7 Best Small Business Accounting Software Options

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 get some dedicated software in place.

At Lighter Capital, we don’t fund companies that aren’t using accounting software. 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. (RELATED: 5 Top Issues We See With Startup Financials.)

So, we insist that are partners are set up to succeed, bookkeeping-wise, from the moment they start working with us.

Small business accounting software is amazingly powerfully and streamlined these days. But with so many great tools on the market, it can be tricky to choose the right one.

For help with this decision, make a list of the things you want your accounting solution 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 accounting software options out there for small businesses.


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.


Xero is QuickBooks main competitor; it’s easy to important 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 a charts and graphs. Unlike QuickBooks, however, Xero does not offer integrated payroll; a recent change means that Xero users will now get payroll servicers through Gusto, a third-party vendor.

Sage Business Cloud

Sage Business Cloud is an all-in-one solution, allowing you to manage your accounting, payroll, payments, and employees all from the same dashboard. Sage sets itself apart with its Sage University, which offers users accounting know-how to make the most of the software. This is a solid and relatively low-priced option, but reports indicate its mobile app can be 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.


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 software includes time tracking and timesheets, expense tracking, a customer portal, and recurring invoices. Multicurrency 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.

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Katherine Gustafson is a full-time freelance writer specializing in content for mission-driven changemakers such as tech disruptors in fintech, healthcare IT, and B2B SaaS. She also does corporate work on business topics including accounting, management, and innovation for companies such as KPMG, TD Bank, Workday, Avalara, and Adobe. She is the author of a book about innovation in sustainable food, and her writing has appeared in a wide variety of sites and publications including QuickBooks Resource Center, Business Insider, and Forbes. Follower her on Twitter @k_m_g.