15 Best Small Business Accounting Software Tools for Growing Businesses
by Braveen Kumar Backoffice Jun 10, 2020 11 minute read Leave a comment Email Pinterest Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
While there is certainly no shortage of small business accounting software available today, choosing the right tool can be deceptively challenging.
With so much overlap in functionality and considerable differences in pricing, it’s all too easy for business owners to end up choosing the wrong accounting tool. After even a modest length of time, switching to another accounting program can seem more of a hassle than it’s worth––a great example of the sunk cost fallacy––which makes choosing the right tool in the first place particularly important.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best small business accounting software tools for independent businesses. We’ve separated our list into two categories: cloud-based web applications, and desktop applications.
Cloud accounting software
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: Android, iOSPrice: Plans begin at $15 per monthFree trial length: 30 daysShopify app or integration: Yes
One of the most popular and well-known small business accounting tools available today is FreshBooks.
Many of FreshBooks’ tools feature smart assistive technologies and automations designed to make bookkeeping easy. FreshBooks can be configured to automatically reconcile credit and debit amounts and can automatically import financial data from a range of sources. Users can also adjust access permissions on an individual basis. For example, employees can be granted limited access to financial reports, while you can give your accountants administrator privileges.
Pricing starts at $15 per user per month for the Lite plan.
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: Android, iOSPrice: FreeFree trial length: N/AShopify app or integration: No
Many of the small business accounting software tools we’ve looked at so far have been inexpensive. But for newly launched independent businesses, even inexpensive can be a little too much initially. Wave, an accounting tool designed for small businesses, understands that problem, which is why Wave is 100% free.
Available for Windows and OS X, and with Android and iOS apps for invoicing and receipts, Wave is ideal for independent businesses still finding their feet. Wave can do almost everything premium accounting software tools can do, including expense management, banking reconciliation, payroll, and invoicing.
If all this sounds too good to be true, sign up for a free account and see how Wave can help you manage your business’ accounts in less time––all without spending a dime.
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: iOSPrice: Plans begin at $15 per monthFree trial length: 30 daysShopify app or integration: No
Aimed at business owners who might lack experience with bookkeeping, ZipBooks is a simple, lightweight small business accounting software tool that takes the headache out of accurate accounting.
ZipBooks keeps everything as simple as possible. The product emphasizes the basics, such as accounts receivables, so users won’t be surprised by any complicated menus or intimidating features. ZipBooks’ statements and reports are similarly clean and minimal, focusing on the essential information entrepreneurs need to run their business.
The product’s Starter plan is free and includes unlimited invoicing, basic reporting, and a single bank account connection. Additional plans start at $15 per month.
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: Android, iOSPrice: Plans begin at 10€ (approx. US$13) per monthFree trial length: 14 daysShopify app or integration: Yes
Even simple accounting can be time consuming, which is why Holded aims to automate much of the busywork inherent to bookkeeping so you can get on with actually running your business.
Holded is a cloud-based accounting tool that offers real-time insights into the finances of your business. Users can integrate Holded’s general ledger with a range of financial data sources to provide at-a-glance overviews of profits and losses, forecasting and reporting, and detailed accounting histories, all with just a few clicks.
Holded is a deeply integrated accounting solution that offers major time savings. Pricing starts at roughly $11 per month, with a 14-day free trial.
5. Sage 50cloud
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: NoPrice: Plans begin at £65 (approx. US$82) per monthFree trial length: 30 daysShopify app or integration: No
Sage 50cloud Accounting is a comprehensive, cloud-based accounting software product with extensive customization options and advanced functionality.
The product’s Pro Accounting plan––the least expensive option, available for $50.58 per month––is aimed at smaller, independent businesses. It can handle a range of accounting tasks, including expense management, invoicing, and inventory tracking. Sage 50cloud Accounting also integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office.
Sage’s other plans offer additional features, such as role-based security privileges and account management for multiple companies, but may be prohibitive for smaller businesses with more modest administrative budgets.
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: iOSPrice: Plans begin at $16.65 per monthFree trial length: 14 daysShopify app or integration: No
Kashoo is small business accounting software that aims to help business owners automate much of the administrative work behind bookkeeping.
Thanks to machine-learning algorithms, Kashoo understands your business better the more you use it. Everything from receipt categorization to sales tax tracking is analyzed by Kashoo, which lets the tool make individualized recommendations on steps to save money, minimize waste, and streamline overall efficiency.
Kashoo’s intelligent, automated approach to accounting won’t be for everybody. Kashoo costs $199 per year (about $16 a month), but business owners interested in its approach to bookkeeping can sign up for a free trial.
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: AndroidPrice: Plans begin at $9 per monthFree trial length: 14 daysShopify app or integration: No
Like Kashoo, OneUp aims to make bookkeeping a much more streamlined process by automating routine tasks.
Over time, OneUp “learns” how your accounting works by analyzing inputs, such as bank account transactions. OneUp then prompts the user to validate suggested reconciliations with a single swipe on a mobile device. These validations further train OneUp’s algorithms to offer more accurate suggestions in the future. OneUp can also match individual bank transactions with overdue invoices, saving business owners even more time.
You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of OneUp or get a plan starting at just $9 per month for individual users.
8. Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT
Available for: Web application Mobile app: Mobile access available via mobile web browserPrice: Available by requestFree trial length: N/AShopify app or integration: No
Nonprofit organizations face an entirely different set of financial challenges than for-profit businesses. Unfortunately, not every commercial accounting product addresses these differences in their functionality, which is why nonprofit organizations may want to consider Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT for their accounting needs.
Financial Edge NXT is fully compliant with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in the US. The product allows nonprofit accountants to budget many years in advance, and the tool’s dashboards can be customized to suit the needs of your organization.
Prospective NXT customers can contact Blackbaud directly for pricing information.
9. Accounting Seed
Available for: Salesforce, web applicationMobile app: Yes, via the Salesforce appPrice: Available by requestFree trial length: N/AShopify app or integration: No
Many small business accounting tools are standalone programs that exist in isolation from the core of a business. This is most definitely not the case with Accounting Seed, which integrates tightly with Salesforce to offer insights into every aspect of your business’ financial operations.
Accounting Seed is a cloud-based accounting solution native to the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) platform that can serve as a single, authoritative source of financial truth for your business. You don’t need to be a Salesforce customer to use Accounting Seed, as the product is available as a standalone web application. It’s easily customizable without manual IT deployments or custom code, making it an ideal solution for business owners who lack advanced technical knowledge.
Unfortunately, Accounting Seed’s pricing isn’t publicly available, but business owners can contact Accounting Seed directly for a quote.
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: Android, iOSPrice: Plans begin at $9 per monthFree trial length: 30 daysShopify app or integration: Yes; third-party integrations available
For business owners who find themselves constantly on the go, Xero might just be the accounting tool they’ve been waiting for.
Xero is an intelligent accounting software tool aimed at small businesses, with an emphasis on ease of use and mobile utility. Xero can be synced across multiple devices and offers users updates in real time, giving business owners the latest information wherever they might be.
The product features a clean, intuitive user interface and can handle a range of accounting tasks, including payroll (via an integration with Gusto), expenses, billing and invoicing, and sales tax calculation, among other features. Pricing starts at $4.50 per month.
Available for: Web applicationMobile app: Android, iOSPrice: Plans begin at $149 per monthFree trial length: No free trial, but Self-Service plan is freeShopify app or integration: No
Accounting and bookkeeping can be tedious and time-consuming, which is why Sunrise makes accounting simpler, easier, and more intuitive.
Sunrise helps you manage your business’ accounts. The tool lets users create branded invoices with just a few clicks, create and send quotes to customers, build reports quickly, and gain an at-a-glance overview of their business’ financial health.
Ideal for DIY accountants, Sunrise is all about simplicity. Self-service plans are free, with additional plans starting at $149 per month.
Desktop accounting software
12. QuickBooks Online
Available for: OS X, Windows, web applicationMobile app: Android, iOSPrice: Plans begin at $25 per monthFree trial length: 30 daysShopify app or integration: Yes
Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is a popular bookkeeping tool that can help business owners handle their accounting quickly and easily.
QuickBooks has everything business owners need to take control of their bookkeeping. QuickBooks features a clean, simple interface and intuitive reporting, meaning even newcomers can get up to speed quickly. All QuickBooks plans include mileage and expense tracking, sales and tax reporting, and tools to manage 1099 contractors.
QuickBooks’ other plans offer additional functionality, such as inventory tracking, support for up to 25 individual users, and even access to a dedicated customer support manager. Plans start at $12 per month.
13. Express Accounts
Available for: OS X, WindowsMobile app: NoPrice: Plans begin at $8.83 per monthFree trial length: A free version of Express Accounts is available for businesses with fewer than five employeesShopify app or integration: No
Express Accounts is an inexpensive accounting tool for small businesses that strips away the bells and whistles of other tools to focus on the essentials.
Available for both Windows and OS X, this accounting tool is ideal for smaller, independent businesses with simpler accounting needs. Users can track sales and accounts receivable information, record recurring orders and repeat invoices, and create quotes, sales orders, and invoices.
Independent businesses with fewer than five employees can use Express Accounts for free, though this version does have some usage restrictions. Other plans start at $8.83 per month when billed quarterly.
Available for: Windows, web applicationMobile app: NoPrice: Plans begin at $99 per monthFree trial length: 30 daysShopify app or integration: No
Forecasting is an integral part of accounting, but few accounting tools put accurate forecasting front and center the way PlanGuru does.
PlanGuru is a suite of financial software products designed to help accountants and financial planners more accurately forecast future financial conditions. PlanGuru’s core product offers more than 20 separate forecasting methods and allows accountants to create financial projections for up to 10 years in the future.
With integrations for popular bookkeeping tools, including QuickBooks and Xero, automatic cash flow reconciliation, payroll utility, and preset reporting templates, PlanGuru can help business owners plan for the future. Pricing starts at $99 per month.
15. AccountEdge Pro
Available for: OS X (OS X Catalina not supported), WindowsMobile app: NoPrice: Plans begin at $50 per monthFree trial length: 30 daysShopify app or integration: No
AccountEdge Pro is a standalone desktop application for Windows and OS X that can handle a wide range of accounting tasks, from sales and receivables to contractor payroll.
Unlike many of the small business accounting tools featured on this list, AccountEdge Pro is not licensed on a monthly subscription basis. Instead, users pay a one-time fee of $399. AccountEdge is also available in a Basic edition, but this lacks many of the tool’s most useful features, including data migration from QuickBooks.
Read more: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Small Business Financing and Management
Accurate accounting means better business
No two businesses are exactly alike, and an accounting solution that works well for one business may not work at all for another.
While there’s a great deal of overlap between the small business accounting software above, only you can decide which tool is right for your business. Some business owners may see sophisticated reporting functionality as an essential feature, whereas some may prioritize automated reconciliation. Before investing in a new accounting system, it may be worth taking advantage of a few free trials before committing to a decision.
About the author
Braveen is a content creator and marketer at Shopify where he develops resources to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Outside of work, he enjoys writing and tinkering on side projects.