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The Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses

5 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

Being self-employed can be a lot of fun. You get to set your own hours, choose your clients and be in control of the decision-making for your business. Unfortunately, that power comes with responsibility. You need to find clients, make sure the work gets done, and handle all the boring jobs, such as doing your accounting. The good news is, modern accounting software can automate a lot of the most important parts of keeping the books. You can search online for the best accounting software on the market today. These solutions help business owners keep track of the transactions they process and make preparing taxes a breeze.

Small Business Accounting Is Easier Than Ever

Today’s small business accounting software is designed with ease of use in mind. Unlike the archaic desktop tools your parents may have used for their businesses, modern software is designed to help you categorize transactions, process invoices and even file your accounts.

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With bank integration and invoicing features built-in to even a lot of the free-to-use platforms, filing your annual returns should no longer be a multiday task, as long as you regularly import transactions throughout the year.

What to Look for in Accounting Software

If you’re looking for accounting software for your business, think about the way you operate. Do you have a few clients you invoice regularly, or do you run a shop and need to import payment processor transactions? Is multi-currency support important to you? How many suppliers do you have, and how do you handle outgoing payments?

Some accounting software is geared toward contractors or e-commerce website owners, while other software is multipurpose and requires some thought as to how you set up your transaction categories.

The Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses

This list covers nine of the best accounting software options for small business owners and the self-employed. These cloud accounting products are designed to be easy to use, even for people who aren’t trained accountants.

Some of these tools also offer invoicing features, helping you keep track of outstanding invoices, log payments and monitor your business liabilities. Jargon-free interfaces and free or affordable pricing make these accounting solutions some of the best on the market.

1. QuickBooks Online

Best for: Businesses that want an accounting program that can scale with them.

QuickBooks offers a variety of options with its online accounting software. The basic package is powerful enough for many small businesses, and there are more sophisticated offerings for large teams and those with more complex needs.

Quickbooks supports payroll, taxes, invoicing and multi-currency transactions. The higher tiers can be expensive, but users can pick the tier that suits them best and can change tiers easily.¹

2. Sage Cloud Accounting

Best for: Multi-user support

Sage Cloud Accounting is designed with small businesses in mind. It’s as easy to use as their older programs, such as Line 50 and Line 100, but powerful enough to handle the complex needs of many businesses.

One thing Sage does particularly well is offer multi-user support, allowing businesses to have several people updating records without having to share login details. As an added bonus, Sage is popular with accountants, so if you do need someone to look over your books, they’ll be familiar with your tools.²

3. Wave Accounting

Best for: Small businesses that need invoicing

Wave has a free tier that offers accounting and invoicing for small businesses. The free tier is quite generous, allowing users to run multiple businesses and add other people to the account.

Wave makes money from this tier by charging a fee for payment processing on invoices. There’s a mobile app to help users keep track of their business. If you’re looking for something simple to get started with, Wave could be a good choice.³

4. Xero

Best for: Small businesses that want a fully featured mobile app

Xero is a popular accounting app with an inexpensive starter plan. Most users will quickly outgrow that plan due to the limitations on the number of transactions it can process. However, it’s good enough for early-stage businesses looking to start their accounting on the right path. The mobile app offered by Xero is one of the most powerful and intuitive on the market, making upgrading to a more expensive plan an easy sell.⁴

5. Zoho Books

Best for: People who already use other Zoho tools

The Zoho group of products includes email, groupware, invoicing and other tools. If your business is already heavily invested in the Zoho ecosystem, it makes sense to use the Books service too.

Zoho’s interface isn’t quite as sleek or friendly as some of the other accounting systems on this list, but the accounting app is feature-rich and offers lots of options for income and expense tracking, visualizations, invoicing and reporting.⁵

6. GoDaddy Bookkeeping

Best for: E-commerce businesses

While GoDaddy might be best known for its domain name and website hosting services, it has branched out into other areas, too. The GoDaddy Bookkeeping package is aimed squarely at e-commerce businesses. It offers easy visualizations for profit and loss, invoicing and expenses.

The package isn’t as sophisticated as some of the other ones on this list, but if the interface and feature set match what you’re looking for, and you’re already a GoDaddy customer, it could be a good choice.⁶

7. FreshBooks

Best for: API Integration

FreshBooks is an established name in the world of small business accounting. It offers a powerful package with lots of third-party integrations, including PayPal, ZenDesk and MailChimp. This accounting software is feature-packed but easy to use, with invoicing and payroll options available.

The mobile app also provides a comprehensive view of the performance of your business. The tiered pricing means businesses of all sizes can get value out of the platform.⁷

8. Kashoo

Best for: No-frills accounting with multi-currency support

A relatively no-frills solution, Kashoo is ideal for small businesses that want something easy to use, affordable and with multi-currency support. It offers everything you need to track your accounts, without getting bogged down in complicated reporting.

The one potential downside to this solution is that it lacks an Android app. There is an app for iOS users, however, so if your team uses that ecosystem you may find yourself completely satisfied with it.⁸

9. AccountEdge Pro

Best for: Businesses with sophisticated accounting needs

AccountEdge Pro is a more complex app. Unlike the other apps on this list, it’s a desktop program for Mac users. It’s compatible with most recent Mac operating system versions, including Catalina. AccountEdge Pro is a powerful accounting program aimed at people with some knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting.

It’s affordably priced and supports payroll and account filings, with annual updates. If you feel like the cloud solutions on this list aren’t up to the task, you might appreciate the extra power and flexibility this program offers.⁹

Lesley Harrison