16 min read
Nov 15, 2019
Insights

10 Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses

We've compiled a list of the best accounting software to manage invoices, accounts payable, cash flow, and other accounting features.

A.S.
Abhishek SinghAnalyst Team Lead

Is your finance department piled high with mounting invoices? Not sure where your cash flow volumes are headed? Too many tax forms to handle?

With the help of accounting software, you can digitally transform these key accounting functions at your business by automating invoice management, tax management, and more.

When choosing accounting software for your business, you need to weigh factors including accounting requirements (e.g., payroll, expense management), pricing, and number of users. Balancing these factors can make or break your return on this financial investment.

Whether you're looking to upgrade from your current accounting solution or purchase a new one, we're here to help you evaluate the best accounting tools out there.

This shortlist collects the ten best accounting software solutions for small businesses based on overall rating and user reviews. We'll explore each product's key features, along with who should consider the software.

Learn more about each of the products featured here:

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1. FreeAgent

FreeAgent is a cloud-based solution that helps businesses stay up-to-date on key accounting tasks such as tracking expenses, invoicing, cash flow management, and tax management. The tool also allows users to view tax filing timelines to avoid missing any deadlines.

Key accounting features

  • Dashboard: View a timeline of key accounting parameters in a dashboard that highlights historical data trends for things like expenses and cash flow.

  • Automated tax return completion: Allows users to complete their tax returns by automatically populating fields from the general ledger and profit and loss statements (P&Ls).

  • Bank reconciliation: Automatically reconciles bank accounts using P&Ls and a general ledger.

FreeAgent accounting dashboard and mobile app screenshot

FreeAgent's accounting dashboard and mobile app (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of FreeAgent feel about the software:

  • Reviewers noted that the tool's automated tax-filing feature helps them file their VAT and other taxes on time.

  • Users—especially independent contractors and freelancers—like the tool's self-assessment tax feature.

  • Some reviewers would like the tax self-assessment feature to include tax information for capital gains and property income.

  • Users noted that the tool cannot always reconcile bank transactions successfully due to its inability to import invoices and expense-related transactions.

Who should consider FreeAgent?

FreeAgent is best for businesses that find it difficult to file taxes without assistance from an accountant.

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2. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is a cloud-based double-entry accounting solution that specializes in managing invoices and expenses, in addition to standard features such as bookkeeping and tax management.

Key accounting features

  • Invoice management: Helps manage invoices and bills from vendors to reduce the clutter of physical paperwork; all invoices are digitized and uploaded.

  • Expense management: Connects with your bank account to avoid manual data entry. All expenses are categorized based on type (e.g., travel, food), facilitating easy sorting within the system.

  • Time tracking: Keeps track of the amount of time spent on a task so you can accurately bill clients.

FreshBooks accounting dashboard screenshot

FreshBooks' accounting dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of FreshBooks feel about the software:

  • Users like that they can brand invoices with their company's logo and integrate payments with online platforms like PayPal.

  • Reviewers like the software's project time-tracking features.

  • Users would like the accounts reporting feature to be more detailed, and to have more options for customization and data filtering.

Who should consider FreshBooks?

FreshBooks is best for self-employed individuals, small agencies, and consultants specializing in finance-related tasks (e.g., invoicing, expense management).

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3. KashFlow

KashFlow is cloud-based accounting software the automatically updates VAT using financial documents. Along with providing key accounting features such as bookkeeping, the software also offers payroll management.

Key accounting features

  • Payroll management: An automated payroll system that does not require multiple users to approve financial requests.

  • Cash flow management: Predicts cash flow volume for the next financial year.

  • Quotes and estimate management: Allows you to share quotes and pricing estimates with clients and vendors.

KashFlow invoice management dashboard screenshot

The invoice management screen in KashFlow (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of KashFlow feel about the software:

  • Users like the software's automated VAT and self-assessment filing features, which make it easy for them to accurately submit their tax filings.

  • Users reported that this solution is handy for managing payroll related-tasks, such as calculating benefits.

  • Reviewers would like the bank reconciliation process to be improved, noting that the solution has a different reconciliation process for each bank.

Who should consider KashFlow?

KashFlow is best for accounting and finance managers seeking a core payroll management solution with additional accounting features.

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4. Kashoo

Kashoo is a cloud-based accounting tool that helps your business manage invoicing, expense tracking, and reporting, as well as synchronize ledger and balance sheet data with bank account entries. This solution also helps manage credit card payments from clients and vendors to keep you updated and help manage cash flow.

Key accounting features

  • Invoice management: Offers a series of templates to customize invoices using your brand guidelines, and allows users to email invoices within the solution.

  • Expense management: Upload receipts and attachments from your mobile phone.

  • Reporting: Generate customizable reports using information from your general ledger, income statement, sales tax summary, and balance sheet.

Kashoo financial reporting dashboard screenshot

Kashoo's financial reporting dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of Kashoo feel about the software:

  • Users like the tool's reporting features, and noted that it's easy to set up a trial balance (bookkeeping report containing the balances of all ledgers) and download banking and credit card statements.

  • Reviewers reported that the tool's iOS app helps them track expenses and upload receipts, and say that it's easier to use than the desktop version.

  • Users would like the tool to offer more invoice templates than its currently limited selection.

Who should consider Kashoo?

Kashoo is best for businesses looking for an accounting tool with invoice management as the core feature, along with strong accounting report generation capabilities.

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5. NetSuite

NetSuite is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool that features accounting modules to manage billing, budgeting, financial reporting, revenue, and accounting compliance.

Key accounting features

  • Tax management: Manages global tax compliance to avoid errors and save costs associated with everything from hiring an accountant to other tax management services.

  • Fixed asset management: Assesses the lifecycle of depreciating or non-depreciating assets to help manage your business' financial assets more effectively.

  • Cash management: Allows finance departments to track pending bill payments and cash flow.

NetSuite accounting dashboard screenshot

NetSuite's accounting dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of NetSuite feel about the software:

  • Users noted that the tool has advanced accounting reporting features that provide many “drill down" options.

  • Reviewers would like the tool to have a more intuitive dashboard that automatically collects key accounting information.

  • Users reported that the tool provides detailed invoice overviews by attaching schedules to invoices, resulting in detailed financial reports.

Who should consider NetSuite?

NetSuite is best for business seeking a core financial management solution and willing to pay extra to manage accounting reports.

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6. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based system that synchronizes your business' bank transactions in a financial dashboard. This dashboard helps users collaborate with others (both inside and outside of your business) and provides detailed reports related to your finances.

Key accounting features

  • Receipt management: Lets you take photos of receipts with your mobile phone and upload them.

  • Tax management: Helps you automatically deduct sales tax from your invoices by calculating the appropriate tax rate based on your location.

  • Mileage expense management: Calculates mileage/gas expenses based on GPS data to bill clients more accurately.

QuickBooks Online banking and credit card dashboard screenshot

QuickBooks Online's banking and credit card dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of QuickBooks Online feel about the software:

  • Users like that the tool automatically loads all credit card information and auto-assigns payments to vendor accounts after initial setup.

  • Users reported that the credit card reconciliation tool could be difficult to use and sometimes requires help from accountants to ensure reconciliation is done correctly.

  • Reviewers would like the tool to have more customizable invoice templates to choose from.

Who should consider QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks Online is best for self-employed individuals or small businesses that don't require a complete accounting suite but need features such as invoice and expense management in a single dashboard.

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7. Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is cloud-based ERP software that includes accounting modules to help businesses with their core financial management needs, ranging from budget planning to accounts receivable/payable and cash flow management.

Key accounting features

  • Budgeting and planning: Allows team members to collaborate when planning the budget throughout all stages of the process.

  • Accounting reports: Provides detailed reports of key accounting metrics in a single dashboard.

  • Contract and subscription billing: Allows businesses to monitor payments for contract-based projects through a subscription billing model.

Sage Intacct finance dashboard screenshot

Sage Intacct's finance dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of Sage Intacct feel about the software:

  • Users reported that the solution has a strong analytics tool that generates detailed reports using information from ledgers and other sources.

  • Some users noticed glitches in the system's timesheet feature for project-based billing; it doesn't always capture relevant fields.

  • Users state that each feature helps businesses collaborate inter-departmentally by emailing reports within the tool.

Who should consider Sage Intacct?

Sage Intacct is best for financial service businesses that provide financial advice to B2B clients.

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8. Wave

Wave is a cloud-based system that focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs manage invoices using their mobile devices, alongside other accounting features such as recurring billing and receipts.

Key accounting features

  • Mobile invoicing: Offers Android and iOS apps for invoice management, which allow users to upload or download invoices using their mobile phones.

  • Recurring billing: Establish recurring payments by storing credit card details and automating billing.

  • Receipts management: Allows users to scan receipts on their mobile phone and send them to their finance team to approve expenses.

Wave invoice and billing dashboard screenshot

Wave's invoice and billing dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of Wave feel about the software:

  • Users like Wave's mobile apps and how they help manage invoices, expenses, receipts, quotes, and more.

  • Most users (especially freelancers) like this free tool and the number of features offered under its free plan.

  • Some users would like to see improvement in the mobile app, noting that it can be a bit buggy.

Who should consider Wave?

Wave is best for small businesses and freelancers that want invoice management on mobile phones with a lot of other free features.

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9. Xero

Xero is a cloud-based accounting tool primarily designed for small businesses to manage key accounting functions such as cash flow, bank reconciliation, invoicing, accounts payable/receivable, and more.

Key accounting features

  • Bank reconciliation: Allows users to reconcile large volumes of bank transactions using rules-based reconciliation and by tagging transaction types (e.g., bills, invoices, receipts).

  • Sales tax management: Helps automatically deduct sales tax based on your local tax rate.

  • Purchase orders: Create digital purchase orders for inventory items that can be shared via email with vendors and suppliers

Xero accounting dashboard screenshot

Xero's accounting dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of Xero feel about the software:

  • Users like the tool's automated bank feed and not having to manually enter receipt details.

  • Reviewers noted that if they need more accounting help with features such as ledger management, they can collaborate with a third-party accountant by sharing their reports for more accurate data interpretation.

  • Users would like batch payments to handle multiple currencies, noting that the system only supports users' default currency.

Who should consider Xero?

Xero is best for small businesses that require accounting software at an affordable price. The tool also markets itself to a small business audience.

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10. Zoho Books

Zoho Books is an all-in-one cloud-based accounting tool that helps businesses handle end-to-end accounting tasks, from invoice management to reporting.

Key accounting features

  • Expense management: Create profiles for recurring expenses using bank transactions that are automatically entered into the software.

  • Accounting dashboard: Provides detailed insights into key accounting components—such as cash flow volume, accounts receivable, and bank transactions—in a dashboard.

  • Invoice management: Allows users to customize invoice templates using their business' branding.

Zoho Books accounting dashboard screenshot

Zoho Books' accounting dashboard (Source)

User feedback trends

We analyzed reviews on GetApp to learn how users of Zoho Books feel about the software:

  • Users like the tool's invoice management feature, and noted that they could design invoices using different templates for unique clients.

  • Reviewers reported that the software's dashboard allows cross-collaboration between accountants/ finance team members with other departments by letting all stakeholders see key financial parameters in a single dashboard.

  • Users would like the contact-importing functionality to be improved, noting that not all details are imported.

Who should consider Zoho Books?

Zoho Books is best for small businesses looking for an all-in-one accounting solution. The tool also markets itself to a small business audience.

Next steps

While the features and user reviews for these products differ, there are a few overarching things to keep in mind when selecting accounting software:

  • Choose an accounting tool within your business' budget, and base your decision on your unique feature requirements to avoid paying for functionality you don't need.

  • Shortlist software that offers a free or trial version to determine whether its features actually meet your accounting needs.

  • Consider cloud-based accounting software if your business has multiple locations and/or works with clients and vendors across the world to facilitate collaboration and easier financial management.

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Additional resources

Use these additional GetApp tools/resources to help you find accounting software:

Methodology

We shortlisted accounting software from GetApp's accounting directory with an overall user rating of 4+ from among the most reviewed products at the time of drafting this article (the week of July 25, 2019).

Here's an overview of our method for choosing this list of best accounting software:

  • We shortlisted 50 accounting software products that only offered core accounting features and were not specific to an accounting module such as payroll or expense management. The list of 50 products was arranged in descending order, with those having the highest number of customer reviews at the top. From among the top 15 products with 50+ reviews, the 10 having the 4+ user ratings were shortlisted.

  • The “User feedback trends" section for each product is based on the analysis of feedback from users who left reviews on GetApp.

  • Additional information in the article is compiled from vendor websites and other secondary sources, wherever mentioned.


NOTE: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users and does not represent the views of GetApp.

The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

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