If you’re an entrepreneur running a business, you understand how important it is to stay on top of finances. Cash flow, taxes, and managing finances are some of the biggest challenges businesses face. Knowing who owes you and if you owe a supplier or creditor is crucial to success.

Starting a business solo can be challenging, and 85% of small business owners are sole proprietors. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or running a small to medium-sized business (SMB), accounting software can help you manage your finances easily and accurately.

While Excel and Google Sheets can be a great place to start with accounting, they lack advanced features. And inputting financial information can be a time-consuming, manual process. Some SMB owners are turning outsourcing or hiring virtual assistants to help with accounting, but there are other options that allow you to keep things in-house.

Luckily, there are some great accounting software options available to manage business finances. And -- better yet -- they’re free.

Best Free Accounting Software

1. Wave

Best for: Sole proprietors and small businesses

Wave offers an extensive list of features for free -- and they’re free forever. It’s a web-based software, and information is automatically backed up in the cloud. Wave allows you to manage accounts receivable, generate financial statements, and connect an unlimited amount of credit cards and bank accounts.

One downside of Wave? It doesn’t allow you to track accounts payable -- the money a business owes to its suppliers or creditors. But that’s offset by great software design, simple setup, and included email support.

2. ZipBooks

Best for: Small businesses looking to upgrade from spreadsheets

ZipBooks is a web-based software offering a free plan called ZipBooks Starter. This plan includes basic bookkeeping functionality and profit & loss and balance sheet reporting. ZipBooks includes invoicing and quote features -- and you can accept payment via credit card or PayPal. There’s a limit of one user and one connected bank account with the starter plan.

3. SlickPie

Best for: Small businesses with little experience bookkeeping

SlickPie is an easy-to-use software for those who lack bookkeeping experience. A huge perk of SlickPie is its automation features, which include auto-recurring invoices and a built-in app called MagicBot that allows you to automatically add bills and receipts. You can also manage accounts payable by manually entering bills and marking them paid.

4. GnuCash

Best for: Sole proprietors and small businesses

GnuCash can be downloaded for Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X. It handles multiple languages and currencies. And GnuCash tracks accounts receivable and accounts payable. It also offers some payroll features.

5. CloudBooks

Best for: Freelancers and small businesses

The free version of CloudBooks offers cloud storage, unlimited users, and email support. It has invoicing features but limits you to one client and five invoices. In order to get the unlimited invoicing features, a paid account will be necessary.

6. TurboCASH

Best for: Small and medium-sized businesses

TurboCASH offers a range of features, including spreadsheet integration and inventory and invoicing management. Its software can support multiple companies and users, and it offers advanced features accountants and those familiar with bookkeeping will have experience with.

7. xTuple PostBooks

Best for: Small and medium-sized businesses
XTuple PostBooks is an open-source software. Connect all bank accounts and credit cards you need to keep track of and manage accounts receivable and accounts payable. Since the software must be downloaded to your computer, one downside to this option is it doesn’t have cloud access.

Free accounting software is a great way to manage finances and simplify business processes. Looking to streamline your sales process? Check out this article on best sales tools for small businesses.

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Originally published Aug 24, 2018 7:30:00 AM, updated January 02 2019

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Entrepreneurship