Best Accounting Software Systems for Small Businesses


Your business is unique. Your accounting software system should be, too. Not all accounting software systems are ideal for certain types of businesses. There are a few generally good systems that will take care of most businesses needs, but it’s typically just smarter to purchase an accounting software system that’s designed for the specific needs of your business.

A small startup is going to have different accounting needs than a larger corporation that’s expanding into new locations. So your accounting software system should reflect that, and cater to your specific needs and concerns.

For smaller businesses, there are a number of great accounting software systems for you to try. Some fit a tighter budget, but offer fewer features. Some have features that focus more in depth on inventory and assets versus daily sales, and so on.

Here are a few of our favorite accounting software systems for small businesses and their owners:

For the Average Small Business

QuickBooks Online ( is the best overall option for most small businesses. The nice thing about QuickBooks is that it’ll cover a range of features for small businesses at most stages.

So if you’re just starting out, or if you’re a bit more established as a small business, QuickBooks is a solid accounting software system choice to cover your needs, no matter where you’re at as a small business.

This is a good system that can handle most any type of small business: retail, freelance, online-only, restaurants, service providers, etc. That’s not always the case with accounting software systems. They tend to be more specialized, which can be good.

But if you’re not sure exactly what you need, QuickBooks is a good all-around option to handle pretty much all the needs of the average small business. The cheapest plan starts at just $10 a month, and gives you access to tons of helpful features for small business owners.

It’s the most well-rounded option, and it’s affordable enough that if you test it out and find you want more specific features, it would be easy to switch it up to any one of the following accounting software systems.

For Teeny Tiny Businesses

If you’re running a small Etsy shop to bring in some extra spending money on the side, or operating a small-scale local dog-walking business, this accounting software system might be the best fit for you.

Consider Zoho Books ( for smaller small businesses. It won PC Mag’s Editor’s Choice Award, and was the 2015 Sleeter Awesome Apps Award Winner.

It’s easy on smaller budgets for smaller businesses, too. It’s $24 per month, which is twice as much as the cheapest accounting software options on the market. However, Zoho Books gets you access to all their features (not just some- unlike the cheaper options) and you get an unlimited number of users on your account. It’s worth the money.

You can access it from your smartphone or tablet via their mobile app, and all the data is backed up on the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about something happening to that iPad you use to run your business.

It has all the basic features you’ll want in running a smaller-than-small business; automated banking direct to your account, expense tracking from anywhere, invoice templates and organizational features to improve your cashflow, and it’s incredibly easy to use.

For Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

If you truly just can’t afford an accounting software system yet, it’s ok. Wave Accounting ( is a good option for small businesses, and best of all: it’s free.

Sure, you’ll have to put up with pop-up ads, but for a free accounting software system for your small business, a couple annoying banner ads are worth enduring. It doesn’t offer all the features that you’d get with a purchased accounting software system, but it’ll cover the most basics.

You’ll have to pay to access some features such as payroll and customer service, but the overall system is still free, and paying for a couple features you need is cheaper than making a monthly payment on a higher quality accounting software system. Wave also offers unlimited usage of their services, so you can invoice to your heart’s content without having to pay if you exceed another system’s allotted amount.

Wave is another cloud-based system that gives you assurance that you’ll never lose your records. It’s a perfect free accounting option for small businesses with owners who are self-employed entrepreneurs, or have fewer than ten employees. With such a small business on a budget, there’s no need for a fancier accounting software system. Just get yours for free, instead.