Accounting Software Comparison
We've Helped Over 1 Million Business Owners Since 2009
|QuickBooks Online Review||QuickBooks Self-Employed Review||FreshBooks New & Classic Review||Zoho Books Review||QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2019 Review|
|Pricing||$20-150/mo||$10-17/month||$0 - $50/mo||$9-29/mo||$299.95|
|Customer Support||Fair||Good||Very Good||Very Good||Fair|
|Ease of Use||Moderate||Easy||Very Easy||Very Easy||Difficult|
|Accounting Method||Cash and Accrual||Cash-basis||Cash and Accrual||Cash and Accrual||Cash and Accrual|
|Business Size(s) Supported||Small - Medium||Self-employed/Freelancers||Small||Small||Small - Medium|
|Cloud-Based or Installed||Cloud-Based||Cloud-Based||Cloud-Based||Cloud-Based||Installed|
|Start Trial||Start Trial||Start Trial||Start Trial||Visit Site|
Comparing Accounting Software For Your Business
Every business, no matter how small, should have an accounting process, and we believe accounting software is the best way to go. Accounting software allows you to organize your business finances, perform key insights into your business spending and earnings, and stay compliant with taxes. With accounting software, you can also retire the ol’ Excel spreadsheets and automate your finances to save time and money.
But choosing the right accounting software for your business? That’s a whole separate beast. How do you know which is best for your business? Is QuickBooks the only option? Which program will give you the most bang for your buck?
With so many choices out there, we know it can be difficult to compare accounting software and figure out which is right for you. That’s why we’ve created this comparison table. We’ve spent hours researching and testing dozens of different accounting programs to help business owners like you know exactly what to expect from each program. We judged each program based on the strength of their accounting, number of features, ease of use, customer service, pricing, customer reviews, and security among other factors.
The accounting programs in the table above have stood the test and we believe they are the best accounting software programs out there. Take a look at our top picks above or continue reading to learn more about choosing the perfect accounting software for your business.
What Is Accounting Software?
Accounting software programs allow businesses to balance their books, run key accounting reports, and perform other important business tasks like managing contacts and invoicing customers.
Benefits Of Accounting Software
All businesses should use accounting software, from the freelancer just getting started to the mompreneur running an Etsy side gig to the full-fledged small business owner. No matter what size or type of business you run, you need accounting software. Why? Because without proper double-entry accounting, you won’t be able to balance the books or keep accurate business finances — at least that’s the main reason. What many business owners don’t realize is that there are numerous benefits of using accounting software.
Here some of the biggest reasons to use accounting software:
1) Keeps Your Finances Organized
As we mentioned earlier, accounting software helps you balance the books. It also allows you to manage your income, track your expenses, and reconcile your bank accounts. Having all of your business finance information in one place makes it easy to know exactly where your business stands and run insightful business reports.
2) Helps Manage Your Contacts, Sales, Inventory, & More
In addition to managing finances, good accounting software offers tons of other features to help you run your business like contact management, inventory, time tracking, project management, and even budgeting. Accounting software also makes it easy to send professional, attractive invoice templates. Most apps even support payment gateways that allow your customers to pay their invoices directly online.
3) Makes Tax Season Easier
Having all of your financial information in one place makes your life a whole lot easier come tax season. Accounting software gives you the ability to easily run key reports, like Profit & Loss and General Ledger, which you need to file your taxes. Many programs also let you track deductions and some offer payroll tax support as well.
4) Gives Important Business Insight
Accounting software provides invaluable information that allows business owners to quickly make informed business decisions to help their business succeed. You can run reports (like Sales by Customer and Sales by Item) to spot income trends and use that information to make smarter inventory purchases and sales marketing strategies. Accounting software also provides insight about business expenses and where you and your employees spend their time, so you can know exactly where your money is going. This way you can know where you need to cut expenses, which processes need streamlining, and if you need to find a cash flow solution.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed Software
There are two different types of accounting software: cloud-based accounting software and locally-installed accounting software.
Cloud-based software operates in the cloud. This type of online accounting software offers mobility, access for multiple users in various locations, and is generally easier to use.
Locally-installed software is downloaded and installed onto a computer via disk or link. Locally-installed software is often more advanced has the potential to be more secure, but the tradeoff is losing the mobility and usability of cloud-based software.
Generally, we find that most businesses prefer cloud-based software for its convenience and usability, although there are some good locally-installed programs out there that are incredibly advanced, albeit a bit more difficult to navigate. Knowing whether you want cloud-based or locally-installed accounting software will help narrow down your search for the right accounting software.
You’ll also want to make sure that your device meets the hardware and software requirements of whatever software you end up choosing. For Mac users, check out the Best Accounting Software For Macs to find a compatible solution.
How To Choose Accounting Software
So now that you know a little more about what accounting software is and how it can benefit your business, how do you choose the right accounting software? Here are several questions to ask yourself to help you earn exactly what you’re looking for, so you can find a software that meets your specific business needs.
How Big Is Your Business?
The size of your business plays a big role in determining the right accounting software. Are you a solopreneur who is just looking for a way to track expenses and send invoices? Are you a mid-sized business with multiple employees and payroll looking for a full accounting system?
When choosing accounting software, consider:
- How many users you will need
- The level of control you want over user access
- If you need to manage multiple businesses
- If you need payroll
Each of these factors varies from software to software. And don’t forget to think about the future of your business. If you’re the only user right now, but you want to add more users in the future, make sure you choose a scalable software that will still fit your needs down the road.
What Do You Need The Accounting Software To Do?
One of the biggest factors in choosing the right business accounting software is making sure you pick a program that offers the features you need. A good program will give you the features you need and then some. If you’re just starting your search, it can be difficult to know what to expect from accounting software. We’ve cultivated a list of the most common accounting software features and the most advanced accounting software features to let you know what’s available:
Accounting Software Features
Most accounting software programs will offer these basic accounting features:
- Basic invoice automations (like recurring invoices)
- Basic invoice customizations
- Contact management
- Vendor management
- Expense tracking
- Bank reconciliation
- A customizable chart of accounts
- Accounts payable
- Time tracking
- Project management
- Journal entries
- Sales tax
- Multi-currency support
- Importing & exporting capabilities
Advanced Accounting Software Features
Advanced accounting programs will offer some of these more developed accounting features:
- Advanced invoice automations (like auto scheduling invoices)
- Numerous invoice templates & developed customizations
- Invoicing in multiple languages
- Client portal
- Lead management
- Deduction tracking
- Full inventory
- Images for inventory items
- Sales orders
- Purchase orders
- Packing slips
- Credit notes
- Thank you notes & receipts
- Class tracking
- Tax support
After choosing which features you want, don’t be afraid to shop around and see which program will give you the best deal. Maybe QuickBooks Online offers all of the features you need, but Zoho Books gives you almost all of those same features for $20/month less. Or maybe Xero has many of the features you need, but paying a bit extra for the advanced features of QuickBooks Pro gives you everything on your list. Take some time to weigh the pros and cons of each software’s feature set. Our comprehensive accounting reviews give detailed explanations of which features each program offers.
How Much Accounting Experience Do You Have?
Carefully consider how much you already know about accounting. What is your experience with accounting? Are you just get started or are you a seasoned expert? Your level of accounting experience significantly affects which software you should choose.
If you don’t know much about accounting or balancing the books, you’ll want an easy to use software that has good customer service and lots of support resources to help answer your questions. You can start by reading Easy Accounting Software for Small Businesses.
If you are very familiar with accounting, you may want something that sticks more closely to true accounting and gives you more features and control, like our post on the Best Accounting Software for Accountants.
One of the best ways to tell if you like a software is by signing up for a free trial. Almost every accounting software app offers a free 30-day trial or a demo of some kind. Be sure to use this to familiarize yourself with the software. Ask yourself if the organization of the software makes sense, if you like the features offered, if the customer service is easy to reach, and if you like using it overall. If you don’t like the software, then it’s not for you and you can move on to find a better option.
How Important Is Mobility To Your Business?
If you run your business on the go or from multiple locations, you’ll want cloud-based software with strong mobile apps. Check customer reviews on the App Store and Google Play to see how the accounting software’s mobile apps rank.
Do You Need Specific Integrations?
Does your business currently use any other business programs like MailChimp, Salesforce, TSheets, Gusto, or WooCommerce? Do you process payments using apps like Stripe, PayPal, or Square? When considering a potential accounting software, make sure the software integrates with your existing business apps. If you don’t currently use integrations but would like to, especially for accepting invoice payments directly from customers, make sure the software you choose has plenty of add-ons and payment gateways to cover your business’s needs.
How Much Does Good Accounting Software Cost?
Prices vary for accounting software, so there’s something for every budget — even if that budget is $0. There are good free accounting software options, and well as many affordable small business options. Many accounting programs use the SaaS pricing model, meaning you pay monthly for the software, although there are a few that use yearly subscriptions instead.
While each accounting software has its own unique pricing, here are the prices ranges you can expect for each business size:
- Freelancers: $0 – $17/month
- Small Businesses: $0 – $30/month
- Medium-Sized Businesses: $30 – $50/month
- Larger Businesses: $50/month +
- Enterprises: Up to thousands of dollars a year
Choosing an accounting solution can seem like a daunting task at first, but don’t let that keep you from starting your search for the perfect accounting software. Our comparison chart is a great place to begin and our detailed accounting reviews tell you everything you need to know about each software program.
Now that you know the basics of how to choose accounting software, you can determine exactly what you’re looking for and start narrowing down your options.
We also have plenty more accounting resources for you, including the Complete Guide To Choosing Online Accounting Software and our free ebook The Beginner’s Guide To Accounting.
Ready to get started? Take a look at the chart above to start comparing the top accounting options with confidence.