As a business owner, you know how critical it is to have an efficient accounting system in place. The right accounting software can save you time, reduce errors, and provide insights into your company’s financial performance. However, with so many options on the market, determining the best solution for your needs can be challenging.
This article reviews the top business accounting software services of 2023 to help you find the right platform for your company. We evaluated over a dozen of the most popular accounting software options based on features, ease of use, integration, reporting, and pricing. Whether you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to handle invoicing, bill payments, payroll, and more, or a streamlined system to manage basic bookkeeping tasks, you’ll find recommendations to suit your requirements.
The accounting software landscape is constantly evolving, but some of the long-standing leaders remain at the top of the pack due to their functionality, flexibility, and value. Read on for an in-depth look at the best business accounting software services to consider this year based on our extensive analysis and testing. With the right system in place, you can spend less time on bookkeeping and more time growing your business.
QuickBooks: Best Overall Accounting Software for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, choosing the right accounting software is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. QuickBooks is the best overall solution for small businesses. It offers robust features at an affordable price.
QuickBooks provides tools for managing income and expenses, paying bills, invoicing customers, managing payroll, and generating financial reports. It has plans for businesses of all sizes, from self-employed individuals up to those with 100+ employees.
- QuickBooks Self-Employed is ideal for freelancers and independent contractors. It helps you track income and expenses, maximize tax deductions, and file Schedule C with your tax return.
- QuickBooks Simple Start is a good option if you have a small retail shop, consulting business, or other simple company. It handles invoicing, expense tracking, and reporting.
- QuickBooks Essentials adds features like bill payment, payroll, and inventory management. It’s suitable for most small businesses with up to three users.
- QuickBooks Online Advanced includes advanced reporting, budgeting, and forecasting tools for businesses with more complex needs.
No accounting software is perfect, but QuickBooks is an excellent all-in-one solution for managing your company’s finances. With affordable plans, a user-friendly interface, and robust features, QuickBooks can meet the needs of nearly any small business. The only downside is that it may have a learning curve for beginners. However, its wide adoption means there are many resources to help you get started.
Overall, QuickBooks deserves its reputation as the best small business accounting software. For managing income, expenses, invoicing, bill payments, payroll, and reporting, QuickBooks has all the tools you need to gain control and insight into your company’s financial performance.
Xero: Best Cloud-Based Accounting Software
As a cloud-based accounting solution, Xero provides an efficient way for small businesses to manage their finances. With Xero, you can automate key accounting tasks like accounts payable/receivable, bank reconciliation, and financial reporting.
Xero offers several pricing plans for small businesses. The Early plan starts at $9 per month and includes core features such as unlimited invoices and quotes, expense claims, and standard business reports. The Growing plan ($30/month) adds payroll for up to five employees. The Established plan ($60/month) includes payroll for up to 10 employees and 10 automated workflows. Xero also integrates with over 700 third-party apps to extend its functionality.
Some of the main benefits of using Xero include:
- Accessibility. As a web-based solution, you can access Xero from anywhere on any device with an Internet connection.
- Automation. Xero can automate time-consuming accounting tasks like reconciling bank transactions, tracking expenses, and generating financial reports. This can save you hours of work each month.
- Collaboration. Multiple users can access the same Xero organization, allowing you to collaborate with your accountant or bookkeeper in real time.
- Reporting. Xero offers over 25 standard reports, dashboards, and metrics to gain insight into your business’s financial performance. You can also create customized reports.
- Payroll. For an additional fee, Xero can handle payroll processing for your employees, including payslips, tax payments, and year-end forms.
In summary, Xero is an easy-to-use, full-featured accounting solution for small businesses. With its cloud-based platform, automation features, and affordable pricing, Xero can save you time while providing valuable financial insights into your business. For these reasons, Xero is our choice as the best overall small business accounting software.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting: Best for Growing Businesses
Comprehensive Accounting Tools
Sage Business Cloud Accounting provides a robust set of accounting tools for managing your business’s finances. It offers:
- Double-entry accounting that tracks debits and credits to ensure balanced books.
- Invoicing to bill customers and get paid on time. You can customize invoices, set up recurring bills, and accept payments online.
- Expense management to log business expenses, generate reports, and stay within budget.
- Bank reconciliation to match transactions in your accounting system with your business bank statements.
- Project accounting to track time and expenses for client projects.
- Reporting to generate P&L statements, balance sheets, cash flow reports, and more to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.
As your company grows, Sage Business Cloud Accounting can scale with you. It offers plans for small businesses with 1-10 employees up to mid-sized companies with 50-500 employees. More advanced plans provide additional features like:
- Multi-currency support for businesses that operate internationally.
- Advanced customization of invoices, reports, and dashboards.
- More in-depth data security and user access controls.
- Integration with other business systems like CRM, payroll, and time tracking software.
Ease of Use
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is designed to be intuitive for small business owners and non-accountants. It provides:
- A simple, uncluttered interface that is easy to navigate.
- Contextual help and guidance to walk you through the accounting process.
- Automation of routine tasks like bank reconciliations, bill payments, and invoicing to save you time.
- Mobile apps so you can access your accounting data and complete tasks on the go.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting combines comprehensive accounting tools with an easy to use system that can scale as your business grows. For growing small businesses, it provides an affordable, full-featured accounting solution to help you gain control and insight over your company’s finances.
Zoho Books: Best Free Accounting Software
Zoho Books is an excellent free accounting software option for small businesses. As an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution, Zoho Books helps you stay on top of your finances and ensures maximum productivity.
Comprehensive Accounting Features
Zoho Books offers a full range of accounting tools to track your income, expenses, invoices, bills, and more. You can create professional invoices, reconcile bank transactions, generate insightful reports, and handle taxes—all for free.
Automation and Integration
Zoho Books integrates with other Zoho products like Zoho CRM and Zoho Inventory for end-to-end business management. It also connects to payment gateways, banks, and other apps to automate workflows. Recurring transactions, payment reminders, and scheduled reports save you time.
While the Zoho Books free plan includes up to 50 contacts and 500 transactions per month, paid plans start at just $9 per month as your business grows. You get access to additional features like budgeting, purchase orders, and advanced customization. Zoho Books is an affordable, scalable solution for businesses of any size.
Zoho provides 24/7 chat, email, and phone support for all Zoho Books users. They have an extensive knowledge base with helpful resources for getting started and troubleshooting any issues. Zoho Books also offers free webinars and video tutorials to help you maximize the software.
In summary, Zoho Books deserves consideration as one of the best free accounting software options for small businesses in 2023. Its simple yet powerful features, automation, and scalability at an affordable price point make it a great choice for managing your finances and enabling business growth. Give the free version a try to see how it can work for your company.
FreshBooks: Best for Freelancers and Independent Contractors
Accounting Made Simple
As an independent contractor or freelancer, you need an accounting solution that is straightforward and easy to use. FreshBooks is designed specifically for small business owners and solo professionals. It simplifies the accounting process so you can focus on running your business.
FreshBooks has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to navigate. You don’t need an accounting degree to figure it out. The dashboard provides an overview of your business’s financial health with visual reports and insights. You can quickly see outstanding invoices, expenses, and estimates at a glance.
Time Tracking and Invoicing
With FreshBooks, you can easily track your billable hours and expenses and create professional invoices to bill your clients. Set up recurring invoices for ongoing work and FreshBooks will automatically send them on schedule. Your clients can pay invoices online via credit card, PayPal, or bank transfer. FreshBooks will automatically record all payments and update your books.
Reporting and Tax Time
Come tax season, FreshBooks generates financial reports like profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and general ledgers to help you file. If you get audited, FreshBooks stores all your records in one place. At any time, you can see real-time reports on income, expenses, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. FreshBooks makes managing your business finances uncomplicated so you have more time to focus on your work.
FreshBooks offers award-winning customer support. Help is available 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat. The FreshBooks support team is knowledgeable and friendly. They can walk you through any questions you have in setting up your account or using the software. FreshBooks also has an extensive library of video tutorials, how-to guides, and a community forum.
For freelancers and independent contractors, FreshBooks is an ideal accounting solution. It takes the hassle and confusion out of financial management so you can get back to doing what you do best. Overall, FreshBooks is easy to use yet robust enough to meet the needs of small businesses and solo professionals.
Wave Accounting: Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses
Wave Accounting is free accounting software ideal for small businesses. It provides income and expense tracking, invoicing, reports, and more. Wave is simple to set up and use, with an intuitive interface and built-in features to manage your business finances at no cost.
Income and Expense Tracking
Wave allows you to easily log income and expenses to gain insights into your business’s financial health. You can connect your business bank accounts and credit cards to automatically import transactions and match them to the appropriate income or expense category. Review transactions, add or edit details, and reconcile accounts each month. Wave uses this data to provide real-time income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and other financial reports.
Invoicing and Billing
Create professional invoices in seconds and get paid faster. Customize your invoices by adding your business logo and information. Send invoices by email or print and mail paper copies. Let clients pay by credit card, bank transfer, or check. Wave automatically marks invoices as paid and reconciles the payments with your accounting. You can also set up recurring billing for subscription-based or retainer clients.
- Free mobile apps to manage your finances on the go.
- Estimates and quotes to provide clients project proposals and cost estimates.
- Payroll software integration to handle employee payroll and tax filings.
- Integrations with business tools like PayPal, Stripe, QuickBooks, and Xero.
- Customer relationship management to keep notes, schedule follow-ups, and gain insights.
- 24/7 support and a help center with useful resources.
Wave provides a full set of accounting and financial management tools for small businesses at no cost. For companies looking to upgrade, paid plans with additional features are available. Wave is an excellent free option for startups and small businesses to professionally and efficiently manage their finances.
ZipBooks: Best Simple Accounting Software
Simple Yet Powerful
ZipBooks is an easy-to-use accounting software ideal for small businesses looking for a straightforward solution. It provides simple tools to help you track income and expenses, manage bills, and generate useful financial reports.
ZipBooks offers an intuitive interface with an uncluttered dashboard that makes it simple to navigate. You can easily add customers, vendors, and products and track payments and invoices. ZipBooks also connects directly to your business bank accounts and credit cards to automatically import transactions and match them to the appropriate customer or vendor. This helps reduce data entry and ensures your books are always up to date.
Useful Reporting and Insights
ZipBooks generates insightful reports like profit and loss statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and sales tax summaries. You can view reports by month, quarter, or year to gain a clear picture of your business’s financial performance and make data-driven decisions. ZipBooks also provides a collection of visual reports with graphs and charts to help highlight key metrics and spot trends.
ZipBooks offers simple and affordable pricing. There are three plans available:
- Starter: Free plan for very small businesses. Includes income and expense tracking, invoicing, and reporting.
- Pro: $15/month. Everything in Starter plus bill payments, sales tax tracking, and payroll for up to 5 employees.
- Premium: $35/month. Includes all Pro features plus inventory management, purchase orders, budgeting, and payroll for up to 10 employees.
ZipBooks provides exceptional value for small businesses on a budget. For straightforward accounting software at an affordable price, ZipBooks is an excellent choice. With its simple tools and useful insights, ZipBooks gives you clarity into your business’s financial performance so you can focus on growth.
OneUp: Best Accounting Software for eCommerce Businesses
OneUp is an excellent accounting software choice for eCommerce businesses. It provides tools tailored to the needs of online retailers, including inventory management, sales tax automation, and marketplace integrations.
Seamless Integration with Major Marketplaces
OneUp integrates directly with major eCommerce marketplaces like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Amazon to automatically import your sales and fees data. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and ensures your books are always up-to-date. OneUp also reconciles marketplace fees to make tax time easier.
Automated Sales Tax Reporting
OneUp automatically calculates sales tax for all of your online transactions across every marketplace and channel. It uses a database of over 12,000 sales tax rules to determine the correct rates to charge for each sale. OneUp files your sales tax returns with the appropriate state agencies on your behalf. This hands-free approach saves you time and ensures accuracy.
OneUp provides basic inventory management tools to help you keep track of stock levels and costs. You can import your product catalog to view inventory counts, costs, and sales in one place. OneUp uses this data to calculate metrics like gross margin and cost of goods sold for your financial reports. While OneUp may lack some advanced features of dedicated inventory software, its inventory management is sufficient for most small eCommerce businesses.
OneUp offers simple, affordable pricing starting at $10/month. There are no contracts or hidden fees. OneUp charges on a per-transaction basis, so your fees scale with your business. They do not limit the number of users, transactions, or integrations. OneUp offers a 15-day free trial to allow you to experience their platform before committing to a paid subscription.
In summary, OneUp is an ideal accounting solution for eCommerce businesses looking to simplify financial management and gain better insight into the performance of their online sales channels. With its tailored features and affordable pricing, OneUp deserves consideration as the best accounting software for eCommerce.
Business Accounting Software Services of 2023 FAQs
As you evaluate business accounting software services, several frequently asked questions may come to mind. Here are some of the most common FAQs to help guide your decision making.
What features should I look for in accounting software?
The best accounting software for small businesses typically includes:
- General ledger: Tracks income, expenses, accounts payable/receivable, and cash flow.
- Invoicing: Creates professional invoices, estimates, and purchase orders.
- Bank reconciliation: Links bank accounts to automatically match transactions and balances.
- Reporting: Generates P&L statements, balance sheets, cash flow reports, and tax documents.
- Payroll: Manages payroll, taxes, and employee payments if needed.
- Dashboard: Provides an overview of key metrics and financial performance.
How much does accounting software cost?
Pricing for accounting software can range from free to several hundred dollars per month, depending on the number of users and features. Many offer tiered pricing models with different feature sets at each level. Some popular free and low-cost options for small businesses include Wave, ZipBooks, and Zoho Books. Mid-range software like QuickBooks and Xero starts around $20-50/month. Enterprise-level systems can cost $200-500/month or more.
Should I choose cloud-based or desktop accounting software?
Cloud-based accounting software, also known as online or SaaS accounting software, is accessed via the internet and allows you to manage your finances from anywhere on any device. Desktop accounting software is installed on your local computer. While desktop software typically has lower upfront costs, cloud-based software provides more flexibility and automatic updates. For most small businesses today, web-based accounting solutions are the preferred choice.
How do I migrate from my current accounting software?
If switching from another accounting platform, look for software that can import your existing data, like accounts, customers, vendors, and historical transactions. This will ensure a smooth transition to the new system. Some software may charge an additional fee for data migration services. Be sure to also export a backup of your data from the old software in case the import does not transfer 100% of the information.
As you have seen, there are several excellent accounting software options available to help streamline your business finances and provide useful insights into your company’s performance. The services reviewed offer an array of useful features at varying price points to suit different business needs and budgets. Whether you need a full-featured solution to handle complex accounting tasks or a simple, low-cost option to track income and expenses, you now have the information to choose the best accounting software for your business. Take the time to evaluate your specific requirements and priorities to determine which solution is the optimal choice for your needs. With the right accounting software in place, you can gain valuable financial visibility and control to help drive business growth in 2023 and beyond.