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11 Min. Read

6 Best Accounting Software in 2024

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If you run a business, you already know the importance of accounting. Organized accounts help you track expenses and earnings, plan for the company’s future, and minimize tax liability. 

Today, many small business owners are turning to accounting software to help them organize their information, create reports, complete accounting tasks, and maintain records. But with so many options for these services, how do you choose the right one for your business’s specific needs? In this guide, we’ll go over the best accounting software in 2024, including benefits, prices, applications, and more. 

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

FreshBooks

QuickBooks

Xero

Wave

Zoho Books

Sage

Features to Look for in an Accounting Software

How To Choose the Right Accounting Software?

Conclusion

Frequently Asked Questions

FreshBooks

FreshBooks is one of the best small business accounting software options on the market—and for good reason. FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software that combines all the accounting features you need into one simple platform. FreshBooks is also flexible, meaning it works just as well for new, growing companies as it does for established enterprises. As your business grows, you can easily add new services and integrations to make sure your accounting grows alongside it.

FreshBooks Accounting Software Features

FreshBooks’ double-entry accounting software for businesses sets you up with everything you need to keep detailed, accurate financial reports, ensuring tax compliance and helping propel your business with constantly updated insights. Whether you need support with expense tracking or detailed insights on your business’s overall growth, FreshBooks has you covered with our simple but powerful small business accounting software.

Let FreshBooks Crunch The Numbers For You

Pros:

  • Excellent customer support
  • Customizable Chart of Accounts allows you to scale your accounting with your business
  • The option to add multiple users is available on all plans
  • Automated bank reconciliation
  • Cloud-based, making collaboration and sharing simple

Price: Plans begin at $19.00/month for the Lite tier.

Free Trial Length: FreshBooks offers a 30-day, no-risk, money-back guarantee.

Mobile App: FreshBooks has a mobile app for iOS and Android that lets you work anywhere, creating invoices, reports, and much more while on the go. 

Software or App Integration: FreshBooks connects seamlessly with many software and apps that business owners depend on, including Gusto, G Suite by Google Cloud, Stripe, Bench, Fundbox, and many more. 

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is a very commonly-used accounting solution for small businesses and enterprises alike. And while it offers useful functionality, such as business health reporting, online payments, and unlimited invoicing, it also has some drawbacks. Once you’ve got the hang of using it and know your way around the software, QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online can be great tools for bookkeeping and accounting.

Pros:

  • Flexible Chart of Accounts
  • Tracking for mileage and other key expenses
  • Bills and receipts scanning (OCR)

Cons:

  • Complex, occasionally buggy interface
  • Can be expensive depending on the plan your business needs
  • Complicated process for dealing with excise taxes
  • Layout and features can take some time to master
  • Reliance on chatbots for customer service
  • Extra cost to add multiple users

Price: $24/month for the EasyStart plan

Free Trial Length: 30 days

Mobile App: Android, iOS

Software or App Integration: Plooto, Expensify, Synder, Fathom, and more

Xero

Xero markets itself as an accounting software for small businesses. It’s a cloud-based software option that allows you to store and organize documents online, capture receipts via email, and even scan files from your phone. Its plans also offer flexibility, allowing you to adjust your services as your business grows while maintaining its sleek, simple-to-use interface.

Pros:

  • Basic bookkeeping is simple with the user-friendly interface
  • Billing and time tracking are included in all plan tiers
  • Quick to set up and manage

Cons: 

  • Their Starter plan doesn’t include bank reconciliation
  • Xero is relatively new to the North American market, and it can be challenging to get help from their customer support staff
  • You can only add a limited number of users to your accounts

Price: $18/month for the Starter plan

Free Trial Length: 30 days

Mobile App: Android, iOS

Software or App Integration: Expensify, Stripe, PayPal, Wagepoint, ApprovalMax, and more

Wave

Wave is a free accounting software for small businesses. It has some useful functionality, such as basic double-entry bookkeeping, standard reporting, and transaction automation from your bank accounts and credit cards. Wave can be a great option, especially for new businesses with relatively straightforward accounting needs. Wave is

Pros:

  • It’s free 
  • User-friendly and easy to set up
  • Great functionality for a free accounting software
  • Customizable invoice templates

Cons:

  • It’s free—you get what you pay for
  • No scalability for growing businesses
  • Your General Ledger (GL) is locked, making it hard to add and remove GL accounts
  • Limited reporting options and difficult to export reports beyond basic Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet reports
  • No live customer service for free users
  • No options for inventory management

Price: Free

Free Trial Length: N/A

Mobile App: Android, iOS

Software or App Integration: Google Drive, Shopify, Square, Calendly, MailChimp, and more through Zapier

Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a cloud-based accounting software with a simple user interface and solid functionality for invoicing, inventory, and project management. Zoho Books is best suited to small and medium businesses looking for an alternative to the enterprise-level software available. It also offers scalability through its several tiered plans, though the lower-cost options limit your functionality. Zoho also provides several avenues for customer service, making it simple to get the support you need when using the platform.

Pros

  • Free option for the first tier of the service
  • Good range of features
  • Functional mobile app

Cons

  • Limited amount of users on a single account
  • Limited features on lower-cost plans
  • Limited customer support
  • Very limited app integrations

Price: $0 for Free plan, $15/month for Standard plan

Free Trial Length: You can use the Free plan indefinitely

Mobile App: Android, iOS

Software or App Integration: Stripe, PayPal, Square, and more

Sage

Sage is a lightweight, cloud-based accounting software designed for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses. Sage business cloud accounting offers the essentials that you expect in small business accounting software, but it lacks some notable features that may create limitations down the line. The features that Sage does offer are done well, such as their inventory tracking system and unlimited user count on accounts. Carefully consider the cost versus the benefits when looking into Sage’s accounting software.

Pros

  • Affordable plans
  • Live customer support available Monday through Friday
  • Key reports available on both plan tiers

Cons 

  • Certain key features (receipt capture, quote and estimate sending, and accrual accounting) aren’t available on the basic plan
  • Limited tech options and cloud conveniences when compared to the competition
  • No tracking features for mileage or time
  • Limited app integrations

Price: $17/month for the Start plan

Free Trial Length: 30 days

Mobile App: Android, iOS

Software or App Integration: WooCommerce, Shopify, Salesforce, HubSpot, and more through Zapier

Features to Look for in an Accounting Software

There’s certainly no shortage of accounting software on the market, making it all the more important to know what features to look for. Here are the top accounting software functions you should consider when choosing your accounting software.

Basic Features

Every business has unique accounting software needs, but a few key features will always come in handy. Look for options that offer solutions for bookkeeping, invoicing, and financial statements when searching for the right software for you. 

Advanced Features

Depending on your specific needs, certain platforms might have features that make more sense for your business. Look for accounting software with inventory management, project management, payroll, and other advanced features to help simplify your administrative accounting work. 

Software and App Integrations

Connections with other apps turn good accounting software into great accounting software. Whether you need to sync your software up with Google Sheets or your e-commerce platform, there’s an app integration for virtually everyone. Take a look at available integrations when exploring accounting apps.

Security and Data Backup

Last but certainly not least is security. It’s essential that your sensitive financial information is protected. This extends to both external attacks like hacking, as well as for accidental data loss. The best online accounting software offers strong security encryption and built-in data backups to ensure you never lose your information. 

How To Choose the Right Accounting Software?

How do you choose the best accounting software for your small business? It can feel tricky or even overwhelming at first, so here are a few pointers to help you get on the right track.

Identify Your Business Needs

The most important thing when choosing software for accounting is matching it with your business needs. Are you looking for automated tracking and reporting that saves you as much time as possible? Looking for an easy way to synchronize your e-commerce transactions and inventory with your accounts? Or maybe you’re ready to upgrade from a filing cabinet system to something more modern. Determining what you’re looking for will help narrow down the search. 

Set a Budget

Though most accounting software offers low-cost plans, they don’t always deliver the necessary functionality. Set a budget ahead of time to see what kinds of platforms are realistic for this stage of your business. Bonus points if you can mix, match, and expand your package as needed.

Consider Scalability

Scalability is another crucial factor when choosing accounting software. You want your business to grow—so your accounting software should be able to grow alongside it. Many platforms offer a range of plans that let you expand your services as you go, but a few don’t, or else only have a handful of plans. Consider the future of your business when settling on accounting software. 

Evaluate Customer Support Options

Lastly, make sure you choose an accounting platform with customer support that actually helps you. Some only have self-served customer support, meaning you’re stuck if you can’t get an answer from their chatbot or resources page. Access to live chats with actual humans will eliminate downtime and help you avoid problems later on. 

Score Points With Your Accoutant

Conclusion

Are you looking for the best accounting software for small businesses? Need something easy to set up and use that still has all the features you need to get things done? Looking for affordable, flexible, scalable accounting solutions that grow alongside your business? FreshBooks is here to help. 

With three packages available, as well as custom offerings for your specific needs, FreshBooks can save you time and money on your bookkeeping and accounting process. The cloud-based system makes it simple to share and collaborate on documents, and you also get the peace of mind that everything is stored and filed with security and 100% compliance in mind. And in the unlikely event of a problem, a real, live, knowledgeable human will always pick up the phone when you call our Support line. 

Ready to see the difference between FreshBooks and the others for yourself? Learn more about FreshBooks and its accounting and bookkeeping features, or start your 30-day free trial today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

Bookkeeping and accounting are different but closely related jobs. Bookkeeping mainly focuses on recording and organizing the data from financial transactions. On the other hand, accounting goes more in-depth on that data, segmenting transactions on financial statements to adjust for timing and gain greater financial insight.

Do I need an accountant if I use accounting software?

It’s definitely possible to run a business without an accountant, provided you’re comfortable with accounting, have the time to do it, and have access to a tool like FreshBooks that makes it simpler. You can also use software and an accountant in tandem to help save even more time for your business. FreshBooks makes it simple to collaborate with your accountant through its shared access tools.

Can you buy accounting software without a subscription?

Though some small business accounting software can be purchased through resellers as a standalone program, most are available either for free or on a monthly basis. This helps you change and scale your accounting services as your business ebbs, flows, and grows. 

Can accounting software help me with tax compliance?

Accounting software is a great way to capture, store, and retain financial information with 100% compliance with your tax laws and any other regulations that apply. FreshBooks is a great option, with compliance built-in for American, Canadian, and British companies.

Is it necessary to have accounting knowledge to use accounting software? 

The answer to this can greatly depend on the accounting software—some offer great functionality but are difficult to learn for those who aren’t already experienced with accounting. On the other hand, some are so simple that they’re missing key features. If you don’t have a lot of accounting knowledge, the best business accounting software should be powerful yet easy to use—FreshBooks might be the right choice.


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Jason Ding, CPA

About the author

Jason Ding is a seasoned accountant with over 15 years of progressive experience in senior finance and accounting across multiple industries. Jason holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University and is a designated CPA. Jason’s firm, Notion CPA, is an accounting firm with a business-first focus. The firm specializes in preparing personal and corporate taxation while providing fractional CFO work and leading the accounting and finance function for several small-to-medium-sized businesses. In his free time, you’ll find Jason on the basketball court, travelling, and spending quality time with family.

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