If you’re like me, the last time you took an accounting class was in college. So, what do you do when you’re starting a small business and can’t quite justify an accountant? You find the best small business accounting software to meet your budget and needs.
If you’re just starting this search, it won’t take long for you to discover the accounting software landscape is a packed one. It can be difficult to know where to start, which solutions offer the features you need, and whether they’re better for enterprise or startup size. So, I’ve put together a list of the best accounting software just for small businesses.
Browse the list below and find a solution that will help your business grow -- and keep you from feeling like you’re failing your accounting midterm ... again.
Best for: Receipt capture, 24/7 chat support, and integrations with PayPal, Shopify, and Square make this a crowdpleasing small business software. All plans allow you to track income and expenses, send invoices and receive payments, run reports, send estimates, track sales and taxes, and capture and organize receipts. More advanced plans allow you to track inventory, manage 1099 contractors, track time, and even run full service payroll.
Pricing: Simple Start, $7/month for one user; Essentials, $17/month for up to three users; Plus, $30/month for five+ users
Best for: If you send out recurring invoices, need time tracking capability, or run a subscription model business, FreshBooks could be ideal for you. You can even see the exact location a customer opened your invoice -- to avoid those pesky “I never got it” excuses. They integrate with many business applications and provide you with a single dashboard to manage your finances and accounting. Regular secure backups are included, and a mobile app allows you to keep track of your business at all times.
Pricing: Lite, $15/month for five clients; Plus, $25/month for 50 clients; Premium, $50/month for 500 clients; Yearly plans available for 10% off
Best for: If you’re operating as a freelancer, or have just a few employees, Wave could be for you. Most of its services are free, including invoice- and transaction-management. And all of your information syncs with Wave’s software, so your bookkeeping is always up to date. However, if you’re looking for built-in time tracking, inventory tracking, or project management, you’ll likely need a different software.
Pricing: Accounting, free; Invoicing, free; Receipt scanning, free; Online payments, 2.9% + $.30/transaction; Payroll, $35/month base fee in tax service states and $20/month base fee in self-service states
Best for: Sage works well for small- to medium-sized businesses. You’ll spend less time on administrative tasks, since Sage sends invoices, tracks payments and expenses, and calculates what you owe come tax season. Time tracking and collaboration tools are two things you won’t get with Sage, and payroll is a separate product.
Pricing: Pro Accounting, $46.83/month for one user; Premium Accounting, $72.41/month for one user; Quantum Accounting, $182.91/month for three users; Yearly plans available
Best for: Do you conduct most of your business on the go? Xero allows you to send custom invoices, track inventory, and create purchase orders to attach to bills -- all from your phone or tablet. Get financial performance reports sent straight to you, and connect your bank account for a seamless experience. If you need payroll services, you’ll have to use them through Xero’s partnership with Gusto. And if you value live support, you should probably look for another provider.
Best for: Want accounting software known for its ease of use? Give Zoho a look. Perfect for helping your small business manage cash flow and finances, Zoho also offers excellent support, the ability to accept payments online, balance sheet creation, and an easy-to-read dashboard users love.
Pricing: Basic, $9/month per organization; Standard, $19/month per organization; Professional, $29/month per organization; Yearly plans available at a discounted price
Best for: This low-cost option integrates with and imports data from Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and your bank accounts. It puts that data to use creating invoices and calculating quarterly tax estimates. If you sell over one of the sites listed above, GoDaddy could be a good option for you. However, if you’re looking for a solution offering project management, extensive reporting, and international billing capabilities, GoDaddy won’t meet your needs.
Pricing: Get Paid, $4.99/month; Essentials, $9.99/month; Premium, $14.99/month
Best for: Perfect for small businesses searching for a truly simple solution, Kashoo tracks expenses, enables customized invoices, offers insightful reporting you can share with your accountant, integrates with Stripe and BluePay to accept credit card payments, and provides real-time bank feeds.
Pricing: Annual, $16.65/month or $199.95/year; Pay As You Go, $29.95/month
Best for: If mobile isn’t a deal breaker for you, AccountEdge could be just what you need. It provides double-entry accounting tools -- from time billing and reporting to inventory -- that are customizable and optimized for desktop users. Like the software but really need a mobile option? A cloud-collaboration option is available for purchase.
Best for: Another double-entry accounting solution, this software is especially advantageous if you’re focused on inventory management and pricing. It syncs with your bank, categorizes bank entries, and validates suggested entries so your books are done quickly and accurately.
Pricing: Self, $9/month; Pro, $19/month for two users; Plus, $29/month for three users; Team, $69/month for seven users; Unlimited, $169/month for unlimited users
Best for: If you’re a deadline-driven business, Tipalti can help you meet them every time. Late payments, non-compliance, and administrative overload are all issues they aim to correct. They can streamline international payment processing in around 190 countries, automate your payment operations, and even make sure you’re tax compliant.
Best for: If you’re a small- to medium-sized business that needs help streamlining payroll, automating tax filings, and entering payment data, you might consider OnPay. The solution can also manage benefits including compensation insurance, health insurance, and 401(k). You’ll also receive unlimited payroll runs for W-2 and 1099 workers. And, OnPay can estimate your payroll taxes, manage tax form filings, and even pay your taxes. A bonus here? They’ll also take responsibility for any tax filing errors committed while using the product.
Leaving your accounting to chance -- or an intern -- is never something you want to do. Invest in the right software early on, and know when it’s time to upgrade, outsource, or find a solution that better fits your company’s needs as you grow. Happy number crunching!
Originally published Nov 1, 2018 7:30:00 AM, updated February 05 2019