Accounting software is used by individuals and business owners to enter income and expenses and track their finances. It’s more efficient and makes fewer mistakes than manual processing. It can also save time with features like automation and it gives the owner a place to store important documents and receipts to access at any time. If accounting isn’t your strength or even if it is and you want to save time, read on to see which accounting software is right for your business.
To determine the best accounting software, we researched more than 20 programs and applications before deciding on the top eight. We chose these based on the features and functions specifically designed for small business owners, ease of use, cost, and more. Here are our top picks.
The 8 Best Accounting Software for 2021
Best Overall : FreshBooks
FreshBooks is a Canadian-based company that was founded in Toronto in 2003. It uses cloud-based accounting and invoice software that can be accessed via iPhone, Android, and iPad apps.
It is our choice for best overall accounting software because it’s easy to use for business owners with little or no accounting experience, offers robust features and helpful functions, is reasonably priced, and can be used on the go.
FreshBooks' features include:
- Payment reminders
- Recurring invoices with customizable options including due dates and discounts
- Online credit card payments
- Multi-currency and language billing
- Automatic tax calculations for sales tax
- Tax-friendly expense categories
- Remembered vendors
- Time tracking with a Chrome browser extension
- Bank deposits, recurring payments, and auto bills with bank integration
- Tax help integrations with tax apps, estimates, deductions, and filing tools
- Easily integrates with other products including GSuite and Gusto
FreshBooks' pricing is tiered as follows:
- Lite: $15 per month for the self-employed business owner with five billable clients
- Plus: $25 per month for businesses with 50 billable clients
- Premium: $50 per month for growing businesses supporting unlimited billable clients
- Select: Custom features and pricing for businesses with unlimited billable clients
FreshBooks may also offer discounts or bundled pricing if you pre-pay, so make sure you check the website for any offers before you sign up.
Runner-Up, Best Overall : Intuit QuickBooks
QuickBooks is an accounting software developed and marketed by Intuit. Its latest cloud-based release was in 2019, but it also offers separate desktop options you can purchase and download. Its products are typically geared toward small and medium-sized businesses, and over seven million businesses use this software.
We chose it as our runner-up for best accounting software because it is easy to use for business owners with no accounting experience. It’s also quick to set up, reasonably priced, and offers tools and features that are helpful for small business accounting. It keeps everything organized in one place and keeps your business tax-ready all year long.
Features of QuickBooks include:
- Financial institution integration as well as integration with PayPal, Square, Shopify, and more
- Help to file quarterly and annual tax returns with user guides and exporting tax data
- Sales tax calculations, returns, and recorded tax payments
- Automatically sort transactions and expenses into tax categories
- Track expenses in one place
- Scan receipts and attach them to invoices
- Share with your accountant or export documents
- Create customized reports with cashflow tracking visible on your dashboard
- Track miles with your smartphone’s GPS
QuickBooks offers tiered pricing so you can pick the best plan for your needs:
- Simple Start: $25 per month for businesses just getting started
- Essentials: $50 per month for managing growing businesses, with up to 3 users
- Plus: $80 per month to help you get better organized and manage projects, inventory, and contractors, with up to 5 users
- Advanced: $180 per month to help your business grow with analytics, deeper insights, exclusive apps, automated workflows, and a dedicated support team, with up to 25 users each of whom gets customized access
Contact QuickBooks directly to see which specific features are included in each tier.
Best for Multiple Users : Sage Business Cloud Accounting
Sage Business Cloud Accounting, formerly known as Sage One, is a global brand that offers online accounting and business services. It was founded in 1981 in Newcastle, England, as a way to develop estimating and accounting software specifically for small businesses. It’s now cloud-based and allows you to choose your industry, company size, and needs. It will match you with specific accounting solutions and is used by over six million businesses.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a reputable company, provides software that doesn’t require any accounting knowledge, and is set up for use by multiple users. Your accountant can use the software and access your books for no additional fees.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting's features include:
- Manage business finances and cash flow
- Accept and receive payments
- Create and send invoices
- Manage payroll
- Available on all devices so you can check your financials on the go
- Integrate with your financial institution and other apps including AutoEntry, Zync, and more
- Tax compliance tools
- Dashboard view with easy-to-read financial reports and analysis
- Inventory control
- Forecast cash flow
- Share access with your accountant in real-time on any device
- Add-ons such as human resources management and estimating
Pricing is tiered for Sage Business Cloud Accounting as follows:
- Accounting Start: $10 per month for entry-level accounting to help manage cashflow
- Accounting: $25 per month for powerful cloud accounting with cashflow tools, invoice management, and quote/estimate capabilities for unlimited users
Contact the company directly for specific features your business may need.
Best for Experienced Accountants : AccountEdge Pro
AccountEdge Pro is desktop accounting software for small businesses founded in 1989 and has developed new features and enhancements over the years. If you need to access your finances on the go or from your smartphone, you can use their cloud-based app or their hosting platform. It’s geared toward small to medium-sized businesses, has a basic version and a pro version, and offers comprehensive accounting solutions full of customizations.
We chose AccountEdge Pro as our best accounting software for experienced accountants because of its robust features and reporting capability. It’s a bit more complex than some of the other software, so this software works best if you’re already familiar with accounting terminology.
AccountEdge Pro's features include:
- Bank feeds with integration
- Direct deposit
- Inventory management
- Payment processing
- Turn quotes into invoices
- Customer and vendor management
- Full-service payroll
- Free accountant copy
- Unique sales tax code per line item on a single invoice
- Data sync with company files
- Email support
Pricing for AccountEdge Pro is as follows:
AccountEdge Basic (Windows only): $149 one-time fee for one user, and $199 fee for phone support
AccountEdge Pro (Windows or Mac): $499 one-time fee or $15 per month for multiple users, $199 fee for phone support, and additional fees for licenses, payroll services, and more.
To find out more about what features are included and how much add-ons cost or to add custom features, it’s best to contact the company directly.
Best Value : Wave Accounting
Wave Accounting was founded in Toronto in 2010 and provides software and financial services. It’s an invoicing and accounting software that also has credit card processing and payroll services. It’s cloud-based, easy to use, and can be used by business owners with no accounting or bookkeeping experience. All of your data is backed up for extra security, and you can connect your bank accounts to sync your expenses at any time from anywhere.
We chose Wave Accounting as our best value accounting software because its accounting and invoicing services are free. Keep in mind that payroll services and credit card processing have charges associated with them, so not all of the features are free, and the free features aren’t as robust as some of the other software options. However, it’s great for new businesses, especially those working with an accountant or another software.
Wave Accounting's features include:
- Unlimited income and expense tracking
- Track sales tax on income and expenses
- Double-entry system
- Multiple users
- Dashboard with easy-to-read financials
- Organize income and expenses into tax categories
- Reports including profit and loss statements and cashflow
Pricing for Wave Accounting is as follows:
- The accounting, receipt scanning, and invoicing software is free with no hidden charges
- Credit card processing is 2.9% plus $0.30 for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover and 3.4% plus $0.30 for American Express
- Bank Payments (ACH): 1% per transaction with a $1 minimum fee
- Payroll: $35 monthly base fee plus $6 per active employee and $6 per independent contractor, and payroll taxes are handled by the company (only available in certain states)
Best Extra Features : Xero
Xero is a web-based accounting system designed for small and growing businesses. It was founded in New Zealand in 2006 and is used by small business owners, accountants, and bookkeepers. No accounting knowledge is necessary, and it’s generally considered easy to set up and use. It’s cloud-based and also has Android and iPhone apps. It’s known for its intuitive, easy-to-read dashboard, and can be used to collaborate with multiple users including team members, employees, and your accountant.
We chose Xero as our accounting software with the best extra features because it offers several useful features, including a Hubdoc where you can capture bills and receipts and project tracking and costs. It has a two-step authentication to keep your data secure, as well as different subscription plans for different business needs.
Xero's features include:
- Create expense claims
- Send invoices
- Fast bank reconciliation and integration with your financial institution and over 800 add-on apps including HubSpot and Square
- Up-to-date financial reports
- Business data protected
- Real-time cash position
- Collaborate with staff or your accountant
Pricing for Xero is as follows:
- Early: $11 per month, send 20 invoices, enter five bills, reconcile bank statements, and capture bills and receipts
- Growing: $32 per month, send invoices and quotes, enter bills, reconcile bank statements, and capture bills and receipts
- Established: $62 per month, includes all Growing tier features plus multi-currencies, expenses, and projects
Each plan comes with a free 30-day trial.
Best for E-commerce Businesses : GoDaddy
Established in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1997, GoDaddy is a big name in the web hosting and website creation space, but it also offers accounting software. It has tools to automate and organize your bookkeeping and accounting solutions and requires no prior accounting knowledge. You can automatically create and send invoices, accept online payments, and view business reports.
We chose GoDaddy as our best accounting software for an e-commerce business because this is exactly what the software is designed for. It’s made for e-commerce sellers, so you can get started in a few minutes, and it syncs to Amazon, Etsy, eBay, PayPal, and more. Keep in mind that GoDaddy is great for online sellers, but may fall short if you’re a small business looking for comprehensive accounting solutions including automation, tax forms, and payroll.
GoDaddy's features include:
- Syncing with online retailers
- Online payment processing
- Track sales and expenses
- Create and send invoices
- Recurring invoices
- View business reports including profit and loss
GoDaddy's pricing is tiered as follows:
- Get Paid: Starts at $4.99 per month and includes invoices and estimates, accepts payment from your smartphone, tracks mileage and time, and current-year business reports
- Essentials: Starts at $9.99 per month and includes everything from the Get Paid tier plus unlimited business reports, automatic credit card imports, and sales data imports
- Premium: Starts at $14.99 per month and includes everything from the Essentials tier plus recurring invoices
Best for Automation : Zoho Books
Zoho Corporation was founded in 1996 in India and is represented around the world. Its online accounting software lets you track your finances, create invoices, collaborate with your accountant in real-time, and more. It includes multiple products including accounting software, customer relationship management (CRM), inventory control, and human resource management software.
We chose Zoho Books as our best accounting software for automation because it offers robust accounting features and automation for bank feeds, categorizing, invoices, and more. It also has nearly 40 app integrations so it can be used with the software you’re already using. Zoho Books requires no accounting knowledge and can be easily set up. However, it only offers payroll features to companies in India, so if you need payroll solutions, you will have to choose another accounting software.
Zoho Books' features include:
- Tax compliance and audit reports
- Sales orders
- End-to-end accounting
- Reconcile bank transactions
- Client portal
- Reports and schedules
- Automatic tax calculations
- 1099 forms and sales tax reports that can be exported
Pricing for Zoho Books is tiered as follows:
- Basic: free annual subscription for businesses with up to $50,000 in annual revenue and includes two users, up to 1,000 invoices per year, payment gateways, and expenses and mileage tracking; with email support only
- Standard: $15 per month billed annually and includes up to three users, up to 5,000 invoices, and recurring expenses; with email, voice, and chat support
- Professional: $40 per month billed annually and includes up to 5 users, up to 10 automated workflows, timesheet tools, project profitability and retainer invoices; with email, voice, and chat support
- Premium: $60 per month billed annually and includes up to 10 users; up to 200 automated workflows, vendor portal, budgeting tools, and premium integrations; with email, voice, and chat support
What Is Accounting Software for Businesses?
Accounting software specifically tailored to businesses can be used instead of or alongside an accountant and it assists in recording and reporting your financial transactions. It helps you manage your accounts, track your revenue and expenses, and store your receipts and important financial documents.
It also helps keep you in compliance with tax law and prepares filings at tax time.
Why Do Businesses Need Accounting Software?
In our increasingly mobile world, all businesses should be using accounting software instead of keeping track of finances on paper or a spreadsheet. Not only is accounting software more accurate, but it also helps ensure double entries are set up correctly.
Accounting software helps businesses better manage and track their finances. It also includes automated features that organize receipts, reconcile data, and integrate with your financial institution so you don’t have to balance your business account or worry about adding the numbers correctly.
It also saves time, increases productivity, improves efficiency, promotes organization of documents, and can be used by multiple users including a bookkeeper or accountant. Additionally, accounting software makes it possible for financial data to become visible and transparent. If you want to find out how your company is doing financially, all you need to do is generate a report.
How Much Does Accounting Software Cost?
Accounting software varies in features and functions, so it also varies in price. Most software is offered as a subscription-based model where you choose your tier and pay monthly. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from about $5 to $75 per month, depending on the number of users and functions that you need the accounting software to handle. Other software offers a one-time fee, or lifetime subscription, option. This one-time fee ranges from $150 to $500 depending on how basic or advanced of a plan you choose.
Custom options are available, and custom pricing coincides with the features that you choose. Most software also offers add-on features such as payroll services, state tax compliance, CRM, human resources, and inventory control. These prices vary based on features, where you live, and the number of users.
What Does Accounting Software Include?
Accounting software should include features that manage your income and expenses automatically. This makes it possible for you to focus on making effective decisions for your company's planned growth.
For example, it can include features that handle accounts payable and receivable, track transactions including bank transactions, generate quarterly reports, and reconcile data so you don’t have to spend time doing it. It can also store documents securely, and some of the more expensive options offer features like payroll or integration with a payroll company, multi-user access, inventory management, and financial forecasting.
However, accounting software usually doesn’t include accounting or financial advice and can’t answer specific questions that may pop up. It usually doesn’t offer tax-saving tips or recommendations, either.
How We Chose the Best Accounting Software
We chose the best accounting software by thoroughly researching and reviewing 20 different options. We then chose the top eight based on factors including their accounting features, functions, how easy they are to use for a non-accountant, and price.
All of our top picks require minimal accounting experience, provide affordable, customizable accounting features that integrate with other software and apps, and offer cloud-based backup options.