The best QuickBooks alternatives have all the core bookkeeping capabilities that small businesses need but are often easier to use and more affordable. Whether you’re looking to switch from QuickBooks, looking for your business’ first accounting software, or looking for a free QuickBooks alternative, you’ll find a full review of the right accounting software here.
If you’re looking for an alternative to QuickBooks Online, you should start by determining what you’re looking for that QuickBooks Online doesn’t offer.
Does the interface bother you? Is the feature you’re looking for not available? Are you looking for a more inexpensive product or better integration with your other applications?
Whatever your reason for seeking out alternatives, here are a few things you should pay close attention to while searching for a QuickBooks Online replacement.
It’s all well and good to search for a product that is loaded with awesome features. However, if you have a hard time accessing and using those features properly, it doesn’t matter if they’re available or not.
One of the primary things any new user should consider is how easy a product is to use.
One way to do that is to take advantage of the free demos that many of these applications offer. There’s nothing like navigating through a product yourself to really see if it’s the right one for you.
While most small business accounting applications offer multiple plans and affordable prices, it can be costly to get all of the features you want at a price you can afford.
Before you purchase the lowest level plan, be sure it includes the features you’re looking for, and if you have to go up to the next plan level, make sure that the cost is within your budget.
One of the features frequently overlooked when shopping for accounting software is support.
It’s one of those things that you don’t think much about — until you need it.
If you’re tech-savvy, chances are you can get by with online support or a robust knowledge base, but if you’re a computer novice, make sure that any product you’re interested in offers to support options that work for you.
QuickBooks got to where it is through a combination of name recognition and marketing muscle (popularity), an accessible entry-level price point (affordability), and reliability and ease-of-use for newcomers (user-friendliness).
And sure enough, QuickBooks is one of only eight products to appear on our Top 20 accounting software lists for most popular (#1), most affordable (#17), and most user-friendly (#12).
Some popular accounting tools—such as Xero (5th popular, 8th user-friendly), SlickPie (8th affordable, 2nd user-friendly), and FreshBooks (6th popular, 13th user-friendly)—have very strong merits but didn’t cut this list because they qualified for only two of the three criteria outlined above.
Other solid options—such as Zoho Books, FreeAgent, and Manager—appear on all three of our Top 20 lists but have a lower average ranking than QuickBooks. All of these tools are worth checking out, though.
But for now, let’s take a look at the four best QuickBooks alternatives for small-business accounting.
AccountEdge Pro is designed for tech-savvy business owners that are looking for a robust accounting application.
A desktop application, AccountEdge Pro offers a ton of features, making it the perfect product for small to mid-sized businesses, as well as growing businesses.
If you’re interested in AccountEdge Pro, it’s best that you know your way around a computer and are comfortable using an on-premise application. However, you can still access the application remotely to perform several functions.
Features available in AccountEdge Pro include full account management, banking, sales, time billing, inventory, and purchasing.
The application also includes payroll, with both self-service and full-service payroll available. AccountEdge Pro also offers features found in other small business accounting applications, such as a customer portal and the ability to accept customer payments online, though the application does not currently offer an automatic bank feed.
AccountEdge Pro does include the ability to track your time and bill your customers for that time. The robust inventory module makes it a great fit for those with product inventory that needs to be tracked.
AccountEdge Pro offers four plans suitable for very small to enterprise-level businesses.
Reporting options are terrific in AccountEdge Pro, with all reports fully customizable. Free email support is included, and for $199 a year, you can subscribe to the telephone support plan.
While some may see an on-premise application as a hindrance, the true benefits of using AccountEdge Pro far outweigh this slight inconvenience.
The product offers four plans that range from Basic for very small businesses to Priority ERP, allowing you to continue using this excellent application at every stage of your business.
AccountEdge Pro has a one-time fee of $399 for a single user, with each subsequent user charged $249. This fee is only paid once, not annually. A subscription to the payroll module will cost $249 annually, and telephone support is $199 annually.
Next up on our list of QuickBooks alternatives is Bonsai—a project management software for freelancers that has some nifty accounting features built-in. With Bonsai, you can track your billable expenses by creating an expense, assign it to a project, and attaching those expenses to an invoice. You can also connect your bank account to import your expenses. What’s more, Bonsai generates expense reports and analytics so you can understand your spending over time.
What’s more, Bonsai allows you to arrange recurring payments, and be paid via credit card, ACH transfer, PayPal, and even bitcoin. Other tools include a freelance tax calculator, reporting functions, time tracking, and the ability to create custom client proposals and contracts.
Bonsai costs $16 per month for their Plus plan and $24 per month for their Premium plan. Both plans include all those as mentioned earlier, but the Premium plan also includes white labelling, subcontracting, and the option to add additional users to your account.
FreeAgent is accounting software designed specifically for small business owners. It only has one price—$24 per month—and it comes with pretty much everything you’ll need from an accounting perspective. This includes invoicing, expense tracking, sales tax calculation, and a dashboard that offers you a real-time view of your cash flow. Other FreeAgent perks include automated bank feeds and a mobile app.
What started out as an invoicing- and time-tracking software has evolved into a powerhouse for the self-employed. FreshBooks lets you invoice and collect payments from your clients, track your expenses, and collaborate with your subcontractors. It also works with a suite of external applications to help you build a truly customized solution for your business.
If you’re worried about getting stuck on an issue with the software and having to wade through pages of online FAQs to try to solve the problem yourself, don’t be. FreshBooks has excellent customer-service associates who respond quickly to your questions, often replying within an hour.
What FreshBooks does not do is keep a balance sheet. A template is available if you need to create one, but FreshBooks recommends seeking the help of your accountant if this is necessary. This can quickly become a costly endeavour, so if your business needs a balance sheet, FreshBooks is not the right solution for you.
As for price, FreshBooks starts at $15 per month, though most small businesses will need the $25/month plan. There’s also a premium option available for $50/month, but by the time a business reaches this stage, it will likely need a more robust solution. Additionally, for a limited time only, FreshBooks is offering 50% off for the first 3 months when new users skip the 30-day free trial period.
Sage is a full accounting package. It produces a balance sheet and allows for bank reconciliations. Starting at just $10 per month for Sage Accounting Start, it’s very competitively priced, too.
Need more features than those offered in the $10 per month version? You can choose Sage Accounting for $25 per month to unlock unlimited collaboration, quotes and estimates, vendor bill tracking, cash flow forecasts, and the option to choose either cash or accrual basis accounting. There’s also HR tools, POS integrations, e-commerce features, and sales and marketing features.
Like Intuit (the maker of QuickBooks), Sage has a wide variety of options for helping you scale your business, including an accountant partner program and its own series of conferences to help you learn, collaborate, and grow.
Sage 50cloud Accounting is a hybrid application that offers the reliability that a desktop application offers along with remote access options.
Sage 50cloud Accounting is better suited for those that are more tech-savvy. Best suited for small and growing businesses, Sage 50cloud Accounting is scalable, with three plans available, with their Quantum plan able to support up to 40 users.
They offer a long list of features for small businesses, including good customer management, sales tracking, purchase orders, and a good inventory management module.
Sage 50cloud Accounting also includes automatic bank feeds, vendor payment, and two payroll options: Essentials Payroll for up to 15 employees and Full-Service Payroll for larger businesses.
They offer good reporting capability, with fully customizable reports in a variety of categories. Tech support is good, with telephone, email, and chat support available.
One of the best benefits small businesses can derive from Sage 50cloud Accounting is its scalability.
When you find an accounting application you’re comfortable with, the last thing you want to do is outgrow the application. You won’t have to worry about that with Sage 50cloud Accounting, where you can scale up to the robust Quantum plan, which supports up to 40 users.
Last on our list of QuickBooks alternatives is SpendWise, which is an excellent option for retail business owners. This is because this accounting software comes with robust inventory tracking features. With SpendWise, you can create purchase orders for vendors, and create sales orders and quotes for customers. When purchase orders are filled, SpendWise will automatically update your inventory quantities and costs.
In terms of accounting tools, SpendWise allows you to track unpaid bills, sales, and expenses. There are also reporting tools. However, SpendWise does not currently integrate with bank accounts or credit cards. What’s more, you don’t get access to all features unless you shell out for the Enterprise plan (quote-based)—which comes with inventory management and multi-currency payments. SpendWise Basic ($9 per month) is going to limit the number of purchase orders you can make each month, and SpendWise Pro ($19 per month) does not allow you to see updated inventory when purchase orders are filled.
Wave Accounting is completely free accounting software. However, you’ll have to pay extra to access its full range of features (later will talk about an accounting option you can truly use at no cost whatsoever). With Wave Accounting, you’ll be able to quickly and easily set up your Wave account, connect your business bank account, and start utilizing all of the functions the software has to offer. With your bank account connected, you’re bookkeeping information will appear automatically.
Some of the tools built into Wave Accounting include income and expense tracking, customizable invoicing and receipt scanning, guest collaborators, exportable accounting reports, invoicing, receipt printing and the ability to connect with PayPal, Shoeboxed, and Etsy. And once again, all of this is free.
But, to access the potential of Wave, you’ll need to pay extra. Features like sending and receiving payments and running payroll cost extra. Therefore, we can’t recommend Wave for large teams. However, if you’re looking for a simple accounting tool at no cost, you can’t get much better than Wave.
Xero is also a full accounting package. This New Zealand-based company is the industry leader in New Zealand, Australia, and several European countries, too. Built “in the cloud, for the cloud,” Xero had avoided many of the perceived missteps its competitors had made when they transitioned to cloud-based accounting services, making it a great alternative to QuickBooks.
Xero touts itself as “beautiful accounting software,” and it is. Two of the things small business owners love most about this alternative to QuickBooks Online is the simplicity of its interface and its avoidance of accounting and finance jargon. No debits or credits here—just easy-to-understand language that makes it simple to determine what to do with your transactions. The reconcile-as-you-go feature is also a favourite of small business owners, though many accountants and bookkeepers prefer a separate reconciliation function.
Xero has three pricing tiers. If you’re a super-small business, the Starter package at $9/month may work for you. However, most small businesses quickly outgrow this package and move up to the $30/month Standard package. More complex businesses dealing with multiple currencies and larger payrolls need the Premium package, which starts at $70/month.
Though technically not accounting software, many small businesses use YNAB as though it is. After successfully using it in their personal finances, it didn’t take savvy YNAB users long to determine how to take advantage of the software’s zones of genius—expense tracking, goal setting, and debt management—in their businesses.
YNAB does not have a balance sheet, it doesn’t handle invoicing or payroll, and there isn’t a bank reconciliation feature. But it does have bank syncing, beautiful reporting, and an avid support community to help you form and stick to your goals. While it’s not quite a free QuickBooks alternative, at $6.99/month (if paid annually), the price is affordable.
Zoho Books is part of the Zoho suite of services—which includes over 40 different business apps, including CRM, HR tools, and reporting options. As a web-based platform, Zoho Books allows you to access your account wherever you have internet, as well as use their mobile accounting app for either iOS or Android.
The cost of Zoho Books is split into three tiers, allowing you to upgrade and accommodate your business’s expansion. The three Zoho Books plans range in functionality, differentiating largely in the number of contacts, users, and workflows that are included within your account. The Basic plan costs $9 per month, the Standard plan costs $19 per month, and the Professional plan costs $29 per month.
Features you’ll get regardless of your plan include invoicing, cost estimates, the ability to integrate your bank accounts, project and expense tracking, reporting tools, a client portal, custom tax options, as well as the ability to integrate with any of Zoho’s other software, and third-party tools like Zapier and Square POS.
You probably didn’t realize how many QuickBooks alternatives there are to choose from. If you are looking for accounting software that has all the features included in QuickBooks, Xero is the best QuickBooks alternative.
If you are a freelancer who doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles that Xero has to offer, we recommend you try FreshBooks. FreshBooks will allow you to automate your customer billing process, which saves you time and allows you to get back to what you enjoy doing most. Visit their website to sign up for a free 30-day trial.
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