4 Best Accounting Software Solutions to Consider in 2020

Detailed Reviews

We can all agree that keeping track of your business income and expenses can be as daunting as it is necessary. However, the good news is that managing your finances doesn’t have to be all that complicated, as long as you have the right tools.

We suggest you start by finding the best accounting software solution. If you’re anything like the average business owner who’d much rather focus on developing business ideas instead of spending hours on managing financial data, we’ve got you covered.

Bear in mind that keeping your finances in order throughout the whole year doesn’t only come in handy when tax season comes around, it also helps you stay aware of the overall state and progress of your company at all times.

That’s why you should find an accounting solution that is easy to use, comes equipped with all the features you need to simplify the financial aspect of your life, and doesn’t break the bank.

Here are our suggestions.

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Top 4 Online Accounting Software Options for 2020

1. Intuit QuickBooks

Created by Intuit, QuickBooks offers one of the most reliable accounting software options out there. Although it may not be the market’s cheapest option, QuickBooks offers a comprehensive but scalable solution that is able to serve sole proprietors, medium-size business owners, and all other users in between. Full Review

  • Excellent mobile app
  • 30-day free trial
  • Downloadable and cloud-based

Created by Intuit, QuickBooks offers one of the most reliable accounting software options out there. Although it may not be the market’s cheapest option, QuickBooks offers a comprehensive but scalable solution that is able to serve sole proprietors, medium-size business owners, and all other users in between. Full Review

2. FreshBooks

Best known for its award-winning customer support team, FreshBooks offers an excellent invoicing and accounting software solution for freelancers and small-business owners. Operating since 2003, the company has been subject to many improvements and has grown to serve more than 10 million users. Full Review

  • Top-notch customer support
  • Advanced invoicing features
  • User-friendly dashboard

Best known for its award-winning customer support team, FreshBooks offers an excellent invoicing and accounting software solution for freelancers and small-business owners. Operating since 2003, the company has been subject to many improvements and has grown to serve more than 10 million users. Full Review

3. Sage

Sage Group's cloud-based accounting solution, Business Cloud Accounting, comes with a neatly designed interface, an abundance of features, and a low price tag. Best suited for small to medium-sized businesses with relatively simple accounting needs, Sage's product is equipped with invoicing, expense tracking, and tax management features. Full Review

  • Beautifully designed interface
  • Multiple integrations
  • Affordable solution

Sage Group's cloud-based accounting solution, Business Cloud Accounting, comes with a neatly designed interface, an abundance of features, and a low price tag. Best suited for small to medium-sized businesses with relatively simple accounting needs, Sage's product is equipped with invoicing, expense tracking, and tax management features. Full Review

4. Xero

Launched in 2006 in New Zealand, Xero entered the US market five years later. Thanks to its robust accounting solution that was built for the web from the ground up, the company has managed to attract more than 2 million business owners and 16,000 accountants. Considering its multiple automation options, hundreds of integrations, unlimited users, and modern design, there is no doubt that Xero’s market will continue to expand. Full Review

  • 700+ business integrations
  • Optimized for large businesses
  • An abundance of features

Launched in 2006 in New Zealand, Xero entered the US market five years later. Thanks to its robust accounting solution that was built for the web from the ground up, the company has managed to attract more than 2 million business owners and 16,000 accountants. Considering its multiple automation options, hundreds of integrations, unlimited users, and modern design, there is no doubt that Xero’s market will continue to expand. Full Review

Detailed Reviews

Intuit QuickBooks
Intuit QuickBooks

BEST FOR

overall accounting

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Best Seller
  • Price range: $15-$150
  • Discounts: 50% off for the first three months
  • Free trial: Yes
  • Platforms: Web, PC, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Third-party integrations: Yes
  • Support: live chat, phone, in-software help
  • BBB rating: A+

Overview

Launched in 1983 with the idea to make the world of accounting understandable to anyone, Intuit has quickly become one of the industry’s most recognizable names. Nowadays, the company offers a wide range of financial and business management tools, including QuickBooks Online, a highly praised cloud-based accounting software solution.

Designed to meet the needs of businesses of all shapes and sizes, QuickBooks Online may be one of Intuit’s latest products, but it still has been a favorite among accounting software users for over a decade. It serves more than 2.2 million users and is best known for its ease of use, flexibility, and extensibility.

Pricing Plans

Whether you work as an independent contractor, run a small business, or lead a non-profit organization, QuickBooks has the perfect accounting software solution for your needs. It offers a tiered service and simple pricing structure. Users can either opt for a 30-day free trial and pay the full price after the trial period expires or skip the free trial and get a 50% discount for the first three months.

Priced at $25/month ($12.50 with the discount), the QuickBooks Simple Start plan is meant for users with basic bookkeeping and accounting needs. With this plan, you can track your income and expenses, make invoices and accept payments, capture and organize your receipts, maximize tax deductions, track sales and sales tax, manage 1099 contractors, run general reports, manage your cash flow, and track miles.

Marketed as the best online accounting software option for growing businesses, the Plus plan comes with automated billing features and a $70 monthly fee ($35/month with the discount). In addition to everything from the first tier, this plan also lets you track inventory, time, and project profitability while managing and paying your bills. Unlike the lowest-tier option, it can accommodate up to five users.

Priced at $150/month ($75/month with the 50% discount), the Advanced option is made for up to 25 users. Created with medium- to large-sized companies in mind, this plan comes with all the conveniences of the lower two tiers plus a few additional benefits. As the best accounting software for a medium-sized business, this service package lets you import and send batch invoices, automate workflows, restore company data, and customize access by role. If you opt for the Advanced plan, you’ll also get access to business analytics, custom fields, a dedicated account team, and online training.

Lastly, QuickBooks also offers one of the best accounting software options for freelancers. The provider’s Self-Employed plan is designed for sole proprietors who file a Schedule C and comes with a $15 monthly price tag ($7.50/month for those who opt for the discount). This plan lets its users capture and organize receipts, track income and expenses, send invoices and accept payments, track miles, estimate quarterly taxes, and run basic reports.

Features and Benefits

To meet different users’ needs, QuickBooks’ accounting program is offered as a combination of cloud-based options and desktop and mobile apps. Each version comes with the provider’s user-friendly dashboard which offers an overview of the business’ overall financial state by displaying data invoices and expenses, sales, profit and loss, bank accounts, and more.

Marketed as one of the best small business accounting software options when it comes to ease of use, QuickBooks is easy to apply for. Getting started by adding the necessary data to the system is simple and straightforward. The user interface is neatly designed, and on-page help makes the search for any additional features and customization options much easier.

As far as invoicing features go, not only does the software offer a number of customizable invoice templates, but it’s also equipped with invoice tracking, reminders, and auto-scheduling. Other useful services that make this accounting system stand out include contact management for customers and vendors, the ability to add and categorize expenses, project management tools, bank reconciliation, accounts payable, inventory, comprehensive financial reports, and time-tracking functionalities.

Customer Support

As one of the most popular accounting software providers, QuickBooks offers multiple support channels to its customers. From on-page help, to live chat, phone support, and community groups, there are plenty of ways to find answers to your questions. For those who prefer solving issues on their own, QuickBooks’ help center features a huge library of articles, how-to guides, and video tutorials.

Our Verdict

Although QuickBooks isn’t the most affordable small business accounting program, it offers one of the most fully-featured services that we’ve seen. Not only does it make managing invoices, tracking expenses, monitoring sales, and calculating taxes much easier, but it also offers a scalable solution that can fit the needs of a business of any type and size.

Pros Cons
Cloud-based and downloadable software Expensive higher-tier options
Numerous third-party integrations No discount for those who opt for free trial
30-day free trial
FreshBooks
FreshBooks

BEST FOR

those who generate invoices often

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  • Price range: $15-$50
  • Discounts: 10% off with annual billing
  • Free trial: Yes
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
  • Third-party integrations: Yes
  • Support: Email, phone, in-software help, online support forms, and social media
  • BBB rating: A+

Overview

Operating since 2003, FreshBooks’ cloud accounting platform has undergone a few redesigns and grown to support more than 10 million users. Thanks to its robust invoicing capabilities, this award-winning software is an excellent choice for freelancers and any project-based businesses that generate invoices frequently. If you are on the hunt for a simple accounting and invoicing software that will also let you send estimates and proposals, keep track of expenses and time, and manage your projects and contacts but won’t break the bank, you should give FreshBooks a chance.

Pricing Plans

As one of the best accounting software providers, FreshBooks offers three fixed service packages along with a fourth customizable option designed to meet the needs of a larger-sized business. The service is offered on a monthly subscription basis; however, users who opt for annual billing get 10% off. There’s also a free trial which doesn’t forfeit the discount.

The main difference between FreshBooks’ four plans lies in the number of clients a user is allowed to bill each month. With the provider’s first tier, the Lite option, you get to send unlimited invoices to five clients. Priced at $15/month ($13.50 with the annual discount) and considered one of the best personal accounting software solutions, this plan also lets you send estimates, track expenses, accept credit card payments and bank transfers, and track sales tax.

Geared towards business owners looking for more insights and automation, FreshBooks’ Plus plan comes with a $25 price tag ($22.50 with the discount). If you opt for this tier, you’ll be able to send invoices to 50 clients each month. In addition to everything from the Lite plan, the Plus option lets you send unlimited estimates and proposals, set up client retainers and recurring bills, run business health reports, track miles on your phone, and invite your accountant.

As one of the best accounting systems for growing businesses, FreshBooks’ Premium plan comes with a $50 monthly fee ($45 with annual billing) and lets you send invoices to up to 500 different clients. Additional features include the ability to bill late fees and send late payment reminders automatically, get paid with checkout links, and run financial and accounting reports.

Created for businesses in need of more complex financial, tax, and accounting software, the FreshBooks Select is completely customizable. It lets its users send unlimited invoices to more than 500 clients, access lower rates on credit card transactions, get help migrating data from another software, and access a dedicated account manager.

Note that, by default, each fixed plan supports a single user. For each additional user, you’ll face a $10 monthly fee.

Features and Benefits

FreshBooks may not offer free accounting software; however, its product is well-worth the fees. The solution is scalable, and all plans include a user-friendly dashboard, customizable invoices, estimates, credit card and ACH payment processing, budgeting, business insights, reports, and helpful customer service.

Higher tiers also offer automatic expense tracking, estimates, bank reconciliation, a contact management tool, a client portal, hourly/flat-rate project management, and more.

To top if off, this small business accounting software also lets you integrate its product with a number of useful business management apps such as G Suite, Dropbox, Gusto, Capsule, HubSpot, Bench, and more.

Even though it provides a wide range of functionalities, you shouldn’t have any problems finding your way around FreshBooks’ software. In addition to the web-based solution, there’s also a fully-featured smartphone app for Android and iOS users.

Customer Support

Well-known for providing exceptional customer support, FreshBooks has won multiple customer satisfaction awards over the last few years. Support channels include email, phone, in-software help, online support forms, and social media. Working hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. ET. As one of the best accounting websites, FreshBooks often hosts free webinars and has a comprehensive help center along with a blog full of helpful articles.

Our Verdict

Given its high customer satisfaction rates, long list of useful features and integrations, and an easy-to-use interface, FreshBooks qualifies as an excellent accounting software choice for freelancers and small-business owners. Just keep in mind that this isn’t the market’s most affordable option as additional users come at an extra cost.

Pros Cons
Award-winning customer service Limited number of users by default
Multiple integrations supported No payroll service
User-friendly interface
Sage
Sage

BEST FOR

for those on a budget

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Best Price
  • Price range: $10-$25
  • Discounts: 50% off for the first three months
  • Free trial: Yes
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
  • Third-party integrations: Yes
  • Support: Phone, live chat, or email
  • BBB rating: N/A

Overview

Founded in 1980 in the UK, Sage Group has quickly expanded to the US market. Since then, the company has created dozens of business and money management software solutions including Sage Business Cloud Accounting, one of the most affordable accounting programs.

Sage’s cloud accounting option comes with a beautiful user interface, more than 60 integrations, and advanced features such as inventory and invoice customizations. If you are on the hunt for a reliable and easy-to-use system that you’ll be able to access whenever and wherever you want, Sage Business Cloud Accounting may be just right.

Pricing Plans

Unlike most of its close competitors that offer three or four pricing tiers, Sage’s cloud accounting solution has only two plans. Before we dive into the characteristics of each option, it’s important to mention that both plans come with all the essential features and let its users cancel or upgrade the service anytime.

As one of the best accounting software options for the self-employed, the Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start plan will set you back $10 per month ($5/month with a 50% discount for the first three months). Marketed as an entry-level solution that’s a perfect fit for small business owners who want to manage their cash flow, this plan comes with several useful features. These include customizable invoice templates and the options to import business transactions automatically, track overdue balances, and follow up with customers.

Priced at $25/month ($12.50/month with the discount), Sage’s Business Cloud Accounting option is considered one of the best cloud accounting software choices for small businesses with more complex accounting needs. In addition to everything from the first tier, this plan also lets you generate quotes and estimates, view cash flow statements, act on real-time reports, record purchase invoices, and more.

Features and Benefits

Designed to meet the needs of small- to medium-sized businesses that don’t require payroll, time-tracking, or project management tools, Sage’s solution is web-based and accessible via computer, tablet, and smartphone. Equipped with bank-level security, both plans let you integrate with multiple tools from the Sage App Marketplace.

Another great thing about this simple accounting software is that you can take the product for a spin for 30 days without sharing your credit card details with the company.

One of the features that makes Sage’s product stand out from the crowd is its neatly designed user dashboard. Referred to as the Summary, this dash comes in two versions, depending on the pricing plan you’ve opted for. While the Accounting Start plan features a single summary that only displays important sales and expense information, the Accounting package comes with four separate summary pages for sales, expenses, cash flow forecasts, and cash flow statements.

Customer Support

As one of the most popular small business accounting services, Sage takes great pride in offering excellent customer support. Should you have any questions or run into any issues, you’ll be able to get help via phone, live chat, or email. There’s also a searchable knowledge base and a plethora of useful blog articles for those who prefer solving their problems on their own.

Our Verdict

Given its low prices, advanced inventory and cash flow forecasting features, and multiple automation functionalities, Sage Business Cloud Accounting truly is one of the best accounting software solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. The company also offers great customer support and an easy-to-use interface. However, if the lack of payroll, time-tracking, and project management features is a deal-breaker for you, we suggest you explore other options.

Pros Cons
Affordable solution No project management or time-tracking tools
Neatly designed interface Limited invoice templates
30-day free trial
Xero
Xero

BEST FOR

larger-sized businesses

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  • Price range: $9-$60
  • Discounts: 50% off for the first four months (applies to the Early plan only)
  • Free trial: Yes
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
  • Third-party integrations: Yes
  • Support: Live chat, email, in-software videos and articles, social media channels, and Xero Central
  • BBB rating: A+

Overview

Launched in 2006 in New Zealand, Xero now provides its services to more than two million users and 16,000 accounting firms worldwide. Also a favorite among US, UK, and Australian users, Xero’s exclusively web-based solution is considered one of the simplest but also most powerful accounting apps. Although marketed mainly as a smart choice for small and growing businesses, Xero also provides sophisticated solutions for large-sized companies, regardless of the industry.

Pricing Plans

As far as pricing goes, Xero offers a scalable service. Here’s an overview of the three different plans:

The provider’s most affordable option, the Early plan, comes with a $9 monthly fee ($4.50 with the four-month 50% discount that only applies to the lowest tier). It lets you send up to 20 invoices and quotes, enter five bills, reconcile unlimited bank transactions, and capture bills and receipts with Hubdoc.

Priced at $30 per month, Xero’s Growing plan comes with everything from the Early option, plus the ability to send unlimited invoices and quotes and enter unlimited bills.

As one of the best accounting software solutions for larger-sized companies, Xero’s Established plan costs $60 per month and offers everything for the lower two tiers plus a few advanced functional tiles. These include expense-tracking, multi-currency, and project-management services.

It’s also good to mention that Xero’s product comes with a free trial, unlimited users, and a set of basic features at all levels of service. It’s the financial performance reports, iOS and Android smartphone apps, and more than 700 third-party integrations such as time- and inventory-tracking tools that users find the most useful.

Features and Benefits

Xero’s broad selection of accounting tools and business management features is one of its strongest points. Everything starts with its beautifully designed dashboard that shows detailed information about your bank accounts, bills that you need to pay, invoices that are owed to you, and total cash flow. Additionally, there’s a dedicated sales overview page that displays your invoices and estimates.

As far as invoicing goes, this accounting software for small business owners offers a single template as a starting point and lets you design your own solutions and customize them as extensively as you want. You can also create quotes and convert them to invoices, bills, or purchase orders.

Expense tracking with smart categorization, an advanced contact management system, a client portal, bank reconciliation, accounts payable, budgeting, inventory, checks, reports, and time tracking are also among Xero’s useful features.

Customer Support

Xero may not offer a free business accounting software solution, but it provides excellent value for the money and round-the-clock customer support. Ways to get in touch with Xero’s support agents include live chat, email, in-software videos and articles, social media channels, and Xero Central, the provider’s comprehensive help center.

Our Verdict

Built for the web from the very beginning, this financial software supports all the major elements you’d look for in a double-entry small business accounting system. Given its wide variety of automation features and robust accounting solutions, Xero is an excellent choice for business owners who want to save some time and improve their business management.

Pros Cons
Supports unlimited users Lacks phone support
Multiple automation features Mobile app needs improvements
User-friendly dashboard

What Are Online Accounting Services and Why Do I Need Them?

Have you been toying with the idea of signing up for a cloud- or desktop-based accountancy service instead of paying for the services of a traditional accountant? While your accounting specialist may argue that these online services amount to mere window dressing and can hardly offer any real value, we beg to differ. There are at least four good reasons to give accounting software solutions a chance.

Ease of Use

The best accounting software options for small business owners are neatly designed and incredibly easy to use. From sending and chasing invoices to entering your expenses, automatically calculating tax liabilities, and monitoring the overall financial performance of your business, everything is presented so clearly that you can’t go wrong.

Reducing Human Error

You’ve probably heard multiple horror stories told by business owners who’d had terrible experiences with their accountants. One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional accounting services is that you leave the safety of your business in the hands of a single person. With web-based and desktop accounting software solutions, you have the ability to keep track of all changes and contact the platform’s accounting professionals each time you see something you’re not sure about.

Saving Time

With a fully-featured and genuinely user-friendly accounting system, you’ll ultimately save plenty of time. Instead of gathering up sheets of financial data and filling out endless tables and spreadsheets, you can leave the tedious work to your accounting program’s automation features and focus on actually running your business.

Saving Money

Although free accounting software options for small business owners are very rare, there’s an abundance of affordable solutions. Technological advances can automate many mundane tasks, which traditional accountants would otherwise do manually. As a result, cost-savings are passed onto accounting software users.

Our Methodology

While it’s clear that online accounting solutions have many advantages in comparison with traditional accountancy services, that doesn’t mean that you should sign up with the first accounting software provider you come across. To help you make an informed choice, we’ve come up with a list of the most important evaluation criteria.

Pricing Plans

Online accounting services for a small business (or a larger company) are usually provided on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Most service providers offer scalable solutions with tiered pricing plans designed to meet the needs of different business types and sizes.

By default, lower-tiered plans come with limited features and a more affordable price tag, while fully-featured plans are also more expensive. Given that a good balance between functionality and affordability is very important, make sure to evaluate these two factors side-by-side.

Main Features and Additional Benefits

A decent accounting software option should provide all the basic features and functionalities such as invoices, estimates, quotes, expense tracking, bank reconciliation, contact management, and reports. Higher-level service plans usually come with a number of additional benefits, such as payroll, budgeting, tax support, and third-party integrations.

Keep in mind that most providers offer scalable solutions with multiple add-ons, so you should always look into tailor-making your perfect plan instead of going for the default option.

User Experience and Support Channels

Nowadays, most business accounting choices are offered as cloud- or web-based or online, which means that you don’t have to worry about installing a program if you don’t want to. Additionally, any decent accounting software provider must offer its clients a smartphone-friendly solution, too.

Although ease of use is a distinctive aspect of online accounting solutions, it’s still good to know that an experienced customer care team will be there to help you should you have any questions or stumble upon any issues. Any accounting service provider worth its salt should provide multiple channels of customer support. Options usually include live chat, phone support, email support, contact forms, in-software help, social media channels, blogs, and knowledge bases.

FAQ

What is the most widely used accounting software?

QuickBooks Online, a cloud-, mobile-, and desktop-based solution developed by Intuit is one of the most commonly used accounting software options. Other popular choices include FreshBooks, Xero, and sage Business Cloud Accounting.

What is the best accounting software for a small business?

If you’re a small or mid-sized business owner on the hunt for a robust accounting software with a rich set of features that won’t break the bank, you should look into the best small business accounting software for Mac and PC offered by Xero, QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Sage.

What are the benefits of using accounting software?

The biggest advantage of using the right accounting software is that it can protect you from human errors while saving you lots of time and money. Given that they rely on automation, accounting tools can easily improve the overall efficiency of your business for a fraction of the time and money you would traditionally have to spend.

How do I choose the best accounting software for my business?

When shopping for an accounting solution and comparing different options, make sure to evaluate the price of the product along with basic functionalities and additional benefits it provides, what kind of customer support it offers, and whether it is easy to use. The best accounting software option for you should be the one that ticks all – or at least most of – the boxes on your list of requirements.