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The 8 best accounting software programs for small businesses

Stop spending hours crunching numbers for your business, and use these accounting programs to make small business bookkeeping a breeze.

July 17, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

It’s the end of the month, and you’re crunching numbers to balance your books. 

You see numbers and sums even when you close your eyes. 

And let’s not even talk about how stressed you feel during tax time. 

If you’re tired of having to sort through document after document and entering hundreds of numbers, but you aren’t quite ready to hire a full-time accountant or bookkeeper, consider today’s saving grace: 

Accounting software.

Accounting programs are an essential small business tool for a reason --  they make managing your business finances much easier than using a spreadsheet or pencil and paper. 

Plus, they’re less expensive than hiring an accountant or bookkeeper.  

Sounds like a fantastic solution, right?

Let’s check out eight of the best small business accounting software programs everyone from solopreneurs to big entrepreneurs love. 

8 small business accounting software programs 

Tool #1: FreshBooks

Used by over 24 million people, FreshBooks lets you track and categorize expenses. You can also send customized invoices, accept payments via credit card and automated clearing houses (ACH), and send reminders to clients. 

FreshBooks also offers financial reports and lets you use time tracking, so you can bill more accurate invoices. Plus, an official time tracking system helps you and your team identify distractions and other time sinks. 

FreshBooks makes it a cinch to invite your accountant to view your account and help your business file the relevant taxes or make more informed financial moves, too. 

Finally, if you don’t have an accountant or bookkeeper, FreshBooks can put you in touch with a bookkeeping representative

Features:

  • Conduct bank reconciliation with imports and categorized expenses 
  • Scan and upload receipts
  • Project expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Invite your accountant to access your FreshBooks account
  • Accept credit card and ACH payments
  • Create customized proposals and invoices
  • Request deposits on your invoice 

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who bill hourly for their services 
  • Creators who want an all-in-one accounting program for managing their business’ time and finances 

Free trial:

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $180 per year or $15 per month
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $600 per year or $50 per month
  • Customized plans are available 

Tool #2: QuickBooks

Along with FreshBooks, QuickBooks is one of the most popular small business accounting options on the market. 

It lets you connect your bank and credit card accounts and import and categorize your transactions to potentially claim more deductions. QuickBooks claims to save users an average of $3,534 in tax savings per year.

One of QuickBooks’ most notable features is its sales tax rate functionality, where it applies the correct sales tax rate to your sale based on the product and the sale location. You can also generate a sales tax liability report for a birds-eye view of your taxable and non-taxable sales.

QuickBooks’ more expensive plans provide features like time tracking, project profitability tracking, and multiple users. There are also supplementary programs for managing payroll, payments, and more. 

Features:

  • Track income and expenses 
  • Manage sales and sales tax
  • Import expenses and categorize them to maximize your potential deductions
  • Take photos of business receipts 
  • Send invoices and estimates 
  • Prepare and file 1099s for contractors 

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who are looking for an accounting program that makes it easier to track and pay their taxes and maximize their deductions 
  • Creators who want a feature-packed accounting program that they can add supplementary products to, such as payroll or live bookkeeping, as their financial needs grow 

Free trial:

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $25 per month without an annual commitment.
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $150 per month without an annual commitment.

Tool #3: Kashoo

If you’re looking for a solid accounting program as a non-accountant, Kashoo is a great option. 

Even if you only talk to their accountants during tax time, Kashoo helps you manage your finances the rest of the time. 

Kashoo provides virtually all of the features a small business needs, such as expense tracking, sales tax summaries, and the ability to sort your expenses. The platform even categorizes them for you. 

Even better, Kashoo users can connect to over 5,000 financial institutions worldwide, send invoices, and view financial reports. 

Features:

  • Track expenses
  • Categorize expenses automatically
  • Make automatic deposits to your bank account
  • Customize invoices 
  • Email invoices from Kashoo 
  • Create sales tax summaries 
  • Sort personal and business expenses 
  • Unlimited users 
  • Connect with over 5,000 banks worldwide

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who want a program that categorizes their expenses and memorizes their preferences
  • Creators looking for a secure and encrypted accounting program to connect their financial accounts

Free trial:

Pricing:

  • Kashoo is $199 per year or $19.95 per month

Tool # 4: Wave

Wave is a free accounting tool that lets users access their data anytime and on any device. 

You can connect unlimited bank accounts and credit cards, track unlimited transactions, expenses, and invoices, and scan receipts.

Wave lets you send bill and invoice reminders, which helps you receive payments on time, too. 

Lastly, you can organize your expenses, income, invoices, and payments across multiple businesses. For the serial solopreneurs out there, this is an easy choice.

Features:

  • Manage multiple businesses from one account
  • Make unlimited bank and credit card connections
  • Track income and expenses
  • Customize invoice and receipt scanning
  • Accept payments in foreign currencies 
  • Customize sales taxes 
  • Organize your income, expenses, invoices, and payments 
  • Send bill and invoice reminders
  • Manage double-entry accounting

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who want a feature-rich free accounting program
  • Creators who accept multiple payments per month and need assistance managing and categorizing them
  • Anyone with more than one business to manage

Free trial:

Pricing:

  • Wave is free for the “Accounting” plan 
  • Wave’s “Payments” plan is pay-per-use and charges between 2.9% plus $0.30 per Visa, Mastercard, and Discover transaction, 3.4% plus $0.30 per American Express transaction, and 1% per bank transaction
  • Wave’s “Payroll” plan charges a $20 monthly base fee for tax service states and $35 monthly base fee for self-service states

Tool #5: Xero 

Xero is another accounting tool that lets you keep your business finances in order. 

Besides standard features, like categorized transactions and invoicing, business owners can calculate sales tax and submit sales tax returns. Xero users can also accept payments and pay bills within the platform. 

Perhaps most helpfully, if you’re a creator who’s thinking of branching into consulting or project-based work to complement your digital product income, Xero’s online quotes and project spending tools can help you stay on budget. 

Features:

  • Connect your bank to Xero
  • Record, claim, and manage expenses and receipts 
  • Categorize transactions 
  • Complete bank reconciliation 
  • Create online invoices, including the option of a “pay now” tool
  • Automate invoice reminders
  • Track project spending 
  • Prepare and submit your taxes with Xero 
  • Calculate sales tax for your sales and business purchases

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators who want a program to help them calculate their sales tax obligation
  • Creators who use consulting or project-based work to supplement their income -- you can send a quote in minutes from your phone

Free trial:

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $9 per month 
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $60 per month 

Tool #6: OneUp

If the other programs on this list come with more features and functions that you need, then check out OneUp. OneUp comes with essential features like categorizing entries, invoicing, and calculating sales tax, so you can cover your basic accounting needs with ease. 

As an added bonus, OneUp includes a simplified customer relationship management (CRM) tool so you can manage and nurture leads. 

If you want to leave the more complicated tax and financial issues to your accountant, OneUp makes it easy to coordinate with your accountant. Your accountant can either log into your OneUp account or export your financial information to the software program of their choice. 

Features:

  • Connect to your bank account
  • Manually categorize entries and OneUp will remember these categories in the future 
  • Run daily cash flow and profit information 
  • Calculate sales tax for every period
  • Provide outside accountant with access to OneUp or export info to their preferred program 

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators looking for a slimmer, no-frills accounting program with a price to match 
  • Creators who want a program that can remember expense categories and sort new expenses into them 

Free trial:

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $9 per month
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $169 per month 

Tool #7: Neat

If you’re looking for a straightforward bookkeeping system, consider Neat, which is ideal for creators who feel like they’re drowning in financial paperwork or have mounds of transactions, invoices, and receipts to manage. 

Small business owners can upload bills and email receipts, invoices, and statements, and match documents with bank transactions. Neat will even recommend matches for transactions.

Neat can also turn your uploads into keyword-searchable documents. Even better, you can leave comments on your documents and receive comments from others, such as your accountant. 

Features:

  • Connect to over 10,000 financial institutions
  • Scan, upload, and email bills, invoices, receipts, and statements 
  • Match receipts and invoices with bank transactions and reconcile accounts 
  • Categorize expenses 
  • Make uploaded documents searchable
  • Send items to your accountant from Neat
  • Add and receive comments on documents

Who it’s best for: 

  • Creators looking for a simple bookkeeping program that their accountant can use with them
  • Creators who have many paper invoices, receipts, or other documents they want to upload, search, and comment on, all in one place

Free trial:

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $15 per month
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $75 per month

Tool #8: Sage 50cloud 

Sage 50cloud is a great fit for more established businesses who have a few employees and/or have a mix of product-based income and client project-based income. 

Creatives can manage their cash flow with Sage 50cloud, generate reports about expenses, profits, and sales taxes, and grant secure remote access to others. 

Sage 50cloud also offers advanced security features, like screen-level user access and bank-quality online security, to keep business’ financial information safe and secure. 

The software helps you remain compliant from a legal standpoint, too, including regulations surrounding W-2 and W-4 payroll, small business taxes, nonprofit 501c3 organizations, and more. 

Features:

  • Manage cash flow
  • Manage quotes and proposals for client projects
  • Run reports for sales, profits, expenses, and taxes
  • Designate additional account users
  • Use advanced security features 

Who it’s best for:

  • Creators who have income from both project-based work and products
  • Creators looking for a program that stays up to date with the latest tax regulations and offers advanced security features 

Free trial:

  • Sage 50cloud doesn’t offer a free trial, though it does offer a test drive that allows you to explore the program 

Pricing:

  • The lowest-paid plan starts at $503.23 per year or $50.58 per month 
  • The highest-paid plan starts at $1,981.75 per year or $197.55 per month

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Reclaim your time and sanity with these 8 accounting tools

If you’re tired of managing your business’ finances solo, the good news is there are plenty of solopreneur-friendly accounting programs to use that won’t break the bank. 

Eight accounting tools for small business owners to consider are:

  • #1. FreshBooks for creators who want a popular program that provides all of the accounting features they need to manage their business’ books 
  • #2. QuickBooks for businesses that want an established program with the option of purchasing complementary programs later on 
  • #3. Kashoo for brands that want a feature-rich program that’s easy for non-accountants to use
  • #4. Wave for those who want a feature-packed free accounting tool 
  • #5. Xero for businesses looking for a reasonably priced accounting program that gives daily updates about their company’s financial situation 
  • #6. OneUp for creators who want a no-frills accounting program with a modest price tag
  • #7. Neat for business owners who are looking for a bookkeeping program to help them organize and manage transactions and receipts
  • #8. Sage 50cloud for more established businesses in search of a secure program that keeps up to date with business and tax regulations

May you manage your business’ incomes and expenses with much less stress. 

Looking to relieve even more stress? Simplify other aspects of your business by signing up for a no-obligation 14-day trial with Podia. See for yourself how it makes selling digital products and managing your online business easy-peasy.

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