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Free Bookkeeping Software That Small Businesses Shouldn’t Miss Out On

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As a freelancer or small business owner, one of the most important things you can do for your business is to keep track of your books. While some businesses hire bookkeepers or accountants, a new business may not have the budget to do so, leaving the task of bookkeeping to fall on the owner or another staff member.

The good news is we’ve moved past the days of paper ledgers and balance sheets. With bookkeeping and accounting software, you can track expenses, reconcile accounts, send invoices, and balance your books with ease. The even better news? Many of these programs won’t cost you a dime. There are plenty of great free bookkeeping options out there for business owners to manage their finances without breaking the bank.

Are you feeling skeptical? After all, “nothing in life is free,” right? Fortunately for you (and your finances), there are several reliable and trustworthy free bookkeeping tools at your fingertips. We’ve spent hours and hours researching, testing, and analyzing the free accounting software programs to bring you the best of the best. We’ll explore the features, benefits, and more to help you pick the right free bookkeeping software for your business. Let’s jump right in.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyTakeawayNext Steps
Best free accounting software for small businesses that want a forever-free plan loaded with features.

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Best free accounting software for small businesses seeking an easy-to-use solution with great customer support. 

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Best free accounting software for managing multiple businesses. 

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Best for small businesses and freelancers with five or fewer customers. 

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Best for small to mid-sized product-based businesses looking for a simple invoicing solution. 

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Other Featured Options:

  • AND CO: Best for freelancers and small service-based businesses that want to quickly and easily create invoices at no cost. 
  • Invoice Ninja: Best for small businesses and freelancers that want advanced invoicing features. 
  • Mint: Best for individuals that want to track and manage their personal finances. 

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

1. Wave

Wave



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Best free accounting software for small businesses that want a forever-free plan loaded with features.

best bookkeeping software

Since its launch in 2010, over 3.5 million customers have signed up for Wave. What sets this software apart from its competitors is that it doesn’t come with the limitations you’ll find with most free programs. And if you’re wondering if it’s truly free, it is — no ads, no gimmicks, and you don’t even need to add a credit card to your account. Wave has an easy-to-use interface, allowing you to get started immediately after a quick sign-up process. Wave offers features comparable to paid software and is best for small businesses. And to sweeten the deal even further, if you need some extra help with your bookkeeping, you can pay for affordable, professional bookkeeping help from Wave experts.

Wave Pros

Wave tops this list for numerous reasons, with benefits including:

  • No limitations on features
  • Cloud-based
  • Completely ad-free
  • Solid security features
  • Advanced features not typically found with free software
  • Easy to use

While customers rave about features and ease of use, some drawbacks include a lack of full-featured mobile apps, limited integrations, and slow response times from customer service.

Wave Features

Wave has an abundance of features that rival even paid programs such as QuickBooks Online. Wave allows you to create customizable invoices, send estimates, track expenses, scan receipts, and list inventory. Wave offers several features to help you balance the books and keep up with your business’s finances, including bank reconciliation, a customizable chart of accounts, journal entries, and 12 exportable reports.

Wave Pricing

You can access all of Wave’s accounting and bookkeeping features for free. However, payments and payroll features come at a cost, which we’ll go over in just a minute. For basic bookkeeping needs, though, most businesses will find everything they need with Wave.

The free version includes:

  • Unlimited income and expense tracking
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Professional invoice templates
  • Unlimited receipt scanning and recording
  • Bank transaction reconciliation
  • Exportable reports
  • Double-entry accounting

While you don’t have to pay to use Wave, there are additional costs for payment processing and payroll. As your business grows, and you’re ready to hand off bookkeeping tasks to a professional, or if you need a little extra help, Wave has you covered through its Wave Plus bookkeeping plans.

Through this service, you can have a dedicated bookkeeper starting at just $149 per month. Read our full Wave review for more pricing details. If you’re not ready to hire a professional but want to receive personalized help, you can also get live coaching for a flat fee of $249.

Takeaway

Wave is a great software option for business owners that want accounting software loaded with great features but don’t want to pay a fortune. This forever-free option doesn’t charge additional fees, nor does it require upgrading to a paid account to take full advantage of all of its great bookkeeping features (one of the few on the market to do so).

Get Started with Wave

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2. ZipBooks

ZipBooks



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Best free accounting software for small businesses seeking an easy-to-use solution with great customer support. 

best bookkeeping small business

Launched in just 2015, ZipBooks is one of the newer programs in the game, but its already received generally positive user reviews across the board. It aims to help you take your business to the next level by offering a free program that’s organized and easy to use. Its already making a name for itself among small business owners due to its ease of use, a strong feature set, and great customer service. Customers can take advantage of the free plan for access to the basics or upgrade to one of three affordable paid plans for additional accounting and bookkeeping features.

ZipBooks Pros

Is ZipBooks the right software for your business? Here’s why you should consider this free option:

  • Easy to use
  • Cloud-based
  • Good customer support
  • Solid security features
  • Various automations

While ZipBooks users have predominantly positive things to say, there are a few minor complaints, such as limited reports and mobile app bugs.

ZipBooks Features

You’ll be able to take advantage of features, including invoicing, bank reconciliation, inventory lists, expense tracking, and estimates. ZipBooks allows you to send recurring invoices, set invoice reminders, and run key business reports. Other features that stand out include time tracking, project management options, and a Business Intelligence feature that gives you insight into the future of your business. However, these additional features are only available when you upgrade to a paid plan.

ZipBooks Pricing

ZipBooks offers four different plans to best suit the needs of its customers. Businesses on a budget or just getting started can take advantage of the free plan, also known as the Starter plan.

The free version includes:

  • Unlimited invoices
  • Management of unlimited customers and vendors
  • Acceptance of Square and PayPal payments
  • Basic reporting

All features in the free plan are available to one user, and only one bank account can be connected. For additional users and accounts, you must upgrade to one of the company’s paid plans. ZipBooks has three paid plans starting at $15/month, which will give you access for more users and to advanced features. Read our complete ZipBooks Review to learn more.

Takeaway

One thing’s certain — this up and coming software can hold its own. ZipBooks has a well-designed user interface that simplifies basic bookkeeping and accounting tasks while providing great customer support to help you every step of the way. When your business outgrows the free plan, ZipBooks has several affordable options that allow you to add more users, plus additional features that can benefit your business.

Read our in-depth review

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3. SlickPie

SlickPie



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Best free accounting software for managing multiple businesses. 

best bookkeeping apps

One of the drawbacks found with a lot of free accounting programs is limitations on users and businesses. However, SlickPie — a software founded in 2015 — has defied those limits by offering a program that is loaded with features and supports an unlimited number of users and up to 10 companies. SlickPie offers basic accounting features, although there are some areas where it falls short (namely, customer support, time tracking, and invoice customization). However, it is a good accounting solution for business owners that manage multiple businesses.

SlickPie Pros

SlickPie aims to help businesses get paid faster through improved expense management and other benefits, including:

  • Unlimited users
  • Support for multiple businesses
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Various automations
  • Supported in over 100 countries
  • Bank-grade security
  • Cloud-based

The software is ideal for business owners needing to manage multiple businesses, though its feature set is not ideal for larger businesses.

SlickPie Features

SlickPie offers a fair number of bookkeeping and accounting features, even on its free plan. One of the standout features, as previously mentioned, is the support for multiple businesses and users, which isn’t rare with paid software, let alone free accounting software. With SlickPie, you can send unlimited invoices, create quotes and estimates, and track expenses. Additionally, the software features bank reconciliation, contact management, and an intuitive dashboard that lets you easily view key financials of your business. If you need additional insights, SlickPie offers 12 different financial reports. There are also several automated features available in SlickPie, including receipt entry, recurring invoices, and late payment reminders.

SlickPie Pricing

SlickPie has two different plan options: the Starter plan that’s available at no cost, and the Pro plan, priced at $39.95 per month.

The free version includes:

  • Unlimited automated receipt entry
  • Management of up to 10 companies
  • Invoicing
  • PayPal, Stripe, and credit card processing
  • Quote and estimate creation
  • Expense tracking
  • Bill management
  • Bank transaction reconciliation
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Reporting

The Pro plan offers all of the same features as the Starter plan. However, it supports up to 50 companies and also gives you access to phone support. Users of the free plan only receive email support.

Takeaway

While larger businesses may want to look elsewhere, small business owners will find that SlickPie offers plenty of basic accounting features. Unlike other types of software, the free plan includes all of the features found on the paid plan. So upgrading is only necessary if you have more than ten companies to manage or want access to phone support. Otherwise, SlickPie’s free software is a solid option for the budget-minded business owner.

Read our in-depth review

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4. Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice



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Best for small businesses and freelancers with five or fewer customers. 

best bookkeeping tools

If you’re looking for a way to simplify invoicing and billing, look no further than Zoho Invoice. It doesn’t have advanced accounting features, but it can help cut down the time it takes to create invoices, send them to customers, and get paid. If you want more advanced features, Zoho Books offers great accounting and strong features at an affordable price. Zoho Invoice has security measures in place to keep your data safe and has an overall excellent reputation with its customers. Unlike other companies (especially those that offer free software), Zoho Invoice has exceptional customer support and fast response times to help you get the most out of the software.

Zoho Invoice Pros

Why does Zoho Invoice stand out among its competitors? By offering these benefits:

  • Great customer support
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Excellent mobile apps
  • Invoicing in 14 languages
  • Advanced invoicing features
  • Cloud-based

Zoho Invoice Features

Zoho Invoice offers plenty of features that make invoicing and billing easier than ever. The cloud-based software gives you access to 16 easily-customizable invoice templates and 16 customizable estimate templates. Zoho Invoice even allows you to create and send invoices in 14 different languages. Auto-scheduling and recurring options automate sending your invoices, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Zoho Invoice also gives you other tools that are helpful for your business, such as expense tracking, time tracking, item lists, and a project dashboard. You can also view 30 different reports, although there is a lack of some accounting reports, such as Profit & Loss statements. The free plan only includes one user and invoicing for up to five customers, but Zoho Invoice’s paid plans offer more flexibility.

Zoho Invoice Pricing

Zoho Invoice has a total of four plans: one free option and three paid plans.

The free version includes:

  • Invoicing for up to five customers
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Customizable invoice templates
  • Estimates
  • Reporting
  • Mobile invoicing

If you need more invoicing capability or access for more than one user, you will have to upgrade to one of Zoho Invoice’s paid plans, which range from $9 – $29/month. Unlike some of the other software on this list, Zoho Invoice offers expense receipt scanning as an add-on. Unfortunately, it’s not available for the free plan, but 50 scans per month can be added to any of the paid plans for an additional $5 monthly fee. Read our full Zoho Invoice review for more pricing details.

Takeaway

If you want to save time on billing and invoicing, consider giving Zoho Invoice a shot. With customization options, excellent customer support, and well-designed user interface and mobile apps, Zoho Invoice truly simplifies this aspect of your business. However, if you have a larger business, need additional users, or invoice more than five customers, you will need to upgrade to a paid account. Or you might want to consider full-fledged accounting software, such as Zoho Books.

Read our in-depth review

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5. Square Invoices

Square Invoices



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Best for small to mid-sized product-based businesses looking for a simple invoicing solution. 

best bookkeeping tools

Square is primarily known for payment processing, but Square Invoices is a great feature that was added to the platform in 2014. With Square Invoices, you can send invoices and estimates to your customers from your computer or device. You also get full access to all of the features that Square has to offer. While some of these features come at an additional cost, there are still a host of free business tools at your disposal. Square Invoices has decent security, good customer service, and various features and integrations available at no cost. On the flip side, though, a lack of some features found in other free software makes Square Invoices unsuitable for project-based and service-based businesses.

Square Invoices Pros

In addition to allowing you to send invoices to your customers at no charge, Square Invoices offers a host of other benefits including:

  • Over 100 integrations
  • Excellent mobile apps
  • Advanced invoicing features
  • Modern, easy-to-use interface
  • Additional features not offered by other invoicing software
  • Good customer support
  • Cloud-based

Square Invoices Features

The primary features of Square Invoices are sending and managing invoices and creating estimates. However, when you sign up for Square Invoices, you also get full access to Square’s features, which links you to business tools, including sales tracking, contact management, employee management, contract creation, and advanced inventory features. Square also provides 14 sales reports as well as the option to create custom reports.

Square Invoices Pricing

It’s free to sign up for Square, and there are no monthly fees to use Square Invoices.

The free version includes:

  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Invoice customization
  • Custom estimates
  • Automated billing and payment reminders
  • Real-time tracking and reporting

There is no charge for using Square Invoices to send invoices to your customers. However, you’ll still need to pay for payment processing if your customers pay online with a credit card. Additional options offered by Square outside of invoicing, such as payroll and advanced employee management, are also available for a monthly fee. Read our Square Invoices review for a full overview of the fees and pricing details.

Takeaway

Signing up for Square Invoices gives you access to the entire Square Dashboard, which provides plenty of free tools and features to help you operate and grow your business. However, if you’re a project- or service-based business looking for an all-in-one solution, Zoho Invoice or Invoice Ninja may be better options.

Get Started with Square Invoices

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6. AND CO

AND CO



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Best for freelancers and small service-based businesses that want to quickly and easily create invoices at no cost. 

best bookkeeping software

AND CO is a freelancer management software that was launched in 2015 and acquired by the freelance platform Fiverr. AND CO provides a variety of accounting and bookkeeping tools designed for freelancers. In addition to offering a forever-free plan, AND CO has excellent customer support and features that go beyond accounting to help your business stay on track. While a small number of integrations and non-transparent security are among the drawbacks of the free version, this software has received mostly positive reviews from its customers.

AND CO Pros

Why do freelancers choose AND CO to manage their time and projects? Here are some of the reasons:

  • Great customer service
  • Strong mobile apps
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Cloud-based

AND CO Features

While AND CO was designed with the freelancer in mind, independent contractors and micro-businesses may also benefit from the software’s features. With AND CO, you can easily create and send invoices to your clients. You can also track expenses and time, which you can then bill your clients for. Additional features include project creation, proposals, signable contracts, and basic reports.

AND CO Pricing

AND CO has two different plans: a free plan and the Pro plan that comes with a monthly fee.

The free version includes:

  • Invoicing with AND CO branding
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Project management features
  • Standard contracts
  • Proposals
  • Reports
  • Support for up to two accounts
  • Available for use for one active client

If you have more than one client, you will have to upgrade to the Pro Plan, which costs $18/month. In addition to allowing you to add unlimited clients, the Pro version gives you access to an improved feature set. Read our full AND CO review for more details.

Takeaway

For freelancers with a single client, AND CO has a great set of features. If you have multiple clients, other free options allow you to invoice, track expenses, and perform other functions in your business. However, AND CO is a solid choice for basic accounting and bookkeeping features combined with tools to help you better manage your time and projects.

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7. Invoice Ninja

Invoice Ninja



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Best for small businesses and freelancers that want advanced invoicing features. 

Best Bookkeeping Software

Since its launch in 2014, Invoice Ninja has amassed over 90,000 customers and for good reason. Automations, customization, and a great feature set are just a few of the things that make this software a solid competitor with other invoicing solutions. It also has three different pricing plans (including a forever-free option), cloud-based and self-hosted options, and excellent customer support. It’s no surprise, then, that Invoice Ninja has an overall favorable rating with its existing customer base.

Invoice Ninja Pros

In addition to the many features that are offered by this software, there are other benefits to using Invoice Ninja, including:

  • Unlimited invoices and estimates
  • Cloud-based or locally-installed options available
  • Great customer service
  • Numerous integrations
  • Various automations
  • Customization options
  • Available in 30 languages

Invoice Ninja Features

As you could probably tell from its name, Invoice Ninja primarily centers on invoicing and billing. While a bit light on traditional accounting features, you’ll be able to use Invoice Ninja to more effectively and efficiently run your business. You can create and send customized invoices to your customers in real-time. Customers can access their invoices through Invoice Ninja’s well-designed client platform. The software also includes expense tracking, estimates, a product library, and offers support for over 40 payment gateways.

Invoice Ninja Pricing

Invoice Ninja has one of the best free plans on the market with very few limitations.

The free version includes:

  • Unlimited invoices and estimates
  • Up to 100 clients
  • Product library
  • Auto-billing & recurring payments
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Project management tools
  • Invoice templates and customization

Invoice Ninja’s paid plan includes everything in the free version but allows you to have unlimited clients. You’ll also receive added features, including more invoice templates, a custom URL, and reports. Read our full Invoice Ninja review for more details.

Takeaway

If you don’t need a ton of bookkeeping features, and you want to focus mainly on sending invoices, Invoice Ninja is a great choice. The free plan provides you with everything you need to simplify sending invoices and estimates, tracking your expenses, and getting paid by your customers.

Get Started with Invoice Ninja

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8. Honorable Mention: Mint

Mint



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Best for individuals that want to track and manage their personal finances. 

Best Personal Bookkeeping Software

Mint differs from the software on the rest of this list because it is designed for personal accounting and budgeting. Even though it’s not meant for business use, don’t write it off immediately. It’s still important to keep track of your personal expenses and take control of your finances, and Mint can help you do just that. And if you’re a freelancer who hasn’t gotten a business banking account yet (*cough, cough*), Mint can help you categorize and track your transactions. Mint is extremely easy to use, making personal money management a breeze. With Mint, you have access to an abundance of personal finance tools, including expense tracking, bill tracking, reminders, financial goals, and even your personal credit score. Mint is completely free to use but is ad-supported.

Mint Pros

Get your finances on the right track with Mint, which has the following benefits:

  • Easy to use
  • Integrates with TurboTax and QuickBooks
  • Decent security features
  • Cloud-based
  • Excellent mobile apps
  • Numerous personal finance management tools

Mint Features

For a free program, Mint offers a surprising number of features you can use to keep track of your personal finances. Mint automatically uses your bank transactions to track your expenses. These expenses are then categorized by the software, although you can get a better handle on your finances by creating categories and setting up category rules. Mint also tracks bills, sends you payment reminders, creates a budget based on your spending habits, and tracks your investments. You can set personal financial goals, keep an eye on your credit score, and even see your net worth.

Mint Pricing

Mint only has one plan, and it’s completely free.

The free version includes all of the features listed above. It is important to note, however, that Mint is ad-supported software. You will see advertisements for financial products based on the information you have provided.

Takeaway

While it isn’t suitable for business purposes, Mint is a great (and free!) way to keep tabs on your personal finances. If you have trouble budgeting, need to evaluate your spending habits, or want to set financial goals, consider giving Mint a shot.

Read our in-depth review

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Tips For Avoiding A Free Bookkeeping Software Scam

We’ve all heard the adage that goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” In many cases, this proves to be true, but when it comes to free software, there are legitimate options available, you just have to weed the scams out. Our top free bookkeeping software picks are truly free with no strings attached. These are reliable, trustworthy programs with strong security measure to protect your bookkeeping data. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t scams out there. If you explore your options, you’ll probably encounter a few shady options during your search.

To avoid falling victim to a scam, understand what to look for in legitimate and reliable software. One way to do this is by taking a look at customer reviews. Are there recent reviews, and do they sound legit? Look out for multiple reviews posted on the same day or reviews that are very similar.

Any company offering free bookkeeping software should be transparent around its security practices. How does the software keep your data safe? If there’s any question about the security of the free software, it’s best to look for other options.

You should also take a look at the features offered by the free software. What is included in the free plan, and is there a charge for additional features? Even if it isn’t a scam, you should cross any software that doesn’t offer the features your business needs off your list of options. You also want to avoid any software that has an overly complicated or outdated user interface. The software may be free, but working with an old or difficult program is frustrating. Plus it shows that the company isn’t actively maintaining its product, which is never a good sign. You can avoid this frustration by choosing a more reliable option (and you deserve actively maintained and improved software).

Finally, you should be wary of any program that requests credit card information or other types of payment. If the software is truly free, you shouldn’t have to keep a credit card on file or send money to use it. Now, there may be cases when you choose to upgrade to a paid plan or add on additional features. However, a legitimate free software program will not require you to pay a dime.

When To Upgrade To Paid Software

As your business grows, you will likely find a need to upgrade to a paid software option. Sure, no one wants to add an extra expense, but you’ll quickly find that as you gain more customers, incur more expenses, and have a more complicated tax return, paid accounting software is a necessary investment. Plus you can often write off business software as a tax deduction.

So how do you know when the time is right to upgrade to paid software? Ultimately, every business is different, and moving up to more advanced software depends on the needs of your business. For example, if you need additional features that you can’t find with free software, consider upgrading to the paid version or finding new software altogether. If your business has more complex accounting needs, the basic features offered through free software may no longer be enough. If you want more integrations, additional users, and advanced financial reports, it’s usually time to purchase paid software.

Best Paid Alternatives

Ready to make the leap to paid accounting software? Here are our top choices.

Business SizePricingEase of UseCustomer Support
QuickBooks OnlineSmall – Large$20 – $150/moGoodFair
Zoho BooksSmall$9 – $29/moGoodExcellent
XeroMedium – Large$9 – $60/moFairFair
FreshBooksSmall$15 – $50/moExcellentExcellent
Sage Business CloudSmall – Medium$10 – $25/moExcellentFair

Which Free Bookkeeping Software Is Right For You?

Now that you’re familiar with what’s out there, you may be wondering which option is right for you. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every business has different needs, including the best free bookkeeping software. To narrow down your choices, consider the type of business you run, the number of customers you serve, and the features that are most important to you.

If you’re still stuck trying to find the right option, check out our other great resources and reviews to learn more about these and other software options. Understand the needs of your business, do your research, and know that you may need to test out a few options before sticking with just one. Don’t be afraid to give them a try — after all, they’re free.

A Last Look At Our Top Picks

  1. Wave
    Takeaway - Best free accounting software for small businesses that want a forever-free plan loaded with features.
  2. ZipBooks
    Takeaway - Best free accounting software for small businesses seeking an easy-to-use solution with great customer support. 
  3. SlickPie
    Takeaway - Best free accounting software for managing multiple businesses. 
  4. Zoho Invoice
    Takeaway - Best for small businesses and freelancers with five or fewer customers. 
  5. Square Invoices
    Takeaway - Best for small to mid-sized product-based businesses looking for a simple invoicing solution. 
  6. AND CO
    Takeaway - Best for freelancers and small service-based businesses that want to quickly and easily create invoices at no cost. 
  7. Invoice Ninja
    Takeaway - Best for small businesses and freelancers that want advanced invoicing features. 
  8. Mint
    Takeaway - Best for individuals that want to track and manage their personal finances. 
Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Managing Editor - Accounting
Chelsea Krause is a writer who has specialized in accounting for over three years and is a QuickBooks Certified User. She has a BA in English & Creative Writing from George Fox University and studied at the University of Oxford as well. She has been quoted in Forbes and her work appears in Startup Nation, Small Business Bonfire, and Women on Business.
Chelsea Krause
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