Accounting is a vital part of any business, regardless of its size. Even if you’re a freelancer or a solopreneur, you need to track your income and expenses. As your business grows in size and scope, accounting helps it'll keep your financial picture clear while providing the details needed for investors, the government and management to make data-driven business decisions.
Although accounting software can't do everything that an experienced accountant can, software can automate nearly 75% of accounting tasks, freeing up your time and budget to spend more when you have complex situations that require an expert. It’s a booming business all of its own, with experts predicting that by 2026, the market for accounting software will reach more than $11.5 billion.
Despite the growing number of options available, businesses not already using accounting software cite security, price and the concern that it’ll be difficult to learn as the three main reasons keeping them away. Thankfully, these five accounting software options are easier than you might think to learn. Better yet, they’ve got a variety of price points and security you can rely on.
Best Overall: Intuit QuickBooks
Statistics show that more than 70% of business owners are familiar with this popular accounting software. From mid- to small-sized businesses to solo gig workers, more than seven million businesses around the world rely on Intuit QuickBooks for their accounting needs. It offers several options for deployment, including cloud-based, point-of-sale and desktop. While browsing the options available, you can choose based on the solution you need — accounting only, accounting with live bookkeeping, inventory management and more. The software also offers multiple integrations with popular apps, including Shopify and PayPal, to help simplify your cash flow management.
You can use the QuickBooks app to simply take pictures of receipts and bills, cutting back on the need to file paper copies. The software is feature-packed, empowering you to do everything from simply tracking income and expenses to automating tasks and growing your business. QuickBooks offers solutions for businesses in a variety of industries, including:
Intuit takes security seriously, with 24/7 monitoring, physical security for their onsite servers, automatic data backups and more. The pricing is based on the features you need and the size of your business. It offers a free trial and limited time pricing specials that make it easy to try it out to see if it fits your needs.
Best for Solo and Small Businesses: FreshBooks
Popular among solo entrepreneurs and freelancers, FreshBooks offers easy-access cloud-based accounting software that's easy to use even if you have no experience. It's used by roughly 10 million businesses across the globe and has received accolades in the press, including being named as one of "10 Powerful Accounting Tools to Save You Time," by Forbes and one of "The Best Time Management Apps for Small Business Owners" by The Huffington Post.
FreshBooks offers hundreds of integrations with useful tools such as G Suite, Stripe, Slack and Mailchimp. Some of the helpful features and functions include:
Online credit card payments
Recurring and customizable invoices
Multi-language and currency billing
Tax-friendly expense categories
Automatic sales tax calculations
Pricing starts at just $6 per month and goes up from there depending on the size of your business. You might be eligible for a prepay discount or special bundled pricing. FreshBooks encrypts information with 256-bit SSL encryption, uses firewalls and scans its servers routinely to test the system for any vulnerabilities. Its data centers are physically secured with biometric access controls, 24/7 surveillance and more to keep your data and information safe and secure.
Best Value: Wave Accounting
If you’re working with a tight budget, have no fear. Wave Accounting has a free version that lets you get set up with accounting and invoicing with no monthly cost, no set-up fees and no hidden charges. The free version gives you unlimited income and expense tracking, unlimited invoices, a double-entry system, reporting and more. The free invoicing option lets you take bank and credit card payments for added transaction fees. As your business grows and your needs increase, you can scale up to the payroll plan, which handles payroll taxes and filing paperwork with the IRS and state tax office if you live in one of the tax service states Wave lists on its website. If you live in self service states, you'll have to do the filing and make payments independently, but the monthly fee starts at only $20.
This cloud-based accounting software is easy to use, with an intuitive interface and easy options to handle your accounting needs from anywhere, anytime. Additionally, security is top of mind for Wave's creators. Physical servers are secured and data is regularly backed up to prevent any potential catastrophic data loss. It uses 256-bit encryption, and it is audited/verified by multiple independent third parties to ensure that your data is safe as it travels to and from your computer or mobile device and Wave's servers.
Best for Businesses with More than 50 Clients: Zoho Books
When your business is small, you might do fine with the lighter features offered by free accounting software like Wave. But once you grow and have more than 50 clients on the books, you’ll likely need more robust features. Zoho Books is among the more affordable accounting software options out there, with the least expensive plan including up to 50 billable clients and packages that include up to 500. It gives you access to power-packed features like automatic payment reminders, vendor and expense tracking, automatic bank feeds, inventory management and time tracking. It also offers access to tax compliance tools, customizable invoices and more than 40 integrations.
The intuitive mobile app lets you manage everything from anywhere, including mileage tracking, time tracking and invoice creation. Zoho Books uses AES-256 encryption while data is at rest and TLS 1.2/1.3 with Perfect Forward Secrecy while it's in transit. Zoho is transparent about where your data is stored and it uses technologies to assist with DDoS mitigation. Customers can opt for additional security features, including IP restrictions, multi-factor authentication and more.
Best for E-Commerce: GoDaddy
Fast, easy and geared toward e-commerce businesses, GoDaddy accounting software lets you simplify your bookkeeping with professional-looking invoicing, sales and expense tracking, business reporting and online payment processing. It also syncs with online retailers, including PayPal, Etsy, Amazon and eBay, making it simple to get up and running quickly, even if you have no experience with accounting. Plans start at $4.99 per month.