The 10 Best Small-Business Accounting Software of 2022

To rank the year's best accounting software for small businesses, we looked at and evaluated each software's accounting features, ease of use, customer service, customer reputation, pricing, and overall quality.
Best overall
Xero
Xero
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Starting from
$12.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Built-in inventory management
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free unlimited users
  • Icon Cons  Dark
    No expense tracking with cheapest plans
Most user-friendly
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starting from
$25.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Inventory management (pricier plans only)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Up to 25 users (most expensive plan only)
  • Icon Cons  Dark
    Comparatively high starting price
Best invoicing
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from
$15.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Inventory management (third-party integration)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited users (addt'l fee)
  • Icon Cons  Dark
    Billable clients limited by plan
Most comprehensive
Zoho
Zoho Books
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starting from
$0.00/mo.*
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Inventory management (add-on only)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited users (below-average addt'l fee)
  • Icon Cons  Dark
    Limited third-party app integration
Most affordable
Wave
Wave
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Free
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free for life
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited users + multiple businesses on the same account
  • Icon Cons  Dark
    No accounting-specific mobile app

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Only available for businesses with an annual revenue of <$50K USD. Paid plans start at $15.00 a month when billed annually.

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The bottom line: Xero is our favorite accounting service for small businesses. With free unlimited users, it's an excellent pick for collaborative businesses like multi-partner LLCs. Its low starting price and excellent app also make it a prime fit for freelancers, contractors, and other sole proprietors.

Not interested in Xero? FreshBooks is a good alternative for business owners who want unlimited invoices. QuickBooks Online works well for business owners who value solid reporting and tax tracking, and Zoho Books affordably automates key tasks that can suck up business owners’ time. Finally, Wave Accounting is a good free accounting option for budget-cautious freelancers and small-business owners.

Best financial software for small businesses

Compare the year's best accounting software

Brand
Starting cost
Price for additional users
Free trial
Standout features
Get started
Xero

Xero

$12.00/mo. Unlimited users

30 days

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

Quickbooks

QuickBooks Online

$25.00/mo Up to 25 users (limited by plan)

30 days*

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

Fresh Books

FreshBooks

$15.00/mo. $10.00/additional user/mo.

30 days

Unlimited invoicing, automatic expense tracking, team project management

Zoho

Zoho Books

$0.00/mo.** $2.50/additional user/mo.

14 days

Inventory management, client portal for easy collaboration, automated workflows

Wave

Wave

Free for life Unlimited users

N/A

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

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*30-day free trial or 50% off first three months
**Only available for businesses with an annual revenue of <$50K USD. Paid plans start at $15.00 a month when billed annually.

How to choose accounting software

We're going to walk you through the 10 best accounting software solutions below, but these are the best options out there—so how can you decide which one will work best for your business? We recommend evaluating each software based on the following criteria: 

  • Price. Accounting software can cost as little as nothing and as much as several hundred dollars a month. Free software usually offers fewer features than paid software, so we recommend it primarily to freelancers, solopreneurs, and businesses with few employees. Bigger businesses should plan on spending quite a bit more per month—or even on outsourcing to a virtual accountant.
  • Accounting and bookkeeping features. At minimum, accounting software should sync with your business bank accounts to help you track each financial transaction. Even the most bare-bones financial software should include features like invoicing, expense and income tracking, bank reconciliation, and mileage tracking.
  • Automation. Most paid accounting solutions will automatically generate journal entries for your chart of accounts every time you accept a payment or pay a bill. Some automatically reconcile your bank accounts, and still others automatically sync with your payroll software to keep your accounts in order. The more automation, the more time saved (hypothetically, at least)—but the more you'll pay for your software too. 
  • User-friendly interface. If you can't figure out how to use your software, the amount of bookkeeping features it has doesn't matter. Before you commit to a plan, sign up for a demo or a free trial to get the hang of the software and find out if the interface simplifies your financial life or complicates it. 
  • Number of users. If you're a sole proprietor, you probably don't need to worry about finding software that lets you add multiple users. (Typically, even the cheapest base plans should include access for both you and an accountant for free.) But if you aren't the only person responsible for your business's finances, you'll want to look into software that lets you add multiple users, potentially with different permission levels.

Want to learn a little more about bookkeeping and accounting before you dive into our top reviews? Start out with our small-business accounting guide.

Xero is the best overall accounting software

Best overall
Xero
Xero
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
  • Starting at $12.00/mo.
  • Check
    Low starting price
  • Check
    Unlimited users with each plan
  • Check
    Inventory management with each plan

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

We love Xero for its robust features and low starting price. For just $12 a month, Xero lets you send custom invoices, reconcile bank transactions, 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), all of Xero's accounting and inventory software plans 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 $12 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 $34 and $65 a month, respectively. Plus, you can only track expenses with the priciest plan—both QuickBooks and FreshBooks offer small-business expense tracking up front.

QuickBooks Online is the most user-friendly accounting software

Most user-friendly
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Starting at $25.00/mo.
  • Check
    Extensive accounting features and reporting
  • Check
    Up to 25 users (depending on the plan)
  • Check
    Unlimited expense and sales tax tracking with each plan

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

QuickBooks is easily one of the most popular financial, tax, and accounting software options in the world. And while QuickBooks Desktop is still an option for those who prefer desktops to laptops, QuickBooks Online is Intuit’s cloud-accounting software solution. The basic QuickBooks Online plan includes typical features like invoicing, billing, and receipt scanning along with more comprehensive tracking than many competitors:

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

QuickBooks also has 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's app, which includes mobile mileage tracking, might make it a good fit.

QuickBooks's stellar reporting and tracking 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. The priciest plan, which includes 25 users, starts at $180 a month.

At $15 a month, QuickBooks Self-Employed is a cheaper option. However, QuickBooks Self-Employed is geared specifically towards freelancers with just a few clients and limited expenses, and it's primarily an invoicing, mileage-tracking, and tax-tracking plan. It helps sole proprietors who file Schedule C forms maximize their tax returns, but it's not a fully featured bookkeeping or accounting app.

FreshBooks is the best software for invoicing

Best invoicing
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Starting at $15.00/mo.
  • Check
    Middle-of-the-road starting price
  • Check
    $10.00/mo./additional user
  • Check
    Expense and time tracking with each plan

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

FreshBooks’s combination of stellar features, customizable invoices, and well-reviewed mobile apps make it pretty much perfect—especially for freelancers. 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. FreshBooks’s built-in small-business expense tracking helps you maintain a balanced budget. And, like QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks includes built-in mileage tracking—a must for freelancers who plan to claim mileage expenses on their year-end tax forms.

Money
FreshBooks discounts

FreshBooks starts at $15 a month, but the company’s frequent discounts make its financial software even more affordable. As of December 2021, FreshBooks is offering new customers 70% off for three months—which knocks your starting price to $4.50 a month. Plus, paying annually takes 10% off your monthly price. (If you sign up for a new annual subscription during this current promo, you’ll lock in 80% off for the first three months.)

But while FreshBooks doesn’t limit your invoices, it does limit the number of customers you can bill each month. You can send your customers an unlimited amount of invoices, but the cheapest plan limits that client number to just five. Additionally, FreshBooks doesn’t include bank reconciliation with its cheapest plan. Since bank reconciliation is an absolutely foundational accounting task, we can only recommend FreshBooks’s cheapest plan to freelancers or brand-new startups with just a few transactions a month.

Zoho Books is the most comprehensive accounting software

Most comprehensive
Zoho
Zoho Books
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Starting at $0.00/mo.*
  • Check
    Middle-of-the-road paid starting price ($15.00/mo. when billed annually)
  • Check
    Additional users for $2.50/user/mo.
  • Check
    Automatic recurring invoicing

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Only available for businesses with an annual revenue of <$50K USD. Paid plans start at $15.00 a month when billed annually.

Zoho Books 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 manage 1099 contractors.

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 that along with accounting, you can use Zoho for project management, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM)—just for a start.

Plus, if you make under $50K a year, you can take advantage of Zoho Books' free plan. Otherwise, Zoho Books starts at $15 a month if you pay annually or $20 if you pay month to month. The cheapest plan includes three users, but you can also pay an extra $2.50 per month for each additional user. That’s a standout bargain, especially compared to FreshBooks' extra $10 per user per month.

Unfortunately, even though it’s a solid accounting tool, Zoho Books has one huge flaw: Zoho doesn't offer a payroll plan integration 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.

Similarly, Zoho Books’s cheapest plan doesn’t include automatic journal entry creation. Instead, whenever you debit or credit an account, you’ll have to manually create an entry. If you log more than a few transactions a month, the lack of automation adds major time and hassle—you’ll want the $40 a month (or $50, billed monthly) Professional plan instead.

Wave is the most affordable accounting software

Most affordable
Wave
Wave Accounting
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
  • Free for life
  • Check
    Free-for-life accounting software
  • Check
    Unlimited users
  • Check
    Income and expense tracking

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

For 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' basic business accounting plan notably lacks.

Wave also lets you juggle multiple businesses with the same account. If you're an Amazon or eBay 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 who don't need both accounting and inventory software.

Accounting software honorable mentions

Not sold on our top picks? Here are five more small-business accounting software options that could work better for you.

Top feature comparison: Accounting software honorable mentions

Brand name
Starting price
Price for additional users
Free trial
Standout features
Get started
Sage

Sage Business Cloud Accounting

$10.00/mo.Limited by plan30 daysBank reconciliation, cash flow forecasting (pricier plan only)
One Up

OneUp

$9.00/mo.Limited by plan30 daysInvoicing, inventory tracking, CRM
Kashoo

Kashoo

$0.00/mo.Limited by plan14 daysIncome and expense tracking, mobile app, payment acceptance
GoDaddy

GoDaddy

$4.99/mo.1 user (no free accountant access)NoneInvoicing, estimates, mileage tracking
ZipBooks

ZipBooks

$0.00/mo.Limited by plan30 daysUnlimited invoicing, unlimited customers, credit card payment acceptance

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting: Best user-experience runner-up

Best user experience
Sage
Sage
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Starting at $10.00/mo.
  • Check
    Low starting price
  • Check
    Unlimited users ($25.00/mo. plan only)
  • Check
    Automatic bank reconciliation

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting’s cheapest plan lets you create invoices, track amounts owed, and automatically reconcile your bank accounts. If you’re willing to pay a bit more ($25 a month), Sage adds unlimited users, quotes, estimates, cash flow forecasting, and purchase invoice management. Unfortunately, Sage charges extra for receipt scanning, a feature competitors like Wave, FreshBooks, Xero, and QuickBooks include for free. And Sage’s pricier plan has fewer features than, say, Xero’s cheapest plan (though Sage doesn’t limit your monthly invoice amount).

Megaphone
Other Sage products

If you like Sage's platform but are looking for more fully featured plans with intense support and automation, Sage Intacct could be a good pick. It’s also our top accounting software recommendation for nonprofits. We also like other versions of Sage for construction company accounting (as do many construction professionals themselves).

OneUp: Best for sales teams

Best for sales teams
One Up
OneUp
  • Starting at $9.00/mo.
  • Check
    Low starting price
  • Check
    Plan-limited users
  • Check
    Unlimited invoicing

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

All of 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 per month. If you’re a Mac user, though, you’re out of luck: OneUp works only for Windows users. And while every OneUp plan includes all of OneUp’s features, its plans limit your user numbers. Only the priciest plan, which starts at $169 a month, includes unlimited users.

Kashoo: Easiest setup

Simplest setup
Kashoo
Kashoo
  • Starting at $0.00/mo.
  • Check
    Well-featured free plan
  • Check
    Additional user options
  • Check
    Income, expense, and sales tax tracking

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

If you’re looking for a cheaper solution, Kashoo offers an invoice-centric plan for $0.00. Along with sending invoices, you can use the free plan to track expenses, accept online payments, and send estimates. We're not sure if the free plan lets you track income and expenses or not—Kashoo's site gives contradictory answers. Either way, though, it looks like Kashoo is planning on developing expense and income tracking for its free plan, if it doesn't include those two features already.

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping: Best bookkeeping-only software

Best for bookkeeping only
GoDaddy
GoDaddy
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
  • Starting at $4.99/mo.
  • Check
    Low starting price
  • X
    One user only
  • Check
    Time and mileage tracking with every plan

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Don’t need full-service accounting software? GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping is an easy-to-use bookkeeping software program perfect for freelancers and eBay sellers 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 help you analyze those finances to grow your business.

ZipBooks: Most affordable runner-up

Most affordable alternative
ZipBooks
ZipBooks
2.6 out of 5 stars
2.6
  • Starting at $0.00/mo.
  • Check
    Low starting price
  • Check
    One user plus accountant access
  • Check
    Unlimited invoices, billable clients, and vendors

Data as of 1/6/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you don't need quite as many features as Wave offers, ZipBooks is a solid free accounting software 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 than its free accounting plan. But if you prefer your accounting tools on the go, look elsewhere. ZipBooks has a solid billing-only app for Apple users, but its Android accounting app is near-uniformly panned on Google Play.1

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

The takeaway

If you want fully featured accounting software with an excellent app, clean dashboard, and affordable price, we recommend Xero. Based on its features and pricing alone, it's a great bookkeeping and accounting company for most business types, from freelancers to LLCs. 

All of our other picks have something to offer too, so if you find Xero isn't a good fit, try one of these alternatives: 

  • QuickBooks Online is an extremely comprehensive accounting solution with one of the best accounting apps you can find. With up to 25 users, its most expensive plan suits bigger businesses with large, collaborative accounting teams.
  • FreshBooks easily offers the best invoicing of any provider on our list. Its invoice, estimate, and payment acceptance features make it ideal for on-the-go contractors and freelancers who frequently collaborate with clients.
  • Zoho Books has about as many features as QuickBooks at a lower price and a low additional user fee. Its free plan is perfect for freelancers who want solid reporting and financial tracking without any overwhelming bells and whistles (for instance, QuickBooks' dozens of customizable reports). 
  • Wave Accounting is the best free accounting solution for most freelancers, contractors, and other small-business owners. If you juggle multiple businesses, want to add multiple users, or need unlimited expense tracking, Wave won't lead you astray.

Finding the best online accounting software 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 accounting software picks 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 small-business bookkeeping and accounting software? Head over to our piece on the best payroll software for small businesses.

Related reading

Still not sure which accounting software is best?

Accounting software FAQ

What is the best accounting software for small businesses?

Xero offers fantastic accounting features at a reasonable starting price, but the best accounting software option for you depends on your business’s unique needs and budget. For instance, Wave works very well for freelancers on a budget, QuickBooks helps small-business owners who travel a lot for work, and FreshBooks’s customizable invoices are great for business owners who frequently collaborate with clients. Do you work off a Mac? Check out the best small business accounting software for macs

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. Sure, QuickBooks could be the best software for your small business, or you might find its prices too high and its features too limited. Depending on what you need, another bookkeeping software pick like FreshBooks or Sage could be better for your business. Not sure what your other options are? Check out our list of the year's best QuickBooks alternatives to get started.

What is the best free accounting software for small businesses?

Wave Accounting is one of the most fully featured free accounting software options 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 cloud-accounting software options.

But if Wave doesn’t have the right features for your small business, you do have other free accounting 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 sync with one or more popular payroll providers (Zoho Books, which doesn’t sync with most payroll software, is a notable exception). Xero, FreshBooks, and QuickBooks all sync with Gusto, our favorite payroll provider for small businesses. At $39 plus $6 per user per month, Gusto is also fairly reasonably priced.

Of the accounting software providers listed here, only QuickBooks and Wave offer payroll plans in all 50 states. Of the two, we recommend Wave Payroll over QuickBooks Payroll, which is on the pricier end and doesn’t offer a tax-filing guarantee—a key industry standard you should expect from any payroll provider.

Best Free Accounting Software Options
Wave
Best overall
ZipBooks
Best invoicing
SlickPie
Best for multiple businesses
NCH Software
Best bookkeeping
Expensify
Best expense tracking
Learn more about our top brands.

Methodology

To find and rank the best accounting software for freelancers and small-business owners, we carefully examined each accounting company's performance in a few crucial areas: 

  • Bookkeeping and accounting features, such as bank reconciliation, journal entry generation, charts of accounts, receipt scanning, invoicing, and expense and invoice tracking
  • Pricing, including the number of features with each plan, user limits, and additional fees
  • Scalability for growing businesses, including the number. of plans and user limits included with each plan
  • Customer service, including customer service hours, means of contact, and overall customer reputation on consumer review sites like Trustradius, Trustpilot, and Better Business Bureau complaints
  • User-friendliness, including learning curve, mobile app access, dashboard functionality, setup tutorials, and overall interface design

We weighted each category equally to derive our star ratings, along with our accounting expert's opinion and advice. Star ratings are subject to frequent review and may change.

Sources
1. Google Play, “ZipBooks—Accounting Software.” Accessed January 6, 2022.

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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