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The Best Software For Accountants

Take a look at the top best accounting software for accountants based on accounting features, reporting capabilities, and exclusive interviews with real accountants.

    Matt Sherman
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Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.
Accounting software for accountants

As an accountant, CPA, or bookkeeper, you need a few tools to do your job effectively. One of the most important tools is good accounting software. With so many options available, how do you choose the best software for your business? Which software can you recommend to your clients? What is the best accounting software for accountants?

Whether you’re looking for software that can manage multiple businesses, need software recommendations for your clients, or want to find a new option for managing your own firm’s financials, we have you covered. In this post, we’re taking a look at the five best accounting software choices for accountants. We’ve talked to real accountants, CPAs, and other experienced professionals to learn what software they’re using and what they recommend to their clients. We’ll also discuss additional apps and software that can be useful in your daily operations.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanySummaryNext StepsSummary
QuickBooks Online

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  • Best accounting software for accountants overall
  • $25-$180/month
  • Up to 25 full-access users (unlimited time-tracking only users)
  • Best accounting software for accountants overall
  • $25-$180/month
  • Up to 25 full-access users (unlimited time-tracking only users)

Visit Site

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QuickBooks Desktop Pro

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  • Best traditional accounting software for accountants
  • $349.99/year
  • 3 users
  • Best traditional accounting software for accountants
  • $349.99/year
  • 3 users

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QuickBooks Desktop Premier

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  • Best accounting software for accountants with niche clients
  • $549.99/year
  • 5 users
  • Best accounting software for accountants with niche clients
  • $549.99/year
  • 5 users

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Xero

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  • Best cloud-based reporting & accounting features
  • $12-$65/month
  • Unlimited users
  • Best cloud-based reporting & accounting features
  • $12-$65/month
  • Unlimited users

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Sage 50cloud

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  • Most customizable accounting software for accountants
  • $56.08/month
  • Up to 40 users
  • Most customizable accounting software for accountants
  • $56.08/month
  • Up to 40 users

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The 5 Best Accounting Software For Accountants

Accountants need accounting software too. Here are the best accounting software options for accountants that can keep up with complex accounting, advanced reporting, strong security, and the mobility to keep up with accountants in the modern business age.

1. QuickBooks Online: Best Accounting Software For Accountants Overall

QuickBooks Online



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Pros

  • Strong accounting
  • Great features selection
  • Easy to use
  • Cloud-based

Cons

  • Less traditional
  • Fewer complex accounting and reporting options

QuickBooks Online is best for accountants who have a clientele of small business owners. The software is easy for clients to use, and there is an accountant discount.

This cloud-based software has over 3 million users — and for good reason. Not only is it easier to learn than the desktop versions of QuickBooks, but it offers a ton of great features for accountants and non-accountants alike.

Numerous integrations, advanced reporting, strong mobile apps, and even built-in lending are among the positive aspects of this popular accounting software. As with other QuickBooks products, customer support is a bit lacking, although it isn’t as bad as it has been in the past. Some users also find QuickBooks Online underwhelming, especially when compared to desktop versions. However, QuickBooks Online is still one of the most popular choices in accounting software and is even recommended by many accountants and financial experts.

quickbooks online dashboard

QuickBooks Online Pricing

QuickBooks Online offers several pricing tiers. Prices range from $25-$180/month, and the bigger the plan, the more features and users you have access to.

QuickBooks Online also has several add-ons for an additional fee. Payroll, payment processing, Live Bookkeeping, and custom invoice templates are all available to add to your QuickBooks Online subscription.

Read our full breakdown of QuickBooks Online’s pricing for more information.

QuickBooks Online Features

QuickBooks Online has everything accounting firms and small businesses need to maintain their finances. One thing to note is that some of the more advanced features are only available with select plans. Some of the features you’ll find in this software are:

  • Cloud-based
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Accountant access
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Journal entries
  • Inventory tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Budgets
  • Project management
  • 80+ reports
  • 650+ integrations

Would QuickBooks Online Work For My Business?

Accountants and other professionals that like the features of QuickBooks but want more convenient access will appreciate the mobility of QuickBooks Online. Because it’s easy to use and learn, this is also an option to consider when recommending accounting software to clients.

Why Accountants Like QuickBooks Online

Here’s what real accountants have to say about why they chose QuickBooks Online:

I work almost exclusively with Quickbooks Online. Most of my clients enjoy the integration with online banking and other software such as Gusto and Avalara for payroll and sales tax compliance. It’s user-friendly for the casual user but has the capability to manage complicated accounting tasks and tax calculations. I use it for my own business bookkeeping, plus the QuickBooks Online Accountant version has additional CRM capabilities to help delegate tasks, set deadlines, and reminders to keep up to date with my clients’ needs. – Ben Watson, CPA, Virtual CFO of DollarSprout

We recommend QuickBooks Online most frequently to small businesses for their bookkeeping needs. From our experience, it is certainly the most user-friendly for small business owners to understand, and it provides accountants with a platform that allows us to review detailed transactions and provides for a large range of financial reporting options, including budgeting. We also use QuickBooks online for our firm’s bookkeeping solution. Again, it allows for flexible reporting options and has a useful budgeting tool to set benchmarks for future performance. – Robert Gauvreau, CPA, Partner of Gauvreau & Associates

I find QuickBooks Online to be the easiest to work with as clients can add me as an accountant which provides online access to their file. This allows me to work remotely and address any issues in real-time. – Ronika Khanna, President of Montreal Financial

The software that I most often recommend is QuickBooks Online. What is great about this system is that it allows us to act as an in-house accounting department for our clients. For example, if a client has something that urgently needs to be done, we can simply log in to QuickBooks Online, go to their company’s books and do what needs to be done, remotely. – Jeff Peterson, President of Excel Financial Consultants

For brand new businesses, it’s tough to go wrong with QuickBooks Online (QBO). As long as the business bank and credit card accounts are set up correctly, QBO makes it incredibly easy to stay on top of the books. – Logan Allec, CPA and owner of personal finance site Money Done Right

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2. QuickBooks Pro: Best Traditional Accounting Software For Accountants

QuickBooks Desktop Pro



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Pros

  • Traditional accounting
  • Strong features
  • Complex reporting

Cons

  • Locally-installed
  • Steep learning curve for clients

QuickBooks Pro is the best locally-installed accounting software with traditional accounting features and ample reporting to help accountants balance the books.

For some users, one of the major drawbacks of QuickBooks Pro is that the sheer number of features and the steep learning curve can be overwhelming. However, for the experienced user, the numerous features and integrations of this accounting software are what’s so appealing.

QuickBooks Pro is full-fledged accounting software that’s ideal for small to mid-sized businesses. Lots of features, over 200 integrations, and strong reporting are among the reasons this software remains a top choice for accountants, CPAs, bookkeepers, and other professionals. QuickBooks Pro has an overall good reputation among its customers, although expensive pricing and customer service that leave a lot to be desired are common complaints about the software.

quickbooks pro dashboard

QuickBooks Pro Pricing

QuickBooks Pro is now a subscription service priced at $349.99/year, although Intuit routinely runs promotions and sales throughout the year, which could bring that price down. You’ll receive automatic backup and recovery and automatic updates at no additional cost, along with free unlimited phone support. You can also add payroll for an additional $500/year.

Read our post to see exactly how QuickBooks Desktop pricing works.

QuickBooks Pro Features

QuickBooks Pro has such a large number of features that we could spend hours discussing what the software has to offer. Some of the most notable features of the software include:

  • Locally-installed
  • Accountant access
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Accounts payable
  • Inventory management
  • Yearly budgets and budgeting reports
  • General journal entries
  • Tax support
  • Mileage deduction tracking
  • 100+ reports
  • 200+ integrations

Would QuickBooks Pro Work For My Business?

Experienced accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs will find all the features they need in QuickBooks Pro. While add-ons can drive up the price and less-experienced users may find it difficult to use, the abundance of features and integrations make QuickBooks Pro a top choice among financial professionals.

Why Accountants Like QuickBooks Desktop Pro

Here’s what real accountants have to say about why they chose QuickBooks Pro:

The best accounting software for small business is Intuit QuickBooks. They do all the things you’d expect your accounting software to do (track expenses, credits, receipts, projections, etc). But it’s how that data gets into QuickBooks that makes it special. It features integration with PayPal, Square, and Shopify so, as you get paid by customers, those transactions are automatically added, categorized, and accounted for in the metrics (that are generated by QuickBooks). – Jason David, CEO of Software Portal

The first thing that’s great about QuickBooks is that it connects your accounts to automatically download transactions from your bank, credit cards, PayPal, and Square. This saves you a lot of time of having to input all of your information manually. QuickBooks also automatically suggests tax categories for income and expenses based on what you did last time, and you can set up rules for recurring items, which helps to stay organized throughout the entire process. – David DiNardo, President & CEO of Envolta

Get Started With QuickBooks Desktop Pro

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3. QuickBooks Premier: Best Accounting Software For Accountants With Niche Clients

QuickBooks Desktop Premier



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Pros

  • Strong accounting
  • Numerous features
  • Complex reporting
  • Industry-specific features and reports

Cons

  • Locally-installed
  • A steep learning curve for clients

Because QuickBooks Premier offers several industry-specific plans, QuickBooks Premier is best for accountants with niche clients that have specific feature and reporting needs (construction, manufacturing, nonprofits, etc.). QuickBooks Premier also has an accountant-specific version.

QuickBooks Premier is locally-installed accounting software that boasts strong features, numerous integrations, and excellent tax support. Users can opt for the Standard version or choose one of six industry-specific versions, including Accountant. This software supports up to five users. Customer support for the software is decent and phone support no longer costs extra, but there is still no email support.

Similar to QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier has a steep learning curve, although there shouldn’t be many challenges for experienced accountants. A complicated (and expensive) pricing structure is also a drawback. Despite these flaws, however, there are plenty of positive user reviews of QuickBooks Premier from accountants, CPAs, and small business owners.

QuickBooks premier dashboard

QuickBooks Premier Pricing

QuickBooks Premier is priced at $549.99/year. This product offers annual updates, backups, and tech support at no additional cost. Additional add-ons for QuickBooks Premier include payroll, which starts at another $500/month.

QuickBooks Premier Features

Like other QuickBooks products, QuickBooks Premier is packed full of accounting features, including:

  • Locally-installed
  • Accountant access
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Accounts payable
  • Inventory management
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Budgets
  • Deductions
  • Excellent tax support
  • Industry-specific versions
  • 100+ reports
  • 200+ integrations

Would QuickBooks Premier Work For My Business?

When compared to other accounting software, QuickBooks Premier is priced on the higher end, but many accountants will find value in its industry-specific features. Numerous reports and integrations, support for up to five users, and positive reviews from its users make it easy to see why this is one of our top options for accounting software.

Get Started With QuickBooks Desktop Premier

Read our in-depth review

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4. Xero: Best Cloud-Based Reporting & Accounting Features

Xero



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Pros

  • Strong accounting
  • Numerous features
  • Complex reporting
  • Cloud-based

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • A moderate learning curve for clients

For cloud-based software, Xero offers customizable reporting and advanced accounting features that are almost on par with QuickBooks Desktop. Xero is a great choice for those that want traditional accounting with the modern conveniences of online accounting software.

If the user limitations of QuickBooks Pro have you searching for another accounting software option, look no further than Xero. Xero is designed for mid-to-large-sized businesses and supports unlimited users. The software’s robust features and abundant integrations (over 800!) are just a few reasons Xero is used by over two million users and over 16,000 accounting firms.

xero dashboard

Xero Pricing

Xero offers three pricing plans. The Early plan is priced at $12/month. The downside of this affordable plan is its limitations. Users are restricted to five invoices and quotes, five bills, and reconciliation for 20 transactions each month.

The Growing plan costs $34/month. This plan gives you access to unlimited invoices, quotes, and bills. Reconciliation for bank transactions is also unlimited.

The Established plan is Xero’s top-tier plan and is priced at $65/month. In addition to everything from the Growing plan, the Established plan includes multicurrency support, advanced expense tracking, and project management tools.

Xero no longer offers its own payroll service and instead directs users to Gusto. Gusto’s payroll services start at $39/month plus $6/month per employee.

Xero Features

Xero is loaded with strong accounting features, such as:

  • Cloud-based
  • Accountant access
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Quotes
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Journal entries
  • Fixed asset management
  • Accounts payable
  • Time tracking and project management (Established plan only)
  • Budgets
  • Journal entries
  • 55 reports
  • 800+ integrations

Would Xero Work For My Business?

If you’re looking for cloud-based software with strong accounting features, numerous integrations, unlimited users, and an easy-to-use interface, Xero is a solid choice. However, if quality customer support is high on your list of “must-haves,” you may find that Xero falls a little short.

Why Accountants Like Xero

Here’s what real accountants have to say about why they chose QuickBooks Pro:

I’m a big fan of Xero and I always recommend it to small business owners. In my experience, an accounting novice has an easier time picking up and correctly using Xero than other cloud accounting software. – Michael Eckstein, EA, Owner of Eckstein Advisory and Eckstein Tax Services

I recommend Xero as it’s an online-based accounting system that helps automate many manual and tedious parts of the accounting process. – Ryan Lazanis, CPA, Future Firm

Xero is the best medium business software on the market. It gives us direct feedback from banks, software applications, and all other of our financial institutions to let us know exactly where our finances stand. It also allows to track each employee to see who is spending what — if any issues are raised, we are alerted immediately. – Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of GreenPal

Xero does not start tacking on extra fees and costs after a few months. If a client has more complex needs, there are add-ons that can be purchased. None of my clients have needed to add anything yet, so their costs remain constant. – Beth Logan, EA, Kozlog Tax Advisers

Get Started With Xero

Read our in-depth review

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5. Sage 50cloud: Most Customizable Accounting Software For Accountants

Sage 50cloud



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Read our Review

Pros

  • Suited for UK businesses
  • Strong accounting
  • Advanced features
  • Great accounting reports

Cons

  • Outdated UI
  • A very steep learning curve for clients

Sage 50cloud offers advanced features and accounting reports that make it ideal for accountants that want a strong level of detail and control for their own books or clients with complicated accounting needs. Sage 50cloud is full-featured accounting software that’s been popular since its launch in the 1980s. Its name has changed throughout the years, but one thing has remained constant: Sage 50cloud is traditional accounting software that offers an abundance of features and customization options.

The features and customization of Sage 50cloud come at a cost, though, specifically, a steep learning curve that makes it unsuited for users new to accounting. An outdated user interface and poor customer support further add to the difficulty of navigating this software. However, accountants or users with extensive accounting experience will appreciate the advanced features Sage 50cloud offers.

sage 50cloud dashboard

Sage 50cloud Pricing

Sage 50cloud has several pricing plans available to best fit the needs of your business. The Pro Accounting plan offers accounting features for a single user at a price of $56.08/month. This plan is best for very small businesses or sole proprietors.

The Premium Accounting plan offers additional features and supports up to five users. Pricing starts at $87.58/month.

Finally, Sage 50cloud offers the Quantum Accounting plan. This software supports up to 40 users and includes industry-specific accounting features. Pricing starts at $145.17/month.

Keep in mind that there are also promotions that can help bring down initial costs. There are a number of add-ons available for an additional fee. This includes payroll services, Microsoft Office 365, a payment management system, and other business tools.

Sage 50cloud Features

Sage 50cloud has many features that will benefit accountants and small business owners, including:

  • Locally-installed
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Accountant access
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Advanced inventory management
  • Project management
  • Budgets
  • Cash flow manager
  • Journal entries
  • Job costing
  • Year-end wizard
  • 165+ reports
  • 70+ integrations

Sage 50cloud offers an abundance of features to help with your accounting.

Would Sage 50cloud Work For My Business?

If you can get past the outdated UI, you’ll find that Sage 50cloud offers many advanced accounting features and customization options that are excellent for keeping track of your (or your clients’) finances. If you’re looking for software with basic accounting features that’s easy to use and learn, this isn’t the right software for your business.

Get Started With Sage 50cloud

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Top 4 Other Software Accountants Need To Run A Successful Business

The right accounting software is critical for running your accounting firm, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. In addition to accounting software, there are several other apps and software programs for accounting firms to keep daily operations flowing smoothly.

FloQast: Best Close Management Software For Accountants

FloQast is close management software that was created by accountants for accountants. FloQast allows you to centralize your month-end close, automate reconciliation tie-outs, and analyze business performance. Plans start at $999/month and are billed annually. FloQast allows you to schedule a demo so that you can see the full capabilities of this powerful software.

Jetpack Workflow: Best Workflow Software For Accountants

Jetpack Workflow makes it simple to automate workflows within your accounting firm. Over 16,000 accountants use this software, which allows you to set up project tasks, schedule recurring jobs, manage your staff, and collaborate with your team. Pricing for this software starts at $30/month per user when paid yearly. A 14-day free trial is available to test the software.

Hubdoc: Best Document Management

Hubdoc allows you to access your clients’ financial documents and bank statements quickly and easily. Financial documents can be auto-fetched from numerous banks and suppliers, and clients can securely upload receipts, bills, and other documents by smartphone, email, or desktop. This data can then be synced to Xero or QuickBooks Online, eliminating the need for paper documents — no data entry required. Hubdoc is priced at $20/month per client. A free trial is available to try out the software.

Slack: Best Communication Software

Slack is a cloud-based communication and collaboration app that allows you to have real-time conversations with your accounting team. Slack allows you to communicate quickly and efficiently no matter where your team is based. Conversations can be organized by setting up channels, while mobile apps make it easy to collaborate while on the go. Slack also integrates with a number of other apps, including Google Drive and Dropbox. A free plan is available, although paid plans offer additional useful features.

How To Choose The Right Software For Accountants & CPAs

Choosing the right bookkeeping software for accountants can be a challenge. Keep the tips from this post in mind and start your search with these recommended software options. Determine what features are most important to you, set a budget, and don’t hesitate to take advantage of free trials and demos.

If one option doesn’t work for you, remember there are plenty available — including the perfect option for your business.

Check out all of our accounting software reviews to find the option that’s best for you or take a look at our top payroll software for accountants to find the perfect accounting and payroll software pairing for your firm. Good luck!

FAQs About Software For Accountants

What software should an accountant use?

With over 3 million users, QuickBooks Online is one of the best accounting software for accountants because it has the biggest clientele base. The software is also easy for business owners to use and afford, and accountants can be given access to their client’s accounts, so they can balance the books or prepare taxes.

Do accountants like QuickBooks or Xero better?

From the accountants we interviewed, it was a fairly even split between QuickBooks Online and Xero. Both offer strong accounting and reporting for small to mid-sized businesses, so deciding which to use will ultimately come down to your desired client audience and what features they want or need.

If you want to use Xero or QuickBooks Online as your own accounting firm’s software, take both for a test drive to see which you prefer.

What software does a CPA need?

For preparing their own taxes, accountants need tax software specifically designed for tax professionals, such as Drake Tax, TaxSlayer, Lacerte, or Intuit ProConnect Tax Online.

Does QuickBooks offer a discount for accountants?

QuickBooks ProAdvisors can receive the ProAdvisor Preferred Pricing discount. Contact Intuit directly for the latest discount information.

In Summary: The 5 Best Accounting Software For Accountants

  1. QuickBooks Online:
    • Best accounting software for accountants overall
    • $25-$180/month
    • Up to 25 full-access users (unlimited time-tracking only users)
  2. QuickBooks Desktop Pro:
    • Best traditional accounting software for accountants
    • $349.99/year
    • 3 users
  3. QuickBooks Desktop Premier:
    • Best accounting software for accountants with niche clients
    • $549.99/year
    • 5 users
  4. Xero:
    • Best cloud-based reporting & accounting features
    • $12-$65/month
    • Unlimited users
  5. Sage 50cloud:
    • Most customizable accounting software for accountants
    • $56.08/month
    • Up to 40 users
Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
A former sports editor and journalist, Matt Sherman has been writing about and researching small business software since 2015, with a special emphasis on retail and restaurant sales. Matt's expert opinions are cited in various industry publications, including Fox Business. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Matt Sherman
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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

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