Home Business Software Best Desktop Accounting Software | Top 7 Reviewed and Compared for 2023
Nik Saraev
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The best desktop accounting software can save you time and money by streamlining your finances. It can also help you be more organized and efficient in your business. If you’re planning to scale up your small business or are already managing a complex financial situation, then investing in good accounting software is wise.

Here we take a deep dive into the best desktop accounting software to help you decide which is right for your business. Read on for our detailed reviews and comparison of the market’s leading options and discover how tools like Zoho Books, Oracle NetSuite, and QuickBooks can help your business.

Best Desktop Accounting Software | Top 7 Shortlist

There are a lot of providers to choose from. Our research found that Zoho Books is the best desktop accounting software as it focuses on efficiency, automation, and features that help you get a grip on your business’ finances. Here’s a quick breakdown of your top choices:

  1. Zoho Books — Overall, the Best Desktop Accounting Software | Start Your 14-Day Free Trial Now.
  2. FreshBooks — Best Desktop Accounting Software for Invoicing and Time Tracking | Try It Now With a 30-Day Free Trial.
  3. Patriot — Ideal Accounting Software For Small Businesses | Check It Out Now With a 30-Day Free Trial.
  4. Oracle NetSuite — Solid ERP and Desktop Accounting Software in One Package | Try the 14-Day Free Trial Today.
  5. QuickBooks — Offers Best-in-Class Features for Inventory Management | Sign Up for the 30-Day Free Trial.
  6. Sage — Excellent Choice for Businesses with International Operations.
  7. Xero — Outstanding Desktop Accounting Software for e-Commerce Businesses.
  8. Bonsai — Great Desktop Accounting Software for Freelancers.

The Top 7 Accounting Desktop Software | Reviewed

Eager to explore each one in some more depth? Below we’ll review our top 7 to give you all the nitty-gritty details you need to make an informed decision on the best one for your business.

1. Zoho Books — Overall, the Best Desktop Accounting Software

Zoho Books is our top pick for the best desktop accounting software for businesses of all sizes. It’s feature-rich yet easy to use, with a wide range of integrations that make it ideal for businesses already using other Zoho products.

Zoho Books — Best Desktop Accounting Software

Zoho Books is known for its automation features that help businesses save time on accounting tasks. For example, Zoho Books can automatically pull data from your bank account and credit card transactions, then synthesize and categorize them for you.

This can save you hours of time every month, especially if you make frequent transactions. Zoho Books also offers A/P and A/R modules to track and manage your bills and invoices.

This is helpful to quickly see who owes you money and when payments are due. The automated workflow for managing A/P and A/R makes this software even more valuable for businesses.

In addition, Zoho Books has a project management module that lets you track profit and loss for any individual project and view how much time employees spend on it. This is a great way to gain insight into projects generating a good return on investment.

Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
$10/month 3 Yes Yes

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Excellent invoice and expenses tracker
  • Offers bank reconciliation

Cons

  • Capped transactions per month

Pricing

Zoho is very affordable, making it perfect for small businesses; plus, with 6 plans, it’s incredibly scalable too. The top-tier plans come with advanced automation, forecasting, and multiple users. Try Zoho free for 14 days, and take advantage of the solid 30-day money-back guarantee.

Zoho Books pricing

Overall, Zoho Books is the best desktop accounting software for businesses of all sizes. Although it has capped transactions per month, it’ll most likely be more than enough for your business.

2. FreshBooks — Best Desktop Accounting Software for Invoicing and Time Tracking

FreshBooks is one of the most popular accounting software options for small businesses and freelancers. You can send unlimited invoices and customize them to your brand with your logo, color scheme, and font.

FreshBooks — Customize Your Invoice WIth This Accounting Software

 

Within seconds, you can create professional-looking invoices that’ll make your business look more established. This is very important when you’re starting out and trying to build a client base.

Whether it’s an A/R or A/P invoice, you can quickly whip it up on FreshBooks and get paid faster. You can also track your time, expenses, and mileage all in one place, which is helpful for you and your client when it comes to billing.

This feature alone makes FreshBooks an excellent option for those who bill by the hour or need to keep track of their travel expenses.

Lastly, you can categorize your expenses to see where your money is going each month — hence why FreshBooks isn’t just rated one of the best business solutions but also one of the best personal accounting tools.

For example, if you’re a freelance writer, you can see how much you spend on research material, software, etc., so you can budget accordingly.

Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
$6/month 5 Yes Yes

Pros

  • Customizable invoices
  • Offers time tracking
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • No budgeting capability

Pricing

FreshBooks offers one of the cheapest plans on this list, which is why small businesses with limited invoicing needs go for it.

    • Lite plan — For up to 5 clients — Send unlimited invoices + track your expenses
    • Plus plan — Multiple users — Best for small businesses to track time and bill by the hour
    • Premium plan — Automate your workflow with integrations + have clients with different currencies + create advanced approval workflows.

One of the best things about FreshBooks is that they offer a free 30-day trial with no credit card required. This is a great way to try out the software and see if it’s a good fit for your business before committing to a paid plan.

Freshbooks pricing

The time tracking and expense tracking features are incredibly helpful for those who need to keep an overview of their work hours and expenses. The only downside is that FreshBooks doesn’t have budgeting or forecasting features like other accounting software options on this list.

If you’re interested in specialized time-tracking software, check out our roundup of the best employee time-tracking software here.

3. Patriot — Ideal Accounting Software For Small Businesses

Patriot is the best accounting software for businesses that want to keep all their financial data in one place. Starting from basic day-to-today transactions to taxes, you can manage everything with Patriot.

Patriot

To centralize your transaction details, Patriot will automatically import all payment transactions to your account once it’s connected to a credit card or bank account. If you’re not a fan of automatic data imports, you can also choose to enter the numbers manually. 

The best part about using Patriot is that you can bring your entire team online to help you manage your accounts — there’s absolutely no limit on the number of users you can add. 

The same goes for your vendors and customers. You can add unlimited people and process unlimited invoices without paying extra.

Now, despite having your whole team onboard, you don’t necessarily have to share all the sensitive information with them. That’s why Patriot offers user role-based dashboards where you can customize what each user gets to see.

Patriot is not just an accounting software, you can also accept payments with it. Simply set up a merchant account and you’ll be able to process transactions through credit cards. 

Make payments simpler for both your customers and vendors. It even has a video tutorial on how to set up your merchant account.

Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
$20/month Unlimited No Yes

Pros

  • Handy invoice payment reminders
  • Several invoice templates
  • Easy tax filing forms
  • Extensive expert support
  • Offers payroll integration
  • Offers a free trial and demo

Cons

  • Lacks some advanced features

Pricing

With plans starting at just $20/month, Patriot offers a host of features such as easy data imports, options to add unlimited users, and payroll integration, among others.

Patriot Pricing

Consider upgrading to its Premium Plan at $30/month for advanced features such as account reconciliations, various invoice templates, and options to add subaccounts.

The best part is that you can try all these features with a 30-day free trial.

4. Oracle NetSuite — Solid ERP and Desktop Accounting Software in One Package

Oracle Netsuite accounting software is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) and desktop accounting software package in one. It offers businesses a way to manage their finances, inventory, customers, and operations in one place.

Oracle NetSuite — ERP and Desktop Accounting Software In One Package
Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
Not Published Unspecified Yes Yes

There’s not a lot of software that offers ERP and desktop accounting tools in one package, which is why Netsuite is so appealing to businesses. Plus, Netsuite’s desktop accounting software includes all the features you’d expect, such as:

    • Invoicing
    • Tracking payments
    • Managing expenses

But it also has some unique features that make it stand out from the competition. For example, its data visibility and reporting tools are top-notch, it keeps track of your customer interactions in one place, and it integrates with other Oracle products (such as Oracle E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft) if you’re already using them.

Another notable feature is its accounting automation, which lets you automate repetitive tasks such as billing and invoicing. This allows businesses to increase operational efficiency and save time on mundane tasks, so they can focus on strategic tasks instead.

Lastly, Netsuite forecasts future trends and provides recommendations on how to improve your finances. This is a big help for businesses that want to ensure they’re on the right track. Forecasts are based on past data and trends, so you can trust that they’re worth listening to.

Pros

  • Suited for large-scale businesses
  • ERP and Accounting in one
  • Supports over 190 currencies

Cons

  • Can be expensive

Pricing

Although not published on their website, Netsuite’s pricing starts at $99/month for up to 5 users. It’s a bit more expensive than other desktop accounting software packages, but its comprehensive feature set makes it worth the price.

Overall, Oracle Netsuite is an excellent choice for businesses that want a comprehensive accounting software package that includes both ERP and desktop accounting tools.

However, the only downside is the price. If you’re a small business on a tight budget leash, you may want to consider other options.

 

5. QuickBooks — Offers Best-in-Class Features for Inventory Management

QuickBooks excels not just by being one of the most popular accounting software programs for small businesses but also by being one of the most comprehensive inventory management systems on the market.

QuickBooks — Excellent Software For Inventory Management
Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
$5.10/month 1 Yes Yes

While many accounting software programs only track inventory at a high level, QuickBooks allows users to track inventory levels down to the individual SKU (stock keeping unit).

This is extremely important for businesses that need to maintain strict control over their inventory levels, such as manufacturers and retailers. QuickBooks also makes it easy to set up reorder points and alerts, so you never run out of stock.

And if you run into inventory issues, the software can generate reports that help you pinpoint the root of the problem. For example, you can run a report showing which items have been selling slowly over the past month.

It can also reconcile with your bank by automatically downloading transactions and categorizing them. This makes it easy to keep track of your business finances without doing all the work yourself — besides helping you stay on top of your taxes, this also reduces the chances of errors.

Pros

  • Easy to learn
  • Robust integrations
  • Affordable prices

Cons

  • Analytics and reporting are limited

Pricing

QuickBooks’ plans start from $15/month (billed annually). The most expensive plan is $100/month.

QuickBooks pricing

From income and expenses management to tax deductions, receipt capture, and sales and cash flow management, all QuickBooks plans offer these outstanding features. The main difference between the plans is the number of users that can be added.

While QuickBooks is known for being one of the most comprehensive accounting software programs available, it has flaws. One of the biggest complaints about QuickBooks is that its reporting is limited, so bear this in mind.

As one of the market’s leading accounting solutions, try QuickBooks free now for an entire month.

 

6. Sage — Excellent Choice for Businesses with International Operations

Sage is designed to help businesses manage their finances and is one of the most popular accounting software programs available. We say world-class because it’s capable of multi-currency, multi-company, and multi-location financial management.

Sage — World-class Desktop Accounting Software
Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
$10/month 1 Yes Yes

Sage Business Accounting (formerly Sage One) is an online accounting software program that includes everything you need to run your business finances.

It can automate your workflow by integrating with your bank and other business software. This kind of efficiency won’t just save you time but also help you make better decisions for your business and reduce errors.

You can send and track invoices and get paid faster with online payments. This function is essential for a modern small business because it allows you to get paid immediately instead of waiting for checks to come in the mail.

On top of this, it manages your cash flow and gives you a better understanding of where your money is going. Plus, Sage also optimizes your sales processes, whether you’re overseeing a few transactions or a high volume of sales.

The software can help you manage and keep track of your customer information, streamline your quote-to-cash process, and automate order processing. Your clients will be happy with the ease of doing business with you, and you’ll save time on administrative tasks.

Lastly, Sage supports multi-currency and multi-company financial management. If your business is growing and you’re ready to expand into new markets, this feature will come in handy. This is very important for businesses dealing with international clients or suppliers.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Works on mobile
  • Multi-currency

Cons

  • Dated UI

Pricing

Sage Accounting only has two pricing plans — the one is on a whopping 70% special for the first 6 months; grab it while it lasts.

Sage Accounting pricing

On the whole, both plans have powerful features, but the $10 plan is best for businesses that only need basic accounting features. The $25 plan has more robust inventory management and project tracking features for businesses with more complex needs.

Sage is an excellent choice for businesses of all sizes that need robust and comprehensive accounting software for a low price. You’ll just need to get used to the basic interface and slightly dated design.

 

7. Xero — Outstanding Desktop Accounting Software for e-Commerce Businesses

Xero is an e-commerce accounting software program known for its ability to calculate COGS (Cost of Goods Sold). This software is commonly used by businesses to manage sales and inventory.

Xero — Suited for e-Commerce Operations
Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
$13/month Unlimited Yes Yes

If you’re a business selling products online, then Xero might be the desktop accounting software for you. It can help you calculate the total cost of the goods you sell. This includes the cost of manufacturing or purchasing the goods and shipping and handling.

Xero automatically maintains a list of your inventory, including product name SKU, and quantity in stock, so you can see at a glance what products you need to reorder. That way, you can avoid overstocking or running out of products.

Xero also integrates with popular e-Commerce platforms like Shopify so that you can manage your sales and accounting in one place. This makes it easy to track your finances and ensure your books are in order.

The integration also allows you to sync your sales data with your accounting software to see how much money you’re making and where it’s coming from. Plus, Xero’s bank reconciliation feature ensures that all transactions are accounted for and up-to-date.

This is important for keeping accurate financial records and avoiding penalties from the IRS.

Pros

  • Calculates COGS
  • Very easy to set up and use
  • Constantly upgrading

Cons

  • Multi-currency is only available via its Established plan

Pricing

All 3 of Xero’s price tiers allow for an unlimited number of users. What’s more, you can use all Xero’s features for free for 30 days before paying to help you choose which plan best meets your needs.

Xero pricing

Xero is an outstanding desktop accounting software solution for e-Commerce businesses due to its ability to calculate and manage sales and integrate with popular e-Commerce platforms.

However, it doesn’t support multi-currency or time tracking, which may be deal-breakers for some businesses.

 

8. Bonsai — Great Desktop Accounting Software for Freelancers

Bonsai or Hello Bonsai is a desktop accounting software designed for freelancers. It has free and paid versions, with the latter having more features, such as invoicing and bookkeeping.

Bonsai — Freelancers’ Go-to Accounting Software
Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
$13/month Unlimited Yes Yes

Bonsai is one of the most popular accounting software programs among freelancers due to its relevant, easy-to-use toolkit of features. For instance, you can create and manage proposals entirely within Bonsai.

Your proposal can be simple or include different packages and price points for your client. Once you’ve submitted your proposal, Bonsai will notify you as soon as your client has viewed it and facilitate clear, concise communication between the two of you.

In addition to making proposals, Bonsai can also help you draft contracts. It has hundreds of legal contracts you can easily edit to fit your needs and then E-Sign.

This simple feature allows for a smooth transition from proposal to actual work, all without the expense of hiring a lawyer. On top of this, Bonsai allows you to keep track of your time, so you can easily bill your clients for hourly work.

And if you need to send invoices, Bonsai can help with that, too: you can create and send invoices directly from the software. There’s even a “Pay Me” button that you can add to your invoices. This encourages clients to pay sooner by simplifying the payment process.

Pros

  • Professional-looking proposals
  • Automatic invoices
  • Expense tracking

Cons

  • Only available in English

Pricing

Bonsai offers 3 pricing plans: Solo, Team, and Business.

    • Starter — $24/month — 1 user plus up to 15 project collaborators
    • Professional — $39/month — 15 project collaborators
    • Business — $79/month — Best for large enterprises

The main difference between the plans is the number of users and the features included.

Bonsai pricing

All plans include unlimited proposals, contracts, invoices, and time tracking. The Team and Business plans also include project management features, such as task lists and Kanban boards.

Bonsai is a phenomenal accounting solution for freelancers because it offers everything they need to manage their finances. However, it’s only available in English, so if you’re not a native English speaker, this might not be the right software for you.

 

The Best Desktop Accounting Tools | Compared

With all these features and more, it can be hard to decide on the best accounting software for your business. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the top seven contenders to help you decide:

Software Pricing No. Of Users Mobile App Trial Version
Zoho $10/month 3 Yes Yes
FreshBooks $6/month 5 Yes Yes
Patriot $20/month Unlimited Yes Yes
Oracle Netsuite Not Published Unspecified Yes Yes
QuickBooks $5.10/month 1 Yes Yes
Sage Accounting $10/month 1 Yes Yes
Xero $13/month Unlimited Yes Yes
Bonsai $24/month Unlimited Yes Yes

The Best Free Desktop Accounting Software

Zoho offers the best free desktop accounting software for small businesses. Their Free plan covers all of the necessary features for accounting, including invoicing, payments, bank reconciliation, and more.

As it’s best suited for businesses earning less than $50k per annum, this means that it’s perfect for startups and small businesses. The software is very intuitive and easy to use.

You can create invoices, manage payments, track your expenses, and see your profit-and-loss data — all in one place. However, Zoho’s standout feature is its automation. This includes automatic bank reconciliation, which means your books will always be up-to-date.

The Benefits of Small Business Desktop Accounting Software

Whether a small or large business, you’ll face many challenges managing your finances. Accounting software can simplify and streamline your financial operations, saving time and reducing the risk of error.

Let’s break down the benefits of desktop accounting software.

Save Time

Accounting software can save you a lot of time when it comes to keeping track of your finances. With all your financial information in one place, you can easily see where your money is going and identify any areas where you may be overspending.

This can help you make better financial decisions and keep on top of your finances more effectively.

Save Money

As well as saving time, using accounting software can also help you save money. You can reduce unnecessary costs and make your business more efficient by keeping track of your finances and identifying areas where you may be overspending.

On the whole, it can lead to more money in your pocket in the long run.

It’s Easy to Use

Accounting software is designed to be user-friendly, even for those without experience in accounting. Most programs come with step-by-step instructions and intuitive interfaces, so you can get started immediately without hassle.

Plus, if you ever run into problems with your accounting software, most manufacturers offer excellent customer support to help you resolve issues.

It’s Flexible

Accounting software is flexible, meaning it can be adapted to suit the specific needs of your business. Whether you need simple bookkeeping software or something more sophisticated, there’s an accounting program on this list best suited to your needs.

It’s Secure

When it comes to financing, security is paramount. Accounting software is typically very secure, with features such as password protection and data encryption to protect your information from hackers.

It’s Tax-Compliant

When it comes to tax time, you’ll need to ensure your financial records are in order. Accounting software can help you to keep track of your income and expenses so that you can be confident everything is up to date and compliant with the latest tax regulations.

How to Choose the Best Desktop Accounting Software for Your Business

There are thousands of different software programs on the market that offer accounting capabilities. It can be daunting to decide which is right for your business. Here are some factors you should consider when choosing desktop accounting software:

The Size of Your Business

If you have a small business, you might not need all the bells and whistles that come with larger, more expensive enterprise accounting software. A smaller program might be just what you need to keep track of your finances.

Your Accounting Needs

What kind of accounting do you need to do?

If you just need to track income and expenses, a basic program might suffice. But you’ll need a more robust program if you need more complex features like invoicing, inventory management, or project tracking.

Ease of Use

How easy is the software to use? Is it intuitive, or will you need the training to use it effectively? Consider how much time you can invest in learning a new program, read up on user reviews, and be sure to take advantage of any free trials and money-back guarantees.

Cost

How much does the software cost? Is it a one-time fee, or will you need to pay for ongoing updates and support? Make sure you know what you’re getting for your money.

Compatibility

Can the software integrate with your other programs, like your word processing or spreadsheet software? This can make life much easier if you need to export data from one program to another.

On top of this, you may want a tool compatible with mobile for on-the-move accounting.

Customer Support

Does the software have excellent customer support? Will someone be available to help you troubleshoot if you run into problems? This is extra important if you’re not tech-savvy.

Desktop Accounting Software FAQs

What is desktop accounting software?

What’s the simplest bookkeeping software?

What’s the most used software for accounting?

What’s the best free desktop accounting software?

How do you set up accounting software?

What’s the best desktop accounting software for Mac?

Conclusion | What’s the Best Desktop Accounting Software in 2023?

While many businesses are moving to cloud-based accounting software, there are still several reasons you might want to opt for a desktop program.

To help you decide which program is best for your business, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best desktop accounting software:

  1. Zoho Books — Overall, the Best Desktop Accounting Software | Start Your 14-Day Free Trial Now.
  2. FreshBooks — Best Desktop Accounting Software for Invoicing and Time Tracking | Try It Now With a 30-Day Free Trial.
  3. Patriot — Ideal Accounting Software For Small Businesses | Check It Out Now With a 30-Day Free Trial.
  4. Oracle NetSuite — Solid ERP and Desktop Accounting Software in One Package | Try the 14-Day Free Trial Today.
  5. QuickBooks — Offers Best-in-Class Features for Inventory Management | Sign Up for the 30-Day Free Trial.
  6. Sage — Excellent Choice for Businesses with International Operations.
  7. Xero — Outstanding Desktop Accounting Software for e-Commerce Businesses.
  8. Bonsai — Great Desktop Accounting Software for Freelancers.

Our research concluded that Zoho Books is the best desktop accounting software for small businesses. It’s heavily focused on efficiency and accuracy, with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to stay on top of your finances.

Zoho Books is the way to go if you’re looking for a comprehensive solution to help you streamline your accounting processes. Try it now. It’s free for a full 14 days.

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