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Best Accounting Software for 2021

Susan Honea

Susan Honea – 8 years experience helping businesses with bookkeeping, tax preparation and auditing

Last updated: March 5, 2021

If you are a contractor, self-employed or running a business then you may find accounting daunting. We take a look at the best accounting software (free and paid) to keep your finances in check.

Best Accounting Software

Running a business brings with it the job of watching finances. Accounting software provides an owner help with important tasks, such as tracking income and expenses and preparing to file taxes. Since accounting software can be expensive and require a lot of effort to learn, it’s important to choose a comfortable fit for you. The list below will orient you to some options and hopefully help you in choosing your best fit.

There is a myriad of accounting software offerings these days, so before you select a product, you’ll want to identify the needs of your business. Each software has its benefits, and one size does not fit all. For example, certain products are better for small businesses than others, while other products may have significantly more features than you need. Some questions to ask yourself include the following:

  • How many people need to have access to your books?
  • Do you prefer cloud accounting, mobile accounting, desktop accounting, or a combination?
  • What price range is reasonable for you?
  • Do you need something that’s scalable and can grow with your business?
  • Do you have employees for whom you need to prepare payroll?
  • Do you need a built-in client relationship management system?

Take a moment to consider what you need in accounting software, and then read on to learn more about the features of some of the most popular options.

Best accounting software for 2021: the snapshot

  1. Intuit QuickBooks Online: Best overall accounting software for 2021. There are reasons QuickBooks remains ever popular—it’s easy to use and affordable. It’s also the best-known of the products on this list, and its spacious, aesthetically pleasing look sets a high bar for what business money management apps can do.
  2. Oracle NetSuite: Most flexible accounting software for 2021. Sophisticated, scalable, and a customizable option for small to mid-sized enterprises (SME). NetSuite is considered the #1 cloud-based enterprise resource planning system. With its integrated financials, client relationship management, and e-commerce platforms, it can do nearly anything you need it to do.
  3. FreshBooks: Best accounting software for the self-employed. Primary features are invoicing clients and receiving payments and paying bills. Simple but plenty powerful enough for anyone who is self-employed or runs a micro-business.
  4. Accounting by Wave: Most cost-effective accounting software. A free product (yes, free!), Wave is cloud-based, offers a simple interface and easy setup, and allows for project-based accounting and fixed asset management. The goal is to help the business owner prep for tax time. It’s simple, reliable, and secure with a lot of focus on data security protocols.
  5. FinancialForce: Best accounting software for sales-focused organizations. A cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system built on the Salesforce platform. If your business is customer-centric, and you already use Salesforce to manage your client relationships (or are considering it), FinancialForce’s robust opportunity pipeline may be your best choice.
  6. Sage 50cloud Accounting: Formerly known as Peachtree Accounting, Sage 50cloud Accounting has a proven track record stretching back over four decades. Features include the power of a desktop solution with remote access, easy compliance with tax and payroll laws, and powerful inventory management.
  7. Xero: Integrates with hundreds of third-party apps and supports multi-currency transactions, job costing, inventory management, legal billing, quoting/pricing management, and depreciation schedules for fixed asset management.
  8. GoDaddy Bookkeeping: Go-Daddy is a low-cost option with plentiful features that include the ability to project quarterly taxes, an intuitive dashboard with easy to navigate menus, along with excellent tools for invoicing. Etsy and eBay online retailers will appreciate the direct integration with their platforms.
  9. Sage Intacct: Sage Intacct is a good option for businesses that have outgrown other products’ capabilities. Intacct includes core financial functions, multi-entity management, industry-specific dashboards, budgeting and planning tools, and HR and sales product integrations.
  10. Kashoo: Organized, simplified, and streamlined business functions help users eliminate repetitive tasks. Through a standardized workflow management system, all client communications—including invoices, estimates, contracts, and emails—become professional, efficient, and consistent.

Need more information about each? Read on for longer reviews that include the following:

  • Key Accounting Functionality
  • Ease of Use
  • Who’s It Best for?
  • Pros and Cons
  • Cost Considerations

Best accounting software for 2021 reviewed

1. QuickBooks Online

Price from $8.00/mo
Free Trial 30 Days

Best overall accounting software for 2021

Key accounting functionality
QuickBooks Online is well-known for its comprehensive approach to double-entry accounting, but it’s appropriate for businesses of all sizes—even those with very limited accounting needs. Based on a general ledger with a customizable chart of accounts, QuickBooks Online offers accounts receivable and offers online payments via ACH and credit card. Expense tracking is available at all levels, but full accounts payable functionality and budgeting are only available to Plus and Essentials users.

QuickBooks Online’s machine learning, which drives the bank reconciliation process, saves users lots of time and reduces manual input error by remembering transactions and automatically categorizing them going forward. Users can also scan (or snap pics of) and upload receipts, which helps with tax preparation—no more handing a shoebox of papers to the accountant at the end of the year!

While W-2 payroll does incur an extra cost, businesses can track and manage 1099 contractors easily at all QuickBooks Online levels. In addition, sales tax tracking, estimates, and mileage tracking are all available at all levels, and Plus and Advanced users will also enjoy built-in time tracking and inventory management features.

Ease of use
The clean, crisp design and the resulting ease of use make QuickBooks Online the most popular choice among accounting software options. The interface and navigation form the basis of a user-friendly experience. Users will find it flexible with add-on options, as well. Intuit also offers a handy mobile app for both iOS and Android users, and while it’s not a fully-functioning version of QuickBooks Online, anyone with an internet connection can sign into the full version using a browser on a mobile device.

The QuickBooks Online website offers the opportunity to “test drive” the product with a sample company, along with an extensive catalog of video tutorials, plus webinars and training classes, to help you learn the ropes. Plus, the odds are that you know someone who is already using and knows how to navigate QuickBooks Online. And, if you need it, QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is a monthly bookkeeping subscription—a knowledgeable bookkeeping team does most of the work for you.

Who’s it best for?
Almost anyone can find a suitable version of QuickBooks Online as there are different functionality levels—from a Simple Start version to a comprehensive Advanced package. Typical users range from micro to midsize businesses, but users in all different industries will find that QuickBooks Online can meet their needs.

Current QuickBooks Desktop users own the software without recurring fees each month, have full use of it offline, avoid storing company data at Intuit, and seamlessly move data out of Desktop and into QuickBooks Online. On the other hand, users who started with or migrated to QuickBooks Online currently have no way to move data into QuickBooks Desktop. As such, while QuickBooks Desktop users may want to have full access to their accounting platform online, they’ll need to consider whether the subscription model is worth it and whether QuickBooks Online provides the functionality they require.

In addition, QuickBooks Online is limited to one company per subscription, and while it’s not ideal for accountants or bookkeepers with multiple clients, QuickBooks Online Accountant provides that umbrella functionality and integrates seamlessly with Intuit ProConnect, allowing for faster tax return preparation each year.

Cost Considerations
QuickBooks Online offers a 30-day free trial for the cloud-based version, which is ample time to get a good sense of what the product can do for you and what you can do with it. QuickBooks currently offers several tiers, with each tier increasing features, number of users, and cost. The Advanced level offers users the benefit of a dedicated account manager and online training on demand.

Play your cards right, and you may be able to get a “Limited time only” discount for the online version. If you are working with an accountant, you may be able to save money by purchasing your subscription through that firm instead of directly from Intuit.

QuickBooks also offers desktop versions customers can purchase outright. If your Internet connection or speed or stability are not always the best, this may be the right choice for you. The Windows versions are scalable, so they are good options for growing businesses. The Mac version is not scalable and is functionally limited compared to the Windows version. And, you’ll need to purchase an upgraded version every three years since Intuit limits support on older desktop products.

Things we liked:

  • iOS and Android mobile apps
  • Customizable reports
  • Clean user interface
  • Multiple pricing levels
  • Easy reconciliation process

Things we didn’t like:

  • Becomes expensive with increasing functionalities
  • Can’t move data from Online to Desktop
  • Limited number of users

2. Oracle NetSuite

Most flexible accounting software for 2021

Key accounting functionality
Oracle NetSuite’s accounting functionality includes the core accounting features any business would need. Those features include accounts payable with online bill pay (including EFT), accounts receivable, a general ledger, billing and invoicing, payroll, and access for multiple users. Users will appreciate the automated billing workflow that allows recurring billing, along with time- and project-based capability. NetSuite can automatically send invoices after an order is completed. Billing can be customized to accommodate individual, subscription, and usage-based transactions or some combination of all three.

A financial planning module includes budgeting and forecasting capability, along with cash-flow management and project-based accounting features. Budgeting is flexible in that it can be done by location, department, team, or project. Reporting capability includes more than 100 standard reports, along with customizable reports.

Ease of Use
NetSuite is more than just accounting software. It’s a powerful ERP platform. User consensus indicates that implementing NetSuite successfully is dependent upon finding a good provider to partner with. NetSuite has a bit of a learning curve, and users frequently mention the CloudFoundation’s free NetSuite course.

The dashboard view enables a real-time glance at key information and can be customized by user role. NetSuite also streamlines overall business processes, simplifying reporting, analytics, and decision-making while also incorporating operations, HR, and marketing functions into a central platform. Even with the learning curve, having this dashboard-type view of the business is attractive to business owners because it makes overall management tasks easier to accomplish.

Who’s it best for? 
If your business has inventory, or if you’re a manufacturer or need purchasing capabilities, NetSuite is an all-in-one solution for you. The robust supply chain and order management processes help business owners reduce costs and improve profitability.

Oracle NetSuite bills itself as “the #1 Cloud Business Platform.” It is a customizable, flexible, and scalable option that can grow with a business. Fast-growing businesses that want a fully-integrated yet customizable system will appreciate NetSuite; however, any company that wants software on premises will not be pleased with NetSuite’s cloud-only focus.

Cost Considerations 
Because NetSuite offers unique product configurations, determining the price can be challenging. Oracle does not post its pricing online. A free demo is available.

Keep in mind that NetSuite offers a one-stop solution for financial management, project management, inventory management, and payroll, so customers will save money on integrating other systems.

Things we liked:

  • Fully integrated platform
  • Powerful ERP solution
  • Fully scalable
  • Automated and customizable processes
  • Fixed asset management

Things we didn’t like:

  • Expensive
  • Only available in a cloud version
  • Steep learning curve and marginal support

3. FreshBooks

Price from $4.50/mo
Free Trial 30 days

Best accounting software for the self-employed 

Key accounting functionality
Core accounting functions available in FreshBooks include accounts receivable and general ledger. While there is no accounts payable capability per se, there are ways to work around that. FreshBooks features an invoicing workflow from estimate to proposal to invoice. Invoices can be customized, and if time and expenses are tracked through FreshBooks, those can be set to go to the appropriate invoice. Users can choose to do invoicing and payment collection through FreshBooks software or through Stripe.

More advanced plans enable automatic reminders and late fees. These plans can also provide a retainer function that invoices hours worked beyond the original retainer amount. Expenses can be tracked easily with the bank integration provided by FreshBooks, which updates and categorizes expenses automatically each day. Trial and balance sheets provide insight into the business, as well. FreshBooks includes multi-currency, multi-language, and even multi-entity support. FreshBooks also boasts strong project management features.

FreshBooks doesn’t include payroll functionality itself, but it can integrate with payroll apps like Gusto and Payment Evolution with ease. It also includes time and attendance tracking, which can help mitigate the issue of having no native payroll functionality. The budgeting feature is limited to the project level, and there is no inventory management.

Ease of Use
The FreshBooks website touts this software as “Ridiculously Easy to Use.” Living up to the hype, FreshBooks was designed specifically as an invoicing software for business owners, not accountants. As such, it is intuitive and known for its usability.

Not too long ago, FreshBooks was redesigned (some customers still refer to the current version as “New FreshBooks”) to include double-entry accounting, along with other features. However, the new version seems to be more difficult to use than FreshBooks Classic (as the older version is called). FreshBooks has responded to these challenges by updating the new version regularly and significantly improving the issues users have reported.

FreshBooks is also known for its friendly customer service. If you have a question, FreshBooks is quick to respond, and every FreshBooks employee is required to serve in an in-house customer service role for a period of time so that they all understand what customers need and want and where they need help. Clearly, FreshBooks wants to help its users succeed with the software.

Who’s it best for?
FreshBooks is popular among small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and freelancers. The website targets both entrepreneurs and teams. Startups and consultancies with minimal accounting needs—primarily invoicing and expense tracking—will love the ease of FreshBooks and its almost non-existent learning curve. For companies with multiple users, FreshBooks might not be the best choice given that the monthly subscription plans only allow one user, and there are no permission controls for additional user profiles that can be purchased.

Cost Considerations
FreshBooks’s prices increase with the number of billable clients. More than 500 clients requires Custom Pricing, which comes with a personal account manager, customized training, and lower rates for credit card transactions. As with QuickBooks, users can watch for sales to secure as much as half-price savings. These plans serve one user; adding more users adds to the cost.

FreshBooks isn’t the cheapest option out there, but the 30 day free trial should help users decide if it’s worth the investment.

Things we liked:

  • Fantastic customer service
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Automated bank feed
  • Continuous product improvement efforts
  • Cost-effective, overall

Things we didn’t like:

  • Project-level budgeting only
  • Most plans only allow one user
  • No accounts payable feature or native payroll

4. Wave 

Price from FREE/mo

Most cost effective accounting software

Key accounting functionality
For a free option, Wave is rather impressive in its offerings. Don’t let the price fool you. It’s a double-entry accounting software that includes the functionality most small or even medium-sized businesses would need, including unlimited clients, expense (and billable expense) tracking, automatic payment reminders, and bank and credit card feeds. Estimates can be converted to invoices, which can be customized and set to recurring. Wave Money provides a business bank account and integrates seamlessly with the accounting software.

Wave’s reports feature both accrual and cash reporting methods. It’s not the most robust option in terms of reporting, but it does enable profit and loss, trial balance, cash flow, and sales tax reports. For a monthly fee, Wave can also include payroll functionality.

Ease of Use
Navigation is easy with Wave, and the dashboard provides a good overview of one’s business. Wave automates and simplifies several aspects of a business’s financial functions, including recurring invoices, converting estimates to invoices, and rules for expense tracking and bank downloads. Wave also includes a basic contact management system, so there’s no need to have separate software for that purpose.

Wave provides multiple customer support options, but if you need an immediate answer, you’ll likely need to self-serve in the Help Center. Recently, the Wave Community launched, and users are now helping each other, which can be both good and bad.

Who’s it best for?
Small businesses and start-ups are the most likely candidates for Wave. It’s not really scalable, so larger businesses won’t find it as useful. It integrates directly with Etsy, Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress, making it an ideal solution for bloggers and small eCommerce businesses. It’s also a good solution for companies that work with contract employees; its new 1099 module is a welcome addition for small consultancies and other service-based businesses.

Wave is best for companies with smaller budgets for software; the good news is that Wave is likely to provide plenty of accounting power for the vast majority of lower-budget organizations. Plus, payroll, payment processing, and live bookkeeping, accounting, and tax support are available for reasonable fees if your company needs those functions.

Cost Considerations
Wave is free, so that’s a price that’s hard to beat. In addition, it’s ad-free. The only extras for which users would incur costs are payroll options, payment processing, access to an advisor (one-time or monthly), and Workers Comp.

Things we liked:

  • The basic platform is free
  • Supports multiple companies
  • Easy to learn navigation
  • Strong multi-currency support
  • Regional sales tax/VAT features

Things we didn’t like:

  • Not scalable for a growing business
  • Limited to a single user
  • Insufficient mobile apps

5. FinancialForce

Best for sales-focused organizations

Key accounting functionality
FinancialForce is a powerhouse accounting software that makes complete sense for existing users of Salesforce since they are built on the same platform and integrate seamlessly to share records and workflows across departments. Together, they form a complete ERP. Most suitable for medium-sized businesses, FinancialForce streamlines the process of converting quotes to orders and then to invoices.

Accounting functionality includes what one would expect: accounts payable, accounts receivable, and a general ledger, yet it also includes payroll. Rules, workflows, and automations are customizable for efficiency and productivity. Bank reconciliation can also be automated, and multi-currency, multi-entity, and multi-location support is included.

Additional accounting functions include detailed budgeting, forecasting, and consolidation across departments and entities. Not only does FinancialForce provide a manufacturing module and inventory tracking, but it can be set to reorder items automatically. FinancialForce provides robust reporting capability and allows real-time insight into financial information.

Ease of Use
Users familiar with Salesforce should find FinancialForce easier to learn than those who aren’t existing Salesforce users. The interface may not be as intuitive as other software, and some users—again, such as those unfamiliar with Salesforce—may find it complex and even overwhelming at first. The FinancialForce website provides extensive support in the form of training materials (videos, webinars), guides, and community access. Also, “Success Plans” include a free Standard plan and a Premier plan available by subscription to keep users and software working together efficiently. The reporting app can be difficult to navigate but is the only way to customize reports for specific audiences and purposes.

Who’s it best for?
Users who want smooth integration with Salesforce, with the ability to easily share customer records and common workflows across departments, will be drawn to FinancialForce. Direct database manipulation ability and API integration provide tremendous flexibility for customization. Combined operations and finance functions offer insight into business health, and FinancialForce streamlines financial management through automation.

Role-based access is helpful in larger organizations where many people need to be able to see their area’s specific functionality but not that of other areas. Through the Chatter collaboration tool in FinancialForce, users can comment on workflows and cooperate productively on projects, a handy feature for a larger business with scattered personnel.

The efficiency of adding FinancialForce to Salesforce will appeal to some organizations. Typical customers appear to range from mid-size businesses to global entities. In addition, FinancialForce is ideal for multinational businesses. Although FinancialForce is designed for larger companies, small companies may like its sales-focused functionality.

Cost Considerations
Like Salesforce, FinancialForce is easily customizable, but costs for customization can be steep and implementation can be difficult. Upgrades are frequent and can be buggy and subsequent testing can be difficult. Therefore, in-house development staff and/or an administrator may be required, further adding to the cost. Price can vary because FinancialForce comes with as few or as many options as the user wants. In addition, types of users and level of access for users can impact price. Potential users will need to contact FinancialForce to learn more.

Things we liked:

  • Built in integration with the Salesforce platform
  • Highly customizable
  • Powerful inventory management function
  • Multiple dashboards and filters
  • Supportive staff

Things we didn’t like:

  • Prone to user error; training is essential
  • Initial setup lengthy and challenging
  • Learning curve

6. Sage 50cloud Accounting

Score 6
Price from $50.58/mo

Apps Available

Special Deal

Save 40% on the annual subscription

Key accounting functionality
Sage 50cloud is a versatile accounting software option that almost any business would find effective. Sage 50cloud offers strong accounting functionality with the income and expense features one would expect. Invoices are customizable and easy to duplicate or set as recurring. 

Bank and credit card feeds are enabled, but because it’s short on the machine learning available elsewhere, expense tracking is basic in that it requires manual categorization of expenses. Once categories are assigned, users can match the transactions to those downloaded from the bank, thus enabling automatic reconciliation.

Sage 50cloud does offer payroll as an add-feature (meaning it costs extra), along with direct deposit. Many different reports are available with Sage 50cloud, and they can all be customized. A helpful feature of Sage 50cloud reports is that they are interactive in that the user can click through an entry to view the underlying details. However, while reporting capabilities are comprehensive, users will sometimes have to run multiple reports and combine them manually to get the information they want or need.

Ease of use
Sage provides graphic workflows and online tutorials to help new users understand processes. It is a robust solution for a growing business. The wrinkle here is that Sage 50cloud may be too simple for a large company, but the product is clearly designed primarily for dedicated accountants, which might not be present at a smaller company. Companies without at least one accountant on staff (or a CFO with accounting experience) may find Sage 50cloud challenging to use.

Who’s it best for?
Sage 50cloud Accounting is ideal for companies of 1 to 50 employees, and it requires minimal customization to get up and running. Limited documentation and poor overall support mean that the user will need more accounting capabilities to succeed. If your company doesn’t employ an accountant, Sage 50cloud might not be the best product for you. In addition, although it’s fully cloud-based, Sage 50cloud only recently introduced Sage 50cloud Capture mobile apps for iOS and Android. The mobile apps are limited functionally, but it’s reasonable to assume that Sage will continue to focus development efforts in the mobile space.

Cost Considerations
Like most accounting software offerings, Sage 50cloud offers a range of packages that increase in price with the number of users. Another pricing consideration is that updates and upgrades are expensive.

Things we liked:

  • Strong accounting functions
  • Strong reporting capabilities
  • Supports multiple companies
  • Versatile solution for smaller businesses
  • Easy implementation process

Things we didn’t like:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Tax code formulas calculate inconsistently
  • Sometimes challenging to integrate other software

7. Xero

Website www.xero.com
Price from $9.00/mo
Free Trial 30 days

Key accounting functionality
Xero brings with it double-entry accounting, a customizable chart of accounts, accounts receivable, accounts payable, billing and invoicing, expense tracking, purchase orders, and project tracking. Templates for invoices can be customized and reminders automated. Quotes and estimates convert to invoices easily, and Xero can be set up to automatically create and send invoices, along with reminders. Invoices can be saved as modifiable templates, too.

Time tracking requires integration with Harvest, and mileage also requires a third-party app, but both are available for modest monthly fees. Like most best accounting software contenders, Xero offers bank feeds and reconciliations. In addition, Xero includes inventory, fixed asset, and contact management.

Xero includes inventory and purchase order management. Report (and invoice) customization is easy with drag and drop capability, a bonus feature typically not found elsewhere. Users can mark and save “favorited” reports, sharing them within the organization and (via email) outside the user group as well. Payroll can be added to Xero through app integration (Gusto, for example).

In fact, one of Xero’s best features is its ability to connect to so many different apps via the Xero App Marketplace. Currently, Xero allows connections to more than 800 apps, making it the most versatile and customizable product on this list.

Ease of use
Xero is super easy to use with no technical or accounting skills necessary. With its clean and clear layout, the user interface is effortless to navigate. The automatic bank feed function makes managing daily transactions easy and fast. Xero often offers multiple ways to do the same functions (which can be good or bad). Xero does offer excellent user guides and training, along with customer support. Xero offers good accountant integration for end-of-period activities, and regular updates and upgrades are automatically pushed to users.

Xero is accessible by cloud and mobile (Android and iOS), but the search feature within Xero is limited and may prove frustrating for some users. User feedback suggests that Xero could benefit from better chart of accounts setup instructions or a wizard.

Who’s it best for?
Small to medium-sized businesses, including start-ups with no accountant on staff, can benefit from Xero. While it’s not technically designed for accountants, some accountants do use Xero, and there is a certification process (similar to QuickBooks), which is attractive to accountants and bookkeepers. Freelancers may also find this software suitable, as well. As a company grows, it may find that it outgrows Xero’s capabilities, though. Another feature some businesses may appreciate is the user-driven access that allows administrators to limit feature access or grant full visibility.

Cost Considerations
Xero is a cost-effective and affordable option, with even the most expensive plan coming in under the cost of most software. Xero will allow you to try the software for free for 30 days.

Things we liked:

  • Excellent audit trail functionality
  • Completely paperless capability
  • Strong cash flow reporting functionality
  • Drag-and-drop customization
  • Lots of features for a reasonable price

Things we didn’t like:

  • Some functionality limited compared to other products
  • Limited multi-currency functionality
  • Not scalable

8. GoDaddy Bookkeeping

Key accounting functionality
GoDaddy Bookkeeping, previously known as Outright, doesn’t include double-entry accounting, so its main selling point is really ease of use, and it’s a popular choice for online sellers and the small sole proprietor. GoDaddy Bookkeeping does provide profit and loss reporting and invoicing. Its middle monthly plan allows users to import bank and credit card transactions, too. GoDaddy Bookkeeping also integrates seamlessly with Stripe and PayPal.

Recurring invoices require enrolling in the top tier of GoDaddy Bookkeeping’s plans, but time tracking and mileage tracking are basic features available across the board. Billable expenses can then be added to invoices, saving time and cutting down on manual entry errors. Reporting is available at the second and third tiers of monthly plans, but these reports, aside from the profit and loss statement, tend to serve the needs of online sellers: sales, fees, invoice statuses, income, and expenses (the latter two available in the highest tier).

There is no payroll option available, and GoDaddy Bookkeeping notes on its website that their target demographic doesn’t need this feature. A payroll “service” can be added through creation of an account in the software where wages and liabilities are recorded, and while it’s not a perfect workaround, it does suffice for smaller companies with few employees.

Ease of use
One of the motivating factors in GoDaddy Bookkeeping’s development was creating a simple-to-use, web-based accounting application. Small businesses and freelancers lacking time to learn a complicated accounting software are the target customers for this application. Customers will have little trouble mastering the variety of tools in the GoDaddy Bookkeeping package, including estimating quarterly taxes and easy time entry.

Who’s it best for?
GoDaddy Bookkeeping is ideal for small start-ups and companies, freelancers, or home-based businesses. As a business grows, customers may find they have outgrown the GoDaddy Bookkeeping application. However, GoDaddy Bookkeeping has continued to add enhanced functionality, so it may grow with companies in the future.

Cost Considerations
Not only is GoDaddy Bookkeeping functional and easy to use, but it is also extremely affordable. No free trial is currently available, but potential customers can access a demo. GoDaddy Bookkeeping divides pricing into three tiers —“Get Paid,” “Essentials,” and “Premium.’ The price ranges from cheap to reasonable.

Things we liked:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Very easy to use with an intuitive interface
  • Easy to use reports provide users with detailed insight
  • Seamless integration with online selling tools
  • Billable expense tracking

Things we didn’t like:

  • No double-entry accounting
  • No free trial
  • No payroll integration

9. Sage Intacct

Key accounting functionality
Sage Intacct’s powerful core accounting capabilities cover accounts payable, accounts receivable, a general ledger, cash and order management, bank feeds, and purchasing. Many of the daily financial functions of a business can be automated through Sage Intacct, notably accounts payable and receivable. One drawback to Sage’s accounting functionality is that the chart of accounts cannot be customized easily.

Sage Intacct includes the standard reports most companies need and helps users track cash flow from the dashboard. Reports are highly flexible and can be customized. The data slicing possibilities are a big selling point for Sage Intacct.

In addition, Sage Intacct provides inventory and project management tools. Endorsed by AICPA, Sage Intacct has strong fixed asset management capability, which is perhaps its best overall feature. If fixed asset management is important to your business, Sage Intacct is definitely an accounting package to consider.

Ease of use
Sage Intacct is easy to use, but some users have noted that Sage Intacct’s simplicity may cause careless user mistakes. The interface may seem clunky or not designed for accountants, and the software needs an update or visual refresh. Sage Intacct offers limited support for non-accountant users; customer support can be slow to respond, as well.

Who’s it best for?
Sage Intacct will work best for CPA firms and mid-sized organizations with a CFO or accounting or finance teams. Ironically, while Sage Intacct may have more functionality than a company actually needs and it is scalable, it can also be easily outgrown. It’s hard to figure out the sweet spot for a Sage Intacct user.

Those who find Sage Intacct to be a good fit will appreciate its data slicing function, which makes for easy integration with other software. Also, Sage Intacct does not allow for “almost right” accounting, and it requires the user to figure out why things are unbalanced. The fixed chart of accounts is both good and bad in that it eases tax preparation, but it is not customizable, leading to frustration for users who want to make Sage Intacct work within their existing process flows.

Cost Considerations
Potential clients need to contact Sage Intacct to request a price quote via the Sage website. The website does claim that their “award-winning US-based support” means that users will not need to engage IT resources, which saves on expenses.

Things we liked:

  • Robust reporting and data-slicing functionality
  • Easily integrated with other software
  • Excellent fixed asset management tools
  • Automated accounts payable and receivable
  • Built-in inventory and project management tools

Things we didn’t like:

  • Fixed chart of accounts can be frustrating to savvy users
  • Challenging to reconcile out-of-balance books
  • Poor customer support

10. Kashoo

Website www.kashoo.com
Price from $16.65/mo
Free Trial 14 days

Key accounting functions
Kashoo aims to offer simple double-entry accounting with basic features. The software includes income and expensive tracking, payroll integration through Sure, bank integrations, and straightforward reports. A useful sidebar shows real-time data on income and expenses.

A “Bills to Pay” window shows bills that haven’t been paid and allows the user to set bills to recur. The user can also mark invoices and bills as sales or purchase orders. The invoicing feature doesn’t allow much customization, but invoices can be emailed directly to Kashoo. The user can also include sales tax rates.

Day-to-day accounting tasks are made easy through a streamlined process that allows direct data entry of the most common tasks right on the main interface. Kashoo uses machine learning to categorize transactions. Payments can be processed through Stripe, Square, PayPal, and Clover (formerly BluePay), and Kashoo can easily download these transactions.

You won’t get budgeting at the company level or proposals, estimates, or inventory tracking with Kashoo. Still, it includes project-level budgeting, and it can be exported to QuickBooks Online or other products as needed. Payroll functionality requires Paychex, through which SurePayroll or Paychex Payroll can be integrated (in the U.S. In Canada, users must use PaymentEvolution).

Ease of use
Kashoo’s main goal is to be easy to use. Customers with little to no accounting background will find many of Kashoo’s features intuitive. Customers have the option of the web-based version or the iOS application for Apple products. Both versions provide users access anywhere with wi-fi or a cellular hotspot. Kashoo also allows for unlimited users at a very low price, which is a unique and compelling feature. Plus, Kashoo provides online tutorials and excellent customer service.

Who’s it best for?
The features baked into Kashoo make it ideal for small start-ups and home businesses. Kashoo can be exceptionally useful to online retailers with storefronts on Amazon, Etsy, or eBay because of a host of integration features. However, Kashoo features such as integrated bank feeds and credit card processing also make it a solid fit for medium-sized companies.

Cost Considerations
Unlike many applications that charge customers based on the number of transactions or functionality, Kashoo offers a single price for all the features. Customers can see a saving if they subscribe to an annual plan, but customers can also select a month to month plan.

Things we liked:

  • Especially easy to use
  • Wide range of functions, including an iOS version for iPads
  • A single price provides all Kashoo features
  • Unlimited users
  • Automatic bank reconciliations

Things we didn’t like:

  • No Android app is available currently
  • Requires payroll integration
  • No recurring invoice functionality

Frequently Asked Questions about choosing accounting software

Can accounting software file my taxes for me?

No, but it can help you be significantly more organized come tax time.

How much do I need to know about accounting to use accounting software?

Naturally, knowing at least a little about accounting is going to be helpful. Even knowing some basic terms can give you a leg up. Even if you are a novice, there is a software option out there for you. Do your homework by reading the reviews we offer and taking advantage of any free trials available for each software. Refer to the questions above to consider the features you need and don’t need. Take note of providers that offer online videos and training materials, as well.

Why do small businesses need accounting software?

It’s a good idea for a small business to use accounting software. Trying to maintain accounts for your business with paper and pencil is time consuming and leaves you vulnerable to accounting errors. In addition, if you plan to grow at all as a business, you will be glad later that you began with software initially rather than having to play catch-up down the road. Software can help you in maintaining compliance with tax laws, too. Software can also help you maintain control over your business’s finances rather than giving that control to another person.

What is cloud-based accounting software?

Like any cloud-based software, cloud-based accounting software uses applications to access the internet and connect to data stored on remote servers.

Why would I want to store my data in the cloud?

The main reason you want to store your data in the cloud is accessibility. You can access your information easily from different devices and different locations, as long as you have internet access. You’re not tied to the hard drive on a computer. Software updates are easier, and backing up data is automatic. If security is your concern, consider that a computer can be stolen, lost, or broken, and a USB drive used to move information around is vulnerable in the same ways. Cloud-based accounting software companies have a vested interest in maintaining your security. As more and more software providers move into the cloud, desktop accounting software will become obsolete in the near future. Plus, it’s a cheaper way to go.

Should I use free or paid accounting software?

This depends upon your needs. Sometimes free software doesn’t come with a lot of support, so it’s important to consider your own skills here. Also, free options may come with limitations. For example, Wave (free) does charge for account payments and payroll features. Visit the website of any free software you are considering, and study what’s included and what’s not. Does the software provide everything you need? Or will you need to pay for some features important to you? If so, how much?

Can you tell me which accounting software is the best?

Not really, but if you read the reviews, you will be able to make a more educated decision about which is best for you!

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