by Lauren Maffeo
Published on 25 July 2017
For small business owners in the U.S., QuickBooks Online is Intuit's flagship product. It's also known as *the* cloud-based accounting app of choice. GetApp's research on which accounting apps small and midsize business (SMB) owners use confirmed that our U.S. users prefer QuickBooks Online. With hundreds of integrations, extensive features, and native mobile apps for iOS and Android, it's not hard to see why.
But that doesn't mean QuickBooks Online is the best choice for all. Since it's such a popular product, we keep close tabs on what GetApp readers say. And in recent months, we've noticed a theme emerge: small business owners say they don't need QuickBooks Online's full suite of features and wish it had more budget-friendly options.
"The price seems to be high for small businesses, would be nice if it was based on some sort transaction or dollar amount," GetApp Reviewer James Lees shares. "I've also had some issues where it has double imported transactions from the bank and can be timely when trying to find where the balances doe not reconcile."
A separate reviewer, Luella Crockett, shares that although it's is a powerful tool, "Quickbooks Online is a package deal. You cannot just buy parts of it. So if you do not need all of the package you still have to pay for all of it. I have also found that Quickbooks goes up on their price by about $10/month every time they make an update to their programs. This has happened 2x in the past 9 months in my case and I find that to be unacceptable."
Her conclusion: "A great program if you use every single aspect of it. If you only want a check register and payroll functions with 1099 and W-2 capability maybe shop around."
So, let's say you're in Luella's shoes and you're on the hunt for new accounting software. You need a tool to manage some small business bookkeeping basics, like bank integrations, payroll functions, and multi-currency conversions. You'd like a lower price point than what QuickBooks Online costs. And you want to use your tool of choice on mobile devices, specifically your iPhone and iPad. What are the best Intuit competitors for you?
In this article, we'll share some simpler accounting apps that are worth a look. Each app has a 4-star user rating or higher on GetApp.com. More specifically, each app offers an experience on mobile that gets the thumbs-up from our readers.
FreshBooks is a GetApp fan favorite. It earns frequent spots in the top five apps when we rank billing and invoicing and accounting apps alike. That's because it provides - and excels at - three core services: managing invoices, tracking billable hours, and collecting online payments. If five million small business customers can't convince you, perhaps some glowing GetApp reviews can.
FreshBooks is ideal for small business owners who must track receipts from the comfort of their iPhones. The app's expense tracking feature lets you snap photos of receipts on your mobile devices. Then, you can enter receipt into the FreshBooks system; attach them to expense sheets for tax and reimbursement reasons; and rebill expenses to clients.
FreshBooks' time tracking feature also stands out. Freelance accountants who must track time per project can hit the app's "Start" button once a project begins, then convert that time into billable hours. And no worries about invoice management: FreshBooks' iOS app lets you create and send invoices from your iPhone or iPad. You can see when each invoice has been viewed; amend errors within the app; and collect your clients' payments via the app's integration with PayPal.
"Freshbooks is a great solution for small or solo business owners," GetApp Reviewer Crystal S. shares. "It is an introduction into accounting for your business. [Its] best features are [its] easy to use UI and the ability to take pictures of receipts from mobile phones.
"The most important feature for our business has been the ability to create a recurring payment quickly. Though, this ability is limited depending on the size of your plan," Crysatal adds. "It is not a heavy weight accounting program like QuickBooks or Xero, but it's a good alternative for smaller operations."
FreshBooks provides three paid plans for users. Its Lite plan allows small business owners to pay $15 per month and bill up to five active clients. A step up to FreshBooks' Plus plan costs $25 per month and lets users bill up to 50 active clients.
Let's say your small business is based across the pond. FreeAgent earns rave reviews from British small business owners who need an accounting app that's tailored for their tax codes. And in a true cross-cultural exchange, the app supports U.S. small business owners as well.
FreeAgent prides itself on two key offerings: ease of use on mobile and strong security. FreeAgent uses 256-bit SSL technology to encrypt customer data - the same encryption as banks. And whether you're working from your MacBook Air or your iPad Pro, any account changes auto-update in real time. This lets you view income, expenses, and cash flow position at any given moment.
Cash flow management, expense tracking, multi-currency invoicing, and managing billable vs. un-billable time are a few more features that hit high notes. No worries about forgetting to send your self-assessments to the UK's HMRC - FreshBooks facilitates that process for you. And if you do get into an accounting jam, the tool's customer service team of trained accountants can help.
"As a business owner with minimal accounting experience I was introduced to FreeAgent about three years ago," GetApp Reviewer Toby Hoare says. "It has transformed our business from cumbersome spreadsheet accounts and Word invoices to a really convenient and efficient system."
"It has everything you need, links to your bank, multi-currency, great invoicing templates I could go on & on, but it's best feature is the top notch world beating support, they understand business, and are quick and willing to help," GetApp Reviewer Scott Jordan adds.
FreeAgent's price point starts at $12 per month for six months before easing up to $24 per month. All features (including sales tax and multi-currency reporting) are included in this plan. Free customer service is included as well.
You'll notice some patterns when you read reviews of Kashoo on GetApp. Several small business owners note how much they love its iOS app. This comes alongside parallel praise for Kashoo's vast customer service.
Kashoo is ideal for small business owners who need quick entry and multi-project accounting. Users can create invoices, manage expenses, view transactions, and connect their payroll. You can even accept payments via Kashoo's integration with Square.
Grabbing profit and loss statements is a breeze within Kashoo: users can access these from any device. Each action taken in Kashoo is recorded, which means you're not at your memory's mercy. You can also give your accountant access to Kashoo for quick collaboration.
"I like the way the mobile app works seamlessly with the desktop version," GetApp Reviewer Andy Ponce shares. "I'm on the go a lot, it's nice to use an accounting software that keeps up with me. [It's] easy to use. When I do have questions the customer service is top notch. They also have timely emails and webinars to help you prepare to tax season and the like."
Kashoo's Annual plan costs $16.65 per month. This price includes access to free weekly workshops that help new users learn how to balance their books. These workshops include help with mobile accounting, which gives Kashoo an edge for small business owners who want more hands-on help.
The budget-conscious accounting software shopper will want to take a look at SlickPie. It's a free tool designed for the small business owner. The MagicBot - SlickPie's automated data entry tool - is one of many things that users love about it.
Automation is a key aspect of the SlickPie app. Users can set automated payment reminders and auto-recurring invoices. You can also create customized online invoices, then send them automatically to clients. If you have clients who pay consistent amounts, you can set up repeat invoices with user-defined recurrence intervals.
You can receive updates when clients open, review, and pay invoices. For their part, your clients can click through the app and pay their invoices via credit or SlickPie's integrations with PayPal and Stripe. Then, you can mark each invoice as "paid" once payment is received by bank or credit card transfer. And you'll never feel like a nudge: SlickPie does the grunt work for you by sending late payment reminders to clients.
"I've been using the app for about 3 months now and I can tell for sure that starting using it was one of the best things that could've happened to my company for one simple thing: the payment reminders!" GetApp Reviewer Michael Wormald says. "The app works fine and it's indeed pretty simple to use, but to me the best thing about it that it sends automatic payment reminders to clients that haven't paid the invoices on time so they can remember to do so.
"It doesn't seem [like] much, but I was surprised to see how my cash flow got better after I implemented this resource," Wormald adds. "It turns out clients actually pay faster that way, so thank you SlickPie! Attaching source documents feature have allowed me to go almost paperless and my goal is to become 100% paperless in next 1 year."
SlickPie is free for all users.
Zoho Books isn't just for small business owners - it's designed to serve users at businesses of all sizes. This makes it a strong choice for small business owners who want to use the same app as their business grows.
The Zoho Books iOS app has online payment getaways. You can also automate recurring invoices, payment reminders, and "thank you" notes to clients who pay on time. And the app's multi-currency support lets you pay clients no matter where they are in the world.
Need to delegate accounting duties? You can set different permissions for yourself and your employees. And when the time comes to work with your accountant, you can invite them to collaborate within the app itself. Zoho Books uses 256 bit SSL encryption for cloud security, and data is frequently backed up.
"Zoho Books is a simple online accounting software that covers all the basics: create and send invoices, track expenses, sync bank accounts, create reports and accounting on the go," GetApp Reviewer Kelly Francisco says. "I love being able to use my iPhone. It also offers a full set of accounting tools that grow with your business.
"We have tried other accounting services, but they are complicated compared to this. Zoho Books costs $24 per month and its for an unlimited number of users. Fair priced to me. Overall, this [is] the software our small business stuck with."
Zoho Books' Basic plan starts at $9 per organization per month for one user and one accountant. Users on this plan get five automated workflows and can work with 50 contacts. The Standard plan costs $19 per organization per month for two users and one accountant; 10 automated workflows; and up to 500 contacts. And if your small business goes the distance, you can use Zoho Books' Professional plan with unlimited users and contacts for $29 per organization per month.