Best Accounting Software of 2024 

QuickBooks logo
QuickBooks

Best for Small Business Accounting

Xero logo
Xero Accounting Software

Best for User-Friendliness

FreshBooks

Best for Invoicing

Oracle NetSuite logo
Oracle NetSuite

Best for Enterprise Resource Management

Zoho Books logo
Zoho Books

Best for Automating Processes

High-quality accounting software is a must-have for every small business. Modern-day solutions help you automate tedious accounting processes, manage your company’s finances, and stay in compliance come tax time. However, to reap the benefits of accounting software, small-business owners must sift through the many brands on the market to figure out the best program for their needs. 

To help you narrow down the options, I performed a deep dive into all of the top accounting solutions. In my evaluations, I prioritized accounting software with mobile capabilities, robust reporting features, invoice generation and automation tools. 

This guide provides you with in-depth details on pricing, features and insights on how my best picks compare. With this information, you’ll be able to identify the best accounting product for your business in no time. 

What is accounting software?

Accounting software is a computer program that helps businesses keep accurate financial records, make informed budget decisions, and evaluate financial performance. Accounting software streamlines and automates many accounting procedures, allowing businesses to conduct financial management more efficiently and to store digital data safely. Common features of accounting software include a general ledger, modules for accounts payable and receivable, financial reporting, bank reconciliation and more. 

Compare Our Best Picks

Our Top Picks for 2024
QuickBooks
QuickBooks logo
Xero Accounting Software
Xero logo
FreshBooks
Oracle NetSuite
Oracle NetSuite logo
Zoho Books
Zoho Books logo
Plooto
Plooto logo
Wave
Wave logo
Sage 50
Sage 50 logo
Best use case

Small business accounting

User-friendliness

Invoicing

Enterprise resource management

Automating processes

Payments

Free accounting software

Desktop accounting software

Starting monthly cost

$20

$15

$19

Custom quote

$20

$32

Free

$58.92

Free version

No

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Mobile app

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Number of integrations

750

1,000

100

500

40

3

3

200

Scroll Table

The Best Picks for Accounting Software

QuickBooks logo

QuickBooksBest for Small Business Accounting

Editor's Rating: 4.8/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Intuit QuickBooks is the leading brand in small business accounting, and most small-business accountants are familiar with the software.
More than 750 third-party app integrations are available for QuickBooks users.
The platform remains on the cutting edge of accounting technology, boasting new AI features.
Cons
Upgrading from the Solopreneur plan isn’t straightforward.
QuickBooks limits the number of users on each plan.
You will need multiple subscriptions if you run more than one business.

Our Review for QuickBooks

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One of Intuit QuickBooks’ biggest selling points is its storied brand name. The company has been a leader in the accounting software space for more than two decades, with an estimated 80% market share among U.S. small businesses. Most accounting professionals who specialize in small business are familiar with QuickBooks, which is essential if you work with an accountant or bookkeeper.

Although some accounting software providers are better for specific uses and types of companies, it’s hard for any small business to go wrong with QuickBooks Online. The software provides everything small businesses need in a user-friendly accounting program. Technologically, I was impressed with some of QuickBooks’ newer features, including software that can learn your business’s spending patterns to better categorize expenses. A new AI chatbot can help you analyze your finances and anticipate follow-up questions.

At $20 a month for the entry-level Solopreneur plan and $30 monthly for the Simple Start package, I found that QuickBooks’ lower-tier plans were a bit pricer than the competitors’. However, QuickBooks’ higher-tier plans offer exceptional value with their large feature sets.

Xero logo

Xero Accounting SoftwareBest for User-Friendliness

Editor's Rating: 4.6/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Xero prioritizes a user-friendly interface and easy-to-understand visuals.
More than 1,000 third-party apps are supported.
All of Xero’s plans allow unlimited users.
Cons
Xero’s lowest-tier plan caps the number of monthly invoices and bills.
Invoice customization is less intuitive than it is with some competitors.
Expense tracking is supported only on the highest plan.

Our Review for Xero Accounting Software

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The moment you open Xero’s accounting software, you’ll see why it’s my pick for user-friendliness. The software eschews complicated accounting jargon such as “debits” and “credits,” which don’t mean anything to most small-business owners. Instead, Xero substitutes those terms with simpler language, like “invoices owed” and “bills you need to pay.” I also like that Xero uses easily digestible visuals to summarize financial information. For example, the main cash flow bar chart shows outgoing cash as a gray line and incoming cash as a blue line.

Aside from its high usability, I like that time tracking is included in all of Xero’s paid subscriptions. Furthermore, unlike most competitors, Xero doesn’t limit the number of users on any of its plans. The company also garners strong user reviews for its customer service. Rather than making you wait on hold for hours, Xero schedules a callback for a time that’s convenient for you.

Xero’s pricing structure is designed to serve businesses at different stages of growth, with three distinct plans (Early, Growing, and Established). The $15-per-month Early plan includes nearly every possible Xero feature, although it does cap the number of bills and invoices you can send per month. Nevertheless, I found that Xero’s plans pack excellent value.

FreshBooksBest for Invoicing

Editor's Rating: 4.6/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
FreshBooks excels at invoice creation, including the ability to turn quotes into invoices.
Project management features come in handy for service businesses.
Time tracking and invoice creation on the FreshBooks mobile app are easy and intuitive.
Cons
The FreshBooks mobile app doesn’t allow you to generate reports.
The inventory management features are less robust than competitors'.
FreshBooks doesn’t offer batch-invoicing shortcuts.

Our Review for FreshBooks

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What strikes me most about FreshBooks’ appeal is its invoicing features. The software’s invoice creation module is user-friendly, allowing you to quickly and easily customize invoices to match your business’s branding. After you send an invoice, FreshBooks lets you track when the customer receives and views it. I also like the FreshBooks mobile app features. You can add billable time and expenses to invoices using a smartphone, which is a feature not many competitors offer.

Like other popular accounting software, FreshBooks simplifies expense tracking by automatically importing your daily transactions from your connected business checking and credit card accounts. FreshBooks’ higher-tier plans include more advanced financial management tools, such as double-entry accounting.

FreshBooks offers four monthly subscription tiers: Lite ($19 per month), Plus ($33 per month), Premium ($60 per month) and Select (custom pricing).

Oracle NetSuite logo

Oracle NetSuiteBest for Enterprise Resource Management

Editor's Rating: 4.5/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Oracle NetSuite is widely recognized as the market leader for <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/how-to-harness-cloud-based-enterprise-resource-planning-to/454293">enterprise resource planning (ERP)</a>, with more than 31,000 customers.
The software is ideal for running business operations distributed around the world.
Oracle NetSuite’s modular pricing allows for extensive customization.
Cons
Oracle NetSuite’s high price and complexity make it more appropriate for large businesses than for small ones.
Potential customers must contact Oracle NetSuite directly for a quote.
There is no free trial available.

Our Review for Oracle NetSuite

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Based on my investigation, Oracle NetSuite is best suited for global organizations without budgetary concerns; pricing starts at $99 per user per month, plus a $999 monthly licensing fee. For businesses with the resources, this ERP platform offers powerful tools for financial management. Oracle NetSuite integrates billing, reporting and manufacturing processes into one user-friendly dashboard. The accounts receivable service streamlines invoice delivery and collection, while the accounts payable solution automates payments.

Oracle NetSuite’s cash management feature provides valuable insights to optimize cash flow as the program monitors your bank accounts effectively. A centralized payment management system simplifies transactions, and the planning and budgeting function facilitates budget creation, scenario modeling and comprehensive reporting. Beyond its accounting capabilities, Oracle NetSuite provides a suite of related ERP tools encompassing order handling, production, supply chain management and much more. Oracle NetSuite only provides custom pricing.

Zoho Books logo

Zoho BooksBest for Automating Processes

Editor's Rating: 4.4/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Zoho Books has its own scripting language for creating custom functions.
The software includes a suite of useful automation features.
Five paid plans offer small businesses a range of options.
Cons
Less-technical-minded business owners may find it difficult to take full advantage of Zoho’s offerings.
You are limited to 5,000 monthly transactions.
Zoho Books offers fewer third-party app integrations than some competing accounting software products.

Our Review for Zoho Books

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Zoho Books stands out for its ability to automate tedious, error-prone accounting tasks. Unlike many competitors, Zoho features a dedicated automation component with valuable tools.  You can set rules to automate workflows, schedule reminders and generate reports, thereby freeing up time to focus on growing your business.

I also like that you can automate email alerts, invoice reminders and in-app notifications. Perhaps best of all, tech-savvy owners can build custom functions using Zoho’s own coding language. Even if you aren’t a development expert, the company’s support reps can help you design your own features.

Zoho Books also distinguishes itself from competitors by providing a free version of its software. In addition to the free version, the company offers five paid plans, ranging from the $20-per-month Standard plan to the $275-per-month Ultimate package. This provides business owners with lots of flexibility over which features they want to pay for.

Plooto logo

PlootoBest for payments

Editor's Rating: 4/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Plooto’s network of 150,000 vendors helps speed up your accounts payable processes.
A simple pricing structure makes it easy to understand what you’re paying for every month.
Plooto offers credit card processing services on top of its invoicing tools.
Cons
Plooto is more of a payment management service, so you will need to supplement it with additional accounting software.
Plooto's only integrations are with QuickBooks and Xero.
There is no mobile app.

Our Review for Plooto

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Even though Plooto isn’t designed as full-fledged accounting software, I included it on this list because it’s a great complement to other accounting products. Plooto’s core service is simplifying accounts payable. Through the Plooto Network, you can set up automatic approvals and pay 150,000 vendors directly. Transactions are automatically reconciled with your business bank account and can be synced with QuickBooks or Xero to record the data for accounting purposes.

With Plooto, you can also create and schedule invoices, as well as accept payments online using the company’s credit card processing service. A document-capture tool allows you to upload and edit bills, extract information, and reconcile accounts. All of these features are included in the $32-per-month Grow plan. At $499 a month, the Pro plan also includes advanced user management tools and priority customer service.

Wave logo

WaveBest Free Accounting Software

Editor's Rating: 4.2/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Wave is one of the few free accounting software options available for small businesses.
The program facilitates standard bookkeeping services.
There is no cap on the number of transactions or users.
Cons
Wave’s free software is limited; additional services are available for a fee.
There are not many third-party app integrations.
The program doesn't offer much for business owners who carry inventory.

Our Review for Wave

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I usually don’t come across free software that I would recommend for small business use, but Wave is one exception. Just because Wave is free doesn’t mean it skimps on features. For example, for no charge, you can create and schedule recurring invoices and track payments. Among other tools, Wave offers automatic payment reminders and automatic syncing with your bank accounts, credit card accounts and PayPal.

Even though it’s a free program, Wave provides the same standard bookkeeping services as many paid alternatives. In particular, small businesses with tight budgets should see whether Wave can meet their needs. I found it’s a great solution to save money on software while keeping your finances organized.

Sage 50 logo

Sage 50Best Desktop Accounting Software

Editor's Rating: 4.2/10

Pros & Cons

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Pros
Sage’s software can be installed on a desktop computer with cloud connectivity.
A unique expense control module allows you to assign cost codes to jobs and track your budget.
Sage offers full integration with <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/business-news/microsoft-365-copilot-will-write-your-emails-for-you-soon/463628">Microsoft 365</a>.
Cons
Sage is more expensive on a monthly basis than competing software.
Fewer integrations are available to Sage users compared with other options.
The user interface feels dated.

How much does accounting software cost?

The cost of accounting software varies widely, and a lot depends on which features your business needs and the vendor’s pricing structure. 

Today, most accounting software is sold via a cloud-based subscription. Users typically pay on a monthly (or sometimes annual) basis. Often, introductory discounts are available for first-time subscribers. A few vendors, including Sage 50 and QuickBooks, continue to sell desktop-based software to users who prefer a more traditional experience. 

Most accounting software companies offer multiple subscription tiers that range in price based on the services provided. At the low end, users can expect to pay $15 to $20 per month for entry-level features. For midtier plans with more robust accounting features, a price range of $40 to $60 is typical. High-end plans may cost several hundred dollars per month, and many providers offer customized pricing for large businesses. 

Although free accounting software is uncommon, some brands such as Zoho Books provide a no-cost, basic version of their platforms. Wave is another provider that touts its free bookkeeping solution, along with optional paid features. 

How to choose accounting software

Choosing the right accounting software for your business comes down to several factors, including your business’s needs, personal preferences and budget. Business owners can follow this step-by-step process to narrow down their options and make an informed decision.

1. Conduct market research.

Determine your business’s budget for accounting software, and decide whether you prefer desktop or cloud-based software. Research providers that fit your budget and preferred software setup. Use online accounting software guides (like Entrepreneur’s) to compare the various options. As you investigate each solution and vendor, consider user reviews and customer comments on third-party review sites and the Better Business Bureau website.

2. Assess your business needs.

Generally, accounting software providers tailor their services to the size and complexity of the business. For example, solopreneurs who work from home can almost certainly get by with a lower-level package, but a company with global operations will need a plan that’s capable of handling complex accounting tasks. List the features you need from your accounting software and see which products meet those needs. 

3. Determine your transaction count and user requirements.

Does your business send a lot of invoices? Do you require software access for multiple users? Many accounting software providers limit the number of users, transactions and invoices on lower-tier plans. In some cases, the vendor may charge for extra users and features on an à la carte basis. Make sure that the product and the specific plan you’re eyeing can accommodate your needs and that you won’t exceed any monthly caps on users or transactions. 

4. Test the software with demos.

Many accounting software vendors provide free trials lasting up to four weeks. In many cases, you can save your data from the trial and carry it over once you begin a paid subscription. Others offer demos on their website or host demos conducted by a company representative. You can also ask if a company representative can walk you through the product and answer your questions. Use these opportunities to assess the software’s usability and fit for your organization.

5. Evaluate offers.

Once you’ve gathered the information, narrowed your options and tested some platforms, you should be well positioned to make an informed buying decision. Whether you’re a small business seeking a standard package or a larger company that requires custom pricing, evaluate sales offers carefully and inquire about any incidental or recurring fees before you make a purchase. 

Methodology

During my research and testing to identify the best accounting software for small businesses, I took advantage of available demos and free trials, examined materials on corporate websites, and combed through user reviews. I gave special consideration to accounting features that are important for small-business owners, including invoicing capabilities, value, ease of use and mobile functionality. When possible, I interviewed representatives from each accounting software company and received in-depth explanations of new features. I also examined variations in paid subscription plans, paying particular attention to which features were available at different price tiers.

Accounting Software FAQs

What is the difference between bookkeeping software and accounting software?

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Online bookkeeping software is often confused with online accounting software. The top-tier online accounting applications include tools for both bookkeeping and financial analysis. Even so, it’s crucial to distinguish between bookkeeping services and accounting services.

Bookkeeping involves the daily recording of financial transactions, while accounting encompasses interpreting, classifying, analyzing and reporting financial data. In my evaluations above, I emphasize platforms that provide robust financial analysis over those that offer only basic bookkeeping features.

Is there free accounting software?

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A few accounting software providers offer free services. For instance, Wave provides free accounting software with a range of essential features for managing your financial data. Other companies, such as Zoho, provide a free basic version of their accounting software.

While you may be tempted to use free accounting software to save money, it’s most important to select the program that aligns best with your company’s needs and standards. Free doesn’t always mean inferior quality, but some free services and software may lack the sophistication or efficiency required for advanced accounting tasks. It’s vital to find a solution that fits your needs and your budget, not just one or the other.

When is the best time to change over my accounting software?

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Ideally, you should switch accounting software providers as your business’s fiscal year ends. This allows you to stay organized for tax time, and you can start the new year without the hassle of reconciling reports from multiple providers. If waiting until the new fiscal year isn’t possible, starting after the end of the fiscal quarter is the second-best option.

How does AI impact small business accounting?

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Many accounting software providers have introduced a number of features powered by artificial intelligence (AI), including tools that can extract information from bills and other documents and eliminate manual journal entries. QuickBooks, for example, recently introduced an AI chatbot to help business owners analyze their financial data and answer basic questions. In the coming years, I expect that these AI-powered tools will become even more powerful and widespread, so stay tuned for product updates.