If you run a small business then you don’t need to drown yourself in paperwork just to keep up with your accounts. There is a wealth of accounting software out there that can make your life easier and your business more streamlined.
There are many software packages to choose from, some free, some not; some able to automate everything for you, some merely simplifying the process. We’ll look at all of these and more in this guide to the best accounting software for small businesses.
Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses
The better programs tend to charge a fee. It only makes sense. But there are a wealth of free accounting programs for small businesses and it’s those we will look at here before telling you about the premium options:
This service does have paid extras, but the basic program has plenty of features and solid customer support and is more than capable of helping you to manage your small business accounts.
It is probably the most popular free accounting software package on the market right now and offers a level of simplicity that makes it one of the most user-friendly packages around.
Features of Wave Financial
- Wealth of invoicing options available.
- Automatically syncs with your bank account.
- You can accept credit card payments for 2.9% and $0.30, the same amount that PayPal charge.
- Payroll services cost upwards of $20 extra per month.
- You can create an account through Google or simply by entering an email address and password.
- Comes with optional mobile app.
One of the better known free accounting software programs, TurboCASH has been going strong for over 30 years and has helped millions of people to file their taxes from the United States to Australia.
It is available is a wealth of different languages and is continually being improved upon. It’s free, it is easy to use and there are over 100,000 current users and millions of previous users willing to provide advice should you need it.
It is not recommended for sole traders, contractors and freelancers, but if you have a small business, a small budget and a need for a rapidly evolving, internationally trusted accounting software packages, then this could be it.
- Add multiple companies to a single account.
- Deal with VAT and sales tax.
- Organize and arrange invoices and purchase orders.
- Deal with debts and loans.
- Allow multiple users to be added.
NCH Express Invoice
A basic, easy-to-use free program that works with a number of different platforms, including PC, Mac and mobile. It doesn’t have some of the more advanced features that you will find in other programs, but it certainly has the basics covered and can be used by freelancers and small business owners alike.
However, it is only fee if your company has 5 employees or less.
NCH Express will let you:
- Create invoices, quotes and more.
- Send invoices by email and fax.
- Utilize a range of reports and analytics.
GNUCash Free Accounting Software
This Linux-based accounting software is free to use, available for Mac, Windows, Linux and mobile, and offers a wealth of great features to help small businesses with their accounting needs.
There are tracking features, automation features, and the interface is very clear and easy to use.
- Payroll management (limited).
- Accounts payable and receivable.
- Extensive tax support, including sales tax.
- Loan repayment assistance.
- Can print checks.
- Support for SQL.
Paid Small Business Accounting Software
Freshbooks is one of the best premium accounting packages out there. It is competitively priced, comes with a wealth of features and uses a WYSIWYG format that makes it easy for all non-accountants.
That’s something that a lot of software overlooks. They pack their programs full of complicated screens and features and create something that would sooner do more to scare a small business owner than help them. It’s daunting, and one look at most of these programs is enough to convince you to hire an accountant.
With Freshbooks it’s a different story and that’s what we like the most about it. Of course, it’s still going to take some time to adapt to it, especially if you have no experience with this type of software, but it takes less effort and less time to wrap your head around than other premium accounting software.
Speaking of which, there are a few other programs out there that you may also want to consider:
Xero Accounting Software
This cloud-based accounting software is perfect for Mac users. These days Mac users don't feel as left out as they used to, but there are still some major programs that don’t work with this operating system and others that don’t function as they should.
Xero accounting software will be a breath of fresh air for any Mac user who has struggled with a lack of compatibility. It integrates with hundreds of different financial apps, has some fantastic customer support and allows you to 100% automate your accounts.
It is also competitively priced, with subscriptions beginning at just $9 per month.
Quickbooks Accounting Software
Quickbooks is one of the biggest and most well known accounting packages out there. It is popular with businesses big and small and deserves every bit of its solid reputation. However, it’s not as user-friendly as some other accounting software we have discussed here and if you want the best features and automation options you will pay $50 a month.
What’s more, the $50 doesn’t even include payroll.
If you have an accountant dealing with your finances, the budget to afford it and a large business that necessitates it, then it’s probably the best option. For everyone else, it’s not. At least not in our opinion.
Sage Accounting Software
Sage have a few options and have been going for a number of years now. This includes Sage Business Cloud Accounting, which is probably the best option for small businesses. It’s not the most affordable and it’s not the most comprehensive, but the Sage name is definitely one that you can trust.
There is also something known as Sage 50, which used to be known as PeachTree Accounting.
More Small Business Accounting Software
- Quicken Home and Business: A very solid option, but one that is limited when compared to others. It is not available on Mac.
- Tipalti: A cloud-based accounting program created with mid-size businesses in mind.
- Clearbooks: A good option, but one that seems better suited for users in the United Kingdom, even though there are options for US users.
- BotKeeper: We’re very intrigued by what this one has to offer. It uses machine learning to provide an entirely automated process, albeit one that is overseen by a human accountant who can step in when there is a serious issue.