It’s impossible to run a small business smoothly without solid accounting practices in place. While those just starting out might turn to Excel, sooner or later you’ll need to professionalize the endeavor and start using one of the best small business accounting software options available to you if you’d like to continue growing and be taken seriously by potential investors.
At Lighter Capital, we don’t fund companies that aren’t using accounting software to record financials for their small business or startup. If you’re on a growth path that qualifies you to be looking for the kind of funding we give, then you’re sure to rapidly outgrow spreadsheet-based accounting. And you should be prepared by identifying which of the best small business accounting software options satisfies the priorities and needs of your business to the fullest. (RELATED: 5 Top Issues We See With Startup Financials.)
So, we insist that our partners are set up to succeed, bookkeeping-wise, from the moment they start working with us.
The best small business accounting software solutions are significantly more powerful than Excel and should easily streamline all of your accounting and bookkeeping needs. But with so many great tools on the market, it can be tricky to choose the right one for you and your business.
For help with this decision, start by making a list of the things you want your accounting software to do, ranked in order of importance. Is keeping the cost of the software down important enough that you’re willing to give up usability? Will a large number of users need access to the system? Do you need integrated payroll? Consider the cost savings from switching to an all-in-one solution that will replace some of the other software you currently use. (RELATED: 10 Steps for Setting up Your Startup Accounting Function.)
Here’s a handy list of some of the best small business accounting software options out there for you to choose from.
7 Best Small Business Accounting Software Solutions
QuickBooks is the gold standard in accounting software, serving companies from one-person shops to major corporations. If you don’t have much time to dedicate to this search, it’s safe to just to click “buy” on this one and be on your way. QuickBooks will integrate with your business’s bank account and allows clients to pay via bank deposit directly from a link on your custom invoices. The software also offers reporting, inventory tracking, contractor management, and integrated payroll.
Quickbooks isn’t just one of the best small business accounting software options, it’s one of the best for larger companies and startups experiencing rapid growth as well, offering some of the most popular integrations and robust features required for just about any business of any size.
Xero is QuickBooks main competitor; it’s easy to import your data from QuickBooks if you choose to switch. Like with QuickBooks, you can access your account from anywhere, inventory management is included, and you can monitor your business’s cashflow via charts, graphs and a variety of reports. Unlike QuickBooks, however, Xero does not offer integrated payroll; a recent change means that Xero users will now get payroll services through Gusto, a third-party vendor.
Depending on your specific needs though, Xero may just be the best small business accounting software for you. For instance, Xero offers unlimited users with incredibly flexible user permissions, while Quickbooks only offers one, three, or five users depending on the pricing plan you choose. Another strong consideration that makes Xero one of the best small business accounting software options is its significantly larger library of supported third-party integrations. Additionally, if overall simplicity and ease of use is a top priority for you, Xero should be a top consideration when choosing accounting software for your business.
3. Sage Intacct
Sage Intacct is best known for its cloud-native accounting and ERP solution for small and medium-sized businesses and is the only preferred provider of financial applications of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Its accounting software reviews are positive and have earned Sage Intacct high ratings as an alternative to QuickBooks, and as an all-in-one solution allowing you to manage accounting, ERP, payroll, payments, and analytics all from the same dashboard. Sage Intacct sets itself apart with its Sage University, which offers users accounting know-how to make the most of the accounting software. This is a solid and relatively low-priced option across all industries and one of the more trusted brands since 1981, but reports indicate its mobile app can be a bit glitchy and slow.
Wave offers all of its base features for free, only charging fees for online payments and payroll services. Wave offers the option to work in multiple currencies in more than 200 countries and includes invoicing and easy receipt scanning to help you track your expenses. Wave’s dashboard is clear and user-friendly.
Wave is easily one of the best small business accounting software options for budget conscious businesses without the need for all the more complex features found in the likes of Quickbooks and Sage Intacct.
Zoho also offers a free option with a full suite of features for very small businesses, and offers the ability to incorporate more customers and users for a fee. The free account allows for 1 user, 5 automated workflows, and the ability to invoice up to 5 customers, making Zoho one of the best small business accounting software options for small companies that aren’t quite ready to shell out a monthly subscription fee.
If you expect to grow in the future, Zoho is very scalable with upgraded plans, ranging from $9 – $29 a month. The software includes time tracking and timesheets, expense tracking, a customer portal, and recurring invoices. Multi-currency support makes it easy to reach out to customers around the world, but Zoho does not include an integrated payroll option.
Kashoo has a range of features that come with a relatively small price tag. But with no dashboard, this software isn’t as user-friendly as some of the other options. While some other solutions charge premium pricing for multiple currencies, Kashoo builds offers that feature standard. The software integrates with Square and Stripe to accept payments.
OneUp offers CRM in addition to invoicing, accounting, and inventory management functions. This feature allows you to link your quotes and invoices to your customers’ contact information, making it easier for your team to personalize client interactions. Plan prices are related to the number of users you have, making this solution ideal for extremely small businesses.
OneUp is not only one of the best small business accounting software options for budget conscious companies, it is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing online accounting solutions, because it offers a full suite of accounting features as well as complete CRM starting at just $9 per month.