1. Business Ideas
  2. Business Plans
  3. Startup Basics
  4. Startup Funding
  5. Franchising
  6. Success Stories
  7. Entrepreneurs
  1. Sales & Marketing
  2. Finances
  3. Your Team
  4. Technology
  5. Social Media
  6. Security
  1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
  1. Leadership
  2. Women in Business
  3. Managing
  4. Strategy
  5. Personal Growth
  1. HR Solutions
  2. Financial Solutions
  3. Marketing Solutions
  4. Security Solutions
  5. Retail Solutions
  6. SMB Solutions
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Find a Solution Financial Solutions

Best Small Business Accounting Software 2017

Best Small Business Accounting Software 2017
Credit: Lightspring/Shutterstock

In our search for the best accounting software for small businesses, we looked for solutions that are affordable and easy to use. We also looked for timesaving features that take the headache out of small business accounting, such as automated entries, invoicing, bill payment, expense reports, financial reports and reconciliation.

Additionally, we looked for cloud-based software that syncs with bank accounts and point of sale (POS) systems, making it simple to perform advanced tasks, such as running financial reports and accepting payments. Our staff researched and reviewed an extensive collection of programs and selected what we believe to be the best accounting software for different types of small businesses in 2017.

Here's a roundup of our best picks and details about how we chose them. To help you find the right accounting software for your business, check out our Accounting Software Buyer's Guide.

Small Business Overall
QuickBooks Online
Read Review
  • Pricing
    Starts at $10 per month
  • Mobile accounting
    iOS and Android
  • Customer service
    Phone and chat support
Mobile Accounting App
FreshBooks
Read Review
  • Pricing
    Starts at $15 per month
  • Mobile accounting
    iOS and Android
  • Customer service
    Phone and email support
Mac
Xero
Read Review
  • Pricing
    Starts at $9 per month
  • Mobile accounting
    iOS and Android
  • Customer service
    24/7 email, live chat and outbound phone support
Really Small Businesses
Zoho Books
Read Review
  • Pricing
    Starts at $9 per month
  • Mobile accounting
    iOS, Android, Windows
  • Customer service
    24/5 phone and email support
Free
Wave Accounting
Read Review
  • Pricing
    Free, with ads
  • Mobile accounting
    No native app
  • Customer service
    Ticket-based support

Intuit QuickBooks Online offers a range of features for all types of small businesses. This includes freelancers, consultants, online merchants, store and restaurant owners, service providers and more. Whether you're just starting out, expanding or have an established business, QuickBooks Online is packed with basic and advanced features to meet your accounting needs. [Go here for a full review of QuickBooks Online accounting software.]

Mac users often grapple with the issue of software that is stripped down or is less intuitive than their Windows counterpart. Xero's cloud-based accounting software, which is available for both PC and Mac, is a full-featured solution that doesn't compromise on features or ease of use just because you're using a Mac. It can help you save time and simplify accounting by automating tasks and integrating with more than 500 apps. Xero also comes with 24/7 email and live chat support and outbound phone assistance at no extra cost. [Go here for a full review of Xero accounting software.]

Really small businesses need really simple accounting software. Zoho Books offers all of the basic features microbusinesses need as well as advanced tools that grow with your business. Furthermore, compared with other accounting software for really small businesses, Zoho Books has the best price for all of its capabilities. [Go here for a full review of Zoho Books.]

Most accounting software products have a mobile app, but not all apps are created equal. Of the accounting mobile apps we considered, FreshBooks wins for its ease of use, excellent customer service, and for offering all of the features small businesses need to manage their finances on the go. [Go here for a full review of FreshBooks' accounting mobile app.]

Not all small businesses need the extra features and support provided with paid accounting services. Wave Accounting offers free, cloud-based accounting software specifically designed for small businesses. Unlike other free accounting software programs that limit capabilities, Wave Accounting offers a comprehensive set of accounting features without the monthly price tag. [Go here for a full review of Wave Accounting.]

To find the best accounting software for small businesses, we began by asking business owners which accounting software they use, what they love about it and what they think makes it a "perfect" accounting application. We also researched popular accounting software that frequently appeared on reputable review websites, top lists and business websites.

We then created an extensive list of accounting software. It included software that we gathered from our research above as well as applications we were already familiar with and vendors who have previously pitched their software to us. We narrowed down this list based on different use-case scenarios and a wide range of criteria, that we've listed in detail below.

Next, we evaluated each software by signing up for a business account and testing them ourselves. This first-hand experience helped us gain an understanding of 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 claimed.

To further inform our decisions, we contacted each vendor to measure the quality of their customer support. Posing as small business owners in the market for accounting software, we chatted with sales reps and customer service teams and asked a variety of questions. This also helped clarify any concerns and issues we came across while researching and testing each product.

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.

In total, we ended up with nearly two dozen accounting software products on our list. Only nine of those made it to our short list – FreeAgent, FreshBooks, Intuit QuickBooks Online, OneUp, Quicken Home & Business, Sage, Wave Accounting, Xero, and Zoho Books.

Here are the criteria we used to evaluate each software:

  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Timesaving features
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Mobile access and mobile features
  • Accountant access
  • Service limitations, including the number of customers, invoices, users, transactions packages allow
  • Customer service
  • Additional services like credit card processing, tax preparation and payroll services
  • Integration with third-party apps

Editor's Note: Looking for information on accounting software for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information and quotes you need:

buyerzone widget

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 Pro – AccountEdge Pro does more than accounting. It features DIY or outsourced payroll services so you can link accounting to payroll, pay your employees (including direct deposit), track time and prepare payroll taxes. Retailers will also enjoy its inventory management suite, which integrates with the popular ecommerce platform Shopify. AccountEdge Pro is available on Mac and Windows. Mobile and cloud companion apps are also available. accountedge.com/pro

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/

ClearBooks – ClearBooks is cloud-based accounting software with a full set A/R and A/P features. It connects to your business bank accounts, and you can use it to send quotes and invoices, manage vendors, create purchase orders, pay bills, and run reports. It can be used by small businesses in any country, but U.S. users may find the unchangeable U.K. date format confusing. clearbooks.co.uk

FreeAgent – Unlike many accounting software products that limit transactions unless you purchase a more expensive package, FreeAgent is a cloud-based program that supports unlimited users, clients and invoices for one monthly price. It also has a project management feature to help you keep track of billable hours and expenses. FreeAgent is best for freelancers, consultants and other project-based businesses. freeagent.com

*FreshBooks – A favorite among small business owners, FreshBooks offers one of the most user-friendly cloud-based accounting applications for nonaccountants. It's also our top pick for the best accounting app for iOS and Android devices because of the wide range of accounting tasks you can perform on the go, such as invoicing, time tracking and managing expenses. Read our full review here. freshbooks.com

GnuCash Free Accounting Software – GnuCash is free, Linux-based accounting software that has all the features small businesses need to manage their finances: income and expense tracking, double-entry accounting, financial reports and calculations, scheduled transactions, statement reconciliation, and more. It can also track bank accounts, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In addition to Linux, GnuCash is also available for Windows, Mac and Android devices. gnucash.org

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping – Formerly Outright, Go Daddy 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. outright.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 app to Google Apps, Salesforce, Basecamp and more than 50 other business programs. getharvest.com

Hiveage – Need customized invoicing software for your freelance or other small business? Hiveage allows you create estimates and quotes, then convert them to invoices after client acceptance. The software tracks time, expenses and mileage. It also allows you to accept online payments, including recurring payments such as subscriptions. All plans support unlimited clients and invoices. hiveage.com

InfoFlo Pay – InfoFlo Pay is invoicing management and payment software that you can use to create estimates and invoices, and receive payments. It has client portals that allow your customers to accept estimates, view statements and pay invoices online. Mobile apps are available, and the software integrates with QuickBooks, MailChimp and Google Drive for an extra fee. infoflopay.com

*Intuit QuickBooks Online – Our pick for the best accounting software, Intuit's QuickBooks Online works for all types of small businesses. With three small business plans, plus a self-employed plan for freelancers and independent contractors, it's a top choice for your business whether you're just starting out and need basic accounting features or you're a growing or established business and need software with advanced accounting capabilities. Read our full review here. quickbooks.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, generates reports, and offers collaboration features, so you can share your books with your bookkeeper, accountant and business partners. kashoo.com

Less Accounting – Just as its name suggests, Less Accounting can help you spend less time managing your finances and more time running your business. It automates tasks such as data entry and billing, so you spend minutes instead of hours on your accounting. Bookkeeping services are also available. lessaccounting.com

OneUp – OneUp is robust cloud-based accounting software that includes CRM and inventory tools. Your sales team can use the software to follow up with leads and create quotes and sales orders, which can then be converted to invoices with a single click. The software tracks inventory and can be set to automatically generate purchase orders when inventory is low. It also runs a variety of reports. oneup.com

Quicken Home & Business – Quicken lets you manage both your personal and business finances in one place, making it a convenient solution for really small businesses and home-based entrepreneurs who don't need accounting software designed for larger or more established businesses. The downside, however, is that the software isn't cloud-based and is only available for Windows, though it has iOS and Android apps that allow you to view your data. quicken.com

Sage 50c – Sage 50c is a desktop accounting solution that connects with mobile apps and integrates with Microsoft Office 365. It links to your bank accounts and automatically backs up your data to the cloud. It includes features for mobile invoicing, inventory management, expense tracking and reporting. sage.com

Sage Intacct – Intacct is advanced, cloud-based accounting software that automates processes and helps you manage business finances so your business can grow. It generates a wide range of reports, giving you the ability to evaluate your business's performance from any financial angle, including profit margins, losses, income and revenue segments like total revenue, revenue by product and revenue per square foot. intacct.com

Sage One – Sage One has two plans for small business owners. Sage One Start is for a single user primarily interested in invoicing, reports and tax preparation. In addition to these features, the other plan, Sage One Accounting, supports multiple users, can create quotes and estimates, and allows you to record and track the bills you owe. Integrations that link the software to other business programs like POS systems and payroll are available. sageone.com

Simple Invoices – If you're a solopreneur and your accounting needs primarily consist of tracking sales and getting paid, Simple Invoices may be the solution for you. This program lets you create estimates, send professional-looking invoices, accept payments and generate financial reports absolutely free. simpleinvoices.org

Tipalti – Tipalti is cloud-based accounts payable software for midsize businesses that have international suppliers, though it works with small businesses as well. It features automations for each step of the process, streamlining supplier onboarding, tax compliance, invoice management, global payments, reconciliation and reporting. It provides its users with a white-label, self-service supplier portal, and it supports payouts in 120 currencies and 190 countries. tipalti.com

*Wave Accounting – Don't want to pay for accounting software? Wave Accounting can help. This cloud-based accounting platform offers many of the same features as paid accounting services, making it our top pick for the best free accounting software for small businesses with 10 employees or less. Read our full review here. waveapps.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, and reporting. You can also add services such as payroll and email marketing to the program, though it costs extra. workingpoint.com

*Xero – Xero is our top pick for the best accounting software for Macs. We like that Xero is affordable, easy to use, offers a ton of features and integrates with hundreds of third-party business solutions, many of which you likely already use. Xero also offers 24-hour email and live chat support, so there's always someone ready to help you. Read our full review here. xero.com

Yendo – If you have a lot of customers, multiple businesses or a dedicated sales team, Yendo is the accounting software for you. It's both accounting and CRM software, letting you and your sales reps manage and cultivate relationships with customers, while linking all the data with your enterprise resource planning and accounting platform. yendo.com

ZipBooks – This online accounting software offers several plans, including one that is free and several that include 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, bill payment, time and expense tracking tools. zipbooks.com

*Zoho Books – Part of the Zoho Office Suite, Zoho Books is full-featured accounting software with a small business-friendly price tag. Three plans are available, and all plans include invoicing, expense and time tracking, reporting and integration capabilities. Read our full review here. zohobook.com

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

Are you an accounting software provider that would like to be added to this list and possibly considered for our next round of reviews? Please feel free to contact Lori Fairbanks at lfairbanks@purch.com.

Additional reporting by Sara Angeles.

Lori Fairbanks

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 an editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She joined Purch in 2014 as a senior writer for Top Ten Reviews and now writes for Business.com and Business News Daily.