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Best Accounting Software and Invoice Generators of 2019

Lori Fairbanks, Staff
May 3, 2019

Small business accounting software helps you manage your finances by tracking the money you receive, owe and are owed. We looked for affordable, easy-to-use accounting programs designed for small businesses. We wanted them to be cloud-based and have mobile apps so you can access your data anytime, anyplace.

We also looked for accounting systems with features to save you time, such as automated bank feeds, online invoicing and automatic payment reminders. Here are our best picks and details about our selection process. If you want to learn more about what you should look for in accounting software, read our Accounting Software buyer's guide.

 

Our Best Picks

To help you find the right accounting software, we researched and analyzed dozens of options. Here is a roundup of our 2019 best picks for accounting software and explanations of how we chose them.

Really Small Businesses

Zoho Books
Pricing: Starts at $9 per month

Small Business Overall

QuickBooks
Pricing: Starts at $10 per month

Invoicing

FreshBooks
Pricing: Starts at $15 per month

Mac

Xero
Pricing: Starts at $9 per month

Free

Wave Accounting
Pricing: Free

Zoho Books

Really Small Businesses

Summary

Really small businesses need really simple accounting software. Zoho Books offers all of the basic features that microbusinesses need as well as advanced tools like project billing and time tracking. It also has integrations, so you can continue using the software as your business grows. We selected it as the best accounting software for really small businesses for its simplicity and value, because compared to other accounting software in its class, Zoho Books has the best price for all of its capabilities.
Read our full review of Zoho Books

QuickBooks Online Software

Small Business Overall

Summary

QuickBooks Online from Intuit is one of the most popular small business accounting solutions on the market – and our pick for the best business accounting software overall. It's easy to use and loaded with features, including several that can save you time. The company estimates that, on average, it saves its users 40 hours each month on accounting tasks. It can be used by nearly every type of business and has plans for businesses of all sizes, from self-employed individuals to small businesses with basic accounting needs to established businesses that need advanced features such as time, project and inventory tracking.
Read our full review of QuickBooks Online Software

FreshBooks Accounting Software

Invoicing

Summary

Although all accounting software products have invoicing tools, FreshBooks' are incredibly easy to use, which is why we picked it as the best invoicing software for small businesses. The WYSIWYG format is intuitive, and with just a few clicks you can add billable time and expenses, customize the look of the invoice, and set up recurring invoices, automatic payment reminders and late fees. This accounting software connects to your bank, generates several reports, tracks time and helps you manage projects.
Read our full review of FreshBooks Accounting Software

Xero

Mac

Summary

Mac users often grapple with the issue of stripped-down business software that isn't as capable or intuitive as its Windows counterpart. Xero's cloud-based accounting software, which is available for both PC and Mac, is our pick for the best accounting software for Mac because it's a full-featured solution that doesn't compromise on features or ease of use just because you're using a Mac. It can save you time and simplify accounting by automating tasks and integrating with more than 700 apps. Xero also comes with 24/7 email and live chat support and outbound phone assistance at no extra cost.
Read our full review of Xero

Wave Financial

Free

Summary

Not all small businesses need the extra features and support that paid accounting services provide. Wave Financial offers free, cloud-based accounting software specifically designed for small businesses. Unlike free accounting software programs that limit their capabilities, Wave Financial offers a comprehensive set of accounting features without the monthly price tag, which is why it's our pick for the best free small business accounting software.
Read our full review of Wave Financial

What to Expect in 2019

Accounting software companies, recognizing that many of their users are small business owners who don't have an accounting background, continue to make their products easier to use. They're using technology like AI and machine learning to automate repetitive tasks and reduce the need for manual data entry. When you're categorizing transactions, for example, the software learns to recognize how you categorize things so it can do it for you automatically (and if it gets something wrong, you can easily fix it by categorizing it manually).

 

Also in 2019, more accounting software companies will offer cloud-based solutions for a monthly subscription. Researchers at Gartner Inc. predict that by 2020, 80 percent of all software vendors – both new and legacy – will offer subscription-based services. The advantages of cloud-based accounting software are better security, regular updates and web-based accounts that you can access anywhere using any device with a browser.

Integration continues to be an important consideration for small business owners, and the best accounting software applications offer add-ons or integrations with multiple third-party business programs and services. Being able to sync sales data from your POS system to your accounting software, or your customer list from your accounting software to your email marketing service, for instance, eliminates time-consuming data entry or the frustration of downloading and uploading files from one application to another.

FAQs

Q: Which small business accounting system is best?

A: In our research, we found QuickBooks Online to be the best small business accounting system overall. But, depending on the specific needs of your business, another system may be a better fit or better value. For example, if your business provides a service and works with clients on a project basis, FreshBooks might be the best choice for you because of its project management features. See our best picks above to see our recommendations for different business sizes and needs.

A: You need accounting software that tracks the money moving in and out of your business, with both accounts payable and accounts receivable features. It should connect to your bank and credit card accounts and automatically download your transactions. If your business is service-based, you may need project management tools. If your business sells products, you may need inventory management features. Ideally, the software will have integrations that connect it to the other business applications you use, such as your point-of-sale system, customer relationship management software or email marketing service.

A: For small businesses, the term "online bookkeeping software" is interchangeable with online accounting software (but there is a difference between bookkeepers and accountants – check out this article to learn more). All the best online accounting programs for small businesses have bookkeeping features that allow you to record debit and credit transactions as well as accounting features that let you run reports and analyze your business's financial performance.

A: Online accounting services can perform a wide range of tasks for busy business owners. Some focus on bookkeeping duties such as entering and categorizing transactions, reconciling accounts, and generating financial statements and reports that you can take to your CPA at tax time. Others provide payroll and tax preparations services. Some, such as virtual controllers, CFOs and CPAs, provide high-level accounting services like internal audits and financial planning and analysis.

Our Methodology

To determine the best accounting software for small businesses, we spent dozens of hours researching the top applications. Here is an explanation of our selection process.

Locating the Best Services

We began by asking business owners which accounting software they use, what they love about it and what they think makes it the "perfect" accounting application. We also researched popular accounting software that frequently appears on reputable review websites, top lists and business websites. We also researched popular accounting software that frequently appears on reputable review websites, top lists and business websites.

Choosing the Best Services

We then created an extensive list of accounting software that included software from our research, applications we were already familiar with and vendors that have previously pitched their software to us. We narrowed down this list based on different use cases and a wide range of criteria, including cost, features and limitations. As part of our research, we studied user reviews, watched tutorial videos, and checked out customer resources offered by each vendor, such as knowledgebases, blogs and guides.

Researching Each Service

Next, we evaluated each program by signing up for a trial or demo account and testing the software ourselves. This firsthand experience helped us understand how the features work and whether the programs are worth their price tags. It also helped us assess whether the software is as easy to use as each vendor claims. To further inform our decisions, we contacted each vendor to measure the quality of its customer support.

Analyzing Each Service

Although we started with more than 100 accounting software products on our list, only 11 of those made it to our short list: Billy, FreeAgent, FreshBooks, Intuit QuickBooks Online, Kashoo, OneUp, Sage One, Wave Financial, Xero, ZipBooks and Zoho Books. Our picks for the top accounting software programs are QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Xero, Zoho Books and Wave Financial.

 

Accounting Software

Here's a full list of accounting software vendors and a summary of what each company says it offers. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.

AccountEdge – AccountEdge offers two versions of its accounting software, plus an ERP through its parent company, Priority. AccountEdge Basic helps sole proprietors automate their bookkeeping, while AccountEdge Pro is full-featured accounting software for small businesses. Both are desktop-based with a one-time fee. If you want remote access, a cloud collaboration tool is available for the Pro plan as an add-on. accountedge.com

And Co – And Co from Fiverr is free business software for freelancers that provides many of the standard services associated with accounting software, including invoicing, subscription billing, expense and time tracking, and reporting. Its app is available for both iPhone and Android phones, and it integrates with other popular applications like Stripe, PayPal, Zapier, Slack and MailChimp. and.co

Bench – Bench is an online platform that provides bookkeeping software and services to small businesses. The company estimates that its AI-enabled platform can automate 75 percent of a bookkeeper's typical tasks. It syncs with your business bank and credit card accounts, provides monthly financial statements with visual reports, and offers support to your CPA at tax season. When you have questions about your finances, you can contact your dedicated bookkeeper and receive a response within one business day. bench.co

Billy – Billy is attractive, basic accounting software for small service-oriented businesses. With it, you can record expenses, generate reports, and create quotes, estimates and invoices. It connects to your business bank and credit card accounts to automatically download transaction data and has a proactive reconciliation process that predicts matches. It has an iPhone app and a Chrome extension for capturing receipts. billyapp.com

Botkeeper – Botkeeper is an accounting service that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate bookkeeping, and a dedicated (human) accountant to oversee your account and handle urgent or complex issues. Businesses in any industry can use this service, and it integrates with top banks and accounting, POS, and e-commerce software. Pricing is based on the number of transactions you record each month, and there's no lengthy contract. botkeeper.com

Bottom Line Accounting – Bottom Line Accounting is desktop accounting software for PCs. The software is module-based, allowing you to customize it to suit your business's needs. The basic kit has general ledger, bank reconciliation and financial utilities modules. You can also add modules for accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory and point of sale, purchase order, and payroll. bottomlineaccounting.net

CenterPoint Accounting – CenterPoint Accounting from Red Wing Software has multiple editions of its accounting software for different types of organizations, including businesses, farms, nonprofits and municipal government. It supports an unlimited number of transactions, customers, suppliers and products, and there's no limit to the years of historical accounting data you can store. Payroll services are also available. redwingsoftware.com

CheckMark MultiLedger – CheckMark MultiLedger is desktop accounting software for small businesses. It supports up to 10 simultaneous users, and its features include A/P, A/R, bank reconciliation, commissions, general ledger, inventory, invoicing, job tracking, purchase ordering and reporting. The company offers a cloud backup add-on for a monthly fee. The company also offers 1099 Software, which you can use to print or e-file tax forms. checkmark.com/multiledger

Crunched – Crunched is cloud-based accounting software designed for both new and established small businesses. With it, you can track your finances, send quotes and invoices to customers, track bills and expenses, reconcile transactions, and generate reports. The company offers its own payment processing service, which you must use if you want to accept online invoice payments, and integrates with Gusto for payroll and HR services. crunched.io

Denali – This on-premises accounting system from Cougar Mountain Software can be used by businesses of all sizes, including those with multiple locations. The software is modular, allowing you to customize it with just the features you need. Modules include payroll, inventory and POS. POS hardware and e-commerce websites are also available from this company. cougarmtn.com

FreeAgent – FreeAgent is cloud-based accounting software for small businesses, freelancers and consultants. It supports unlimited users, clients and invoices for one monthly price. Features include automatic bank feeds, recurring invoices, automated payment reminders and time tracking. It also has project management tools to help you track billable hours and expenses. freeagent.com

*FreshBooks – A favorite among small business owners, FreshBooks is one of the most user-friendly cloud-based accounting applications for non-accountants. It makes it easy to bill clients, set up recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders, and accept online payments. Its mobile app allows you to accomplish many accounting tasks on the go, such as invoicing, time tracking and managing expenses. Read our full review herefreshbooks.com

GnuCash – GnuCash is free accounting software for small businesses that has a useful selection of features to help you manage your finances, such as income and expense tracking, double-entry accounting, financial reports and calculations, scheduled transactions, and statement reconciliation. It can also track bank accounts, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. GnuCash is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android devices. gnucash.org

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping – Formerly Outright, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping imports data from your bank, credit cards, and sales accounts such as Amazon and Etsy. It categorizes your sales and expenses, then uses this data to prepare your Schedule C taxes. You can also use this software to create, send and track invoices; accept invoice payments online; and send late-payment reminders. godaddy.com

Harvest – Harvest makes it easy to bill clients and get paid. It offers a simple platform that lets you easily track time and turn billable hours into professional invoices. You can also log expenses, take snapshots of receipts, generate reports, and connect the accounting program to Google Apps, Salesforce, Basecamp and more than 50 other business programs. getharvest.com

Hiveage – Hiveage is online invoicing software for freelancers and small businesses. It allows you to create estimates and quotes, then convert them to invoices after client acceptance. The software tracks time, expenses and mileage. It also lets you accept online payments, including recurring payments such as subscriptions. All plans support unlimited clients and invoices. hiveage.com

Kashoo – Kashoo's online accounting software can handle your invoicing, expense tracking, and double-entry bookkeeping on your computer, iPhone and iPad. It connects to your bank accounts, accepts online invoice payments, generates reports, and offers collaboration features that let you share your books with your bookkeeper, accountant and business partners at no extra cost. kashoo.com

Less Accounting – Less Accounting is accounting software for small business owners who want to spend less time managing their finances and more time running their businesses. It automates tasks such as data entry and billing, and it has features for invoicing, tracking expenses and mileage, managing contacts, and generating reports. The company also offers bookkeeping services. lessaccounting.com

myBooks – myBooks by Zetran is affordable cloud-based accounting software for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It has enterprise-grade security and connects to your bank feeds to automatically import your transactions. Your key accounting metrics are displayed as charts and graphs on the dashboard, and you can easily create attractive invoices using its built-in templates. zetran.com/mybooks/

NolaPro – NolaPro by Noguska is accounting software for Windows and Linux that you can customize with modules and enhance with more than 100 addons. Features include billing, inventory, order management, payables and payroll. The company offers three plans, with a free starter plan for home-based businesses. nolapro.com

Officewise – Formerly known as Alatus, Officewise is web-based accounting software for small businesses. It has month-to-month subscriptions and offers a free plan for very small businesses. You can use it to send quotes and invoices, manage bills and expenses, create purchase orders, track inventory, create budgets, and generate more than 50 reports. officewise.com

OneUp – OneUp is online accounting software for small businesses that's especially well suited for businesses with sales teams and inventory. With it, you can create and send quotes or sales orders, convert them to invoices, track bills, and manage inventory in real time. It uses AI technology to speed up bank reconciliation and includes CRM tools so your sales team can use the software to follow up on leads. oneup.com

Patriot Software – Patriot Software's online accounting system for small business owners allows you to choose between cash, modified cash or accrual accounting methods. You can invoice your customers, track payments and expenses, and generate reports such as a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and paid and unpaid customer invoices. The company also offers payroll software. patriotsoftware.com

*QuickBooks Online – QuickBooks Online from Intuit has both accounts receivable and payable features, and it can track projects and inventory, making it a great choice for nearly every business type. If you want to customize the software with additional features, you can choose from hundreds of apps that integrate with this system. For those who prefer to install software rather than use an online app, the company offers QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Desktop for Mac, QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise. Read our full review herequickbooks.com

Quicken Home & Business – Quicken lets you manage both your personal and business finances in one place, making it a convenient solution for very small businesses and home-based entrepreneurs who don't need accounting software designed for larger or more established businesses. Although it's only available for Windows, it has iOS and Android apps, and the Quicken on the Web feature allows you to access key features from any browser. quicken.com

Sage 50cloud Accounting – Sage 50cloud Accounting is a desktop accounting solution that automatically backs up your data to the cloud and has remote access capabilities. It integrates with Microsoft Office 365 and connects to your bank accounts to help you manage your cash flow. Features include invoicing, inventory management, expense tracking and reporting. sage.com

Sage Business Cloud Accounting – Sage Business Cloud Accounting (formerly Sage One) is affordable accounting software for small business owners. With it, you can create quotes, send invoices, accept payments, record expenses, manage contacts and generate reports. Integrations that link the software to more than 100 business applications like POS systems and payroll are available. sage.com

Sage Intacct – Sage Intacct is advanced, cloud-based financial management software for midsize businesses. It automates processes and generates a wide range of reports, giving you the ability to evaluate your business's performance from any financial angle. It integrates with Salesforce CRM and other popular business systems. Other Sage accounting products for midsize and large businesses include Sage 100cloud, Sage 300cloud, Sage Business Cloud Financials, Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management and Sage Fixed Assets. intacct.com

ScaleFactor – ScaleFactor is an automated bookkeeping solution for small and growing businesses. It processes, categorizes and uploads your transactions to your QuickBooks or Xero accounting software and then analyzes your data to give you insights that help you manage your business. It has a customizable dashboard, a chatbot that can answer your questions or forward them to dedicated experts, integrations, and a mobile app. scalefactor.com

SlickPie – SlickPie is online accounting software for freelancers and very small businesses. Two plans are available: The Starter plan is free, and the Pro plan carries a monthly subscription fee. Features include bank feeds, online and recurring invoicing, automatic past-due reminders, bill and expense tracking, sales tax tracking, and reporting. slickpie.com

Tipalti – Tipalti's online accounts payable platform is designed for small and midsize businesses with 100 or more suppliers or 1099 contractors, including international ones. It estimates that it can eliminate 80 percent of your accounts payable workload by automating multiple processes, including supplier onboarding, invoice processing, tax and regulatory compliance, and account reconciliation. tipalti.com

*Wave Financial – Wave's cloud-based accounting platform is free to use and offers many of the same features as paid accounting software. It connects to your bank and credit card accounts, tracks your income and expenses, and allows you to create and send invoices, including recurring billing. Online payment and payroll services are also available from this company. Read our full review herewaveapps.com

WorkingPoint – WorkingPoint is all-inclusive, cloud-based accounting software. It connects to your bank and credit card accounts and includes tools for invoicing, bill and expense tracking, inventory management, contact management, and financial and tax reporting. The company also offers payroll and email marketing services. workingpoint.com

*Xero – Xero online accounting software for small businesses is affordable and easy to use, and it integrates with more than 700 third-party business solutions. Features include invoicing, inventory, bank reconciliation, bill tracking, reporting, and project time and cost tracking. Xero has mobile apps for Apple and Android devices, allowing you to accomplish accounting tasks on the go. Read our full review herexero.com

Yendo – Yendo small business enterprise resource planning (ERP) software comes with accounting, CRM and project management modules, as well as a dashboard that gives you a holistic look at your business. The financial module has tools to help you create invoices, send reminders, record payments and expenses, generate reports, and reconcile accounts. yendo.com

ZipBooks – This online accounting software offers several plans, including one that's free and one that includes bookkeeping services. ZipBooks uses double-entry accounting, connects to your business bank accounts and generates a variety of reports to help you manage your business. It also includes invoicing, recurring invoicing, online payment acceptance, and billable time and expense tracking tools. zipbooks.com

*Zoho Books – Zoho Books is full-featured accounting software with a small business price tag. Features include invoicing, automatic payment reminders, time and expense tracking, reporting, and reconciliation. It has client portals that your customers can use to approve estimates, pay invoices and view statements. This software integrates with other Zoho applications, payment gateways like PayPal and Square, and popular business solutions like Office 365 and Slack. Read our full review herezoho.com/books

Ready to choose an accounting software solution? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

If you'd like your company to be added to this list and possibly considered as a best pick for our next round of reviews, please email your request to b2bconsiderrequest@business.com.

Best Picks

Full List of Accounting Software Solutions

Here is a full list of accounting software providers and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks, which are marked with badges.
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FreshBooks Accounting Software

FreshBooks is our pick for the best small business invoicing software application for its ease of use, advanced features and competitive pricing.
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Wave Financial

Wave is a free, cloud-based accounting software that is viable for freelancers and businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
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Xero

Xero offers the best value and brings its robust Windows accounting software to Mac users without compromising on features and ease of use.
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Zoho Books

Zoho Books is the best accounting software for freelancers, sole proprietors, consultants, artists and home businesses.
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QuickBooks Online Software

QuickBooks Online is our favorite accounting software for small businesses because it can grow with your business.
Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks, Staff

Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She now writes for Business.com and Business News Daily about financial systems and services for small businesses, such as accounting software, credit card processing and point-of-sale systems.