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Best bookkeeping software for 2020

Susan Honea

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

Last updated: August 13, 2020

Trying to find the right bookkeeping software for your business? We evaluate the best bookkeeping software in 2020 to help you find the right service for your needs.

Best bookkeeping software for 2020

A bookkeeper’s job is to make sure that the records for the business are in order. This means that all transactions are recorded in the ledger, reconciliations are completed in a timely fashion at the end of each month, payroll has been run each pay period, and reports are provided to business owners, managers, or accountants on a regular basis.

Bookkeeping has come a long way since the days of paper ledgers. Nowadays, bookkeepers want intuitive, simple solutions that allow them to do their work quickly and correctly. A bookkeeper shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time entering transactions—especially recurring transactions. And, the bookkeeper should be able to trust that what is being entered is going where it should in a double-entry accounting system.

Since the focus here is on bookkeeping software, this list was developed with bookkeepers—not accountants, and not business owners—in mind. The requirements for each are substantially different. Bookkeepers are administrative personnel who work with the transactions, whereas accountants use the information that bookkeepers enter to evaluate the health of the business and provide advice and insights to business owners. We have a separate article on the best accounting software.

Choosing the right software is an important step. While our reviews can’t tell you which bookkeeping software will ultimately be best, they should point you in the right direction.

Top bookkeeping software: the snapshot

We found these to be the best bookkeeping software options:

  1. QuickBooks Online: Best overall bookkeeping software for 2020. Designed for bookkeepers originally, QuickBooks Online remains a popular choice. With a range of affordable packages, it’s easy to use, flexible, and scalable, while providing strong accounting features needed by bookkeepers.
  2. Xero: Best bookkeeping software for growing businesses. Xero’s automations make daily tasks easier for the bookkeeper. It’s an incredibly customizable offering with robust accounting functionality, and its mobile app offerings make it a strong contender for bookkeepers on the go.
  3. FreshBooks: Best bookkeeping software for freelancers. FreshBooks meets essential bookkeeping needs for invoicing and expense tracking, along with terrific bank integration, project management, and reporting. It’s a straightforward and simple option for bookkeeping needs.
  4. Zoho Books: Best bookkeeping software for mobile users. Zoho Books can be used alone or integrated with the Zoho ecosystem. It’s a powerful option with time-saving features busy bookkeepers will appreciate. Its automatic bank reconciliation features and its quick and easy invoice generation features allow bookkeepers to save time on repetitive tasks.
  5. Wave: Best bookkeeping software for bookkeepers in businesses on a tight budget. Don’t be put off by the price tag (it’s free!). Wave is a powerful accounting software rich in functionality, providing every feature a bookkeeper would need and more.
  6. Sunrise: Best bookkeeping software for companies that don’t need payroll. Sunrise offers a powerful free version, too, that would work well for bookkeepers with no need for payroll, time tracking, or mobile app functionality. Providing double-entry accounting and strong billing and invoicing features, Sunrise is a strong contender for bookkeeper consideration.
  7. Sage 50cloud: Best bookkeeping software for financial reporting. This versatile accounting software option is best suited for the experienced bookkeeper. It’s feature-rich and offers strong financial reporting capability.
  8. Kashoo: Best bookkeeping software for companies that need unlimited users. Bookkeepers who want a simple solution with basic income and expense management functionality will want to explore Kashoo. Although straightforward and easy to use, it does offer double-entry accounting and key functions for keeping the books.
  9. GoDaddy: Best bookkeeping software for online sellers. GoDaddy features cash-based accounting for bookkeepers who don’t need full double-entry accounting functionality. Syncing with Amazon, Etsy, eBay, PayPal, and many banks and credit unions, GoDaddy is meant to serve the bookkeeping needs of the online selling market.
  10. AccountEdge Basic: Best bookkeeping software for desktop installation. Although AccountEdge offers Basic and Pro versions of their desktop software, the basic version provides the functionality a bookkeeper needs and more. Designed to be simple, it is a comprehensive bookkeeping option that packs plenty of power, too.

Best bookkeeping software

1. QuickBooks Online

Price from $8.00/mo
Free Trial 30 Days

Best overall bookkeeping software for 2020

Best for:

As the name implies, QuickBooks was designed with bookkeepers in mind. Originally (and still!) available as a desktop product, QuickBooks quickly became the de facto choice for bookkeepers of all types. Currently, QuickBooks Online is a perennial favorite among bookkeepers and business owners alike, and it tops our list of the best bookkeeping software for 2020. With four subscription options, there’s a version that’s right for most everyone from the smallest micro-business up to a medium sized business that needs to run payroll, manage inventory, and input complex transactions. Bookkeepers will appreciate how easy QuickBooks Online makes double-entry accounting.

Income and Expenses:

A bookkeeper’s main responsibilities are to send invoices and receive income (accounts receivable), pay bills and organize receipts (accounts payable), reconcile the bank accounts at the end of the month, manage cash flow, and run reports. All of these functions are available in the least expensive subscription of QuickBooks Online (Simple Start). In addition, Simple Start users can send estimates that can subsequently be converted to invoices, track sales tax and mileage, and manage 1099 contractors. Simple Start is limited to one user, but users that are keeping books for their own businesses should still have plenty of functionality at this level.

At the higher subscription levels, recurring transactions can be set up, which can save lots of bookkeeping time and effort. In addition, QuickBooks learns transactions as they are entered; this machine learning feature helps with setting up rules and other automatic categorization, limiting the volume of manual transactions significantly over time.

Bank Reconciliations:

QuickBooks Online facilitates a quick bank reconciliation process at the end of each reporting period. For each account that must be reconciled, all you’ll need to do is enter the date of the statement and the ending balance. Then, if you’ve been using the bank feed feature to download your transactions into your register, QuickBooks Online completes the reconciliation process for you, assuming that you’ve matched or added all your downloaded transactions throughout the month.

There are times when some manual interaction is required, but the machine learning process that QuickBooks Online uses saves lots of time. Of course, you can also use a manual reconciliation process if you prefer; the sort and filter options can help you isolate transaction types, time periods, and more, streamlining what used to be a fairly laborious process.

Payroll:

Payroll functionality can be added to any QuickBooks Online subscription, as well. Three tiers of functionality allow bookkeepers to choose the payroll processing level that’s best for the specific company, and the transactions automatically transfer into the right locations in QuickBooks Online. There are also lots of other integrations for any additional functionality that a bookkeeper might require.

Reporting Capabilities:

QuickBooks Online Simple Start provides the reports that most bookkeepers want to see: profit and loss statement, expenses, and balance sheets. Users can also create customized reports as required, and the dashboard view keeps the most common report data in full view at all times.

QuickBooks Online Essentials also includes sales, receivables, and payables reports in its enhanced reporting module. QuickBooks Online Plus adds inventory reports, as well as comprehensive sales and profitability reports. QuickBooks Online Advanced includes a comprehensive set of reports—everything pretty much any bookkeeper could ever need—and introduces a business analytics and insights function, as well.

Most reports can be run with a simple click of a link within the software. Plus, many reports are available in the mobile app.

Other Features:

QuickBooks Online Essentials adds the ability to track time and integrate with an automatic time tracker, TSheets, and includes three concurrent users. And, the next level subscription, QuickBooks Online Plus, adds a bill management, budgeting, project profitability tracking, and inventory management and five concurrent users. The highest level subscription (Advanced) adds bill-pay functionality, batch processing, role-based permissions, and several workflow automations, and it includes 25 concurrent users.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of QuickBooks Online is that it doesn’t offer multi-entity support at any subscription level. If a bookkeeper (or an accountant) is looking to manage multiple QuickBooks Online clients, that can be done using QuickBooks Online Accountant, which also includes a full-featured version of QuickBooks for the bookkeeper to use to manage his or her own income and expenses.

Access:

QuickBooks Online is fully cloud-based. Bookkeeping tasks can be completed anywhere there is an internet connection. The free mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS, makes it easy to manage transactions on the go. A recent upgrade to the mobile app has improved its functionality and ease of use, as well. Bookkeepers who want to use a desktop solution should consider QuickBooks Desktop. It has a steeper learning curve than QuickBooks Online, but transactions can be entered much more quickly in QuickBooks Desktop than in the online version.

Ease of use:

QuickBooks is well-known for its clean, modern interface. It has a fairly short learning curve, and experienced bookkeepers will be able to find the functions they need quickly and easily. The QuickBooks Online User Community comprises a wealth of knowledge about QuickBooks functionality, and bookkeepers who need extra help can complete the QuickBooks ProAdvisor training on their own, watch a wide variety of training videos, or seek assistance from QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping.

Cost:

QuickBooks Online is available as a monthly subscription. It is neither the least nor the most expensive option available. The lower tiers are fairly inexpensive, but if a bookkeeper is working with a company that requires budgeting support or complex transaction classification, a higher tier subscription will be required, increasing the monthly cost. In addition, bookkeepers who need to manage payroll will incur an additional fee each month to integrate that functionality.

Things we liked:

  • Intuitive, modern interface
  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent training options
  • Strong reporting functionality
  • Mobile access

Things we didn’t like:

  • Single entity support
  • Full-featured versions can be cost-prohibitive
  • Payroll costs extra

2. Xero

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

Best bookkeeping software for growing businesses.

Best for:

Xero is a comprehensive accounting platform, but it’s perfect for bookkeepers, too. The features bookkeepers will find helpful include automation tools to reduce the time spent on day-to-day tasks, such as the bank feed and reconciliations, and to streamline recording of recurring transactions, such as invoices and payments. Xero is fully scalable, and with more than 700 app integrations, it can be customized to meet the needs of the vast majority of small to medium sized businesses.

Income and Expenses:

With double-entry accounting at its core, Xero is an excellent choice for any bookkeeper. The setup process is super-simple, and the dashboard view simplifies reporting. Even users without a lot of bookkeeping experience will understand where the business is in terms of cash flow, accounts receivable, and accounts payable—even from the mobile app.

Bill payment features in Xero are comprehensive, and bills can even be scheduled ahead.

Invoicing templates are customizable, and invoice reminders can be automated. Xero also allows users to generate quotes and estimates in advance of invoices. One drawback of Xero is that it doesn’t handle customer deposits or partially-paid invoices very well. However, savvy bookkeepers will understand how to mitigate this issue by splitting invoices or using other work-arounds.

Bank Reconciliations:

Xero automatically imports bank transactions by feed. Once in Xero, the transactions are called “bank statement lines” and are matched to transactions such as invoices. Xero alerts the user when bank statement lines are available to reconcile. The user then matches it with an existing transaction, accepts Xero’s suggestion, or creates a new transaction. At the end of the month, all you’ll have to do is double-check the transactions that have cleared.

Payroll:

While payroll isn’t built in, Xero’s Gusto integration is a particularly good one, and payroll transactions transfer immediately to the correct locations in Xero.

Reporting Capabilities:

Xero includes all the reports any bookkeeper will need. Each report allows the bookkeeper to drill down to see what’s included in the calculations. Plus, the reports are fully customizable, including drag-and-drop capabilities that allow the user to determine which accounts to include and ignore, subtotals, and formulas. This powerful customization feature is unique to Xero.

Users can also mark “favorite” reports that are run frequently and search keywords quickly, and reports can be saved within Xero for future use. Reports are shareable among users, and they can also be emailed directly to people who aren’t Xero users. Limited reports are available from the Xero mobile app.

Other Features:

Xero’s standard chart of accounts provides a starting point for the bookkeeper to set up a new business, but it’s also fully customizable, allowing the software to work for the bookkeeper and the business owner, not the other way around. Plus, the bank reconciliation feature is automated, saving lots of time at month-end close. Accountant access is available for periodic reviews and year-end tax preparation, too.

Xero also includes inventory and purchase order management features. Bookkeepers for retail businesses will appreciate the time savings associated with both of these features since manual processes (Excel spreadsheets and handwritten purchase orders, for example) are no longer required.

Access:

Xero is a cloud-based system, so it is accessible from anywhere. Users who need full functionality can log in from any web browser using a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. There is also a robust Xero mobile app for users on the go. Major bookkeeping functions, including managing invoices and bills and reconciling bank accounts, can be done from the mobile app. Plus, the mobile app’s dashboard view provides cash flow and profit and loss information in real time.

Ease of use:

Xero is easy to learn and use, even for those without bookkeeping or accounting experience. Users find it intuitive and easy to navigate. An automated bank feed and easy reconciliation helps with daily transactions. Those without a lot of bookkeeping experience will appreciate the customizable dashboard that monitors cash flow, bank balances and history, unpaid invoices, and a helpful feature called the Account Watchlist, which helps a user keep an eye on specific accounts of interest. Xero provides some customer support, but the really helpful orientation comes from guides and training to onboard new users.

Cost:

Xero is generally considered an affordable bookkeeping software option. Xero provides three tiers of plans, and even the most expensive plan is less costly than many competitors. A small business like a freelancing/contracting entity with just a few clients may find the lowest tier plan sufficient. Growing businesses will probably want to look at the second-tier offering. The third-tier plan is required for project-level tracking, though.

Things we liked:

  • Bill payment automation
  • Excellent bank reconciliations
  • Interactive and customizable dashboard
  • Easy to set up and use

Things we didn’t like:

  • Customer support is lacking
  • Limited invoice customization
  • Feature set in lowest-cost plan is restrictive

3. FreshBooks

Price from $10.00/mo
Free Trial 30 days

Best bookkeeping software for freelancers.

Best for:

FreshBooks remains popular among those keeping the books in the small business world, but it is used by a range of entities up to medium sized businesses. Freelancers, for whom it was originally designed, sole proprietorships, contractors, or any self-employed individual, including those who need to manage multiple projects at once, can use Freshbooks to meet their bookkeeping needs.

Income and Expenses:

If your bookkeeping needs are primarily invoicing and expense tracking, FreshBooks may be the right choice for you. Invoicing and payment collection can be done through FreshBooks’ software or through Stripe, and there is strong bank integration and multi-currency support. Estimates and proposals convert easily to invoices, which can be customized and set to recur. Advanced FreshBooks plans include automatic payment reminders and late fee addition. And, a retainer function allows clients to pay a deposit in advance; FreshBooks automatically invoices against the retainer first and then for hours worked beyond the retainer. In addition, FreshBooks boasts excellent contact management tools..

Expense tracking—including billable—is quick and painless with the bank integration feature and the ability to attach pictures of receipts. FreshBooks learns to categorize your expenses for you, as well, making end-of-year tax preparation easier for your accountant.

Bank Reconciliations:

FreshBooks’ bank reconciliation process is quite simple, and like other products, it is handled as transactions are downloaded in the bank feed; however, there is currently no month-end closing process in the FreshBooks workflow. If you’re reconciling daily or weekly as you download transactions, this isn’t necessarily a problem, but if you’re a bookkeeper who is accustomed to standard month-end closing procedures, the lack of a formal reconciliation may feel a bit odd to you.

Reporting capabilities:

FreshBooks provides Dashboard access to important reports bookkeepers need to generate: Profit & Loss, Sales Tax Summary, Accounts Aging, Expense, Payments Collected, Invoice Details, along with accounting reports (General Ledger, Trial Balance, and Chart of Accounts). Reports can be filtered by date, team member, or client. There is significantly more to the reports functionality than a bookkeeper actually needs, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Other features:

Mileage and time tracking are also key features of FreshBooks. Users can choose to track mileage through FreshBooks itself or by integrating MileIQ. The built-in time tracking function can automatically track by project or client, and FreshBooks will generate an invoice automatically.

FreshBooks allows users to create projects by type (flat rate or hourly), add team members, assign the project to a client, assign tasks, track time, budget, and discuss projects and collaborate with employees and clients through files, attachments, links, and comments. The only downside here is that the software isn’t able to identify the project on an invoice.

Access:

FreshBooks is cloud based, so it can be accessed easily via the internet from anywhere. If your work has you on the go, FreshBooks’ solid mobile apps should appeal to you. The only downside here is the inability to view reports in the mobile app.

Ease of use:

FreshBooks is a very straightforward bookkeeping software option with a simple and easy-to-use interface. Initially created for freelancers, it is designed to be a functional option for those with no business or accounting experience. Although it’s easy to learn, good customer service (known for friendliness) is helpful to those who need the extra boost, along with effective training materials.

Cost:

Monthly plans come in a range of prices, which increase with the number of billable clients and team members. It’s not the cheapest software, and it’s not the most expensive. A free 30-day free trial can help a bookkeeper decide if it’s worth the investment.

Things we liked:

  • Automation tools
  • Very easy to use
  • Friendly customer service

Things we didn’t like:

  • Originally built for freelancers, not bookkeepers
  • Sometimes miscategorizes expenses
  • Can get expensive

4. Zoho Books

Website www.zoho.com
Price from $9.00/mo

Best bookkeeping software for mobile users.

Best for:

Zoho Books is designed to be used as part of the more comprehensive Zoho ecosystem; however, it’s still a good stand-alone bookkeeping product. While it is a full-featured accounting application (meaning it has everything a bookkeeper would need and then some) it’s not designed for multi-entity organizations.

Income and Expenses:

Zoho Books is a full-featured double-entry accounting software application with a convenient dashboard view highlighting essential real-time data.

The invoicing function is quick, easy, and robust with many invoice and estimate customization options and templates bookkeepers will appreciate. Users can set up recurring and pre-scheduled invoices, as well as automated reminders. ZohoBooks provides a retainer invoice feature, allowing users to manage retainer payments easily (payments made to you in advance).

Bank Reconciliations:

The banking module in Zoho Books eliminates the need for bookkeepers to enter data manually, instead allowing users to sync bank feeds (and add a PayPal account, too). Reconciling a bank account is easy in Zoho Books with just a few clicks and step by step guides on the website to help users learn the process. The bookkeeper can match and categorize transactions, too. Users do report inconsistencies with bank feeds, however, and the bank sync can only be run once a day.

Payroll:

Zoho Books integrates with Zoho Payroll to provide seamless payroll functionality, automatically recording payroll transactions to specified accounts.

Reporting Capabilities:

The reporting functions are robust in Zoho Books, more than most bookkeepers will probably need. The dashboard provides a quick overview of income, expenses, sales, and so on. Reports, such as Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow statements, provide a more in-depth view of the business and can be generated at any time, customized, and even scheduled ahead of time. Tax reports can be generated as well, along with audit trails. Zoho claims that their software provided more than 50 built-in reports.

Other Features:

The Zoho Inventory module integrates with the invoicing seamlessly to provide a smooth transition from invoice to delivery. Zoho also features fixed asset management.

Zoho Books provides project-level organization with a timesheet workflow. It’s easy to create a new project and select a billing method: fixed cost, by hour, by task hour, and by staff hours. The projects function includes budgeting (cost and revenue) and by type. The software allows expense tracking by project. In addition, project management can be accomplished via the project dashboards. The software enables billable expense tracking and time tracking by project.

The contact management features in Zoho Books—for both customers and vendors—are excellent. The Client Portal allows customers to not only view but manage their own transactions. Clients can accept estimates or pay invoices via the portal. However, should a bookkeeper need to email a client, ZohoBooks includes built-in client email templates.

Access:

Zoho Books is cloud-based and accessible anywhere. In addition, Zoho Books boasts some of the most robust Android and Apple apps on the market, going far beyond what most competitors offer. The Apple apps are very popular as users can work from iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch, although the watch functionality isn’t as extensive as the iPhone/iPad offerings.

Ease of use:

Zoho Books is generally considered easy to set up, learn, and use. Bookkeepers who are already using products in the Zoho ecosystem will find it integrates seamlessly with other modules. Outside of the Zoho ecosystem, integrations are more challenging and require additional programming.

Cost:

Zoho Books offers a range of plans. With increasing costs come additional features. Also, adding users increases the cost. Overall, it’s an affordable option with a variety of price points.

Things we liked:

  • Strong automation features
  • Good customer service
  • Affordable
  • Flexible, simple reporting module

Things we didn’t like:

  • Bank feed not well developed
  • Doesn’t allow multiple entities
  • May have too many features

5. Wave

Price from FREE/mo

Best bookkeeping software for bookkeepers in businesses on a tight budget

Best for:

Wave has a pair of rare and unique qualities bookkeepers won’t find elsewhere: It’s really good and it’s free—and ad free. The free version of Wave includes unlimited feature usage and robust double-entry accounting functionality. Bookkeepers on a strict budget or working with freelancers, contractors, bloggers, small online retailers, Shopify, or Etsy store owners will find Wave especially suitable as it integrates with several online shopping and e-commerce tools. Because it’s not really scalable, Wave is better suited for smaller entities.

Income and Expenses:

Wave’s income and expense management functions are unlimited and strong, providing customizable invoicing, automatic payment reminders, and sales tax calculation. Automatic bank and credit card feeds make tracking expenses quick and easy. Estimates can be converted to invoices (including customizable), and invoices can be set to recur. Wave can send reminders and receipts, too.

The free version of Wave includes billable expense and (limited) time tracking, as well. There is no mileage tracking, however. On the plus side, Wave does offer multi-entity support for bookkeepers who work with more than one company or multi-entity organizations with in-house bookkeeping support.

Bank Reconciliations:

Automatic bank and credit card downloads make expense tracking and account reconciliation easy for the bookkeeper. Wave also allows unlimited bank and credit card feeds. Wave Money provides a business bank account, a debit card, and a mobile app to make the bookkeeping experience even easier. The bookkeeping is built right into the bank account—without fees!

Payroll:

There is a monthly cost if you want to use Wave’s payroll feature. It’s a cost-effective solution for paying employees and contractors via direct deposit and recording transactions. Employees can log into Wave for access to pay stubs, W2 forms, and setting up bank information. Wave can also automatically file payroll taxes in some states.

Reporting Capabilities:

Wave features strong reporting capabilities. Both accrual and cash basis reporting are possible through Wave, and it’s easy to toggle between them. Wave can report on cash flow, profit and loss, trial balance, and sales taxes, which is a limited reporting functionality as compared to other products on this list. You may find, however, that Wave’s functionality and overall cost effectiveness (remember, it’s free!) outweigh the reporting limitations.

Other Features:

Wave includes a basic contact management feature. Wave also provides the option to pay for accounting or bookkeeping and tax support.

Access:

Wave is cloud-based and accessible anywhere. In addition, Wave provides mobile apps—Wave Invoicing and Receipts by Wave—for both iOS and Android that offer nice, albeit limited, feature sets.

Ease of use:

Wave tries to make accounting simple and easy and succeeds quite well. It’s easy to navigate from a dashboard providing a good overview of the business. Wave provides many automations, including invoicing and estimates, expense tracking, and bank downloads. The Wave Community is active with users providing help to each other. The Help Center is developed very well with easy-to-understand, step by step tutorials and guides.

Cost:

Wave is free and ad free, which is impressive given the accounting power of this software. Some extras, such as payroll, payment processing, advisor access, and Workers Compensation, do incur a fee.

Things we liked:

  • Cost-effective payroll solution
  • Super-simple navigation
  • Good automation features
  • Multiple entities in a single account

Things we didn’t like:

  • Not the best customer support
  • Doesn’t handle larger businesses well
  • Limited mobile apps

6. Sunrise

Price from $149/mo

Best bookkeeping software for companies that don’t need payroll.

Best for:

Bookkeepers working with freelancers and sole proprietors who have no need for time tracking or a mobile app with full functionality will find the free version of Sunrise worth considering. Once known as Billy (a Danish accounting/bookkeeping software) and renamed after acquisition by Lendio, Sunrise features double-entry accounting and strong billing and invoicing functions.

Income and Expenses:

Sunrise enables estimates, quotes, and invoices (which can be set to recur). Estimates can be automatically converted to quotes or invoices. All sales forms are customizable, too, and Sunrise allows for multi-language, multi-currency, and sales tax support. Discounts can be added easily to invoices, and refunds are simple. The dashboard clearly highlights which invoices are unpaid, overdue, and paid for easy tracking at a glance. Sunrise can send out notifications for unpaid invoices.

Sunrise can track expenses automatically once a bank account is linked. The mobile app allows users to snap pictures of receipts and email them to the account. Sunrise also helps with categorizing both expenses and income.

Bank Reconciliations:

Sunrise does allow bank connections and automatically downloads transactions. The software makes it easy for the bookkeeper to match those transactions with invoices and expenses through a click and drag function. Sunrise won’t reconcile these transactions automatically, though. Sunrise claims that this proactive reconciliation process helps bookkeepers stay better organized while also making the month-end process easier; however, bookkeepers may find the difference in process unintuitive.

Payroll:

Sunrise does not provide payroll management, so it’s not a good choice for bookkeepers who need to track payroll transactions.

Reporting Capabilities:

Sunrise includes financial reporting capabilities that most bookkeepers need: profit and loss, balance sheet, accounts receivable, tax summary, and accounts receivable. The reporting process is simple and streamlined.

Other Features:

Sunrise includes both cash and accrual-based accounting and provides the basic features a bookkeeper would need but not a whole lot else. The software does allow accountant access to financial reports and transactions, which does help at tax time. It also integrates with a marketplace for business loans. The new Tax Assist feature provides a helpful checklist, assistance with organizing key documents, and a tax estimator to ward off surprises.

Access:

Sunrise is cloud-based and accessible anywhere. It also provides a very limited app on both Android and iOS, Sunrise Receipt Capture, which does just that and no more. The receipt app also seems to work inconsistently and sometimes requires the user to log out and back in before saving the receipt snap properly.

Ease of use:

Sunrise is considered a simple option that is easy to use, even by those with little or no accounting experience. A bookkeeper should be able to navigate it with confidence and ease.

Cost:

There is a free version of Sunrise that provides some good features, such as double-entry accounting, unlimited customizable invoices, and unlimited bank transactions. Credit card processing and bank transfers both incur fees. Beyond the free plan, Sunrise gets pricey fast, but each monthly plan includes the services of a professional bookkeeper, who can match a set number of transactions per month, depending on the plan level, and close the books. The advanced plans also allow acceptance of PayPal, Square, and Stripe. Aside from the latter (PayPal, etc.), a bookkeeper could get by fine with the free plan.

Things we liked:

  • Basic version is free
  • Simple navigation
  • Quotes and estimates convert to invoices
  • Multi-language support

Things we didn’t like:

  • Limited mobile app functionality
  • Unintuitive reconciliation process
  • No payroll option

7. Sage 50cloud

Price from $50.58/mo

Best bookkeeping software for financial reporting.

Best for:

Sage 50cloud is a versatile software option that can be used by almost any type of business, but it’s ideal for companies with 1-50 employees. It’s a strong contender for bookkeeping because of its flexibility. Plus, Sage 50cloud offers multi-entity support, which not a lot of other products in this space do. And, Sage 50cloud has been in existence for more than four decades—formerly as Peachtree Accounting—so users can trust its functionality.

Income and Expenses:

Sage 50cloud is well-equipped in income and expense functionality. In fact, it’s so robust that you may find it’s too much functionality overall. The invoicing template in Sage 50cloud is customizable, and invoices can be duplicated quickly or set to recur, as required. Currently, invoices cannot be sent electronically except through Outlook, which is available through Sage 50cloud’s Microsoft Office365 integration. Both proposals and quotes are available, and those can quickly be converted to invoices.

Sage 50cloud provides easy cash flow management. Expense tracking is basic, in that bank feeds don’t include the machine learning that’s built into other bank feeds, so users must categorize expenses manually. Accounts payable functionality is also included, which makes managing bills a fairly easy process.

Bank Reconciliations:

Like most of its competitors, Sage 50cloud enables users to connect business bank accounts and credit cards and automatically import transactions. Reconciliation is quick and easy. Matching transactions are automatically reconciled—but only after you’ve manually categorized all the transactions.

Payroll:

Payroll is an add-on feature to Sage 50cloud, as is direct deposit, meaning that both are available at an additional cost. But, because payroll is a native Sage product, using it doesn’t require any additional learning curve.

Reporting Capabilities:

Sage 50cloud offers strong financial reporting capability with many different reports available. In addition, reports are customizable and interactive, the latter feature allowing a user to click through an entry into details.

Other Features:

Other add-on features include the ability to integrate Sage 50cloud with Microsoft 365, multi-user remote access, e-filing of tax returns, and Sage University online learning curriculum. Sage 50cloud also provides a very good CRM with its Customer Management features. Though the interface is outdated, the client tracking functionality is superior to most other products on this list.

One of Sage 50cloud’s best features is its compliance focus. Companies that are required to adhere to specific requirements, such as GAAC or 501(c)(3) will find Sage 50cloud to be a strong contender.

Access:

Although Sage 50cloud is cloud based and can be accessed from anywhere, it does require installation on a computer to take advantage of the full features set. More importantly, it offers no mobile apps. In theory, Sage 50cloud is accessible from any web browser, but an app would improve navigation for bookkeepers who need to complete tasks on the go. Sage Capture is an available mobile app, but it’s limited to receipt capture only, and Sage Business Cloud Accounting offers a mobile app for invoicing and taking payments, but it’s a workaround solution, rather than a full-fledged, comprehensive mobile app.

Ease of use:

Not a lot of effort is required to get Sage 50cloud up and running, but it is designed mainly for accountants. Sage 50cloud can be challenging for those with no bookkeeping or accounting knowledge and/or experience, but experienced bookkeepers will likely find it to be quite intuitive.

Cost:

Sage 50cloud leans toward the pricier end among its competitors. It does come in a range of packages that increase in price with the number of users. Updates, upgrades, and add-ons add to the price, as well.

Things we liked:

  • Comprehensive, flexible feature set
  • Compliance features
  • Multi-entity support
  • Office 365 integration

Things we didn’t like:

  • Lack of a mobile app
  • No automatic expense categorization
  • Requires bookkeeping experience

8. Kashoo

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

Best bookkeeping software for companies that need unlimited users.

Best for:

Bookkeepers working with project-based businesses or those in need of multi-business support (and willing to pay the extra cost for it) might want to look at Kashoo, a basic double-entry accounting offering. It’s a simple and straightforward option that can export to QuickBooks Online (and other products) if outgrown.

Income and Expenses:

Tracking income and expenses is easy with Kashoo’s sidebar featuring real-time summary data. In addition, the landing page for Kashoo’s dashboard is the income and expenses feature, making it easy to access and track those transactions. The “Bills to Pay” section allows users to see which bills have not been paid and set bills to recur. Invoices and bills can be marked easily as purchase or sales orders. And, Kahoo learns from your entries to categorize transactions for you.

Kashoo provides no support for estimates and no time tracking. The invoicing feature is basic, and customization is really limited, but it gets the job done with recurring invoice functionality, the ability to email invoices directly from the software, and the ability to include sales tax rates. Bookkeepers who need to create journal entries, however, will likely be surprised at how easy it is in Kashoo, especially compared to other products on this list.

Bank Reconciliations:

Kashoo’s allows bank feeds through Yodlee, although you have the option to import them manually or upload a file. Kahoo will then suggest transaction matches automatically for you to accept or redirect. If you don’t want to import your bank date into Kashoo, you can compare your bank statement to your account and check off transactions by ticking boxes online and saving the statement.

Payroll:

Kashoo partners with Paychex for payroll. Through Paychex, users can integrate with either SurePayroll (online payroll for small business from Paychex) or Paychex Payroll (traditional online payroll). Candian users will need to integrate Kashoo with PaymentEvolution.

Reporting Capabilities:

Kashoo provides the key reports bookkeepers might need to generate for essential accounting analysis—income statement, unpaid invoices, unpaid bills, trial balance, balance sheet, and so on. Overall, reporting is limited, and there is no native customization, but reports can be exported to Excel, CSV, HTML, or PDF.

Other Features:

Kahoo does allow unlimited users, the contact management feature is adequate, and multi-currency capability is included.

Access:

Kashoo is a cloud-based accounting software. While the company provides a popular mobile app for iPhone and iPad, it does not currently provide an Android app.

Ease of use:

Kahoo is very simple and requires little by way of accounting knowledge to complete bookkeeping tasks. Access to guides, the help center, and chat are built into the software. Users generally have good things to say about Kashoo’s customer support, too.

Cost:

Beyond the 14-day free trial, Kahoo offers a flat rate monthly plan at an affordable price, although if you are looking for a robust solution, you can probably find something with deeper functionality elsewhere at a similar cost. Paying annually brings a nice discount, though. Payroll does cost extra, and this is where Kashoo starts to get a bit pricey. Multi-company support also requires more subscriptions, but additional subscriptions are discounted.

Things we liked:

  • Simple and straightforward bookkeeping
  • Good customer support
  • Cost-effective

Things we didn’t like:

  • Limited product overall
  • No Android app
  • No dashboard view

9. GoDaddy Bookkeeping:

Best bookkeeping software for online sellers.

Best for:

Bookkeepers without advanced accounting needs—or double-entry accounting—that just need to keep the books using cash-basis accounting for an online selling business might want to look at GoDaddy Bookkeeping. GoDaddy Bookkeeping software syncs easily with Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and PayPal, and works with banks and credit unions. Any self-employed freelancer or sole proprietor might be able to function effectively with GoDaddy.

Income and Expenses:

GoDaddy Bookkeeping’s invoicing function makes creating and printing invoices easy. Customizations are basic, but you can add your logo. It also sends reminders for overdue invoices automatically. Clients can pay by check, cash, or through PayPal, credit card, or bank account online. GoDaddy Bookkeeping allows users to create and send estimates, which clients can then accept online. Estimates can be converted easily to invoices.

Expense tracking allows the user to categorize expenses as business or personal for those who use only one bank account (which is never really recommended). Bookkeepers who need to track expenses using GoDaddy Bookkeeping will need to purchase either the Essentials or Premium plan as the primary function of the Get Paid (lowest tier) plan is simply that—getting paid.

Bank Reconciliations:

GoDaddy Bookkeeping partners with Yodlee to enable live bank feeds, along with the ability to import bank statements, and credit card connections. GoDaddy Bookkeeping does not recognize duplicate transactions like other software options will, so the bookkeeper will have to keep an eye on this potential problem. GoDaddy Bookkeeping also records the expense or sale separately from the sales tax, which means there will be two transactions for each. Technically speaking, though, there really isn’t a reconciliation feature.

Payroll:

GoDaddy Bookkeeping doesn’t provide payroll services. According to their website, the types of businesses they tend to serve don’t have permanent employees. The software does allow bookkeepers who use a payroll service to create a category in GoDaddy to record wages for tax purposes.

Reporting Capabilities:

Reporting is limited to the second and third tier plans with GoDaddy Bookkeeping. Beyond the profit and loss statement, reporting is focused on basic information online sellers might need, such as sales and fees, status of invoices, income and expenses through linked accounts (high plan tier only).

Other Features:

Originally conceived of as a tool for quarterly tax calculation, GoDaddy Bookkeeping still provides that important feature. It also includes really basic contact management capability. GoDaddy also provides time tracking. One popular feature is the prepopulation of the Schedule C worksheet GoDaddy Bookkeeping provides, which is a big boost at tax time, but that only applies to sole proprietors, so bookkeepers for larger companies may not find it useful. Tax support such as worksheets are available only through the second and third tier plans.

Access:

GoDaddy Bookkeeping is cloud-based. GoDaddy provides both an Android and an iPhone app that syncs with the account. Transactions can be entered on the app.

Ease of use:

GoDaddy Bookkeeping is designed to meet the basic needs of the self-employed, so it is intentionally simple and easy to use. It is intended to be functional for those with no accounting knowledge. Setup is simple and quick.

Cost:

GoDaddy Bookkeeping comes in three tiers, none of which will break the bank. Beyond the cheapest first tier, however, users might want to compare more powerful accounting solutions for the price. Reporting, tax worksheets like Schedule C, and importing bank and credit card transactions aren’t offered until the second tier, and the third tier is required for recurring invoices. At that point, the user might consider looking at other offerings.

Things we liked:

  • Excellent online selling integrations
  • Low monthly price
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Good mobile apps

Things we didn’t like:

  • No bank reconciliations
  • No multi-currency support
  • No payroll

10. AccountEdge Basic

Price from $10.00/mo

Best bookkeeping software for desktop installation.

Best for:

AccountEdge Basic is a bookkeeper’s version of the software, featuring the standard functions a bookkeeper would need. Even though its name is AccountEdge Basic, this product is far from “basic.” It’s a comprehensive, yet simple, bookkeeping solution.

Income and Expenses:

AccountEdge Basic includes a Chart of Accounts with dozens of templates, including those for income and expenses. The software also provides the functionality to set up recurring transactions and reminders to record them. AccountEdge Basic allows the user to turn quotes into invoices easily, too, along with customizing invoices.

Multiple invoices can be created and scheduled for recurring billing with the newest version of AccountEdge Basic. Although the invoices can be the same for all customers, they can also be customized by client. A handy Recurring Sales window is a good overview feature that allows the users to view, approve (one, several, all), change,.record, and email invoices.

The newest version of AccountEdge Basic also allows users to add notes to sales, including standard language like Terms of Service. Plus, credit card payments can be processed through AccountEdge Basic although they are limited to AccountEdge’s own processor.

Bank Reconciliations:

AccountEdge Basic makes reconciling bank accounts easy. The software allows users to download statements from banking accounts and credit cards and match them with a few clicks. Users can also print checks from within the software, along with preparing and transferring deposits.

Payroll:

Payroll is available through third-party integration. It requires an ERP package (Priority Zoom or Priority ERP), both of which incur a monthly fee.

Reporting Capabilities:

There are over 100 reports in AccountEdge basic. Bookkeepers will find reports for any data they need, and custom reports can be created, as well—and saved as templates for future use.

Other Features:

AccountEdge Basic does include customer management functionality that can help users track not only customers, but employees and vendors, as well. A Customer Portal recently implement allows customers to view their accounts, and by adding on AccountEdge Merchant, you can also allow them to make payments online via credit card.

Access:

Both AccountEdge Basic and AccountEdge Pro are desktop applications, and Windows and Mac versions are available. To collaborate by cloud, users will need to buy one of two options. AccountEdge Connect allows access through a web browser. Transactions entered through Connect will sync with the desktop software once the main account is opened on the computer again. AccountEdge Hosted is like a physical desktop hosted in the cloud. Both require monthly subscriptions.

Ease of use:

Setting up AccountEdge Basic is an easy process. The dashboard emphasizes workflow and includes helpful tabs to organize data entry. The target demographic is the business owner rather than the CPA, which means bookkeepers should find it easy to work with. A series of videos in the AccountEdge Knowledge Base should help any user orient quickly. The Easy Setup Assistant built into the software provides a walk-through for customizing the software for your business.

Cost:

AccountEdge Basic and Pro are desktop applications that are available for an affordable one-time fee. Optional phone support costs extra, and ERP software (either cloud-based or onsite) are available for a monthly fee. ERP packages include the ability to integrate with third-party payroll providers and include additional users. AccountEdge Basic is limited to a single user.

Things we liked:

  • Affordable one-time fee
  • Easy setup and navigation
  • Good customer management tools

Things we didn’t like:

  • Desktop software only
  • Customer support is lacking
  • No multi-user option for Basic

FAQs

What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

In sum, bookkeepers record financial transactions, while accountants analyze and interpret the data. There is also a difference in education level; bookkeepers might not even have a degree, but an accountant most certainly will, along with holding certifications.

Why does a bookkeeper need accounting software?

Bookkeepers are responsible for most of the day-to-day financial transactions in a business. Time is money, and bookkeepers are paid for the time spent. In addition to saving time recording transactions and reconciling bank accounts, for example, good accounting software helps to reduce errors and can help with payroll. Accounting software also makes reporting easier, quicker, and more accurate.

What should a bookkeeper look for in accounting software?

If you are a bookkeeper (or considering a software purchase for your bookkeeper), think, from a bookkeeper’s perspective, about the tasks you do each day. Typically, those will include recording income and expenses, bank reconciliations, payroll, and reporting. Beyond this, you might want to consider how you will access it. Do you work remotely? Do you need mobile apps? Think about how much of a learning curve you want to navigate as you adapt to new software. And, of course, think about cost and how much you want to invest in your software.

What if I (or the business I work for) don’t want to take on the expense of accounting software?

The good news is, accounting software comes in a range of prices. One option on our list, Wave, is even free. You can also find very affordable offerings. Another aspect of this is scalability. If you are planning to grow your business, you want to find software that not only works for your current needs but can grow with you, too.

What is the best accounting software for bookkeepers?

The best accounting software for a bookkeeper will be one that finds the sweet spot among features needed, price, scalability, accessibility, and comfort with the software. We can’t tell you which software will work best for your particular needs, but our reviews focus on key bookkeeping tasks to help you decide what might work for you.

Conclusion

Bookkeepers carry a hefty load of responsibility, ensuring financial transactions and records are squared away for a variety of entities from businesses to nonprofits to clubs and associations. Having access to good bookkeeping or accounting software can ease that burden just a bit, save time and money, and promote accuracy.