Accounting and Bookkeeping Tools

The Complete 2024 List of The Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses & Startups

When you’re running a startup, there’s so much work to be done and changes to keep up with that it can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to choose accounting software that’s personalized to your very specific needs.

After all, a great accounting software program can save time and is incredibly more efficient than manually handling the books. But with so many accounting software options, it can be tough to know where to start. This list should help.

Here are the best accounting and bookkeeping tools for small businesses and startups in 2024:


1. FreshBooks

Who is it for?

Freelancers and self-employed contractors can use FreshBooks to track their hours and create professional invoices. Businesses with employers and contractors can save time and money using FreshBooks.

Why is it awesome?

FreshBooks is accounting software that provides invoicing, expense tracking, and other accounting functions. It works well on mobile devices for convenient tracking anywhere.

Freelancers, contractors, and self-employed users can keep on top of clients and keep customers happy with automated payment and invoicing.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $15 per month.


2. Gusto

Who is it for?

Gusto is designed for small businesses and accountants looking to streamline their payroll and benefits. It also offers a reward program for accountants.

Why is it awesome?

Gusto offers to track payroll, mental, dental, and vision benefits, time tracking, and onboarding procedures. It supports small businesses, saving them time and money.

Gusto offers helpful calculators and a directory for companies looking for experienced accountants in their areas. Its small business guides provide instructions for running payroll and managing benefits.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $39 per month.


3. Intuit QuickBooks

Who is it for?

Small businesses and solopreneurs can use QuickBooks simple accounting tools to automate their bookkeeping and simplify their accounting processes.

Why is it awesome?

Contracts, small businesses, and midsize companies can run payroll, track expenses, manage cash flow, and pay bills through Intuit QuickBooks’ easy-to-use interface.

QuickBooks allows business owners to send invoices and track revenue in a robust online system. There’s an option to work with a live bookkeeper online directly from the interface.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $25 per month.

less accounting

4. Less Accounting

Who is it for?

Online businesses use Less Accounting to create proposals and invoices and to bill clients. The system also calculates and manages payroll for employees.

Why is it awesome?

Less Accounting reconciles the accounts and ensures accurate records for seamless tax filing. It also measures a company’s financial success with automated monthly statements.

A Less Accounting bookkeeper will quickly onboard your business and automatically download bank information. The system’s built-in tax features result in a stress-free tax season.

How much does it cost?

Less Accounting offers a free plan. Premium plans start at $24 per month.


5. Kashoo

Who is it for?

Kashoo helps small businesses with fewer than 500 transactions automate their financials with a low-maintenance solution. It’s ideal for contractors, freelancers, and digital nomads.

Why is it awesome?

Kashoo automatically categorizes each transaction, allowing businesses to see real-time balances and performance data. It has built-in smart tools that ensure compliance with IRS and CRA requirements.

Kashoo is designed for Canadian and American businesses, has one-click financial reporting, and allows unlimited users. It also has OCR receipt matching technology for easy expense tracking.

How much does it cost?

Kashoo offers a free plan. Premium plans start at $20 per month.


6. ZipBooks

Who is it for?

ZipBooks features automated billing and payment reminders to help small businesses stay on top of clients and improve their bottom lines.

Why is it awesome?

ZipBooks has auto categorizations, reconciliation, and color coding that helps users note changes with a single glance. It has smart incites that prioritize high-profile customers.

ZipBooks has a free version that allows customers to send invoicing and try out the system before committing to a subscription.

How much does it cost?

Kashoo offers a free plan. Premium plans start at $15 per month.


7. Wave

Who is it for?

Wave provides accounting tools to help entrepreneurs and small businesses manage their accounting with a one-stop financial management system.

Why is it awesome?

Wave offers VIP services from professional bookkeepers, coaches, and tax professionals. Users choose the level of service they need and can schedule a one-hour paid coaching session to answer targeted questions.

Wave connects all its products in a single interface, including payroll, invoicing, and payments. It provides online training materials for adding receipts, bills, and other transactions.

How much does it cost?

Wave offers a free plan for accounting and invoicing. Payments and Payroll have paid plans.

8. Xero

Who is it for?

Small businesses, accountants, and bookkeepers rely on Xero to handle bank connections, pay bills, track expenses, connect to Gusto payroll, track projects, and maintain smart lists and contacts.

Why is it awesome?

From inventory management to sales quotes, Xero provides a central repository where business managers and owners can track their performance and keep their businesses on track.

Xero’s progressive pricing plan introduces new services that businesses can grow into. For example, the Established plan includes foreign currencies, project tracking, and expense claims.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $12 per month.


9. Pilot

Who is it for?

Businesses that want to reduce the time it takes to build their playbook can use Trainual to speed up the process.

Why is it awesome?

Trainual prepares employees to access, search, and track all the information to minimize the time spent looking for company data.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $599 per month, billed annually.


10. Sage

Who is it for?

Sage has several products to meet the needs of small, medium, and large businesses. There are also specialty tracks for real estate and construction companies.

Why is it awesome?

Powered by cloud technology, Sage offers access to accounting and financial information anytime, anywhere. This makes it easier to manage remote workers. It allows users to manage payroll, tax, and other functions from the cloud.

Sage’s extremely tailored tools give accountants, business managers, and other users control over the level of service they need. Plus, it’s easy to add services as the business grows.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $10 per month.

zoho books

11. Zoho Books

Who is it for?

Zoho is designed for businesses of all sizes seeking to automate their accounting process and workflows. It provides an intuitive interface that supports activity across departments.

Why is it awesome?

Zoho supports businesses looking for a single source of information when negotiating deals, creating sales orders, and invoicing clients. It combines over 40 functions and apps in one platform.

From collections to tax compliance, Zoho provides end-to-end accounting functionality at an affordable price. It includes a vendor portal to simplify ordering and payments.

How much does it cost?

Zoho offers a free version. Premium plans start at $15 per month.


12. WagePoint

Who is it for?

WagePoint targets businesses looking for a powerful payroll management tool that supports direct deposit and benefits tracking in a user-friendly format.

Why is it awesome?

WagePoint gives employees access to their pay records and prevents late tax reporting. It makes it easy to produce accurate W-2s and 1099s in seconds.

WagePoint combines payroll calculation, processing, and direct deposit with tax reporting, allowing employees to look up their wage records anytime.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $12 per month.


13. Neat

Who is it for?

Neat is simple to use and designed for people who are not accountants.

Why is it awesome?

Neat allows users to access their financial records from desktop or mobile devices, making data entry take minutes, not hours. Charts provide visual reporting for financials and cash flow.

Neat includes onboarding support for newcomers and unlimited document storage so users never lose visibility to statements and other records.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $30 per month.


14. Ballpark

Who is it for?

Ballpark targets freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners looking for accounting and finance support at affordable rates. Its client roster includes businesses across diverse industries.

Why is it awesome?

Ballpark targets freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners looking for accounting and finance support at affordable rates. Its client roster includes businesses across diverse industries.

Ballpark provides extensive time tracking, project management, invoicing, and other tools to facilitate fast payment and transparent financial access.

Ballpark doesn’t require a specific accounting background to be used, making it accessible to nearly anyone, no matter their freelancing experience.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $19 per month.


Still Not Sure? Answer These Questions

If you’re still not sure which accounting tool is right for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What features do I need?

This is the easiest place to start. What are the most important features your business can’t live without in its accounting software?

A basic package should include basic financials for billing and invoicing, sales tracking expenses, etc. But depending on your structure, size, and needs, you can look for customized features to make your business more efficient.

For example, if you provide products, look for inventory management features.

Want to streamline your financials by keeping everything in one place? Choose a tax prep and management feature or even employee payroll.

Need help streamlining your employees’ output? Choose a program with project management and time tracking.

If you’re a bigger business or if you do international sales, you might want to look for multi-currency transactions.

data security
2. How secure is the software?

If you’re choosing an online accounting software program, this is probably the most crucial consideration you’ll make.

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few programs, ask each provider about their security measures to keep your data safe. Specifically, you can find out how each company stores its data.

Amazon and Rackspace are two of the top-tier cloud hosting service providers, but some companies will host the data on their servers. In this case, you’ll want to ensure they use an HTTPS connection.

3. Is it easy to use?

A good accounting software program should be complex in what it offers but not in its design and usability. After all, if you’re in a creative or non-financial field, numbers are most likely not your forte.

Your accounting software should be easy enough to use that all employees can do at least the most basic tasks — you can check accounting software reviews for an insider’s look from real program users.

You can also utilize software review sites to find similar software programs and investigate the competitors of popular tools. You can even compare 2 or 3 tools head to head to get a general feel for the strengths and weaknesses of each program and discover first-hand what real users have to say and wish they knew before investing in a specific tool.

Look for a clean interface and navigation, plenty of tutorials and/or training videos for easy learning, and most importantly, support — most programs will offer a live chat or email and phone support, so the more your program offers, the better off you’ll be should any issues arise.

4. How much does it cost?

Is your business able to spring for a top-of-the-line program? Choosing a higher-tiered package is better, especially if you think your business will grow.

On the other hand, if your startup is in its early stages and cannot afford this, test out the free trials (or schedule a demo) first to ensure the program will be a good fit for your business.

If you fall somewhere in the middle, consider a platform that offers the basic accounting features without all the technical post-sale support, which often drives up costs.

5. Will it scale?

If you’re a small startup, choosing a program that fits your current needs makes sense. But if your business is poised to grow, limiting yourself to an accounting program that can’t keep up with your demand is a big mistake.

Does your software program provide modules or features — payroll, for example — you can add on at an extra date? If not, will your provider allow you to upgrade to a higher tier once you grow to the point that requires more capabilities? And if so, what are the costs associated?

It may seem like a lot of work to contact the support or browse tutorial videos of multiple programs when you only use one, but the research will pay off.

After all, once you’ve committed all your data and taken the time to learn a new software application, it’ll be much more difficult to switch later on. So, research, test a few free trials, and consider these options. You’ll have a solid fit for your company and avoid many headaches.

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Editor’s Note: The article is part of the blog series Run Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at Unitel, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.