So, your business is booming. Congratulations. Now, bookkeeping is not the most fun part of running a business or a new startup, quite the opposite really, but still, a necessary practice to keep your expenses in check. In fact, bookkeeping and accounting will help you understand where all those funds are going, which expenses can be curbed, and how you can plan for the coming months or even years.
While traditional methods of bookkeeping are all but obsolete, robust software and apps have been launched in all shapes and sizes by the developers to help small businesses. This makes it difficult for small businesses, with limited budgets, to choose the right product. Let us help you with this guide on the best bookkeeping and best accounting software for small business.
Best Accounting Software for Small Business
Wave has gained a fan following in the small business community for providing a free and easy to use accounting solution. In fact, it was specifically built with small businesses in mind.
Wave is easy enough to use even if you don’t have any prior accounting knowledge. Wave will connect with your bank accounts (supports 10,000+ banks) to pull relevant data and there is no limit to the number of accounts or cards you can add. While you can manage accounts payable, Wave cannot make automatic payments to suppliers or service providers. You can manually mark entries as paid. All the payments that you accept from merchants will be noted and reflect in your books automatically. You can raise invoices and send them and when they are paid, mark them accordingly.
Want to manage employees and their salaries? There is Payroll where you can add all the info and Wave will take care of everything automatically. Although, Payroll feature is only available for U.S. and Canadian businesses.
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Finally, financial reports is what gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening in your business. Wave will automatically generate pie charts and graphs to help you understand cash flow and create a budget.
Wave Payroll is not free and fees begin at $4 per employee with a $35 base fee. Similarly, credit cards and bank payments will cost you 2.9% + $0.30 and 1% minimum respectively. Overall, Wave is one of the best free accounting software for small business. It’s also available for Android and iOS platform.
- Targeted at small businesses
- Connect all accounts
- Reports, accounts, budgets
- Can’t handle automatic payments
Get Wave (Free)
With the advent of the Internet came the freelancers and the solopreneurs. They work alone with no need for employees. Think writers, bloggers, web designers, graphics designer, coders, mom and pop store owners and so on. Freshbooks was designed for you. Freshbooks will help you work with and raise bill for different clients easier. If you are a freelancer or small business owner and feel you are not ready for a paid tool yet, you can use the free invoice generator by FreshBooks to create, download and print invoices. It also has an iOS app.
Another need for freelancers and solopreneurs is to keep track total billable hours. You can easily assign a dollar value to an hour and raise an invoice based on the number of hours you worked on the project. It comes with a number of invoice templates so no matter which industry you are working in, there is a template for you. You can connect all your bank accounts and credit cards to pull data and create reports on the fly. Note that only profit and loss statements are supported in reports at the moment. You can also accept payment for invoices raised.
There is no direct support for payrolls because Freshbooks was not built for that. Similarly, there is no support for payroll either. If you do need these services, Freshbook integrates and works with Gusto app. Available on Android and iOS platform.
Plans begin at $15/month for 5 clients and go up to $50/month depending on the number of clients.
- Freelancers and solopreneurs
- Connect all accounts
- Raise and manage invoice (very flexible)
- Payroll support
- No support for accounts payable
- Limited support for financial reports
Download Freshbooks ($15/month)
A lot of us begin with a simple spreadsheet and work our way through there. I used to monitor all my expenses and income using a spreadsheet too. It is free, easy to use, but lacks several features. Want something more but with fewer bells and whistles? Try Zipbook. Suitable for freelancers and small business owners.
The starter plan is free and can easily handle invoices, bills, and reports. You can create customer profiles. If you own more than one small business or work with multiple clients, Zipbook is good to go. Trading dollars for hours? You can track and assign billable hours. Like Wave, you can handle accounts receivables automatically. Unlike Wave, you can also manage account payables but manually. Tedious but works. Connect all your bank accounts to get an idea of your financial position using automatically generated reports. Zipbook is not available on Android for some reason.
While the Starter plan is good and free, Smarter plan at $15 will let you count billable hours, unlimited bank accounts, and collaboration team members. Sophisticated at $35 will let you add geo-tags to projects, add labels, secure document sharing, and bank reconciliation. Need a personal bookkeeper? Get the Services plan at $125.
- Bank reconciliation
- Account Receivable
- Manual account payable
- Time tracking
- Connect all accounts
- Personal bookkeeper
- No support for Android
- Not all features free
Download Zipbooks (Freemium, Begins $15)
SlickPie, like other small business accounting and bookkeeping software mentioned in the list above, offers an easy to use interface for users with little to no experience in these matters. I feel SlickPie is more comparable to Wave as it is free to use and offers many of the same features.
There is no limit to the number of users or projects that you can manage with SlickPie, or even businesses. Connect all your bank and credit card accounts to generate reports, and track receivables with the aging report. Unlike Wave, SlickPie lets you track bills payable but manually. This works similar to ZipBooks where you can send and mark bills manually. You can accept payments online although for free bank fee.
SlickPie is available on Android and iOS platform and is available for free but limited to 10 company accounts. Upgrade to Pro plan at $19.95/month to add up to 50 clients.
- Easy to use
- Connect bank accounts
- No limits on projects, accounts, invoices
- Tracks bills payable manually
- No cash flow statements
Get SlickPie (Freemium, Begins $19.95/month)
Worried about sharing your financial details and bank statements with others? This is why a lot of people still use excel sheets and other offline tools. You could consider using GnuCash which is an open-source bookkeeping and accounting app for small businesses. Your data belongs to you.
GnuCash comes with the ability to create and run reports but if you are a coder or a developer, you can create your reports by altering the source code. The community is large and active so you will find help in the forums too. The only app in the list that is capable of running cash flow statements. On the downside, you cannot add more than 1 user which is limiting.
You can create invoices, assign clients, and track receivables easily. With cash flow in mind, GnuCash will let you manage accounts payable, run aging reports and deduct payments to reflect cash on hand/accounts. With security in mind, GnuCash won’t let you connect your banks accounts, however, you can upload statements in the number of formats like QIF and OFX among others manually.
There is no iOS support, only Android, but GnuCash also works on Linux machines apart from Windows and Mac.
- Free and open source
- Works offline
- Generate cash flow statements
- No way to add bank accounts
- Limited to one user only
6. GoDaddy Bookkeeping
A lot of freelancers and online shops owners are working with eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. This is where GoDadday Bookkeeping comes for small businesses comes into the picture. Apart from domain and web hosting solutions, these guys also provide bookkeeping services.
GoDaddy will connect with popular eCommerce merchants and pull in data to create necessary reports. You can create, mark invoices and also calculate quarterly taxes on the move. GoDaddy Bookkeeping is more suitable if you are operating in the US though.
There is no way to manage multiple projects or add multiple users. More suited for freelancers and solopreneurs working with the supported list of eCommerce platforms. A niche product, if you will. You can not only track billable hours but also mileage.
GoDaddy Bookkeeping for small businesses is available online and for Android and iOS devices. Starter plan at $4.99 is the cheapest. For $9.99, you can also calculate taxes and add bank accounts, and for $14.99 you can create recurring invoices. GoDaddy Bookkeeping offers one of the cheapest solutions.
- Connects with eCommerce platforms
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Connect bank accounts
- Calculate taxes
- Can’t add more than one project
Download GoDaddy Bookkeeping (Starts $4.99/month)
No list of accounting and bookkeeping apps and software can be complete without Quickbooks which is owned by Intuit. One of the most popular and feature-rich bookkeeping solution that is scalable and suitable for both startups and large enterprises.
Usual features like connecting bank accounts, collecting payments, creating and tracking invoices and managing reports are all there. The first plan is Self-Employed targeted at freelancers and solopreneurs. You can’t pay bills or manage payrolls but accept payments and connect bank accounts. Costs $17/month.
Simple Start is for small businesses with no team or user access needs but need advanced financial reporting (20 types) and handles payroll processing. Still no support for accounts payable and limited bank and credit card accounts. Costs $20/month.
Essential Plan is where you can add users and share data and reports with others, manage payroll, and also accounts payable. It can also print checks and there are 40 types of reports to generate. I am not even sure what they can be! Costs $35/month.
Finally, there is the Plus Plan that is suitable if you have multiple products and inventory to track, need more users on-board, and create forecasts. Costs $60/month.
- Connect bank accounts
- Track inventory, payables
Download Quickbooks ( begins $17)
Which is the best Accounting Software for Small Business?
There are many other solutions available in the market but they are either similar in nature to the ones reviewed above or aren’t bringing anything new to the table.
If you need an open-source solution because privacy is on your mind, try GnuCash. Not feature rich but will get the job done.
If you need a free tool that lets you do pretty much all the basic tasks like accept payments and create reports, try Wave or ZipBooks. Both are free and work amazingly well.
If you need a scalable solution with support for inventory and assets, try Quickbooks.
For freelancers or a solopreneurs, Wave and Freshbooks are better options.
And finally, if you are working with eCommerce giants, GoDaddy Bookkeeping is ideal for you.