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The Best Quickbooks Online Alternatives

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QuickBooks Online Review

Intuit has been a big name in accounting for decades now, and with 2.2 million QuickBooks Online (see our review) users, it’s easy to see why. However, QuickBooks isn’t the only option when it comes to cloud-based accounting. There are plenty of other competitive and comprehensive programs ready and willing to compete with this accounting giant.

Whether you’re a long-time QuickBooks Online user ready for a change or are brand new to the accounting software search, we’re here to help you find the best software for your business. QuickBooks may be the right choice for you, but don’t settle for a software just because it’s the most popular game in town. Before making any big decisions, read on to see how these top three accounting software alternatives give QuickBooks Online a run for its money. But first, let’s talk a bit about what makes QuickBooks Online special in the first place.

Overview of QuickBooks Online

For those of you who need a refresher, QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based, double-entry accounting program. The software was launched back in 2004 and has acquired more capabilities on a regular basis ever since. Not only does QuickBooks Online cover standard accounting features, it offers invoicing, contact management, tax support, lending, and more.

The software is ideal for small businesses in need of strong accounting and ample integrations. The software is generally easy to use and navigate, so you don’t need to have a background in accounting to learn QuickBooks Online. The software is not a good fit for companies with more than 25 users.

QuickBooks Online offers three pricing plans ranging from $15/mo – $50/mo. Only the largest plan comes with advanced features like inventory, time tracking, and project management. Payroll costs an additional $39/mo – $99/mo (plus $2/mo per user).

Pros

  • Beautiful software design
  • Robust feature set
  • Strong accounting
  • Tax support
  • 250+ integrations
  • Great invoicing templates
  • Invoice automations like auto scheduling
  • Mobile apps
  • Multi-currency support
  • Strong security
  • Access to QuickBooks Capital (see our review)

Cons

  • Poor customer service
  • Recent increase in pricing
  • Payroll costs extra
  • Can’t create tasks in project management feature
  • Sometimes unintuitive and hard to navigate
  • Occasional glitches and outages

Alternative #1: Xero

Best QuickBooks Online Alternatives

Xero (see our review) is one of the best alternatives to QuickBooks Online, hands down. This software offers strong accounting, incredible customer service, and an impressive number of positive customer reviews. Xero also offers unlimited users, something almost unheard of in the accounting world.

The software is ideal for medium-large businesses in need of strong accounting and multiple users. Xero allows you to set detailed user permissions and manage multiple companies. While there is a small plan marketed toward smaller businesses, this plan is incredibly limited when compared to other options like Zoho Books and Wave. Payroll is only available in 37 states.

Features

One of the most common things Xero customers say is that the software has a great selection of features, including:

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Accounts payable
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Chart of accounts
  • Fixed asset management
  • Inventory
  • Project management
  • Timesheets
  • Payroll
  • 65 reports
  • Journal entries
  • Print checks
  • Tax support
  • Sales tax
  • Multi-currency support

Note: Feature access may vary by plan. Visit our comprehensive Xero review for a complete feature list.

Pricing

Xero offers five scalable price plans ranging from $9/mo – $180/mo. Payments are made monthly. Each plan comes with unlimited users. Check Xero’s pricing page for more details.

How It Compares to QuickBooks Online

In many areas, QuickBooks Online and Xero are neck and neck. They offer the same number of integrations. They both have strong security. Their feature sets are nigh identical. Both offer contact management, invoicing, fixed asset management, inventory, tax support, check printing, class tracking, budgeting — you get the picture.

QuickBooks Online does boast better invoice templates, more invoice automations, better mobile apps, and a project management feature (which Xero doesn’t offer at all). But Xero comes with better contact management, unlimited users, and superior customer support. In addition, many of Quickbooks Online’s features only come with the largest plan, whereas Xero users have almost full access to all features with each plan (minus payroll and multi-currency support). These advantages — and the overall scalability of this solution — may make Xero a better choice for growing businesses.

Xero does come with a bit of a learning curve, but the software is well-organized and easy to navigate once you get used to it. Learn more about how Xero compares to QuickBooks Online in our detailed Xero VS QuickBooks Online post.

If Xero sounds like it might be a good fit for you, check out our comprehensive Xero review and take the software for a spin with a free 30-day trial. Also take a look at our free How To Set Up Your Xero Account guide to learn how to set up and use your Xero software.

Alternative #2: Zoho Books

Best QuickBooks Online Alternatives

Zoho Books (see our review) is a complete accounting package with some of the most beautiful invoicing tools I have ever seen. The software was launched in 2009. While Zoho Books features have been expanding ever since, their prices have remained the same (another ding for QuickBooks Online, which has recently upped their costs). Overall, Zoho Books is incredibly affordable, offers good customer support, has amazing mobile apps, and provides some of the best international business options on the market.

Zoho Books is ideal for small to medium businesses looking for strong accounting and with up to 10 users. Zoho Books has almost all of the features you’d expect to see from QuickBooks or Xero; the only thing the software doesn’t offer is payroll or budgeting, so users in need of built-in payroll may want to look elsewhere.

Features

Zoho Books offers an impressive number of features. In fact, recent updates have put the software almost completely on par with QuickBooks Online.

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Client portal
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Mileage deductions
  • Accounts payable
  • Chart of accounts
  • Fixed asset management
  • Inventory
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • 50+ Reports
  • Journal entries
  • Class tracking
  • Print checks
  • Tax support
  • Sales tax
  • Multi-currency support
  • Invoice in multiple languages

Note: Feature access may vary by plan. Visit our comprehensive Zoho Books review for a complete feature list.

Pricing

Zoho Books offers three pricing plans ranging from $9 – $29/mo. Plans are paid monthly. Features vary by plan; check out Zoho Book’s pricing page to learn more.

How It Compares to QuickBooks Online

Not only is Zoho Books far easier to use than QuickBooks Online, it offers almost all of the same complex features, including bank reconciliation, a chart of accounts, invoice automations, check printing and even job-costing. Zoho Books also offers better invoicing and a more developed and attractive client portal. In addition, Zoho Books has better customer support and much more affordable pricing plans.

QuickBooks Online does offer payroll and budgeting which Zoho Books lacks. QuickBooks Online also comes with 250 integrations to Zoho Books’ 28. However, for companies which don’t need payroll (or are okay using a third-party integration), Zoho Books could still be a far more affordable option than QuickBooks Online.

If Zoho Books sounds like it might be a good choice for your business or you’re interested in learning more, be sure to read our complete Zoho Books review and/or take advantage of the free 14-day trial.

Alternative #3: Wave

Best QuickBooks Online Alternatives

When it comes down to it, you really can’t beat free. Wave is a completely free accounting software: no gimmicks, no scams. And just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s skimping on features. Wave (see our review) is incredibly robust and very easy to use. The software offers strong accounting, decent invoicing, and lending. The customer support is great and user reviews are positive almost across the board.

The ability to separate personal and business expenses makes Wave ideal for freelancers and microbusinesses, while complex accounting features, like a detailed chart of accounts, meet the needs of most any small business. The software is ideal for businesses looking to save a bit of money. There is an Etsy integration as well, which makes Wave a perfect choice for Etsy sellers. The software is not ideal for users in need of cash-basis accounting.

Features

Wave offers an impressive number of features, especially for a free accounting software. These features are easy to navigate and don’t require a background in accounting to use.

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Separate personal and business expenses
  • Accounts payable
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Chart of accounts
  • Item list
  • Time tracking
  • Lending
  • 12 reports
  • Multi-currency support
  • Sales tax

Pricing

As I mentioned earlier, Wave is a free accounting solution. However, there are a few extra costs to be aware of. Namely, payroll and credit card processing come at an additional price. Be sure to check Wave’s pricing page for the full scoop on these costs.

How It Compares to QuickBooks Online

Xero and Zoho Books differ only slightly from QuickBooks Online in terms of features. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Wave. Wave does not offer deduction tracking, budgeting, class tracking, or project management. Additionally, QuickBooks Online has far more integrations and reports than Wave, and includes cash-basis accounting features.

However, Wave does have a unique lending feature and a much better client portal than QuickBooks Online. The software also is far easier to use, has much better customer service, and…did I mention it’s free? For many companies, these perks could outweigh the general lack of features. Learn more about how Wave compares to QuickBooks Online in our detailed Wave vs. QuickBooks Online post.

If this free software sounds tempting, you’ll want to read more about it in our full Wave review. You can also sign up for a free Wave account to give it a try (and cancel at any time).

Which Software Should I Choose?

We chose Xero, Zoho Books, and Wave because all three of these cloud-based programs have ample features, good customer service, and positive customer reviews.

Xero has almost all the same features as QuickBooks Online but comes with unlimited users and deeper accounting capabilities, making it ideal for large businesses. Zoho Books is a steal for small businesses looking for the features of QuickBooks Online without the steep price and navigational difficulties. Wave is ideal for all sort of small businesses looking to save money while staying on top of their business’s finances. But which of these is right for you?

If you currently use Quickbooks Online, one of the first questions you should be asking yourself is: what isn’t working with my accounting software? If you can pinpoint the issue(s) you’re having, it’ll be much easier to determine which product can help you solve said issue(s).

If you haven’t committed to a software yet and are still exploring your options, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which features do I need for my business to succeed?
  • How much can I afford to spend on accounting software?
  • What is my level of accounting experience?

The answers to these questions will help you pinpoint which software might be the best choice. My biggest recommendation is to take advantage of free trials before committing to any solution. You won’t know if you like it until you try it. Read our Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting Software for extra help.

Ultimately, whether you decide to stick with QuickBooks Online or go for one of the alternatives above, you can’t go wrong.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Managing Editor - Accounting
Chelsea Krause is a writer who has specialized in accounting for two 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
Chelsea Krause

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10 Comments

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.

    Ekta Chawla

    very nice and informative article

      Chelsea Krause

      Hi Ekta,

      I’m so glad you found the article helpful! If you need any further help choosing accounting software, check out our Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting Software and feel free to reach out with any questions you might have!

      Best wishes,

      -Chelsea Krause

        john garcia

        My biggest problem with QBO is that yo cannot export your data to create reasonable backups or make it available to be used in other programs. How do the other reviewed program manage this?

          Chelsea Krause

          Hi John,

          I’m happy to help! QuickBooks Online has really limited exporting; luckily, there are plenty of other options that have more exporting options.

          I recommend taking a look at Xero. You can’t create a company backup file that has all of your information using Xero (so far as I know, the only product that allows that is QuickBooks Desktop), but you can export just about anything from the software. Here’s a full list of the data you can export in Xero. If Xero doesn’t work out, you could also take a look at Zoho Books or Sage 50Cloud.

          I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, please let us know!

          Best wishes,

          -Chelsea Krause

            Karin Edgett

            I am a small business person, I use QB Online and I don’t really like it but it does classes and gives me over-view reports of all kinds by classes. Most importantly, a P&L report that my accountants love. It shows the categories as usual down the side, and the classes in columns across the top. No other program does that. Zoho gives you the classes (as tags) but no over-view reports by those tags. Xero also skips the report feature on their classes. As a small business person, I use classes since I co-mingle my bank accounts, my house (where I paint and also teach cooking, and rent rooms), my car, etc. Classes are the only way I have found to keep the expenses straight. I can’t imagine that I’m the only one out there doing more than one thing out of their space. I wish zoho did the class reporting, that is the program I would choose. Stuck with QB for now! 🙁

              Michael Block CPa

              QuickBooks Online recently made all prior reviews obsolete. The QuickBooks Online Accountant App makes it run far faster, while giving you much more screen area and many new commands. (shortcuts). You now CAN look at many windows and many reports at the same time. Best of all, you can have the best version of QuickBooks Online free forever (no cost or obligation).

                Karin Edgett

                what do you mean for free? I have to pay $50/month to get the class feature even though I don’t use paypal or any other sophisticated feature. And Just this year, QB was double downloading transactions from my credit cards AGAIN!

                  John Ermias

                  I have been using SlickPie accounting software. It’s a best and free online accounting software and its features are easier to use than Quickbooks features. It takes a couple of minutes to set up a company and send an invoice. It is a worldwide software. It is big about automation, that’s why it launched an exclusive automated data entry tool called MagicBot, which allows me to simply take and upload a picture of receipt or bill and automatically input all the information from it in SlickPie.

                    Dr. Evan Sundgren, DC

                    Nice review article. Thank you.

                      ARLENE K. MOSE, CP

                      Quickbooks online- actually really sucks. The problem is that if you are looking at a profit and loss statement, you can NOT simultaneously look at the balance sheet. If you run a detail report on any profit and loss item – you lose you profit and loss and have to re-run the report each and every time. This is just a horrible feature. Be wary of the bank download activity – I have had clients actually download the same data several times, apparently Quickbooks won’t notice that you have done that. The lastest thing they have added is a security feature. RIGHT. -it send a text to the company owner. WHICH REALLY DOESNT HELP THE CPA/ACCOUNTANT LOG IN – SO END RESULTS – BAD REPORTING AND THE PERSON WHO NEEDS IT THE MOST CAN’T ACCESS.

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