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8 Min. Read

Top 5 Free Accounting Software for South Africa

Top 5 Free Accounting Software for South Africa

It can be difficult to select the best free accounting software programme in South Africa for your small business. There are a lot of factors to consider and an almost limitless number of options.

Choosing the best free accounting software for your company is best accomplished by identifying both your needs and your wants. This will not only aid in focusing the search but also help to streamline your financial situation.

Small business owners may want to avoid paying an accountant to prepare their financial statements. Especially if they have limited resources. So getting good free accounting software is the most effective way to do this.

Read on as we take you through the top 5 free accounting software available in South Africa.

Table of Contents




Zoho Books

FNB Instant Accounting

The Advanced Choice: FreshBooks

Key Takeaways

Frequently Asked Questions


Overview of Wave

The Toronto-based company Wave was established in 2010. The business’s first offering was a free online accounting programme created for companies with 1 to 9 employees. Later products included invoicing, personal money management, and receipt-scanning software. The business, which employs more than 250 people, was acquired by H&R Block in 2019. 

Why Wave?

This free programme includes all of the essential accounting tools required by the majority of small businesses. Including income and cost management, financial reporting, invoicing, and receipt scanning. You can access these features online or through the mobile app. All bookkeeping, invoicing, and reporting functions are offered without charge.

The following activities are possible with this free accounting programme:

  • Increase the number of team members using the system.
  • Unlimited connections to credit and bank accounts
  • Unlimited income and expense tracking
  • Monitor efficiency with the dashboard.
  • Produce yearly financial statements
  • Payroll administration
  • Make tax classifications for your income and expenses.
  • unlimited connections to credit and bank accounts
  • Prepare financial reports on past-due bills, invoices, cash flow, and profits and losses.

The downside to Wave is that payroll management and customer payment processing are premium services. This means that they come with an additional cost. Meaning you won’t get access to these vital functions by using their free service.

Accounting You Can Count On


Overview of GnuCash

GnuCash is free business accounting software that is open-source and accessible to anyone who wants to use it. It works based off of the double-entry bookkeeping system. 

Microsoft, Mac OS, and Linux all support GnuCash. GnuCash contains integrated IFRS and GAAP features and may be customised to match South African accounting rules.

Why GnuCash?

Utilising this programme has additional advantages beyond financial gain, like the high calibre of output it produces. Additional advantages include:

  • Double-Entry Bookkeeping
  • Monetary calculations
  • QIF/HBCI/OFX Imports
  • Mutual fund, stock, and bond accounts
  • Accounting reports and graphs for small businesses
  • Scheduled transactions

GnuCash is also very easy to pick up and use straight away. 

There are a few downsides to using GnuCash. One is that their website UI is very outdated and feels quite stale. Another is that it doesn’t give you the full access to all accounting capabilities that a paid version can offer. 


Overview of ZipBooks

ZipBooks is a Utah firm that develops accounting software. The online accounting and bookkeeping application assists business owners with processing credit cards, sending invoices, and other functions.

With its cutting-edge user interface and wide range of functions, Zipbooks makes accounting simple for its users. There are various tiers, but the only one that is free is the beginners tier. 

Why ZipBooks?

ZipBooks is a good option if you’re looking for free bookkeeping software. In the beginning kit you can get the following:

  • Unlimited accounting.
  • For financial transactions, PayPal and credit cards are accepted.
  • Maintain control of your receivables.
  • Take care of your payables.
  • Link bank and credit card accounts – You are only permitted to link one business bank account or credit card per user. You need to upgrade to the premium packages if you wish to connect more.
  • Create important financial statements.
  • Use the iOS version of the Zipbooks mobile app.

The downside of ZipBooks’ free beginning kit is that it has a large number of features behind a paywall. So for any more in-depth accounting needs, you’d need to upgrade to one of their paid packages. 

Zoho Books

Overview of Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a part of the Zoho Corporation, an international technology company established in India that creates web-based office applications. The online office suite Zoho Office Suite is its most well-known product. The business was established in 1996 and now has global offices spread out over seven different sites.

Why Zoho Books?

For companies in South Africa, Zoho Books is a fantastic alternative for accounting software. They provide their software without charge to companies with annual turnover under one million rand. One thousand invoices can be produced annually by enterprises using the programme, which also aids in client management. 

Both offline and online payments are simple to do. Through SSL encryption and the two-factor authentication technique, all transactions are secure.

FNB Instant Accounting

Overview of FNB Instant Accounting

FNB Instant Accounting is an online accounting system that generates financial statements and reports using your FNB electronic bank statement. 

The use of this accounting programme is free for FNB business account holders. One of the best free all-around software programmes in South Africa, FNB Quick Accounting has a number of features to assist you in managing your daily business finances. 

Why FNB Instant Accounting?

You can instantly record the transaction while paying a third party. By enabling you to perform automatic data grabs and monthly debit orders for employee salaries, it helps you manage the pay of your staff. The tool also helps you with your VAT calculations; by using this feature, you may do the calculations without paying any VAT accounting expenses.

This software will allow you to pay all of your SARS obligations, including:

  • PAYE
  • Skills Development Levy
  • UIF for employees and directors

The downside to FNB instant accounting is that it doesn’t quite hold up when compared to more rigorous accounting software. 

The Advanced Choice: FreshBooks

While these free options have a number of benefits and advantages, you simply cannot get the range of features that paid subscriptions offer. One of the best paid accounting software on the market is FreshBooks, let’s take a look at why. 

Overview of FreshBooks

When it was first established in Toronto in 2003, FreshBooks started off as an invoicing programme. Today, FreshBooks has over 30 million users and has continued to grow in terms of functionality. Companies can save 10% by paying annually as opposed to monthly for the four different programmes.

There are various third-party app connectors, including those for Gusto, G Suite, and other applications. One of the unique advantages of FreshBooks is the capability to create and personalise invoices for a business-like appearance and feel. A great tool for setting project budgets is FreshBooks. Along with providing quotes and proposals, you should also take payments from clients.

Why FreshBooks?

One of the most crucial accounting requirements for the vast majority of service-based businesses is invoicing. In comparison to other accounting software, FreshBooks offers greater customization options for invoices.

Its primary function is to send, receive, print, and settle bills. But it may also take care of a business’s core bookkeeping needs. This accounting software makes it easier for service-based businesses to submit bids, monitor project time, and receive payments.

Furthermore, while FreshBooks is a paid subscription, it is still budget friendly as it typically offers subscription discounts for the first few months.

Some of the key advantages of using FreshBooks are as follows:

  • It runs on the cloud
  • Due to its variety of pricing options, it can accommodate any budget
  • It has a user-friendly UI
  • Integration of apps from external parties
  • You can access sophisticated invoicing tools with it
Save 6 Hours A Month On Accounting

Key Takeaways

Online accounting software is a vital tool for small business owners. South Africa has a wide range of choices of quality free accounting software. 

Selecting accounting software can occasionally be difficult, particularly if you’re seeking a free one. To choose accounting software that best suits your business’ needs, you must have a solid grasp of your organisation before making your choice.

For a more robust option, then it is recommended that you go for a paid subscription software such as FreshBooks. FreshBooks is an easy to use software for small businesses that allows you to manage expenses, send invoices, and many other key features. 

FAQS on Free Accounting Software

What Is the Easiest Bookkeeping Software to Use?

FreshBooks is among the easiest accounting software to use. The programme can be used by small business owners without accounting experience.

What Is the Most Commonly Used Accounting Software?

One of the most popular accounting programmes used by small businesses and their bookkeeping and tax specialists is Intuit’s QuickBooks Online, and FreshBooks. The cloud-based software can be accessed through a web browser or a mobile app.

Can I Do My Own Accounting For My Business?

You can create and file your own accounts if you have faith in your abilities to manage the finances of your company.