The Best Bookkeeping Software for Small Business 2023

To find the best bookkeeping software, we looked at key accounting features, ease of use, third-party integrations, and customer reviews.
Best overall
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starting from
$9.00/mo.*
  • pro
    Excellent mobile app
  • pro
    Thorough financial reports
Best for freelance
Xero
Xero
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Starting from
$13.00/mo.
  • pro
    User-friendly software and app
  • pro
    On-the-go reporting
Best invoices
Zoho
Zoho Books
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Starting from
$0.00/mo.**
  • pro
    Customizable multilingual invoices
  • pro
    Free Zoho Invoice add-on
Best for basics
Sage
Sage Business Accounting
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Starting from
$10.00/mo.
  • pro
    Automatic expense tracking
  • pro
    Mobile cash flow management
Budget pick
Wave
Wave Accounting
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Free for life
  • pro
    Multi-business management
  • pro
    Basic financial reports

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Current promotion: 70% for three months or 30-day free trial
**Available only for businesses with an annual revenue below $50K USD

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To keep your books in order, Business.org recommends QuickBooks Online. Its detailed reports and straightforward interface make it a good software option for non-bookkeepers. Or, if QuickBooks' high starting price keeps it out of your budget, Xero is our preferred runner-up. As one of the best bookkeeping software for businesses, Xero is highly affordable and comes with dozens of freelance-friendly features.

Keep reading to learn more about QuickBooks Online, Xero, and five additional bookkeeping solutions tailor-made for small-business owners like you.


Our most user-friendly accounting software: Quickbooks

If you're searching for accounting software that's user-friendly, full of smart features, and scales with your business, Quickbooks is a great option.


Compare the best bookkeeping software for small businesses

Bookkeeping software
Starting price
User limit (basic plan)
Expense tracking (basic plan)
Key reports
Get started
$9.00/mo.* 1 user + accountant access
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Sales tax, accounts receivable, inventory
$13.00/mo.Unlimited users
Icon No  DarkNo
Customized performance tracking
$0.00/mo.**Unlimited users (addt'l fee)
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Sales reports by customer, sales rep, or item
$10.00/mo.1 user + accountant access
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Cash flow forecasting
Free for lifeUnlimited users
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Basic financial reports only

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Current promotion: 70% off for three months or 30-day free trial
**Available only for businesses with less than $50K USD in annual revenue

QuickBooks Online: Best overall bookkeeping software

Best bookkeeping software
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starts at
$9.00/mo.*
  • pro
    Double-entry accounting
  • pro
    General ledger and chart of accounts
  • pro
    Bookkeeper or accountant access included with each plan

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Current promotion: 70% off for three months or 30-day free trial

QuickBooks Online sets the standard for bookkeeping software with thorough, easy-to-understand financial reporting. Its cheapest plan includes all the financial reporting basics (profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements), plus sales tax and mileage tracking. Pricier plans include reports for accounts receivable and payable, budgeting, inventory, sales, profitability, and more.

Info
QuickBooks Self-Employed

If QuickBooks Online has too many features for your needs but you still want QuickBooks’s stellar reporting, QuickBooks Self-Employed might be a better fit. It starts at $15 a month and includes access to limited reports, plus freelance-specific features like mileage tracking and easy syncing with TurboTax.

As an online cloud-based accounting software, QuickBooks Online was made specifically for non-accountants (unlike the clunkier QuickBooks Desktop, which was made for accountants). Its ease of use is hard to match. Plus, if you spend more time traveling to on-site jobs and less time sitting in front of a computer, QuickBooks Online includes a fantastic mobile accounting app. You can use it to create invoices, capture receipts for easier expense tracking, and access the same financial reports displayed on the online interface.

Unfortunately, even though QuickBooks Online is our top pick, it’s also our priciest one. The cheapest QuickBooks plan starts at $30 a month—higher than any of our other recommended bookkeeping solutions. And if you want the best reporting QuickBooks can offer, you’ll need at least the $55 Essentials plan or, preferably, the $85 Plus plan.

Pros
pro Incredibly thorough accounting software
pro Easy-to-use cloud-based software
pro Thorough accounting app
Cons
con Above-average starting price
con Relatively frequent price hikes
con Poor customer service reputation
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Xero: Best for freelance

Best software for freelancers
Xero
Xero
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Starts at
$13.00/mo.
  • pro
    Double-entry accounting
  • pro
    General ledger and chart of accounts
  • pro
    Easy bookkeeper and accountant collaboration

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Xero is our top accounting software pick for small-business owners—its ease of use, low starting price, and thorough features set it apart. The software’s bookkeeping features include double-entry bookkeeping (the most accurate bookkeeping and accounting method), plus dozens of customizable reports.

In contrast to most accounting software, Xero includes unlimited users at no additional cost. You can generate interactive financial reports any time and send them to your key financial collaborators, including business partners or tax advisors.

Bullhorn
Xero for freelancers

Along with its reasonable starting price, Xero's freelance-friendly features include integration with more than a thousand third-party apps. Most importantly, it works with dozens of ecommerce apps for online sellers. And unlike most other bookkeeping software, Xero includes basic inventory tracking with every plan, which is another reason we love it for product-based freelancers and small businesses. 

Even though we generally prefer Xero to QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online remains the most popular accounting software for US-based accountants, bookkeepers, and auditing clerks. For instance, most virtual and outsourced bookkeeping services still use QuickBooks or proprietary in-house software—though some, like Bookkeeper360, also sync with Xero.

While QuickBooks Online wins our top spot for now, we’re hoping that as Xero’s user base expands, more accountants and bookkeepers will sign on. That should make collaboration easier for Xero-using small-business owners who (wisely!) work with financial advisors around tax time. And thousands of accountants and bookkeepers do use Xero already, so you can search Xero’s directory to find a local accountant who’s already familiar with the software.

Pros
pro Low starting price
pro Integration with 1,000+ third-party apps
pro Excellent freelance-friendly features
Cons
con No expense tracking with basic plan

Zoho Books: Best invoices

Best for invoicing
Zoho
Zoho Books
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starts at
$0.00/mo.*
  • pro
    Double-entry accounting
  • pro
    General ledger and chart of accounts
  • pro
    Bookkeeper or accountant access with each plan

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Available only for businesses with an annual revenue below $50K USD

All of Zoho Books’s plans (including its free plan, which is available for small businesses that earn less than $50K USD per annum) include business overview reports, like profit and loss statements. But Zoho Books goes beyond the basics by offering customizable reports in the following categories:

  • Sales reports
  • Inventory management and reports
  • Accounts receivable reports
  • Payments received reports
  • General activity logs

Zoho also lets you tag reports in ways that are easy for you to sort through, read, and understand. In other words, instead of making non-bookkeepers work to understand their financial data, Zoho Books’s straightforward reporting and simple organization reduces work for non-accountant business owners.

Money
Price check: Zoho's free plan

If you make less than $50,000 USD per year, you might qualify for Zoho’s free plan. It includes access for one user plus one accountant or bookkeeper, a chart of accounts, and bank account reconciliation. 

Zoho Books especially excels in the world of invoicing. If you send invoices on the go, want to up your chances of getting paid on time by sending recurring invoices to repeat clients, and bill customers all over the world with multilingual invoicing, Zoho has you covered. And while Zoho Books does a great job of tackling all things invoice, you'll get an even better deal by adding Zoho Invoice to your Zoho Books plan. Zoho Invoice is completely free for life, so whether you end up trying Zoho Books or not, we definitely recommend giving Zoho Invoice a look.

Pros
pro Thorough features, including the free plan
pro Affordable additional user fee ($2.50/month)
pro Seamless integration with other Zoho apps, notably Zoho Invoice
Cons
con Limited integration with non-Zoho apps
con Pricier starting price ($20 for basic plan billed monthly)

Sage Business Accounting: Best for basics

Best for basics
Sage
Sage Business Accounting
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Starts at
$10.00/mo.
  • pro
    Double-entry accounting
  • pro
    General ledger and chart of accounts
  • pro
    Bookkeeper or accountant access included with each plan

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Like Xero and QuickBooks, Sage Business Accounting’s reports are user friendly and very easy to read. Its business trend reports are particularly useful—they compare your business’s current health with its past growth and future goals so you can keep your business on track for success.

Sage also offers a lot of support to first-time business owners with minimal bookkeeping experience. Its live Q&A chat lets you ask an expert financial questions during business hours, and you can always schedule an appointment with a Sage Accounting expert.

Sage Business Accounting starts at just $10, which is perfect for freelancers and self-employed business owners with no employees. But to get the most out of Sage Business Cloud Accounting, you really need the $25-a-month plan. The cheaper plan limits you to basic reports and one user only. In contrast, the pricier plan includes more thorough reporting, unlimited users, and cash flow forecasting.

Pros
pro Straightforward software with a low learning curve
pro Basic features for freelancers who don't need much
pro Solid customer support
Cons
con Limited features with cheapest plan
con Limited third-party add-ons
con No receipt scanning with cheapest plan

Wave Accounting: Budget pick

Best for your budget
Wave
Wave Accounting
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Free for life
  • pro
    Double-entry accounting
  • pro
    General ledger and chart of accounts
  • pro
    Bookkeeper or accountant access with each plan

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Wave Accounting is our favorite free accounting software option for small-business owners. Unlike most paid software, Wave has unlimited user access, including easy access for accountants and bookkeepers. And along with foundational reports like income and cash flow statements, Wave Accounting includes sales tax tracking reports. Most notably, its comparative documents help you understand your business’s finances to make wise financial decisions.

But since Wave Accounting has just one plan, it’s not necessarily ideal for growing businesses that might need a heftier accounting tool in the future.

On the other hand, Wave lets you juggle multiple businesses at no additional cost. If you want to track your Etsy shop’s sales separately from your eBay or Amazon store’s profits, Wave might be a good fit.

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Best bookkeeping software honorable mentions

Didn’t find your ideal bookkeeping software in our top five? Here are two more bookkeeping options to explore.

Compare business bookkeeping software: Honorable mentions

Bookkeeping software
Starting price
User limit (basic plan)
Expense tracking (basic plan)
Key reports
Get started
$6.00/mo.*1 user (no accountant access)
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Accounts aging
$0.00/mo.Unlimited users
Icon No  DarkNo
Basic reports only

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Current promotion: 60% off for 6 months or 30-day free trial

FreshBooks: Runner-up

Honorable mention
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Starts at
$6.00/mo.*
  • pro
    General ledger and chart of accounts
  • con
    No double-entry accounting with cheapest plan
  • con
    No free accountant access with cheapest plan

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Current promotion: 60% off for 6 months or 30-day free trial

FreshBooks’s accounting software includes color-coded, user-friendly reports for expenses, sales tax summaries, accounts aging, and invoice details. (Speaking of invoices, they’re the reason we like FreshBooks so much: its professional invoices are easy to generate and for your clients to collaborate on.)

In spite of its excellent reports and recurring invoices, though, FreshBooks falls short in a few bookkeeping areas. Most notably, its cheapest plan ($15 a month) doesn’t include double-entry bookkeeping or free accountant access. For accountant access, more accurate bookkeeping, and detailed business health reports, you’ll need the $25-a-month Plus plan.

Kashoo: Runner-up

Honorable mention
Kashoo
Kashoo
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$0.00/mo.
  • pro
    Double-entry accounting
  • pro
    General ledger and chart of accounts
  • pro
    Bookkeeper or accountant access with each plan

Data as of 11/29/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Kashoo’s cheapest plan offers all the financial tracking basics: income and expense tracking, sales and sales tax tracking, and all essential financial statements. If you want to track inventory and manage projects, you’ll need the $30-a-month plan, which also includes accounting tools like a customizable chart of accounts. (The $20 plan gives you a typical, non-customizable, IRS-standard chart of accounts, while Kashoo's newest free plan includes basic reports only.)

By all accounts, Kashoo also has fantastic customer service. If you’re nervous about setting up accounting software for the first time, Kashoo’s experts can talk you through it. So while Kashoo isn’t as comprehensive as competitors like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks, its customer service reputation is a definite point in its favor.

The takeaway

QuickBooks Online has some of the best reporting and bookkeeping features money can buy. Want a cheaper, fully featured option? Xero, Sage Business Accounting, and Zoho Books have stellar reports at a lower starting price than QuickBooks. And if you want straightforward finance tracking without in-depth analytics, Wave Accounting can help you with the basics.

No matter which software option you choose, remember: bookkeeping is foundational to running a successful business. Whether you’re a freelancer with a few clients a month or a small-business owner with 10 employees and counting, bookkeeping software will help you track profits, plan for the future, and keep all of your accounts in order.

Want to check out software ranked by accounting features, not just bookkeeping basics? Read through our reviews of the best accounting software options for small businesses like yours.

Related reading

Bookkeeping vs. accounting

Bookkeeping and accounting are sometimes used as synonyms, but bookkeeping is a lot more basic than typical accounting. Generally speaking, bookkeeping means tracking finances to create solid records while accounting means analyzing those records to draw conclusions about your business's financial health.

While you can do bookkeeping without accounting, you can't do accounting without bookkeeping. (Without any records, what will you analyze?) All of the bookkeeping solutions we review below are fully fledged accounting software—and as such, they include bookkeeping tools that can simplify your financial life, whether you're a sole proprietor, gig economy freelancer, or owner of a midsize corporation.

Want to learn more about bookkeeping before sorting through your software options? Check out these resources:

Bookkeeping software FAQ

What is the best software for bookkeeping?

QuickBooks Online is one of the most popular bookkeeping software choices in the US. Its comprehensive reports are easy for first-time business owners to generate and understand, and it offers more thorough reporting than just about any other software out there.

But QuickBooks Online isn’t necessarily the best online accounting solution for you. (For one thing, it starts at an above-average monthly price.) Xero and Wave Accounting are more affordable with similar reporting features. FreshBooks has much better invoicing with clear, color-based reports. And both Sage Business Cloud Accounting and Kashoo have more solid customer service.

Luckily, most bookkeeping software comes with a free trial. (Notably, QuickBooks Online offers 50% off for three months or a 30-day free trial, so be prepared to forego one of them if you want to test drive your software.) Finding the best bookkeeping software for you is crucial to your business’s success—try as many options as you need to settle on one you feel confident in.

What's the best free bookkeeping software?

Our top free bookkeeping software recommendation is Wave Accounting. It offers fully featured reports and full accountant and bookkeeper access. Along with unlimited users, it lets you add unlimited bank accounts and credit cards for easier (and more accurate) bank reconciliation. Its chart of accounts, journal entry generation, and multi-business management make it a good fit for small and midsize businesses alike.

If you don’t love Wave, though, you have other options. ZipBooks lets you toggle between cash and accrual-basis accounting. Odoo and TurboCASH can streamline cash management for international companies. Read through our reviews of the 10 best free bookkeeping options to learn more.

What accounting software do bookkeepers use?

Most bookkeepers and accountants use the same popular software small-business owners do, especially QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Sage. Oracle NetSuite and FreshBooks are two other popular bookkeeper software options.

However, you can share most accounting solutions with an accountant or bookkeeper, including accounting software that otherwise limits its users by plan. (For example, QuickBooks Online’s cheapest plan allows for just one business user, but it includes accountant access at no additional cost.) Regardless of the accounting system you use, you should be able to share it with a bookkeeper come tax time with no problems.

Some bookkeeping companies and accounting firms use proprietary in-house accounting software. If you’re planning to work with a bookkeeping company rather than hiring a solo bookkeeper, make sure to ask about its accounting system. If the accounting firm uses QuickBooks but you’ve used Zoho Books to this point, transferring your financial data into a new accounting software package might cost extra. (Or it might not—which is why you should ask!)

Our methodology

To find, rank, and recommend the best bookkeeper software for small businesses, we evaluated a few key criteria:

  • Adherence to bookkeeping best practices, including double-entry bookkeeping, bank reconciliation, chart of accounts generation, and automatic journal entry generation
  • Number and type of financial reports, including foundational reports (profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements) and more thorough, customizable, and exportable reports
  • User access, including free bookkeeper and accountant access
  • Customer service options, ease of use, mobile app access, and customer reviews

We weighted each category equally in calculating our star ratings.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, 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 McQuarrie has been writing for and about small businesses since 2014. Prior to writing full-time, she worked with a variety of small-business owners (from freelance writers to real-estate solopreneurs), which gave her a front-row look at small-business owners' struggles, frustrations, and successes. Currently, she’s Business.org’s accounting and payroll staff writer. Her work has been featured on SCORE.org, G2, and Fairygodboss, among others.
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