The Best Free Accounting Software of 2022

We reviewed a dozen of the best free accounting software options, then rated their user-friendliness, features, limitations, accessibility, and customer service to bring you the year's best free solutions for small-business owners like you.
Best overall
Wave
Wave
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Free for life
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free expense tracking and invoicing
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited users and businesses
Best for freelancers
Zoho
Zoho Invoice
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Free for life
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free expense tracking, invoicing, and estimates
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited billable customers
Best for beginners
ZipBooks
ZipBooks
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8
Starting from
$0.00
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free invoicing
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Digital payment acceptance via Square or PayPal
Best open-source software
GnuCash
GnuCash
2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7
Free for life
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free invoicing, bill payment, and budgeting
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited bank transaction reconciliation
Best corporate expense tracking
Expensify
Expensify
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Starting from
$0.00
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free invoicing, expense tracking, and employee reimbursement
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Corporate card access (Expensify Card)

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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The bottom line: Wave Accounting is our favorite free accounting software pick for small-business owners, especially freelancers. With unlimited income and expense tracking, bank reconciliation, and billable customers, it has even fewer limits than some paid software's basic plans (most notably Xero and FreshBooks). With its unlimited users and multi-business connections, Wave works for freelancers juggling multiple ecommerce shops and for business owners who prefer to have more than one pair of eyes on finances.

But Wave Accounting is just one of many top-notch, zero-cost bookkeeping options. Below, we review our favorite free solutions, including Zoho Invoice, Expensify, ZipBooks, GnuCash—and more. 

Best free accounting software 2022

Best free accounting software for small businesses 2022

Brand name
Pricing
Key features
Customer service
Get started
Wave

Wave

Free for life

Automatic bank account syncing, expense tracking, invoicing

Email only

Zoho

Zoho Invoice

Free for lifeInvoicing, client portal, time tracking, project management

Email and phone

ZipBooks

ZipBooks

$0.00/mo. (optional paid plans)

Unlimited invoicing, chart of accounts, cash and accrual accounting

Email and phone
Expensify

Expensify

$0.00 (optional paid plans)

Expense reporting, 24-hour reimbursement, receipt scanning

Email, phone, in-app chat
GnuCash

GnuCash

Free for life

Accounts receivable, accounts payable, financial reports

Community forum

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Wave Accounting: Best overall

Wave Accounting
Wave
Wave Accounting
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Check
    Free for life
  • Check
    Invoicing, account reconciliation, expense management
  • Check
    Unlimited users
  • X
    No mobile app

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Even if Wave weren’t completely free, we’d still be blown away by how much it offers. It’s one of our top accounting software picks for small-business owners, and for good reason. With Wave, you get perks like these:

  • Automatic bank account and credit card syncing for accurate, up-to-date financial records
  • Unlimited bank account and credit card connections
  • Easy, customizable income and expense tracking
  • Crucial accounting reports and general ledger
  • Invoicing and billing reminders
  • Automatically generated journal entries
  • Customer support (email only)

Wave’s easy-to-read dashboard shows you your most important financial info at a glance. Its billing, invoicing, and expense tracking features make it perfect for freelancers, but the software can work for larger businesses too, especially since Wave doesn’t limit the amount of users you can add (unlike, say, QuickBooks Online). You and the rest of your financial team can jump on your account to check numbers and enter information, free of charge.

Zoho Invoice: Best for freelancers

Zoho Invoice
Zoho
Zoho Invoice
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
  • Check
    Free for life
  • Check
    Invoicing, account reconciliation, time tracking, project management, client portal
  • Check
    Multiple users
  • Check
    Highly rated mobile app

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Don't be fooled by Zoho Invoice's name. This software does much more than send invoices (though you shouldn't overlook its stellar invoicing features—Zoho Invoice is actually our top pick for billing and invoicing software).

While it's not quite as fully featured as Zoho Books, Zoho's accounting-specific product, Zoho Invoice has more than enough features to recommend it—and, obviously, they're entirely free: 

  • Professional, customizable invoices with multi-currency and multi-language support
  • Automatic recurring invoicing and customer payment reminders
  • Estimates (easily convertible to invoices)
  • Expense tracking, receipt scanning, and time tracking

Thanks to its its built-in time tracking (which syncs easily with invoices), estimate-to-invoice conversion, and client portal for straightforward collaboration, Zoho Invoice is ideal for freelancers who frequently collaborate with customers. With a stellar mobile app, it's also good for freelancers on the go. If you want more extensive accounting features, Zoho Books starts at $15 a month—but if you're fine with basic invoicing and transactions, it's honestly hard to beat Zoho Invoice.

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

ZipBooks: Best for beginners

ZipBooks
ZipBooks
ZipBooks
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8
  • Check
    Starting at $0.00 (paid plans starting at $15.00/mo.)
  • Check
    Invoicing and digital payment acceptance (PayPal or Square only)
  • Check
    Unlimited billable clients and vendors
  • X
    Limited reporting, users, and bank account connections

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

ZipBooks definitely doesn't have the most features of our top picks. Instead, it sticks to the basics, offering just a few accounting features for free: 

  • Unlimited customizable invoices, estimates, and quotes
  • Multi-currency payment acceptance
  • Expense and receipt tracking
  • Chart of accounts generation

We know, we know—that doesn't look like much, especially when compared to Wave and Zoho Invoice. But what few things ZipBooks does, it does quite well.

Its chart of accounts is straightforward and user-friendly, which is crucial for first-time business owners with limited financial knowledge. And while ZipBooks' free plan includes just two business financial statements, they're the most important ones (the profit and loss statement and balance sheet)—you won't be overwhelmed by too many complex reports, but you'll still get the basic information you need to make wise investment choices as you grow your business.

If you like ZipBooks' user-friendly interface but want more features, its paid plans start at $15 a month and allow for five users. (The free plan limits you to just one.) 

Expensify: Best corporate expense management

Expensify
Expensify
Expensify
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
  • Check
    Starting at $0.00/mo. (paid plans starting at $4.99/mo.)
  • Check
    Thorough individual, freelancer, and corporate expense tracking
  • Check
    Corporate card management included with free plan
  • X
    Limited accounting features

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Expensify is first and foremost an expense-management program. It excels at scanning and categorizing receipts, generating reports for tax time, and managing employee expense reimbursements. Most crucially, its free plan for corporations includes free corporate card management via the Expensify Card, which everyone on your team can use for free. 

However, Expensify isn’t an all-in-one online accounting solution—it’s a targeted expense-tracking app with some bookkeeping and budgeting features. In other words, while you can use the app to track mileage and send invoices, both features are fairly basic. Expensify does best when paired with accounting software. (Since Expensify is one of the most popular expense-tracking apps, it does sync with most major accounting solutions.)

If you’re looking for more thorough accounting and bookkeeping software, we recommend opting for Wave Accounting instead. But if you manage a corporation where multiple people need corporate card access, need help keeping your expenses in order, and want a cheap-as-free solution, well, Expensify’s free plan is a good option.

GnuCash: Best open-source software

GnuCash
GnuCash
GnuCash
2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7
  • Check
    Free for life
  • Check
    Income and expense tracking
  • Check
    Customizable open-source software with solid community support
  • X
    Fairly basic features with limited support

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

GnuCash is open-source accounting software, which means the software’s code is readily available online for anyone who wants to use and improve it. You and your developers can tweak GnuCash's code to make the app fit your industry, like construction or marketing. It also means GnuCash is a community project, so there isn’t any customer support—but there is a robust wiki full of advice that you can both learn from and contribute to.

And even though its site looks outdated, GnuCash offers some tech-friendly features most other providers on our list don’t, including recurring transactions, transaction reminders, and an Android accounting app.

Still not sure which accounting software is best for you?

Honorable mentions

Best free accounting software: Honorable mentions

Brand name
Pricing
Key features
Customer service
Get started
Odoo

Odoo

Free for lifeInvoicing, expenses, basic financial reportsEmail only
NCH Software

NCH Software

Free for lifeQuotes, sales orders, and invoicesNone
Turbo Cash

TurboCASH

$0.00/mo. (optional paid plans)Invoicing, general ledgerCommunity support

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Odoo: Best open-source software runner-up

Odoo
Odoo
Odoo
3 out of 5 stars
3.0
  • Check
    Free for life
  • Check
    Basic invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reports
  • Check
    One aspect of a fully integrated, free CRM solution
  • X
    Limited third-party integration and customer support

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Odoo is another open-source software that anyone can customize, improve on, and share with other users. Its community version is pretty basic, but Odoo offers a slew of paid apps for everything from inventory management to ecommerce. If you want to start with a free bookkeeping software base and add features as needed, Odoo is a good option.

NCH Software (Express Accounts): Best Mac-only

NCH Software (Express Accounts Accounting Software)
NCH Software
NCH Software
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3
  • Check
    Free for life
  • Check
    Invoicing, accounts payable, and sales tracking
  • Check
    Thorough financial reports
  • X
    Available for Mac users only
  • X
    Limited accounting and bookkeeping features

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Express Accounts Accounting Software is an accounting product owned and distributed by NCH Software. Its primary focus is giving new business owners a clear picture of their business's financial situation, starting with offering 20 thorough, customizable financial reports. Express Accounts also easily tracks accounts payable and accounts receivable. You can also use the software to print checks and streamline bill payments.

However, Express Accounts’ customer service is much less robust than our other top five picks. You can reach out to technical support over email if you have an issue with your download, but that’s the extent of your support. On the other hand, most customers use Express Accounts solely to track their business’s figures—so you shouldn’t need the kind of support you would with more complex accounting or payroll software.

Note that Express Accounts via NCH Software is available for Mac-users only. PC users looking for similar features should look at Wave or GnuCash instead.

TurboCASH: Best basic GL (general ledger)

TurboCASH
Turbo Cash
TurboCASH
1.9 out of 5 stars
1.9
  • Check
    Starting at $0.00/mo. (paid plans starting at $60.00/yr.)
  • Check
    General ledger and invoicing
  • Check
    Basic spreadsheet-based payroll tracking
  • X
    Limited features and outdated interface

Data as of 12/8/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

TurboCASH comes in two editions: TurboCASH 4, which is free, and TurboCASH 5, which costs $60 or more a year. The software is available in 80 countries, but the free version doesn’t pack much of a punch. Still, if you’re working overseas and want to save a little money on expensive software, TurboCASH will let you track your cash using the reliable double-entry bookkeeping system.

The takeaway

If you want a free small-business accounting solution with nearly as many features as the best paid software—QuickBooks and Xero included—you really can't do better than Wave Accounting. But if Wave isn't your thing, a few other options could work even better:

  • Zoho Invoice's automatic invoicing, simple customer portal, and multi-currency support are just right for freelancers who want basic accounting with stand-out customer collaboration tools.
  • ZipBooks' customizable invoices, simple payment acceptance, and basic financial reports are ideal for first-time business owners who want free software without too much complexity. 
  • GnuCash is a solid open-source solution for code-literate business owners who want a free, customizable accounting program.
  • Expensify's free corporate plan works well for larger businesses that need affordable company card management and fantastic expense tracking.

Want affordable payroll to match your free cloud-based accounting solution? Check out our piece on the best free payroll software for small-business owners.

Related content

Free accounting software FAQ

Is there a free alternative to QuickBooks?

Wave, ZipBooks, and Express Accounts are particularly solid alternatives to QuickBooks. Of all the free software reviewed here, these three match many of QuickBooks’ selling points, like sales tax tracking, financial reports, integrations with other cloud accounting software, and charts of accounts.

What is the best accounting software for small businesses?

The best free accounting software for your small business honestly depends on your business’s industry, aims, and size. If you freelance, work for yourself, or have just a few employees, free accounting software like Wave’s can help you track your finances, make wise financial decisions, and feel prepared for tax season. But if you have 10 or more employees and want help with heavy financial lifting, paid accounting software like Zoho Books (starting at $15 a month) or Xero (starting at $9 a month) could be a better fit for your midsize business.

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.

Methodology

We analyzed each software title's value offered for free, applicability to small businesses, customer service quality, and expandability, among other factors.

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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