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The Best Free Accounting Software For Small Businesses

These free accounting apps are safe, reliable, and easy to use, while providing enough features to support most small business bookkeeping requirements.

    Erica Seppala
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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.

Being a small business owner has its perks, but as the saying goes, “It takes money to make money.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer or a full-fledged small business owner — expenses for your business can quickly rack up. So whether you’re an established business owner looking to cut costs or you’re starting a new business that isn’t yet generating revenue, it’s not uncommon to explore ways to save money.

While you should avoid some money-saving moves, such as reducing the quality of your products, there are a few ways for savvy business owners to lower their expenses. One of those ways is to bypass expensive accounting software and opt for a free solution for your accounting and bookkeeping needs.

What’s the catch? With some free software programs, there isn’t one. But not all software is created equal. If you’re unsure of what free accounting software options are out there, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, you’ll learn more about the features you should look for in accounting software, free or otherwise. Then, to make your search easier, we’ve selected six of the best free bookkeeping software options for your business. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

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Other Featured Options:

  • Zoho Books: Best free accounting software for invoicing

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The 6 Best Free Accounting Software

Free accounting software can be an affordable solution for small businesses. The best free accounting software options offer an enticing $0 price tag but should still be reliable, secure, and feature-rich. Our top choices include Wave, ZipBooks, Odoo, Sunrise, Zoho Books, and AND CO.

1. Sunrise: Best Free Bookkeeping Software

Sunrise by Lendio



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Best for small businesses that want simple bookkeeping software that’s easy to use. 

Sunrise by Lendio (formerly Billy) is a great free option for businesses that want simple bookkeeping software without the bells and whistles (and high price tags!) of full accounting software. With Sunrise, you can be up and running in just minutes, performing tasks such as sending invoices to clients, managing expenses, and accepting online payments.

One unique feature of Sunrise is that you may qualify for additional funding opportunities through Lendio just by maintaining your books. And if your books become too time-consuming to manage? You can upgrade to Sunrise’s paid professional bookkeeping service, which offers extremely competitive pricing. Throw in support for unlimited users, good customer service, and positive online reviews, and it’s easy to see why Sunrise makes our cut.

Pros

  • Supports unlimited users
  • Good customer service
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Limited integrations
  • Lacks advanced features

Sunrise Features & Pricing

Best Free Accounting Software

With Sunrise’s free self-service software, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited quotes and estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Chart of accounts
  • Cash flow tracking
  • Journal entry
  • Tax support

You can purchase bookkeeping services for an additional fee. While there’s no built-in payroll, Sunrise integrates with Gusto. Unfortunately, Gusto and Zapier are the only integrations you’ll find here, so this could be a problem if you want to integrate with other business apps and software.

Businesses that need full accounting software with advanced features (such as inventory management) will need to seek out other software. However, businesses that want basic bookkeeping software with no limitations, an easy-to-use UI that’s perfect for beginners, and great customer service may find a winner in Sunrise.

Read our in-depth review

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2. Wave: Overall Best Free Accounting Software

Wave



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Best overall software for small businesses that want a forever-free plan with loads of great features.

Wave is the free accounting software choice of over 3.5 million users. It stands out from the competition for its forever-free plan, which doesn’t have the limitations of other free programs. Additionally, this cloud-based software is easy to use and has a robust feature set that’s on par with many paid software options.

When using Wave, you’ll have access to customizable invoices and estimates, expense tracking, and bank reconciliation. You’ll also have access to journal entries, inventory lists, and a customizable chart of accounts. Wave also partners with OnDeck, a small business lender, to bring you a financing option called Lending by Wave. It’s no wonder that Wave has received overall positive reviews from its users.

Pros

  • Cloud-based software
  • Strong security features
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent feature set
  • Forever-free plans
  • No limitations on features

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • Limited integrations
  • Limited mobile apps
  • Doesn’t support multiple users

Wave Features & Pricing

free accounting software

Unlike many other options you’ll find, Wave is truly forever free. You also won’t be held back with limitations on the number of invoices you receive or have to upgrade to access basic features. Wave offers one plan, which doesn’t have any setup fees, monthly fees, or hidden charges. With this free plan, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited, customizable invoices
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Recurring invoices and automatic payments
  • Unlimited bank and credit card connections
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • 12 reports

Although Wave is free to use, some of its paid add-ons may benefit your business. That includes credit card processing, which costs 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. ACH bank payments are 1% per transaction. Wave also offers payroll services and bookkeeping services for an extra free.

Wave does have a lack of integrations and doesn’t have the best mobile apps. Customer support is a bit sluggish, but Wave makes up for it with a very comprehensive Help Center. A lack of support for multiple users makes this software a poor choice for large businesses. However, smaller businesses, marketplace sellers, and freelancers can get the features they need when signing up for Wave.

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3. ZipBooks: Best Free Accounting Software For Beginners

ZipBooks



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Best for small business owners and freelancers looking for a simple accounting solution. 

ZipBooks is free accounting software designed by small business owners for other business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Automation is where ZipBooks truly stands out, combining a color-coded design with a strong feature set to simplify the accounting process.

With a free account from ZipBooks, you’ll be able to send invoices to customers, manage your contacts, and access business health scores. If you need additional features, ZipBooks offers several monthly membership plans. ZipBooks also stands out for excellent customer service and robust security features and has an excellent reputation among its users.

Pros

  • Cloud-based software
  • Strong security features
  • Easy to use
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • Limited integrations
  • Some features limited on the free plan

ZipBooks Features & Pricing

accounting software for free

ZipBooks offers several plans, but for those that don’t want to pay a monthly fee, the free Starter plan includes:

  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited customers and vendors
  • Expense tracking
  • Connect to one bank account
  • Digital payments through Square or PayPal
  • Basic reporting
  • Recurring invoices

You can pay a monthly fee to access additional features. You will also need to upgrade if you want more than one user.

One thing to note is that ZipBooks offers just five integrations and limits some of its features to its paid plans. However, small businesses that need basic accounting software that’s easy to use will find that it doesn’t get much better than ZipBooks.

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4. Odoo: Best Scalable Free Accounting Software

Odoo Accounting



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Best for businesses of any size that want a customizable, scalable accounting solution.

Odoo is different from the other software on the list because it isn’t accounting software. Instead, it’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. While we could get technical about ERP, we’ll keep it simple: Odoo offers over 40 business applications, including Odoo Accounting. You can stick with just Odoo Accounting, or you can combine several different small business apps. One of the best things about Odoo is that the software is completely customizable to fit your business’s needs now and scalable to meet your needs in the future, too.

For this review, though, we’re focusing solely on Odoo Accounting. Odoo comes with features you’d expect from your accounting software, such as a chart of accounts, invoicing, expense tracking, accounts payable, and basic inventory. In addition, the software is easy to use, and you can choose from web-hosted and on-premise installations, although this may affect your total monthly cost.

Pros

  • Open-source software
  • Customizable
  • Scalable
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Poor customer support
  • It can be expensive to scale

Odoo Features & Pricing

best free accounting software

The pricing structure for Odoo is a bit different than the other software on this list. If you only need Odoo Accounting for a single user, you can get the cloud-hosted version for free. Odoo Accounting includes the following features:

  • Invoicing
  • Expense tracking
  • Accounts payable
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Journal entries
  • Budgeting
  • Fixed asset management
  • Basic reporting

If you need to add more users or want on-premise hosting, additional fees apply. You’ll also pay an additional fee for each app that you add to your software.

One thing to note is that while you can select a single app for one user at no cost, these free plans lack customer support. Despite these flaws, Odoo Accounting may still be a great choice for users that need ERP software or want a customizable, scalable option that grows with their business.

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5. AND CO: Best Free Accounting Software For Freelancers

AND CO



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Best for freelancers and independent contractors that want an easy way to invoice customers and track expenses.

AND CO was designed with the freelancer in mind. It isn’t full-fledged accounting software, but it offers plenty of basic tools that are beneficial to freelancers, microbusinesses, and independent contractors. AND CO, now owned by the freelance platform Fiverr, makes it easy to perform basic tasks, such as tracking expenses, managing contacts, sending invoices, and tracking time. AND CO has also received many positive reviews in terms of its customer support.

AND CO offers a free plan, but unfortunately, limitations on this plan only allow you to bill a single client. If you need to invoice additional clients, you can upgrade to a paid subscription. If you aren’t a freelancer and instead operate a small business, you may need more tools than what AND CO offers. However, this management software offers several great features with an easy-to-use interface that can simplify accounting and bookkeeping tasks for freelancers.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Strong mobile apps
  • Cloud-based software

Cons

  • Free plan limited to a single client
  • Limited integrations

And Co Features & Pricing

free accounting software for small business

With the forever-free version of AND CO software, a single user will have access to:

  • Branded invoicing for one client
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Basic reporting
  • Contracts and proposals
  • Project management tools

If you have more than one client, you must upgrade to the Pro plan. For $24 per month, you’ll be able to invoice unlimited customers. Pro users also get non-branded invoicing and customizable contracts.

Potential dealbreakers include only a handful of integrations and a lack of transparency surrounding security. If you aren’t a freelancer or your business needs full accounting software, AND CO won’t be a good match for you. However, freelancers who want access to a few simple tools will find that AND CO is easy to use and could potentially add new features designed for freelancers in the future.

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6. Zoho Books: Best Free Accounting Software For Invoicing

Zoho Books



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Best for businesses that want advanced invoicing. 

Up until recently, Zoho Books required a paid subscription. Now, it’s one of the latest programs to offer a completely free version to small business owners. Zoho Books is one of the best in the industry when it comes to features, and its free plan is no exception.

Zoho Books offers everything you’d expect from accounting software, such as journal entries, charts of accounts, expense tracking, and financial reports. Where the software really shines, though, is in its invoicing. Zoho Books has 16 invoice templates and multiple customization options and automations to make invoicing more personalized and easier than ever.

Additionally, you’ll find that Zoho Books has exceptional customer support and an excellent public reputation. Though there are some limitations with the free plan (more on that in a minute), Zoho Books is an excellent choice for businesses that want strong accounting software comparable to QuickBooks Online without the monthly subscription fee.

Pros

  • Strong feature set
  • Advanced invoicing
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • Some advanced features only available with paid plans
  • Free plan limits invoices

Zoho Books Features & Pricing

Zoho Books Review

Zoho Books free plan is made for a single user and includes:

  • 1,000 invoices
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Mileage tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Chart of accounts
  • Journal entries
  • Contractor management
  • Reports

More invoices, additional users, and advanced features, such as project management, job costing, and budgeting, require a subscription to a paid plan. The free plan only includes email support, and access to text and phone support also requires a paid subscription. Plans start at $15/month.

There isn’t a lot of negative things to say about Zoho Books — just ask its users! However, if you need multiple users, unlimited invoicing, and advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade your subscription or seek out other options. However, if your business needs full accounting software comparable to big-name players such as QuickBooks Online without the monthly payment, you’ll find what you need in Zoho Books.

Read our in-depth review

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The Accounting Software That Didn't Make The Cut

There are many free accounting software options for small businesses, but not all of them pass muster.

To be one of the best, we expect free accounting software to be secure and reliable — that means no spam and no excessive ads that make using the software near impossible. We also expect the software to have basic accounting features and a modern, easy-to-navigate UI.

The programs below didn’t meet these standards.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is one of the top accounting software programs on the market, so why isn’t it included in our list? Quite simply, QuickBooks Online isn’t free. While it boasts many great accounting features, you will have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use this software. A free trial is available, though, if you want to give the software a spin. You can also check out some of the top QuickBooks Online alternatives to learn more about software programs that may be a good fit for your business.

SlickPie

SlickPie was an accounting solution for small business owners. Unlike some other programs that didn’t make the cut, we actually loved SlickPie. The software offered great features, a nice UI, and was 100% free. Unfortunately, SlickPie shut down its services on March 31, 2021, and is no longer available.

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping offers very inexpensive bookkeeping plans, so it’s easy to see how some people might think of this vendor when looking for free accounting software. However, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping isn’t free — its smallest plan costs $4.99/month. Additionally, we do not recommend GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping. The software is incredibly limited, and the security is highly doubtful at best, with numerous data breaches reported in the past.

GnuCash

GnuCash is a free, open-source personal and business accounting software platform. While GnuCash offers decent accounting features and receives fairly positive reviews from customers, the UI is very outdated. Furthermore, because the software is open-source, you also lose the benefits of the cloud, and the main form of customer support is just forums with other users.

TurboCASH

Slightly more modern in design than GnuCash, TurboCASH is another free, open-source accounting solution. However, unlike GnuCash, TurboCASH has very few user reviews to legitimize this software. The fact that the software’s webpage shows up as “not secure” on my browser is also not very reassuring.

CloudBooks

CloudBooks is an up-and-coming free invoicing software that often gets lumped into the list of “best free accounting software.” However, CloudBooks is not an accounting solution. The software offers some bookkeeping features, but it is actually a free invoicing program. To learn more about invoicing options, check out our top invoice software recommendations.

Akaunting

Akaunting is another up-and-coming free accounting software program. The software looks promising and has a much more modern and user-friendly design than Gnu Cash and TurboCASH. However, there is still a very small number of reviews from actual users about this startup. As Akaunting grows, this software may become a real contender — only time will tell.

How To Pick Free Accounting Software & Avoid Scams

Do an online search, and you’ll get inundated with free software options. Unfortunately, just because it’s free doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Some software isn’t reliable or secure, while others may be filled with ads or lack the features you need for your business. While you may want to save money, you don’t want to do so at the expense of your business’s security.

So how can you tell the difference between good free accounting software and scams?

Ask yourself:

  • Does the company offer robust security features, such as firewalls and data encryption?
  • Is the company transparent about its security policies?
  • Is there a history of data breaches or fraud?
  • Does the UI look like any random Joe pieced it together, or does it have a professional, modern appearance?
  • What do other customers say about the software on review sites, such as Trustpilot and Capterra?
  • What does the BBB say about the company?
  • Is the software updated regularly?
  • Has Merchant Maverick reviewed the software? (If so, we’ll take the guesswork out and let you know the full scoop on the software you’re looking into.)

If the software passes those questions, then odds are the software is not a scam. However, even if the software isn’t a “scam,” that doesn’t mean it’s worth your time.

The cost — or lack thereof, in the case of free software — shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when making your choice. There are many free accounting options that are good for the bank but not for the books. You want to make sure that the software is still worth your while as a business owner.

Here are the characteristics a good free accounting program will have:

  • A well-designed user interface
  • Good customer support
  • Useful features
  • Integrations

When Should You Upgrade To Paid Accounting Software?

free small business accounting software

It’s perfectly fine to use free accounting software for as long as possible. However, there comes a time when many businesses need more than what even the best free software has to offer. When that happens, it’s time to upgrade to paid software. So how do you know when it’s time to make the switch? Consider these reasons:

  • Advanced Features: If you want the more advanced features found with full accounting software, you’ll likely have to upgrade your free plan to a paid subscription or shop around for other paid options.
  • Customized Accounting: Whether you want a program specifically designed for your industry or a program that’s scalable with your business, customization typically comes at a cost.
  • Improved Reporting: While most free software offers a handful of reports, a paid subscription is typically needed to access advanced reporting. Having that access could be necessary as your business grows, if you’re making big changes to your company, or when you seek funding from a lender.

If you find that your current free software is slow, outdated, or doesn’t offer the features you need, it’s time to consider your options. If other free programs just don’t fit your needs, it’s time to upgrade to paid software.

Unsure of where to start? Kick off your search with our picks for The Best Easy-To-Use Accounting Software For Small Businesses.

Free Accounting Software: The Bottom Line

Now that you’re aware of a handful of options, it’s time to make your choice. Fortunately, you have nothing to lose with free software, so don’t worry if you don’t make the right choice the first time. To save time, though, there are a few tips that you can use to weed through the software that misses the mark.

First, know what features you need and which you don’t. For example, if you primarily want software that allows you to send invoices, you can skip over options that come loaded with advanced features. On the flip side, if you have more extensive bookkeeping and accounting needs, you can pass on basic invoicing software that only has a handful of features.

If you’re prone to doing business on the go, you want to choose a program with strong mobile apps. That allows you to manage your account easily from your smartphone or tablet. If you’re going to accept online payments, look for software with multiple integrations.

You’ll also need to keep in mind relevant factors, such as the number of clients you have and the number of invoices, proposals, or estimates that can be sent out per month on a free plan. You want to find something that works for you without having to upgrade your subscription, at least not at this time.

Overall, though, you can’t go wrong with software that’s easy to use, offers good customer support or resources, and has strong security features. So start from there and then tack on the features that you need to find your perfect match. Good luck!

Free Accounting Software FAQs

What is the best free accounting software for small businesses?

Wave is our pick for the best overall free small business accounting software, and millions of small business owners agree. Wave is loaded with great accounting features typically reserved for paid software without pesky ads or limitations on its features. However, another one of the options on our list may be a better fit depending on your business’s needs.

What is the easiest accounting software to use?

ZipBooks is one of the easiest accounting software options on the market today. Even users with no prior accounting experience can balance the books, send invoices, and perform other accounting functions in no time using ZipBooks.

Is Wave Accounting actually free?

Wave is truly free with no strings attached. However, you will have to pay if you need to use Wave’s credit card processing or payroll services.

Is QuickBooks Online free?

QuickBooks Online is not free software. QuickBooks Online subscription plans start at $25/month, although discounts are usually offered for new users. You can also sign up for a 30-day free trial to test the software, but this typically makes you ineligible for any discounts.

Is there a free alternative to QuickBooks?

Wave is a great free alternative to QuickBooks. Wave boasts many of the same features of QBO without the monthly subscription cost. Zoho Books also recently added a free plan, and it offers a great feature set comparable to QuickBooks Online.

What is the best free accounting software for freelancers?

AND CO offers a great free accounting software plan for freelancers and independent contractors. This free plan cuts out the advanced features you don’t need, leaving you with a simple way to perform critical business tasks, such as invoicing clients and tracking expenses.

In Summary: The 6 Best Free Accounting Software

  1. Sunrise by Lendio: Best free bookkeeping software
  2. Wave: Best overall free accounting software
  3. ZipBooks: Best free accounting software for beginners
  4. Odoo Accounting: Best scalable free accounting software
  5. AND CO: Best free accounting software for freelancers
  6. Zoho Books: Best free accounting software for invoicing
Erica Seppala

Erica Seppala

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
An expert in accounting, finance, and point of sale, Erica has been researching and writing about all things small-business since 2018. Erica's insights into personal and business finance have been cited in numerous publications, including MSN, Real Simple, and Reader's Digest. She is a graduate of Limestone College.
Erica Seppala
View Erica Seppala's professional experience on LinkedIn.
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1 Comment

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Monica Gupta

    Nice Article, and very helpful I will recommend this to my clients.

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

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