- QuickBooks is a market leader in accounting software, but it's not the only option for your small business.
- There are plenty of competing accounting software programs that are user-friendly and integrate with payroll.
- Xero and Sage, among other accounting software solutions, serve as alternatives to QuickBooks.
- This article is for small business owners considering an alternative accounting software to QuickBooks.
QuickBooks is prominent among accounting software providers, with an intuitive interface, robust features and extensive third-party integrations. When you consider programs for your small business, your first thought may well be the QuickBooks accounting software.
While QuickBooks is in an enviable position right now, the market for accounting software is increasingly crowded. This gives you an abundance of options to choose the right software suite for your company's needs.
In this article, we discuss the top accounting software alternatives to QuickBooks, along with their features and pricing, to help you select the best tool for your business's needs. We've also made sure that these alternatives don't trap your data, so you can export your reports as a CSV or Excel file.
1. Xero – beautiful software
This cloud-based tool is simple, which is why the company refers to it as "beautiful." When we conducted our review of Xero, its focus on minimalism was reflected throughout the platform's interface, features and processes.
Xero also steers clear of accounting and financial jargon, which gives new users a minimal learning curve. It offers an easy-to-use suite of features, including various aspects of financial reporting and management for your business.
The basic features of Xero are in line with QuickBooks and other accounting software. The differences lay in the way information is presented, along with these more subtle conveniences:
- Easy-to-use dashboard: Both QuickBooks Online and Xero have intuitive dashboards that present all relevant data, including cash flow from all banks. While QuickBooks takes a more sophisticated approach to this, Xero's style is more streamlined.
- Bank accounts and reconciliation: Xero has an advanced bank reconciliation feature that can download large batches of transactions to match your entries, which you can then confirm or deny – similar to how it works in QuickBooks.
- Reports and customization: Xero generates reports using the direct method, while QuickBooks lets you generate cash flow statements with either the direct or indirect method. There are over 50 reports in total, covering cash flow, sales, budgeting and expenses. Reports can also be individualized, and you can save favorites for quick access.
- Fixed assets management: This feature is something competitors – like QuickBooks – don't offer.
With Xero's fixed assets management, you can easily record and track assets like vehicles, hardware, machinery, and office equipment, and stay updated on the value of your business assets anytime.
Plans and pricing
Xero is a more affordable program than QuickBooks, with the price ranging from $11 to $62 per month. The company offers three pricing tiers to choose from once your 30-day free trial is over. These plans differ based on the number of bills, invoices and quotes.
QuickBooks, on the other hand, offers four options that add more features and functionality as you level up. The plans are more expensive, ranging from $25 to $180 per month.
2. Sage – versatile package
Sage is an ideal alternative to QuickBooks if you are looking for an affordable way to manage your small business. It offers a complete accounting package, which includes bank reconciliations, balance sheets, inventory management and cash flow management. Additionally, it integrates with Microsoft 365.
With a sophisticated set of features, Sage Cloud and Desktop provides a customizable accounting tool to manage your company. These tools allow you to make payments, create invoices, and manage your cash flow and accounts.
- Microsoft 365 integration: This feature sets this accounting software apart from others. With Microsoft 365 integration, you can view reports in Excel, access contacts in Outlook and back up files with OneDrive. Once the data is stored in the cloud, you can use your Microsoft account to access everything without installing Sage onto your desktop.
- Standard user interface: Sage, like QuickBooks, uses standard navigation conventions to make it easy for you to get started. However, all the important links appear on the main page, with new features continually being added.
- Records and transactions: Sage offers a comprehensive service in terms of inventory, customer and vendor records. It also contains detailed templates for all the transactions you need to handle sales, bills, quotes and purchase orders.
- Reports and mobile: QuickBooks offers impressive customizability in terms of reporting, but Sage beats it with the ability to set up multiple filters. The software provides interactive reports that display details with one click on the entries. It also has multiple mobile apps you can take advantage of, including one that captures pictures of receipts to enter data automatically.
Plans and pricing
While Sage is not the most affordable solution on the market, its level of service and unrestricted transactions deliver better value for the price.
With the standard $25/month accounting plan, you receive several features, including cash flow forecasting, inventory tools and unlimited users. These features may cost a lot more with other providers like QuickBooks.
Sage even offers a start plan costing only $10 per month, featuring income and expense account management. Both plans have a free trial of 30 days.
3. Zoho Books – affordable software
Zoho Books is full-featured software with powerful accounting functionality, advanced features and strong invoicing available at half the cost of QuickBooks. Despite its low price, the program gives you access to some of the most desirable features you would find in the expensive solutions.
In our review of Zoho Books, we found the software intuitive and simple to use. Its standard accounting features include fixed asset management, project management and time tracking. It also comes with robust security features to protect your data.
Zoho is not only more user-friendly than QuickBooks, but it offers all the complex features – along with better mobile apps – at an affordable price.
Zoho Books' usability in bookkeeping areas – like time and project tracking, sales and purchases, and inventory management – almost surpass what other software like QuickBooks offer. It also provides better help tools, which is often critical to complete accounting tasks.
- Excellent navigation and help: The user interface of Zoho Books is clean, intuitive and attractive, with easy navigation links on the side pane to quickly go to Sales, Purchases, Documents, Reports, Dashboard and Banking. There are also numerous support tools, including forums, FAQs and documentation, as well as different ways to contact experts via phone, email and chat.
- Impressive reporting: This software creates reports in several categories, including sales, purchases, receivables and payables. It provides some advanced filters to modify reports, and even allows you to schedule reports by date and time, sending them through email in multiple formats.
- Mobile access: Zoho Books excels at Android and iOS apps, similar to its browser-based version. In addition to all the standard features available on a multi-screen dashboard, the app includes Contact records and other advanced features.
Plans and pricing
Zoho Books is a versatile accounting solution that accommodates a variety of users. Your business could benefit from the advanced features without dealing with the complexities and high costs associated with other tools like QuickBooks.
Zoho Books offers a 14-day free trial and three pricing plans based on the number of users, customers, vendors and features. The price starts at $9 per month, which offers value comparable to the Start plan costing $25 for QuickBooks.
4. Wave Accounting – best free alternative
When it comes to exploring your options, nothing can beat a free solution. Wave is free accounting software that aims to help you manage your company's finances. It is simple-to-use, robust software with strong accounting and invoicing features.
While you may encounter additional costs – depending on your business needs – the program provides all the standard features you may find in other expensive accounting software, making it a budget-friendly alternative.
Wave Accounting is a web-based service that gives you secure access to your account and features from anywhere. You will find core bookkeeping functionality along with customization options to expand its capabilities.
- Invoicing: The most impressive feature of Wave is its invoice customization capability that lets you add your logo and branding to invoices. You also get a variety of templates to choose from and the ability to create a new one from scratch.
- Transactions: Wave provides you everything your business will need regarding transactions on a single page, listing all the entries with date, description and status. The flexible transaction management tools Wave gives are hard to match by any other free accounting software.
- Simple dashboard and operations: Wave's user interface and navigation are set up similarly to its competitors like QuickBooks. All the important sections are displayed through a series of tabs for easy access. The dashboard is simple and effective, which makes it ideal for small businesses, including sole proprietors and freelancers.
Plans and pricing
The biggest appeal of Wave Accounting is its free subscription that covers all the basic accounting features that other companies like QuickBooks offer – with a price.
You can, however, purchase additional features like payroll services for $35 per month and $6 per contractor or employee.
5. FreshBooks – best for self-employed
Another popular invoicing and bookkeeping solution that makes a great alternative to QuickBooks is FreshBooks. Its recent inclusion of double-entry accounting makes it a viable option for your company or solo venture.
The accounting software offers easy-to-use features – such as project management, customizable invoicing and expense tracking – to provide you an all-in-one platform for your accounting needs.
Exceptional usability and smart selection of features make this accounting solution ideal for your small business or self-employment gig.
- Effective interface: The software has a powerful onboarding process that makes it easy to set up accounts. The dashboard is effective because it provides an overview of your company's finances in the form of charts. You can easily locate all the important features, including invoices, payments, reports, time tracking, add-ons and clients.
- Project management tools: This software beats its competitors in terms of project management features. You can assign projects to team members or external clients, bill on a flat or hourly rate, and add services, expenses, and invoices to the projects.
- Mobile apps: FreshBooks offers apps for Android and iOS, giving you access to critical work areas like creating invoices and client records, as well as project and report features to stay up to date on your accounting on the go.
Plans and pricing
FreshBooks has three pricing plans with monthly charges ranging from $15 to $50, depending on the number of clients and required features. The costs and plans are quite similar to those of QuickBooks, which offers more features and functionality. However, FreshBooks is far easier to use and offers better customer support, making it a worthy choice for a small business with basic needs.
Now that you have learned about some of the best QuickBooks alternatives, you can decide on the right solution by looking at the size and requirements of your business. Most of these offer a free trial period that you can use to compare the options before committing to one.