The 7 Best Expense Tracker Apps for Small Businesses in 2021

We looked at iOS and Android app ratings, mileage and expense tracking features, receipt scanning options, and accounting software integration to find you the best expense tracking solutions of 2021.
Best overall
Expensify
Expensify
Starting at
$0.00
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Includes mileage tracking
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Employee reimbursement
Best total accounting solution
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
Starting at
$15.00
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Includes mileage, time, and project tracking
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Client portal for billable expenses
Best automation
Zoho
Zoho Expense
Starting at
$0.00
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Includes mileage and project tracking
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Employee travel expense approval
Best receipt scanner
Shoeboxed
Shoeboxed
Starting at
18.00/mo.*
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Expense and receipt tracking only
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Outsourced business document organization
Best self-employed trip tracking
everlance-logo
Everlance
Starting at
0.00/mo.
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Expense and mileage tracking
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Employee expense approval

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

Expense tracker apps help small-business owners manage costs, reimburse employees for business expenses, and categorize expenses for tax time. Looking for the best? Our top business expense tracker app is Expensify. Its well-reviewed expense tracker app syncs with most accounting software. And with a free plan for freelancers and small-business plans with company cards, it’s a good fit for many types of business owners. Below, we review Expensify and six more of the best expense tracking apps for small businesses—read on to find yours.

2021’s best expense tracking apps

The year’s best expense trackers for small businesses

Brand
Starting price
Built-in mileage tracking
Employee reimbursement options
Learn more
Expensify

Expensify

$0.00
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Fresh Books

FreshBooks

$15.00/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Zoho

Zoho Expense

$0.00
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed

$18.00/mo.*
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
everlance-logo

Everlance

$0.00
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

What are business expense trackers?

Business expense trackers obviously track your business’s expenses—but the best expense trackers don’t stop there. They also (usually automatically) categorize your expenses so you can identify areas to cut costs and simplify tax write-offs at the end of the tax year. Top business expense trackers should also include receipt scanning software so you can upload expenses on the go. Finally, expense tracking apps need to sync with your accounting software to save time and eliminate redundant data entry. (Some accounting software, like QuickBooks, includes built-in expense tracking and receipt scanning).

While self-employed business owners technically can use personal budgeting apps to track expenses, we don’t recommend it. They aren’t comprehensive enough to track a business’s needs, and they lack a lot of features most business expense trackers include. (For instance, personal finance apps don’t automatically track mileage—a must if you’re a freelancer with mileage-based tax write-offs or an employer whose employees travel for work.)

If you’re interested in becoming a better personal budgeter, check out our reviews of the year’s best budgeting apps. But personal finance apps like Mint and YNAB work only when applied to your personal life, not your business life.

Expensify: Best overall

Expensify
Expensify

Starting at $0.00/mo.

  • Automatic expense categorization
  • Company card + automatic employee reimbursement (team plans only)
  • Travel agent assistance (team plans only)

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Expensify starts at a (very reasonable) $0 a month for self-employed business owners with 25 or fewer monthly expenses. Expensify’s free plan also includes automatic mileage tracking and expense categorization. Its mobile app, which uses Expensify’s SmartScan receipt-reading software, rates 4.7 on Apple’s App Store and 3.8 on Google Play—though the app’s most recent update has caused user problems with uploads and categorization. We’ll monitor ratings and let you know if Expensify’s next software update resolves the issue.

Record more than 25 expenses a month? Expensify’s cheapest plans have the same features as its free plan and start at $4.99. The heftier plans are priced per user, since they’re meant for companies that need corporate cards and automatic employee reimbursement. Expensify’s team-based business expense plans start at $5 per user per month.

Since Expensify is one of the most popular business expense tracker apps, it should sync with just about any small-business accounting software if you have the pricier plans. (Zoho Books, which typically syncs only with other Zoho apps, is a notable exception.) Unfortunately for freelancers and solopreneurs who track profits with accounting software, only the team-based plans automatically integrate with accounting software.

FreshBooks: Best total accounting solution

Fresh Books
FreshBooks

Starting at $15.00/mo.

  • Mileage, time, and billable expense tracking
  • Automatic expense categorization
  • Third-party app required for employee reimbursement

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

FreshBooks’s accounting software includes built-in expense tracking, so you don’t need to invest in two apps to manage your business’s costs. Instead, FreshBooks syncs with your bank account and credit cards, automatically importing and categorizing expenses, plus generating reports that help you make sense of your profit and loss.

And if you frequently bill your clients for expenses, FreshBooks’s excellent invoicing simplifies the process. Use FreshBooks’s app to track your time, expenses, and mileage during a project, then transfer over the final billable expense to your client’s invoice (which you can also create and send with the FreshBooks app).

FreshBooks doesn’t offer a free plan, but the company offers frequent long-term sales—for instance, in 2021, it’s offering 60% for your first six months. You can also save by paying for FreshBooks annually instead of monthly. Unfortunately, the cheapest plan limits you to invoicing just five clients a month. Freelancers with a higher client volume will need at least the $25-a-month Plus plan, which increases your client limit to 50 a month.

Zoho Expense: Best automation

Zoho
Zoho Expense

Starting at $0.00/mo.

  • Automatic billable expense tracking
  • Employee travel features
  • Corporate card options

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Zoho Expense focuses on employee travel. (It’s billed as an “end-to-end travel and expense” solution, not simply an expense tracker.) Along with the typical expense tracker features, Zoho Expense lets you book rooms, set travel budgets, and pre-approve travel expenses well before employees leave. Like Zoho’s accounting software, Zoho Books, Zoho Expense automates just about everything that can be automated, including employee expense approval and reimbursement.

Zoho Expense’s free plan includes up to three users who can all collaborate on expense tracking and travel management. For unlimited users and pre-travel approval, you’ll need the Premium plan, which costs $5 per user per month if you pay annually (paying monthly costs $8 per user per month). The Premium also requires you to have at least three users—which ups the cost to $15 per per month, paid annually. And Zoho Expense syncs with Zoho Books, Xero, and QuickBooks Online, but accounting software costs an additional $11 to $25 a month on top of your Zoho Expense payment.

Shoeboxed: Best receipt scanning

Shoeboxed
Shoeboxed

Starting at $18.00/mo.*

  • Automatic expense categorization
  • IRS-accepted receipt images
  • No employee reimbursement or company card options

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*When billed annually

Trying to get your receipts in order so you can start expense tracking for the first time? Try outsourcing to Shoeboxed. Each Shoeboxed plan gives you a monthly limit on envelopes you stuff each month with paper receipts, business cards, or other fiscal information you want scanned and organized. You send those envelopes off to the Shoeboxed team, who turns them into well-organized data files ASAP.

The Shoeboxed money tracking app includes stellar receipt-scanning software and lets you generate on-the-go expense reports. But Shoeboxed doesn’t have as many expense tracking features as other business spending trackers on our list. It doesn’t include mileage tracking, employee reimbursement, or company card options. Instead, it works best for freelancers and small-business owners who want third-party help organizing expenses—and keeping them organized from here on out.

Shoeboxed is also on the pricey side: annual plans start at $18 a month and limit you to sending in one pre-paid envelope stuffed with receipts a month.

Everlance: Best for self-employed drivers

everlance-logo
Everlance

Starting at $0.00/mo.

  • Expense report generation
  • Mileage tracking for simple employee reimbursement
  • Multiple plans for freelance contractors and small businesses with employees

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Are you a self-employed driver or a small-business owner managing a fleet? Everlance seamlessly blends expense tracking with a host of travel-based cost and reimbursement features, including these:

  • Cent-per-mile tracking for employee reimbursements
  • Fixed and variable reimbursements (based on zip code and car make)
  • Mileage logs for driver mileage allowances

Everlance has two free spending tracker plans: one for freelance contractors like Uber and Lyft drivers, and one for fleet owners and other business owners with employees. Both free plans include receipt tracking and IRS-compliant expense report generation on top of the standard mileage tracking features. They also limit you to 30 automatically tracked trips a month. If you (or your drivers) travel more than that each month, you’ll need the $5-a-month Premium plan if you’re self-employed, or the $120-a-year Business plan if you manage a fleet of drivers.

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

Honorable mentions

Didn’t find the right mileage and expense tracker for you above? These honorable mentions could suit your expense tracking needs.

Compare top business expense tracking features

Brand
Starting price
Built-in mileage tracking
Employee reimbursement options
Learn more
Wave

Wave Accounting

Free for life
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Quickbooks

QuickBooks

$15.00/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Wave Accounting

Wave
Wave Accounting

Free for life

  • Free expense tracker, receipt scanner, and accounting
  • Unlimited expense tracking, invoicing, and receipt uploads
  • No employee reimbursement or corporate card features

Wave Accounting is a truly free accounting software solution with fewer limits than many paid plans. As one of the best free expense tracker apps, Wave lets you track unlimited expenses and scan an unlimited number of receipts—while paying nothing, ever. 

Unlike paid competitors like FreshBooks and QuickBooks Online, Wave Accounting doesn’t have an accounting-specific mobile app (though it does have separate receipt, invoice, and payment acceptance apps). And while it’s great for freelancers, Wave doesn’t have any employee reimbursement or corporate card features.

QuickBooks Self-Employed

Quickbooks
QuickBooks

Starting at $15.00/mo.

  • Automatic expense categorization
  • Easy TurboTax syncing and tax assistance
  • No employee reimbursement or corporate card features

Data as of 7/6/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

For help with all things tax-related, try QuickBooks Self-Employed. As an Intuit product, QuickBooks Self-Employed syncs seamlessly with Intuit TurboTax, which makes claiming the right tax write-offs easier at the end of the year. Like the heftier QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Self-Employed is incredibly intuitive—it’s hard to find a more user-friendly mobile app.

Since QuickBooks Self-Employed was built for contractors and freelancers, it doesn’t include any employee-based spending tracker features. And at $15 a month, QuickBooks Self-Employed offers fewer invoicing and expense-tracking features than FreshBooks, which costs the same per month.

Business expense tracking FAQ

What’s the best business expense tracker app?

Expensify is one of the best spending tracker apps for small businesses. It’s also super accessible: Expensify syncs with just about every accounting software system, including QuickBooks Online and Xero.

Remember, though, that Expensify might be the best business expense tracker app for some businesses—but not necessarily all businesses. Everlance is a similar expense tracker app for small businesses, specifically freelance contractors who drive for Uber or Lyft. And many accounting software solutions (QuickBooks included) have built-in expense tracking options that scale up as your business grows.

Not sure Expensify is the right expense tracking software for you? Most money tracking apps for businesses offer free basic plans or free trials. Expense tracking is essential to good business budgeting, so feel free to try out different options until you find one you prefer.

Can I track my business expenses for free?

Most expense tracker apps offer free basic plans. For instance, Expensify is free for freelancers who upload only 25 expenses a month. Free accounting software like Wave Accounting and ZipBooks also include expense tracking with their free plans.

But if you want to use a company card, reimburse employees for business expenses, and get in-depth expense reporting for tax time, even the best free expense tracker app won’t cut it. Still, you have affordable options. Expensify’s small-business plans start at $4.95 a month. And accounting software like FreshBooks can cost as little as $15 a month (or less if you lock in FreshBooks’s frequent deals, like saving 60% for 6 months).

What is the best way to track expenses if I’m self-employed?

Whether you’re a part-time freelancer or a small-business owner with one or two employees, expense tracker apps are the easiest, fastest way to track business expenses.

You can always use spreadsheet software to track expenses by hand: for instance, Microsoft Excel offers expense tracking templates. (If you want a truly free option, Google Sheets is easy to customize to your business’s budgeting needs.) But even if you log just a few business expenses a month, we recommend an expense tracker app over spreadsheets.

Why? For one thing, expense tracking apps usually automate expense tracking, which gives you more time to focus on your business. They also let you track mileage, which is important for tax write-offs at the end of the year, and scan or upload receipts to ensure all your expense data is in one place. Many also double as bill management apps, especially accounting software with built-in expense and billing solutions.

Budget tracker apps like Mint and YNAB are excellent for getting your personal finances in line, which can make you a more financially savvy business owner. But we don’t recommend using personal finance or budgeting apps for tracking business expenses, even if you’re self-employed. For one thing, it’s too easy to accidentally label personal expenses as business expenses (or vice versa), which makes taxes harder instead of simpler. Feel free to use both types of apps, but as soon as you become self-employed, make sure to separate your business and personal finances ASAP. 

The takeaway

Business expense trackers are a solid investment for freelancers, solopreneurs, and other small-business owners who want to analyze costs and submit correct write-offs at tax time.

For flexibility and affordability, the best expense tracker app is Expensify. If you want accounting software with built-in expense tracking, try FreshBooks, QuickBooks Self-Employed, or Wave Accounting. For traveling and driver-focused alternatives, we like Zoho Expense and Everlance. And if physical receipts are taking over your office, Shoeboxed can start digitizing your data and categorizing your expenses right away.

Most business expense trackers have free plans, free trials, or both. Feel free to try different providers on for size before you commit—you’ll want an app that syncs with your accounting software, works for both you and your employees, and organizes expenses in a format you can follow.

Want to expand your business by trimming expenses? Check out our article on bookkeeping basics to learn more about income and expense management.

Related content

Methodology

To find and rank the best expense trackers for small businesses, we analyzed several key business budget and spending features:

  • Expense tracking features, including recurring expense categorization, billable hours and expense tracking, types of tax categories, and receipt capturing
  • Ease of use, including customizability, automatic expense tracking, and automatic accounting software integration
  • Mobile app ratings and reviews on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store
  • Travel-based features, including mileage tracking, travel planning, and GPS tracking
  • Employee-facing features, including employee reimbursement and budget approval
  • User limits
  • Pricing and affordability

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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