overdue for payment as well as customized invoices.