All too often I see small businesses let their accounting and bookkeeping needs become an afterthought. That’s a big problem.

Proper bookkeeping needs to be a priority for all businesses, regardless of size.

But if you’re not an accounting expert and don’t have someone on your staff dedicated to the bookkeeping, it can be challenging. That’s why you need to take advantage of accounting software.

Even if you have an in-house bookkeeper, cloud-based accounting solutions will make their lives easier as well.

For those of you who have already done some preliminary research, you know that the small business accounting software space is crowded, to say the least. How can you possibly know which is the best one for your business?

I narrowed down the top options for you to consider. So, use this guide as a reference to find accounting software that meets your needs and budget.

1. QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks Desktop is hosted in the cloud with Right Networks. This is one of the most popular accounting solutions on the market today.  This option allows you all the bells and whistles of desktop version with convenience of 24×7 access through the internet.

Even the basic version of the software lets you track sales tax, track your inventory, and pay 1099 contractors. This software is great for sending estimates, as well as managing your bills and accounts payable.

  • Pro Version 2019 — $219.95/year
  • Premier Version 2019 — $379.95/year

If you upgrade to the premier version, you’ll also get forecasting reports and some industry-specific features.

2. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is ideal for small business owners who are always on the go. You can manage your books from any device. This solution has a mobile app that’s available on the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store.  This option has become very popular over the past several years for its 24×7 access, but the software is pared down and does not include all the features of desktop QuickBooks.

It’s ideal for tracking income and expenses from your smartphone or tablet.

Another one of the major selling points for QuickBooks Online is the ability to maximize your tax deductions.

  • Simple Start — $20/month
  • Essentials — $30/month
  • Plus — $60/month

Each version comes with a free trial for 30 days. You’ll also get 50% off for your first three months.

3. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is another popular choice for small business owners. This cloud-based software is an all-in-one solution for accounting and invoicing.

One of the benefits of FreshBooks is the ability to automate your tasks. Things like invoices, organizing expenses, tracking time, and following up with clients automatically can be set up with just a few clicks.

As a cloud-based software, you can access it from your desktop, smartphone, or tablet, no matter where you are.

  • Lite — $15/month
  • Plus — $25/month
  • Premium — $50/month

Pricing plans are primarily based on the number of clients you have. Like QuickBooks Online, you’ll get 50% off your first three months.

4. Sage 50cloud

I’d recommend Sage 50cloud for small to medium-sized businesses. This software frees up your time since you can automate so many administrative tasks. It will make your life easier when tax season comes around too.

  • Pro — $465.95/year
  • Premium — $720.95/year

Sage 50cloud does not offer collaboration tools or time tracking features. So, if you need those, you’ll be better off with another option on our list.

5. FreeAgent

The cloud accounting software offered by FreeAgent is completely web-based. You won’t have to do install, download, or update anything to use it. All you need is an Internet browser.

FreeAgent makes it easy for you to collaborate with your accountant as well. You can give them access to your financial documents. This is much more efficient than printing, scanning, or mailing them.

  • $24/month

New users only pay $12 per month for the first six months. It’s free to try FreeAgent for 30 days.

6. Zoho Books

Zoho Books is best known for its ease of use. You don’t need to be a tech wizard or an accounting expert to use this software.

It’s ideal for small business owners who are looking for a simple way to manage their finances and prepare for their taxes. You can use Zoho Books to automate workflow tasks across all your departments as well.

  • Basic — $9/month
  • Standard — $19/month
  • Professional — $29/month

All plans come with a 14-day free trial. If you pay for the year in advance, you’ll get two months for free.

7. Xero

Xero is another top choice for managing your business on the go. This cloud-based accounting software can be accessed from computers, smartphones, and tablets.

This solution makes it easy for collaborating with your employees, such as managing tasks with your bookkeeper. The best part is you can do this without granting full access to everyone, meaning you can restrict access for certain users. Now your staff can do their jobs without being able to see areas or records that you want to keep private.

  • Early — $9/month
  • Growing — $30/month
  • Established — $60/month

You can try Xero with an unlimited number of users free for 30 days.

8. Wave

Wave is a great solution for freelancers or small businesses with just a few employees. The best part about Wave is that you can get most of the features for free.

It’s one of the best ways to track your business expenses. All you must do is scan a receipt directly from your phone, so you won’t have to worry about losing it or remembering to upload it later.

  • Payroll — starting at $35/month
  • Payment processing — $2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

Wave can also process ACH payments for a 1% per transaction fee.

9. OnPay

As the name implies, OnPay is a payroll solution for small businesses. I’d recommend it to small business owners who have a growing company.

OnPay also helps you with HR tools, health benefits, workers’ comp, and 401k plans.

  • $36/month base fee + $4/month per employee

You’ll also have access to certificated payroll professionals through phone support when you sign up for this accounting solution.

10. Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is one of my favorite options because they offer custom accounting software for different industries, including non-profit organizations. Outsourced bookkeeping for nonprofits is our specialty here at Navitance, so it’s nice to see software that reaches that niche as well.

This software lets you manage all your grants and donors in multiple currencies throughout all your locations. Sage Intacct also helps you generate your statement of activities as well as your Form 990.

Since all their software is customized, you’ll need to submit your information to Sage Intacct to get quoted on your pricing options.

11. ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now specializes in payroll and HR solutions. The software ensures that your payments are made on time, without any errors. It’s an ideal choice for both small and medium-sized businesses.

I like this resource because it gives your employees access to their pay stubs, time, attendance records, and W-2 forms from any device.

Pricing for ADP Workforce is completely customized based on your business needs.


These are the best accounting solutions for small businesses.

I made sure to include something for everyone on this list. Some of these solutions are geared toward freelancers, while others are better for small businesses that are growing. Some software specializes in payroll, and other software is built for invoicing.

The accounting solutions above are offered at all different price points as well, so you can find one that fits within your budget.

If your accounting department is looking for help, request a consultation with us, and we can discuss options for your company’s financial needs.