The Best Small-Business Accounting Software of 2021

Want an affordable compromise between spreadsheet software and a full-time accountant? The right small-business accounting software can automate record-keeping tasks and keep you up to date on your business's financial health.

You can't afford to lose track of your business's finances. Luckily, plenty of accounting software options can help you organize expenses, bill clients, and track your bottom line. Of course, with dozens of small-business accounting software options, it's hard to know which to choose—but don't worry. We've reviewed our 10 favorites below to help narrow your selection.

Best accounting software for small business

Best accounting software for small businesses 2021

Starting cost
Free trial
Standout features
Learn more



30 days

Unlimited users, inventory tracking, third-party app integration (800+ apps)



30 days

Unlimited invoicing, automatic expense tracking, team project management

QuickBooks Online


30 days*

Comprehensive reports and features, low learning curve, stellar mobile app




Receipt scanning, online payment acceptance, affordable payroll add-ons

Zoho Books


14 days

Inventory management, client portal for easy collaboration, automated workflows

Data effective 11/29/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
*30-day free trial or 50% off first three months

Best accounting software overall: Xero


With its supremely affordable starting price and unlimited users, Xero is perfect for affordable accounting collaboration.

Xero scores big for its robust features and low starting price. For just $11 a month, you can send custom invoices, reconcile bank transactions to balance the books, capture receipts for easier record keeping, and track inventory.

But as a small-business accounting tool, Xero really stands out on the collaboration front. Unlike nearly every other accounting solution (including QuickBooks and FreshBooks), Xero's plans all include unlimited users. You don't have to pay extra to delegate responsibilities like bank reconciliation or expense tracking to another team member: time-saving collaboration is built into your price.

However, Xero's $11 a month plan limits you to entering only five bills and sending only 20 invoices a month. You can send unlimited invoices and quotes with only the Growing and Established plans, which start at $32 and $62 a month, respectively. Plus, you'll only get multi-currency payment support, expense tracking, and project management with the $62 plan—a lot of other accounting software options offer multi-currency support and expense tracking up front.

Pro Bullet Unlimited users with every plan
Pro Bullet Basic inventory tracking with all plans
Pro Bullet Easy integration with over 800 third-party apps
Con Bullet Limited invoices, bills, and bank transaction reconciliation with cheapest plan
Con Bullet Expense tracking, multi-currency support, and project management with only most expensive plan

Best invoicing: FreshBooks

Fresh Books
Do you send out too many monthly invoices to deal with billing limits? FreshBooks isn't as good as Xero for collaboration, but its relatively low starting price and unlimited invoicing makes it perfect for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners with a handful of frequent customers.

Unlike Xero, FreshBooks lets you send an unlimited number of invoices and estimates with every plan. Each plan also includes time tracking for easier, more accurate client billing, plus expense tracking to keep your budget balanced.

Alas, also unlike Xero, FreshBook isn't great for collaboration. If you want to add people to your plan, you'll pay an extra $10 per month per user. Solopreneurs and freelancers shouldn't have an issue with FreshBooks' costly collaboration. But businesses that need more than one set of eyes on their finances should check out Xero or a provider like QuickBooks that rolls additional users into its higher-tier plans.

FreshBooks also limits the number of customers you can bill each month, so while you can send those customers an unlimited amount of invoices, you can't have more than five clients on your roster. That means FreshBooks' cheapest plan works best for freelancers and super small businesses. Midsize and growing businesses will want to consider the Plus plan, which limits you to 50 billable clients, or the Premium plan, which limits you to 500.

Pro Bullet Expense and time tracking with every plan
Pro Bullet $15 a month starting price
Pro Bullet Customizable proposals, estimates, and invoices
Con Bullet Billable clients limited to five with cheapest plan
Con Bullet No built-in inventory tracking (available via third-party apps)

Most user-friendly: QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online offers thorough financial reports, tax help, and the best small-business accounting app on the market. Its plans are pricier than those of its competitors, but the software's user-friendliness and low learning curve help justify its $25 per month starting price.

Intuit, QuickBooks' parent company, handily deserves its reputation as one of the most reliable financial, tax, and accounting software providers. QuickBooks Online, Intuit's cloud-based accounting software solution, includes typical features like invoicing, billing, and receipt scanning—and even its cheapest plan includes more comprehensive tracking than many competitors:

  • Mileage tracking
  • Sales tax tracking
  • Automatic tax deduction categorization
  • 1099 contractor payment tracking

Along with letting users track more data points than many competitors, QuickBooks also offers the absolute best mobile accounting app you can find. The app can do basically everything the software can (a rarity for any software provider, no matter the industry). If you work on the go, QuickBooks' app and mileage tracking might make it a good fit.

QuickBooks' stellar reporting features come at a price, though: its cheapest small-business plan starts at $25 a month and restricts you to one user plus an accountant. Its priciest plan, which allows for 25 users, starts at $150 a month. You can take it for a spin with the 30-day free trial, but if you do, bear in mind that you'll waive QuickBooks' 50% off the first three months deal.

Pro Bullet Highest-rated mobile app of all accounting software providers
Pro Bullet Comprehensive, easy-to-understand financial reports
Pro Bullet Extensive tracking features
Con Bullet Higher starting price than competitors
Con Bullet Poor inventory tracking and payroll
Con Bullet Notoriously poor customer service

Most affordable: Wave

Wave doesn't require your credit card info to sign up—its accounting, receipt-scanning, and invoicing apps are all entirely free of charge. Plus, its affordable payroll integration and solid customer support are an excellent fit for service-based small businesses.

At the beautiful starting price of exactly $0, Wave presents you with a slick, user-friendly dashboard and a slew of features that rival those of its paid competitors. For instance, Wave Accounting includes multi-currency support, expense tracking, unlimited invoicing, and double-entry accounting—a more accurate method of accounting that FreshBooks' cheapest plan notably lacks.

Wave also lets you juggle multiple businesses with the same account, so if you're an Amazon seller who also manages a small team of contractors, you can track both sets of finances without paying anything.

Even though Wave has a useful payroll tool, its accounting software isn't necessarily right for businesses with dozens of employees. Since Wave offers just one accounting plan, businesses can't scale up to plans with more features as they grow. And Wave's lack of inventory tracking makes it better matched to service-based solopreneurs and freelancers.

Pro Bullet Free accounting, invoicing, and receipt-scanning software
Pro Bullet Affordable payroll add-on
Pro Bullet Multi-business management
Con Bullet No built-in inventory tracking
Con Bullet Fewer third-party app integrations than competitors
Con Bullet One plan only

Best automation: Zoho Books


Want to automate tasks like data entry and invoicing? Zoho Books lets you set multiple tasks to autopilot for just $9 a month.

Zoho Books easily automates the most common (and, let's face it, boring) bookkeeping tasks—which means you can dedicate more time to your business and customers and less time to the tedious task of data entry. Most notably, it lets you set automatic customer payment reminders, create recurring expense profiles, and automate inventory tracking.

Plus, Zoho Books is just one piece of software in the larger suite of Zoho products. Each Zoho product integrates easily with the rest, which means you can use Zoho for accounting, project management, and customer relationship management (CRM) for a start. Zoho Books starts at $9 a month—$2 less than Xero. You'll pay another $2 per month per additional user, which is a standout bargain compared to FreshBooks' $10 per user.

Unfortunately, even though it's a solid accounting tool, Zoho Books has one huge flaw: Zoho doesn't offer a payroll plan unless you live in California, Texas, or India. And it doesn't integrate with third-party payroll providers either. Instead, you have to manually update the payroll-related aspects of your books—which detracts from Zoho's primary perk of automation in a big way.

Pro Bullet Automated workflows with every plan
Pro Bullet Client portals for customer collaboration
Pro Bullet $9 per month starting price
Con Bullet Payroll in California, Texas, and India only
Con Bullet More integration with Zoho products than other third-party apps
Con Bullet Slightly steeper learning curve
Find Your Money—and Keep More of It

With plans starting at $15 a month, FreshBooks is well-suited for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners alike.

  • Track time and expenses
  • Create custom invoices
  • Accept online payments

Accounting software honorable mentions

Not sold on our top picks? Here are five more recs for your browsing pleasure.

Best user experience runner-up: Sage Business Cloud Accounting


Sage Business Cloud Accounting isn’t the most scalable solution out there, but its comprehensive features and low price (just $10 a month) makes it a good fit for small-business owners who are just starting out.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting software lets you create invoices, track customer billing and amounts owed, and more. It syncs with your bank account and provides real-time financial data. Sage’s pricing and plans are a little bit confusing (and the site is frustratingly hard to navigate), but you can choose from six plans tailored to small, medium-sized, and large businesses starting at $10 a month.

Best for sales teams: OneUp

One Up

OneUp’s affordable plans start at $9 for individual business owners, and its pricier plans can accommodate unlimited users. Coupled with the software’s CRM features, OneUp is a perfect pick for businesses that manage sales teams, collaborate on finances, and need to thoroughly manage relationships.

Like Zoho, OneUp's plans include customer relationship management (CRM) features, which makes it perfectly suited to sales teams that frequently follow up with customers. Plus, it's affordable: pricing for one user starts at $9. But if you’re a Mac user, you’re out of luck: OneUp works only for Windows users.

Easiest setup: Kashoo


Kashoo’s simplicity and fast setup make it perfect for business owners with limited accounting experience. And Kashoo’s ability to quickly learn your finances and predict spending habits streamlines saving, budgeting, and financial planning.

Got a minute to spare? You can set up Kashoo in 60 or so seconds, and the app immediately starts to categorize your expenses and learn your business spending habits. Like Zoho Books, Kashoo's automation is its selling point—and unlike Zoho Books, it syncs with SurePayroll, one of our top payroll providers. However, Kashoo's simplicity makes it ill-suited to larger businesses that need more features and functions than Kashoo's straightforward software can provide.

Best bookkeeping only: GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping


If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur looking for the most affordable, most streamlined bookkeeping software out there, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping has you covered. For just under $5 a month, GoDaddy sets you up with basic card payments, invoicing, and financial tracking.

Don’t need full-service accounting software? GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping is an easy-to-use bookkeeping software program perfect for small-business owners who don’t need more than the basics. This bare-bones, no-frills software lets you process debit and credit payments, send invoices, and track finances for $4.99 a month. Bear in mind, though, that it's just bookkeeping: GoDaddy can help you chart your finances, but it can't really help you analyze those finances to grow your business.

Best free alternative: ZipBooks


ZipBooks’ free plan isn’t the most comprehensive, but unlike some paid plans, it doesn’t limit the amount of invoices you can send or payments you can accept. If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur looking for the basics at no additional cost, ZipBooks could work.

If you don't need quite as many features as Wave offers, ZipBooks is a solid free alternative. Even though it's free, it doesn't limit the number of invoices you can send (like Xero) or clients you can bill (like FreshBooks) per month—you can access unlimited customizable invoices and accept payments too. ZipBooks' paid plan starts at $15 a month and offers better bookkeeping and automation features. But if you prefer your accounting tools on the go, look elsewhere: ZipBooks' mobile app is, by all accounts, absolutely wretched.

Accounting software FAQ

What is the best accounting software for small businesses?

Most accounting software have perks to recommend them, but the best one for you depends on the type of business you run. For instance, Wave works very well for freelancers on a budget, QuickBooks helps small-business owners who travel a lot for work, and Xero works nicely for companies with lots of fiscal collaboration.

Is QuickBooks the best software for small businesses?

QuickBooks is definitely among the most popular accounting software for small businesses, but being popular isn't the same as being the best. QuickBooks might be right for you, or you might find its pricing too high and its payroll plans too flimsy. Depending on what you need, another software pick like FreshBooks or Sage could be better for your business.

Our list of the year's best QuickBooks alternatives has a few solid options.

Should I hire an accountant?

When you no longer have time to keep an eye on finances yourself, it’s probably time to invest in an outsourced or in-house accountant. Accountants can oversee finances and handle reports, invoicing, and other financial tasks.

Like small-business owners, accountants use accounting software. If you have a QuickBooks, FreshBooks, or Wave account, it's easy to add your accountant to your existing plan so the two of you can collaborate on finances.

What is the best free accounting software for small businesses?

Wave Accounting is easily the best free accounting software for small businesses. Its user-friendly dashboard, low learning curve, and easy expense tracking make it ideal for freelancers and small-business owners who don't mind finding another app to manage inventory. It’s also a lot more comprehensive than most other free accounting software options on the market.

But if Wave doesn’t have the right features for your small business, you do have other options—ZipBooks, SlickPie, or another free accounting software provider could work better for you.

Can I use accounting software with payroll software?

Most accounting software providers offer their own payroll software or sync with one or more popular payroll providers. Xero, FreshBooks, and QuickBooks all sync with Gusto, our favorite payroll provider for small businesses. (Gusto starts at $19 a month.) QuickBooks also offers its own payroll plan, but we don't recommend it: with a $45 a month starting price, it's expensive and fails to meet some key industry standards.

In contrast, SurePayroll’s self-service plans start at $19.99 a month, while its automatic tax-filing plans start at $29.99 a month.

The takeaway

Finding the best accounting package for your small business can seriously transform your working life. With less time spent on data entry, you have more time for the things you like most about small-business ownership, whether that's getting to know customers or making products you're proud of.

Most of our top 10 picks are either free or include a free trial, so don't be shy about trying a few different brands if you don't hit on your favorite right away.

Need to pair payroll software with your new accounting software? Head on over to our piece on the best payroll software for small businesses.


At, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie spent two of the last four years writing for and with small-business owners—from dentists in Australia to plumbers in the Midwest. She spent the other two writing in depth about internet and security. She’s passionate about reading, hiking, and dedicating every spare second to writing for fun (at lunch, between meetings, on the train, before breakfast . . . ). Her content helps small-business owners tackle the logistics of running a business so they can focus more on their passions too.
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