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7 Best Journal Entry Software for 2024

Susan Honea

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

Last updated: March 7, 2022

You don’t have to write up your books in actual ledgers anymore. Instead, look for journal entry software to hold your company’s accounts.

7 Best Journal Entry Software for 2024

The accounting journal is the book of original entries. This means that journals are a record of all transactions that occur in a business. The idea of the journal is to let you accumulate different types of activities for entry into the books later. The records in journals are called “entries”.

Traditionally, bookkeepers kept information on sales and purchases in separate journals. However, computerized accounting systems, especially for small businesses tend to merge these different journals into one, general journal. Summaries of these entries will eventually go into General Ledger. Journals record figures in two columns: credit and debit.

Here is our list of the seven best journal entry software:

  1. BlackLine: The best journal entry software for orchestration. An online system that generates journal entries by querying business process support software and also includes a team management platform.
  2. Oracle NetSuite: The best journal entry software for large and medium-sized businesses. A cloud-based ERP that can cater to international businesses and generates journal entries for the company accounts.
  3. Sage Accounting: The best journal entry software for small enterprises. An online accounting package that includes invoicing, cash management, and expenses tracking.
  4. Redwood Finance Automation: The best journal entry software all-rounder. A SaaS package that can run third-party software, extract data, and create journal entries.
  5. Intuit QuickBooks: The best journal entry software for sole traders. This online system can be accessed through mobile apps and compiles journal entries behind the scenes from business process documentation.
  6. Zoho Books: The best journal entry software for online businesses. A cloud-based system that can interface with bank apps and payment processors to automatically reconcile accounts.
  7. Brightbook: The best free journal entry software. A free, online accounting package that generates journal entries from the business transactions that you enter.

Journal entries are listed in date order and they should have a balancing entry. For example, if you buy a piece of equipment, such as a computer, the value of that item goes into the debit column and the amount is balanced by a journal entry of Cash with the same amount in the credit column.

It seems strange that decreasing your cash is regarded as a credit. However, this is one of the quirks of accounting. If you aren’t a trained bookkeeper or accountant, you could easily get things wrong when writing in journals.

Using journal entry software will guide you in the process of writing to the journal. There are also bookkeeping systems available that will produce the full business accounts for you and systems that can generate journal entries from business transactions.

Bookkeeping software

The type of package that you need to get journal entry software is accounting packages or bookkeeping systems. There are many categories of accounting systems available. Some systems will scour through your digitized business transactions and generate journal entries. Other systems offer data entry screens for business documentation that will also create journal entries for you. You can also get straightforward accounting systems, in which you can make journal entries manually.

A good option to look for in accounting software is a system that is specifically tailored to the accounting standards and tax reporting rules for the country where you operate. Some packages can even be adapted to contain the books of branches operating in many countries and include all of them in the same system.

The best journal entry software

The ideal journal entry software for your business greatly depends on the type of business that you are in and particularly on the size of your company. Ideally, you should get a software system that provides an IT system for all of your business’s activities and automatically generates journal entries from that data. Such a system is called an Enterprise Resource Planning package, or ERP.

If you already have all of the business process management software that you need and you don’t want to throw everything out and start again, you can get an orchestration system that will extract all of the relevant data out of your business process systems and insert them into an accounting package as journal entries.

All of those automated journal entry creation systems are great for cutting out human error and improving efficiency. However, if you do have experience in accounting or have an accountant on your staff, then maybe a straightforward accounting package would be better for you.

What do we look for in the best journal entry software?

When looking for the best journal entry software, we prioritized the following factors:

  • Cloud platform – We prioritized cloud-based systems. These remove the need to host and maintain the software and can be accessed from anywhere through any standard browser.
  • Automation – The ability of the accounting package to generate journal entries and performs checks, such as account reconciliation and cash allocation.
  • Live analysis – We looked for systems that can keep the accounts up to date and generate charts and graphs on-demand for performance analysis.
  • Security – A system that requires user accounts for access allows activities to be tracked, which is particularly important if many people need access. Encryption for data transfers and storage is also very important.

You can read more about each of our recommendations in the following sections.

1. BlackLine

Website BlackLine
Free Trial Demo

The best journal entry software for orchestration

BlackLine is a cloud-based orchestration tool. It is very similar to Redwood Finance Automation and it is presented here as an alternative. This system will work with your existing software, search through business process software for transactions, convert them into journal entries, and then insert those new records into your accounting package. As with Redwood, you don’t get those business process software packages or accounting systems included with the BackLine platform.

This system can perform matching to confirm the bills your receive against purchase orders and stock receipts and it is also able to perform cash allocation, which identifies which payments into your bank account relate to which invoices.

The BlackLine system includes a team management console. All of the accounting team gets individual user accounts and is allocated a task list. The management console gets an overview of all goals and tasks in a timeline. Each team member’s tasks are given deadlines.

Although BlackLine automates the creation and management of journal entries, there will always be some issues that need to be dealt with manually. This includes factors such as overdue invoices, unexplained payments into the bank account, and account reconciliation issues that need to be dealt with before closing.

BlackLine has a version that is specifically designed for managing SAP implementations. SAP is a very large ERP system, which can get a bit unwieldy and so many customers of that package to find that they need extra automation assistance to keep their books up to date.

Things we liked:

  • Unifies the management of data on many sites
  • Interfaces to software running on any platform
  • Generates and updates journal entries
  • Verifies accounts for SOX compliance
  • Organizes team tasks for anomaly resolution

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial

2. Oracle NetSuite

The best journal entry software for large and medium-sized businesses

NetSuite is a cloud-based ERP system. Oracle has a larger ERP and SAP, the market leader has several different ERP packages. However, we prefer Oracle NetSuite because it is a little less detailed than those other systems and much easier to manage.

The NetSuite system is thorough and has enough granularity to allow full management of data in any large and middle-sized business. It is particularly good for international businesses because the scenes and data transformation engine of the service will get automatically adapted to national regulations by “localizations.”

NetSuite automates the management of data in journals because it centralizes the storage of all data entered into its business process screens and then just copies the relevant data over into the accounts.

The common pool of data also makes it very easy for the system to provide live performance data and analytical tools for departmental managers.

Not only are journal entries created and updated automatically, but the NetSuite system can also automate issues such as reconciliation of accounts, cash allocation, cost distribution, and consolidation for parent company accounting.

Things we liked:

  • Automatically creates journal entries from business documentation
  • Performs matching, reconciliation, and consolidation
  • User accounts and roles
  • Activity tracking
  • Cloud-based service with storage space included

Things we didn’t like:

  • No price list

3. Sage Accounting

Price from $25.00/mo
Free Trial 30 Days

The best journal entry software for small enterprises

Sage Accounting is one of many different accounting packages offered by Sage. This is the best product offered by the cloud-based service for those who want a bookkeeping system to manage journal entries. The Sage Accounting system also includes an invoicing module.

If you choose to issue your invoices from within the Sage Accounting system, the tool will automatically generate AR journal entries for you. It will also perform bank reconciliation if you link in a bank app data feed.

Add in expenditure data yourself to get full accounting records completed. The system provides data analysis and reporting screens and it can generate financial statements at the end of the year. You can experience Sage Accounting with a 30-day free trial.

Things we liked:

  • Automated and manual journal entry creation options
  • Invoicing module included
  • Bank reconciliation with action alerts for anomalies
  • Suitable for use by accountants and bookkeepers
  • Performance reports and analysis tools

Things we didn’t like:

  • Doesn’t include inventory management

4. Redwood Finance Automation

Website Redwood
Free Trial Demo

The best journal entry software all-rounder

Redwood is a SaaS platform that runs other software packages and extracts data from them. It is also able to feed data into the software. This enables it to run business process systems, such as an invoicing package, and then generate journal entries to insert into the business’s accounting package.

The data flow automation can be used for data verification as well as for journal entry creation. For example, it can be used for three-way matching – to check POs and goods received notes when a bill arrives. It can also be used to automate stock reordering.

When the period end arrives, Redwood can reconcile all entries with bank account feeds and also check through business process support systems for any remaining transactions. It can reconcile accounts to make them complete for closing.

Things we liked:

  • A flexible system that can be used to automate a range of tasks
  • Journal entry creation and updates
  • Generates financial statements
  • Can access any third-party software
  • Useful for unifying the accounting for multiple sites

Things we didn’t like:

  • No free trial

BEST JOURNAL ENTRY SOFTWARE ALL-ROUNDER: Redwood Finance Automation is a measured choice because it can create journal entries automatically and keep all accounting data in sync with business activity records. The tool can be used to automate and schedule many other tasks.

5. Intuit QuickBooks

Price from $25.00/mo
Free Trial 30 Days

The best journal entry software for sole traders

Intuit QuickBooks is another online system that is suitable for small businesses. However, this is a better choice than Sage Accounting if you need to manage stock because it has plans that include inventory management with automated reordering.

This is a particularly good system for sole traders who don’t have the time or knowledge to perform accounting tasks like writing journal entries. The system is accessible through a mobile app, which makes it a good choice for independent contractors and consultants who spend all of their working hours out on client sites.

The accounting features of the system are hidden and QuickBooks just lets you input business data to create invoices, order stock, check on bank balances, and schedule payments. The system then generates journal entries and will produce your final accounts for the year without you needing to do anything.

Live data analysis screens let you see your cash position up to the minute and forecast money over the near term. The system will also alert you if payments on your issued invoices become overdue. There are four plans for Intuit QuickBooks that offer different modules. So, for example, inventory management is an optional service.

Things we liked:

  • Caters to business operators who have no accounting knowledge
  • Allows a business to be run from a smartphone
  • Includes an invoicing system
  • Optional stock management system
  • Live cash position reports

Things we didn’t like:

  • Only suitable for small businesses

6. Zoho Books 

Website www.zoho.com
Price from $12/mo

The best journal entry software for online businesses

Zoho Books is an accounting package that is delivered from the cloud. Zoho produces many other cloud-based business software packages and offers them in a range of bundles. So, you can subscribe to Zoho Books as a standalone service of a part of a package of tools. If you take out a suite of Zoho utilities, all of the services will flow together, so they will generate journal entries in your books automatically.

Journal entries can be entered or adjusted manually and you can get summaries of all records within the Zoho books system. This isn’t a single-user system, so you can set up individual user accounts for many employees. The access to data from these accounts can be limited so, for example, you could let others in for a self-service timesheet submission system. All user actions are logged.

You can link your business bank account to your Zoho Books service and it will perform bank reconciliation and cash allocation automatically. The service is offered in four plans and the smallest of three is forever fee. The three higher, paid plans are all available for a 14-day free trial.

Things we liked:

  • Integrates with many other Zoho utilities to create an ERP
  • Automatically interfaces to bank accounts
  • Integrates with third-party applications
  • Journal entries can be created manually or automatically generated
  • Includes reporting and analysis features

Things we didn’t like:

  • Package options can get complicated

7. Brightbook 

Website Brightbook
Price from Free/mo

The best free journal entry software

Brightbook is a free, online system for accounting. It lets you create journal entries but the main strategy of this tool is to generate journal entries automatically from business documentation.

Systems included in the free package are an invoicing system and a payment connection through PayPal. You can upload bank statements for cash accounting and add in scanned bills and receipts for expenditure tracking.

The service is a good choice for small businesses, including those that provide in-person services and consultancy work. The tool includes live performance and status screens and it can generate financial statements for tax reporting.

Things we liked:

  • Costs nothing to use
  • Covers income and expenditure
  • Digitized bank reconciliation
  • Automatically generates journal entries and creates financial statements
  • Creates a schedule for collections

Things we didn’t like:

  • No stock management features