business software best small business accounting software

The best small business accounting software helps you organize your business accounting and financial information to generate detailed, meaningful reports and accurate balance sheets. Besides expense tracking and helping you file your tax returns, the best accounting software for small businesses will also simplify and automate activities like invoicing, contract creation, payment follow-ups, and more.

That said, finding the best small business accounting software is an uphill task, given the number of options available. We’ve found and reviewed the best in the business based on criteria such as pricing, number of templates, integration options, ease of use, and others. Read on to learn how industry leaders like Zoho Books, Oracle NetSuite, and QuickBooks compare and how they can help you.

Best Small Business Accounting Software in 2023 | Top 7 Shortlist

Our thorough testing and analysis of all the tools found Zoho Books surpass all expectations to emerge as the top small business accounting software, thanks to its free forever plan and features like task automation, banking integrations, and time tracking. However, others were up to the mark as well. Here’s the rundown of the market leaders:

  1. Zoho Books — Overall, the Best Small Business Accounting Software | Put it to the Test with the Free Forever Plan.
  2. Oracle NetSuite — The Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses for Invoice Management | Get a Custom Quote Now.
  3. QuickBooks — The Best Cloud-based Accounting Software for Beginners | Try it Now with the 30-Day Free Trial.
  4. Sage Accounting — The Best Small Business Accounting and Tax Software with a Mobile App | Test it with the 30-Day Trial.
  5. FreshBooks — Cheap Small Business Accounting Software for Expense Tracking and Management | Try it free for 30 Days.
  6. Xero — Quality Accounting Software for Small Businesses for Bill Tracking | Try the 30-Day Trial Before Committing.
  7. Bonsai — Leading Financial Software with One-on-One Assistance | Put it to the Test with a 14-Day Free Trial.

The Top 7 Accounting Software Programs for Small Businesses | Reviewed

Here, we’ll dive into the details of the top 7 accounting software for small businesses, including their best features, pricing, pros, and cons. Ready?

1. Zoho Books — The Best Overall Small Business Accounting Software

Zoho Books is the perfect solution for small businesses running on limited resources. As a small business, your resources might not allow you to have an all-encompassing financial team to look over various monetary aspects of the business. This is where Zoho Books comes into the picture — it provides an all-in-one finance expert tool.

Zoho Books | Best small business accounting software

For example, you don’t need to manually note down or tally your transactions with your bank if you’re with Zoho Books. Whether you made the payments directly from your bank or Paypal, Zoho Books will import all the transaction data and automatically reconcile the transactions with your bank so that there are no missing entries.

With a concrete record of your expenses, you’ll also be able to effectively predict your cash flow and recurring payments.

Zoho Books will even prefill fields in your invoices to save you time

Speaking of cash flow, Zoho Books will also help you with invoices and payments — the one-click invoice creation tool will create professional invoices, complete with your company logo, within a matter of seconds.

On top of this, its time tracking feature will keep a note of how much time you’re spending on each client or project so that you can raise invoices accordingly.

If you’re too busy to follow up on late payments, Zoho Books can send automated follow-ups and payment reminders to your customers. This way, you can get paid on time without hampering your relationship with difficult clients through constant nagging.

Also, payments with Zoho Books are a walk in the park. Whether your customer wants to pay through cash, cheque, or an online portal, Zoho Books supports almost every payment method there is — no need to ask a customer to switch their payment method.

Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
$0 1. Invoice creation tool

2. Time tracking

3. Automated follow-ups

14 days 24/5 email and call

Pros

  • Several task automation options
  • Multiple custom field options
  • A quick and easy configuration
  • Integration options with SurePayroll
  • An excellent 24-hour customer support
  • Features like categorized banking transactions
  • One of the best accounting software in Canada

Cons

  • Limited third-party integrations
  • Payroll integration is available only in Texas and California

Pricing

Zoho Books has a completely free plan, adequate for small businesses with revenue less than 50k USD per annum. You can manage up to 1,000 invoices with the free plan plus benefit from a host of other features, including multi-lingual invoicing, expense tracking, and support over email.

Zoho Pricing

Apart from the free plan, Zoho Books has 5 more plans. The one you pick will depend on your needs, such as the number of integrations and invoices you’d need, and the features you’d like.

There are also add-ons. For example, you can add additional users to your plan for just $3/user/month.

Besides the free plan, Zoho Books also comes with a 14-day free trial on all its paid plans. Try it now risk-free.

 

2. Oracle NetSuite — The Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses for Invoice Management

NetSuite is a comprehensive business management software that’ll help you take care of your day-to-day business processes with tools like CRM, eCommerce, analytics, and accounting.

Oracle NetSuite | accounting software for small business

Speaking of its accounting services, NetSuite will help your finance team make informed decisions by giving them a clear view of your daily cash flow. Every transaction is reflected in your NetSuite account instantly so that your finance team can plan investments accordingly.

NetSuite is also widely known for its fantastic invoice management for both accounts payable and receivables. Basically, it streamlines all invoices and organizes them into categories to accelerate the whole process.

For example, NetSuite will take over the payment processing and collection management process, reducing the credit-to-cash cycle (time taken to convert accrued income to cash) and giving you more liquidity to grow the business.

On similar lines, NetSuite will also take care of the invoices from your vendors to save you from incurring late payment fines and maybe even get an early payment discount.

Automated payments not only foster healthy relationships between your company and the vendor but also keeps your cash flow clean. Brownie points to NetSuite’s automated review and approval workflows that prevent fraudulent payments.

On top of all this, NetSuite’s accounting software will also churn out your real-time data with 100% accuracy. Fair to say you’ll no longer be bothered with removing duplicate data entries on inefficient spreadsheets — plus, each member gets a custom role-based dashboard, so they only see data that concerns their job role.

Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
$99/month 1. Invoice management

2. Accurate real-time data

3. Custom role-based dashboard

No Email, chat, and call

Pros

  • Multiple invoice templates
  • An end-to-end customizable solution
  • The dashboard allows KPI integrations
  • Excellent business intelligence capabilities
  • Top-notch integration abilities, using iPaaS and NetSuite Connectors

Cons

  • Can be expensive for small businesses
  • Additional costs for customer support

Pricing

Oracle NetSuite believes in customizing each plan according to the user’s needs, which is why it doesn’t have a publicly available list of plans. However, we do have a breakdown of the pricing, which begins at $99 for a monthly subscription:

  • An annual license fee comprising 3 components — core platform, number of users, and optional modules.
  • A one-time implementation fee for the initial setup.

Get in touch with NetSuite for a custom quote.

 

3. QuickBooks — The Best Cloud-based Accounting Software for Beginners with Lots of Tutorials, FAQs, Invoice Templates

QuickBooks, a cloud-based financial management and accounting software, is a powerhouse for handling a small business’ finances. It provides a rich database of help articles, tutorials as well as live chat to help beginners settle down.

QuickBooks small business accounting software

Besides being one of the best employee time tracking software, QuickBooks will allow you to:

  • Create professional-looking invoices, bills, and sales receipts within minutes
  • Import your own invoice format and use it for every client
  • Or pick a template from the boatload of options and customize it to your needs

As you can see, QuickBooks provides a smart way to create and manage invoices, saving you time — an asset you can’t have enough of when trying to establish your business.

To simplify cash flow management, QuickBooks gives you the option to enter your bill information from vendors in advance and automatically pay them when they’re due.

This feature ensures you’re never at risk of late payments and, therefore, fines for such late payments. If you have any recurring expenses month after month, you can put it on autopilot with QuickBooks — one less thing for you to worry about.

Despite being a tool for small businesses, QuickBooks lets you welcome multiple team members on board. Each member can also be assigned a custom role so that you have full control over what gets shown and what details get hidden for each of them.

This way, you’ll be able to maintain the right, and a separate amount of transparency with your employees, depending on their role in your company.

Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
$5.10/month 1. Quick invoices

2. Multiple team members

3. Automated vendor payments

30 days Chat and FAQs

Pros

  • A modern user-interface
  • Much easier to learn and use
  • Needs no physical system installations
  • Multiple report customization options
  • Several third-party integrations supported
  • A large community of accountants is available

Cons

  • More prone to manipulation
  • Limited invoicing options

Pricing

QuickBooks is on sale. For a mere $5.10/month, you’ll get detailed insights and reports of your expenses, a GST and VAT tracker, and custom invoices.

Quickbooks pricing

Need QuickBooks to do more like managing your bills and payments, tracking employee time and inventory, and allowing up to 5 users + your accountant? Get a premium plan, which, too, is affordably priced.

Try QuickBooks risk-free today with the 30-day free trial. If you don’t like it, cancel your subscription within the trial period, and you won’t lose a single cent.

 

4. Sage Accounting — The Best Small Business Accounting and Tax Software with a Mobile App

Sage Accounting is a champion of automating tedious finance processes, making it ideal for small, mid, and even large-sized businesses that want to utilize their manpower in the most productive way possible.

Sage | easy small business accounting software

Sage is pretty similar to Zoho Books in that both their dashboards give you a clear view of your cash flow — you’ll know how much cash is coming in and out of your account each month. This will help you calculate your return on investment, total revenue, and profit, plus set aside funds to be reinvested in the business.

Besides providing an app compatible with both Android and iOS to help you work on the go, Sage is also one of the few accounting software that offers an integrated payroll management tool.

This tool lets you send out weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payments with minimum hassle and in four simple steps so that your employees don’t have to wait too long to get paid.

You’ll also have a detailed record of payment history for individual employees, which will come in very handy if there’s a dispute over salary in the future.

What’s more, Sage’s intuitive cash management will help you handle multiple bank accounts together and reconcile each one of them in real-time with 100% accuracy.

For example, if you have one bank account for business purchases and another for vendor payments, you can manage the transaction entries for both on Sage Accounting.

Despite the different sources of payment, the software will match the individual transactions with the respective banks. This feature helps you in two ways:

  • Since it’s automated, Sage simplifies spotting fraudulent payments, payment errors, and cash imbalances
  • The transactions and reconciliations are done daily, so you’ll know exactly how much funds you have in hand every day
Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
$10/month 1. Intuitive dashboard

2. Integrated payroll management tool

3. Cash management

30 days Call

Pros

  • Offers free trial
  • Produces in-depth reports
  • Easy to trace the audit trail
  • Various user-level security options
  • A user-friendly, easy-to-read dashboard
  • An excellent inventory reporting function
  • It can be accessed online with any device

Cons

  • A cluttered homepage
  • A steep initial learning curve

Pricing

Sage Accounting starts at just $10/month. The basic plan will fetch you support for one user, automatic bank reconciliation, and a tracker to track what you’re owed.

Sage pricing

For unlimited users, advanced reports, multi-currency banking and invoicing, and managing inventory, get the high-end “Sage Accounting” plan. The best part? The Sage Accounting plan is on sale for 70% off the first 6 months. Grab the limited offer now.

There’s also a generous 30-day free trial, so you can try the service without putting any money on the line.

 

5. FreshBooks —  Cheap Small Business Accounting Software for Expense Tracking and Management

FreshBooks is trusted by over 30 million users in 120+ countries for two reasons — comprehensive accounting features and a beginner-friendly interface. Hence why it’s also one of the best accounting software in the UK.

FreshBooks dashboard | Small Business Accounting Software

One of FreshBooks’s best-selling features is the expense tracker, which automatically records your transaction data once connected to your bank account and credit cards — this means that you’ll see how much you spend in a day in real-time, minimizing your chances of overspending.

Besides digital transactions, FreshBooks will also help you track paper receipts. All that you have to do is scan the receipt and the data will automatically be updated on your transaction sheets and auto-categorized. Knowing how much you spend on what items will make the taxing season a cakewalk for you.

To simplify payments, FreshBooks also has its very own payment solution — FreshBooks Payments.

With this feature, your customers can directly pay you from the invoice, meaning they don’t have to go through the trouble of switching tabs and logging into a third-party payment option.

Direct payments from invoices also facilitate the automatic recording of each transaction, reducing your invoice-to-credit cycle, helping you get paid on time, and maintaining your cash reserves.

If you don’t want to rely on FreshBooks’s native payment method or if your customers want other options compatible with credit cards and most major banks, you can also use Stripe or Paypal.

Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
$6/month 1. Expense tracker

2. FreshBooks Payments

3. Compatible with major banks

30 days Call

Pros

  • Customizable invoicing options
  • Extensive reporting capabilities
  • An awarded customer support
  • Has double-entry accounting features
  • Integrated time and mileage tracking options
  • Automated bank reconciliation with categorized expenses

Cons

  • No quarterly income tax payments reports
  • Adding additional members entails extra costs

Pricing

FreshBooks’s Lite plan will cost you only $6/month to start with. You can send unlimited invoices to up to 5 clients, track unlimited expenses, and send unlimited estimates on this plan — probably the most expansive basic plan on our list.

Freshbooks Pricing

For more features and add-ons, such as permission for an accountant to get on board, mobile mileage tracking, and more, get either the Plus, Premium, or Select plan.

Try FreshBooks for a full month without risking any money with the free trial.

 

6. Xero — Quality Accounting Software for Small Businesses for Bill Tracking

Xero is a flexible accounting software for small businesses, accountants, and bookkeepers and has garnered a massive user base of over 3 million users thanks to its advanced invoicing and banking features.

Xero bookkeeping software

It’ll help you stay on top of your bills and clear all your dues in time with its smart bill-tracking feature.

In a comprehensive dashboard, you get to see what bills are due and their deadlines so that you can plan your payments in advance and not struggle to send a quick payment.

If there are batch payments to be made, Xero will help you automate it so that the payments go out on their respective due date — one more responsibility off your shoulders.

What’s more, since all your bills will be stored in one place, you can access them anytime to check your overall expenditure. Plus, Xero will also expedite your expense claims. The faster these claims are met, the happier your employees will be.

For example, if any of your employees make an expense claim for gas costs on a small work trip, you can review the claim and approve the payment directly from your Xero dashboard — no extra paperwork is needed.

To help you get paid faster, Xero lets you add a “Pay Now” button on all of your invoices. Compatible with bank transactions, credit cards, Stripe, GoCardless, and more, getting paid with Xero is easier and faster than most other accounting software.

Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
$13/month 1. Automated batch payments

2. Faster expense claims

3. “Pay Now” button on invoices

30 days 24×7 online support

Pros

  • Regular feature updates
  • Integrated payroll functions
  • Real-time bank data and reconciliations
  • Has two-factor authentication for more safety
  • Allows a vast range of app integrations
  • An excellent cloud-based accounting software

Cons

  • A long initial learning curve
  • No time-tracking feature

Pricing

Although limited in nature, a bandwidth of 20 invoices and features like reconciliation of bank transactions make Xero’s Early plan at $13/month ideal for sole traders, small businesses, and self-employed individuals.

Xero Pricing

Unlock bulk reconciliation, in-depth analytics, and the ability to track projects with Xero’s premium plans. Like others on the list, Xero, too, provides a handsome free trial of 30 days so you can see if the tool is for you without any financial commitment.

 

7. Bonsai — Leading Financial Software with One-on-One Assistance

Bonsai, with over 500,000 businesses trusting it for their accounting operations, is a splendid solution for small businesses that don’t have a lot of transactions.

Bonsai dashboard | Small Business Accounting Software

You’ll have weekly and monthly reports, no matter what Bonsai plan you’re on, and these reports include your expenses, profit, revenue, and more.

This will help you make important decisions like how your business is doing in the market or how much you can invest in the business next month — all important financial questions can be solved with just a few reports.

Besides comprehensive reports, Bonsai’s dashboard will also give you access to your banking details and transactions, further acting on its mantra of simplifying every accounts-related task for small businesses.

While weekly and monthly reports are great for making long-term decisions, real-time transaction updates will alert you about unauthorized payments so that you can take timely action.

Besides the transaction limits (35 on the Starter plan, and 70 on the Professional), the only other thing we didn’t like about Bonsai is its limited information on its accounting services.

However, Bonsai stands out from the rest because it includes built-in time tracking, project and task management capabilities, tax support, and more — all under one roof.

Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
$24/month 1. Banking details on dashboard

2. Extensive reports

3. Mileage tracking template

14 days Support center with FAQs

Pros

  • An intuitive dashboard
  • Easy to use and get started
  • Plenty of automated features
  • Integrated time-tracking features
  • Assisted contract creation capabilities
  • Comes with various free templates

Cons

  • Only available in English
  • Few integration options

Pricing

Bonsai, although one of the more expensive options on our list, provides a lot of features on all its plans, so you’ll get good value for your money.

Bonsai Pricing

For $24/month, you get support for unlimited clients and projects, expense tracking, and permission to admit up to 5 project collaborators. Need Calendly and Zapier integration, subtractor onboarding, plus management? Bonsai’s Business plan will suit you well.

Plus, Bonsai is one of the very few accounting software to provide both a free trial and a money-back guarantee. With a 14-day free trial and a 14-day money-back guarantee, you’ll have ample time to find out if the tool is your cup of tea — risk-free.

 

The Best Small Business Accounting Tools | Compared

Need a quick head-to-head overview? This crisp table highlights the key differences between the best small business accounting software to help you find the one best suited for you.

Accounting Software Starting Price Top Features Free Trial Customer Support
Zoho Books $0 1. Invoice creation tool

2. Time tracking

3. Automated follow-ups

14 days 24/5 email and call
Oracle NetSuite $99/month 1. Invoice management

2. Accurate real-time data

3. Custom role-based dashboard

No Email, chat, and call
QuickBooks $5.10/month 1. Quick invoices

2. Multiple team members

3. Automated vendor payments

30 days Chat and FAQs
Sage Accounting $10/month 1. Intuitive dashboard

2. Integrated payroll management too

3. Cash management

30 days Call
FreshBooks $6/month 1. Expense tracker

2. FreshBooks Payments

3. Compatible with major banks

30 days Call
Xero $13/month 1. Automated batch payments

2. Faster expense claims

3. “Pay Now” button on invoices

30 days 24×7 online support
Bonsai $24/month 1. Banking details on the dashboard

2. Extensive reports

3. Mileage tracking template

14 days Support center with FAQs

Why Do I Need Accounting Software for My Small Business?

Wondering what makes accounting software indispensable for your business? Here are four reasons.

Better Transaction Management 

The most basic yet essential task of managing a company’s finances is to track every transaction — both credit and debit. This way, you can check how much money you’re investing in the business and the return you’re getting against it — helping you make a profit.

Logging each transaction will also reduce the risk of fraudulent payments if one of your employees makes unauthorized payments without your approval.

Faster Invoice Processing 

A small team doesn’t always mean a small client base. If you don’t want your team to waste time manually processing invoices, an accounting tool can help.

You can pick an invoice template from pre-designed options, customize it according to your brand’s theme and add the data. Once the template is ready, you can use the same for all your clients.

With each of these invoices, you can also send automated reminders, ensuring the bill gets paid on time without you having to remind the client personally.

Project Finance 

The most common mistake new businesses make is not tracking their variable investments in the project after quoting a fee.

For example, let’s say a certain project requires a team of 5, each charging $100/hour. So to maintain a good profit margin, you need to calculate how much time this team of 5 will take to finish the project and, subsequently, how much your total investment will be— this is exactly what accounting tools help you with.

Bill Management 

Why burden your small team with creating one bill at a time for individual customers when you can set up recurring bills for repetitive purchases?

For example, let’s assume you’ve got a content creation agency where 5 of your clients place the same order worth the same price every month. Instead of creating a separate bill for their monthly purchases, you can set it up on autopilot, and the accounting tool will automatically generate the bills.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Small Business Accounting Software

Decisions like these are never easy. Here are four things you need to look for in every small business accounting software:

Automation Features 

Small businesses don’t have the luxury of assigning a whole team to manage their accounts.

That’s why you need a tool with adequate automation so that even if you can’t personally supervise the process, the work still gets done. For example, Xero lets you automatically clear expense claims made by your employees so that they can get back to their work sooner.

Finance Reports 

Small businesses often don’t have an accountant to create monthly or quarterly financial reports, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a comprehensive financial chart highlighting their profit, revenue, investment, and growth.

In that case, you can use accounting software to automatically create your company’s financial reports. Since it’ll already have your expense and income data, the report will be in your hand in seconds.

The level of reporting on offer is a crucial determining factor, and depending on your needs, some tools offer better reporting capabilities than others.

Reminders and Notifications 

Worried you might miss an important payment while your team is busy catering to other services? Not with accounting software. Our chosen small business accounting platform lets you automatically set up bill payments to go out on a specified date.

Also, for your client invoices, these accounting platforms provide an automated payment reminder feature that reminds your clients to clear their dues on time.

Customer Support

Small businesses often don’t have the luxury of having a full-fledged technical team to maintain their business tools.

That’s why we’ve only picked platforms with a rich resource database and beginner tutorials to get started. Along with that, these platforms also have a reliable customer support department to help in case you’re stuck anywhere.

Accounting Software FAQs

What is accounting software?

How much do small business accountants cost?

What is the best small business accounting software?

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What’s the simplest bookkeeping software?

Which is the best accounting solution for self-employed individuals?

What’s the best free small business accounting software?

Conclusion | What’s the Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses in 2023?

Our exhaustive guide includes the best small business accounting software for all purposes, be it payroll management, automating invoices, and time tracking. We’ve laid down all possible options so that you have everything you need to zero in on the one that’ll suit your needs the best.

Here’s a quick summary of the accounting software we discussed today:

  1. Zoho Books — Overall, the Best Small Business Accounting Software | Put it to the Test with the Free Forever Plan.
  2. Oracle NetSuite — The Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses for Invoice Management | Get a Custom Quote Now.
  3. QuickBooks — The Best Cloud-based Accounting Software for Beginners | Try it Now with the 30-Day Free Trial.
  4. Sage Accounting — The Best Small Business Accounting and Tax Software with a Mobile App | Test it with the 30-Day Trial.
  5. FreshBooks — Cheap Small Business Accounting Software for Expense Tracking and Management | Try it free for 30 Days.
  6. Xero — Quality Accounting Software for Small Businesses for Bill Tracking | Try the 30-Day Trial Before Committing.
  7. Bonsai — Leading Financial Software with One-on-One Assistance | Put it to the Test with a 14-Day Free Trial.

Zoho Books is easily the best accounting software for small businesses, as found in our research. With features like cash flow predictions, task automation, time tracking, quick payments, and of course, a free forever plan, there was hardly any area where Zoho Books fell behind its peers.

Put Zoho Books to the test now with the 30-day free trial.

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