9 QuickBooks Alternatives for Small Businesses - 2021
QuickBooks is an industry leader when it comes to accounting software. But that doesn't mean it’s right for everyone. As more and more providers appear or pivot into accounting solutions for small businesses, freelancers and self employed people, it’s well worth checking whether QuickBooks is the best option for you. Other services may offer a more intuitive interface, lower fees, or specialist integrations which help you save time and money.
Use this guide to help you decide if it's right for you - or if an alternative to QuickBooks may be a better bet.
How QuickBooks works
QuickBooks offers a broad range of accounting and business solutions, which you can access through tiered plans. Pay a monthly fee which ranges from 25 USD to 180 USD, with free trials and promotions for new customers which can bring down the cost. You can then add in extras like payroll, and manage your accounting in the cloud. Features include:
- Live bookkeeping
- Invoicing and bill payment
- Account reconciliation and analytics
- Time tracking
- Inventory management
There are a wide range of options available with QuickBooks, but it might not be the best accounting software solution for everyone. If you're looking for something else than what QuickBooks offers, read the options below and see if you can find the tools you need.
Xero is from a New Zealand based firm, and gets a Great rating on Trustpilot. You’ll be able to opt for the plan that fits your business, with products aimed at new businesses, sole traders and self employed people, growing businesses and companies which are already established. Xero offers easy to understand products and services, making it a good choice for busy business owners who want a simple and effective service.
- Choose the plan that suits your business from 32 USD to 62 USD/month
- Sleek and attractive user interface
- Synch and automate updates from your bank and other accounts
- Integrate with your Wise business multi-currency account for low cost international transactions
- Capture everything in one place
Sage has a range of accounting and business solutions aimed at small businesses, medium business and contractors in construction and real estate. Some packages are native cloud based, others are desktop alternatives connected to the cloud. Search by business size, sector or need to see the full range of options, including HR, timeslips, project management and other tools to help your business grow.
- Cheapest packages which are aimed at micro-businesses and self employed people are only 10 USD/month
- Lots of additional products and add-on features available, although you’ll pay more for most services
- High security system with easy access, although customizing your home page is recommended to avoid overwhelming users with data
- Integrated with a range of apps to extend the functionality
FreshBooks claims to be built for business owners and their clients - allowing owners to manage time tracking and invoicing, and clients to pay easily, as well as offering a whole suite of accounting solutions. Simple pricing plans make it easy to pick the package that’ll suit your business based on the number of billable clients you have. Then add on extras like payroll if you decide you need them.
- Choose Lite, Plus, Premium or Select plan depending on your needs - Lite is for businesses with up to 5 billable clients and is 15 USD/month as standard
- Access on iOS and Android wherever you are
- Send unlimited estimates and invoices, and get paid by card or bank transfer
- Track expenses
ZohoBooks has a free plan which may be of interest to people who are unsure about whether accounting software is necessary for their business. The paid plans are also simple to understand, and pretty good value compared to some competitors. Zoho has a range of other business apps and services, which means ZohoBooks may be a no-brainer if you’ve already bought into their CRM, HR or reporting functions.
- Manage clients, invoices, on- and offline payments
- Select the plan that suits your business - a free plan is available, recommended for businesses with an annual turnover of under 50,000 USD
- Manage and track expenses, and upgrade to broader packages for more advanced features like multi-currency handling and custom functions
Kashoo can be another accounting software option for your business. They have an option called Trulysmall for businesses and individuals who don’t need a full accounting software package yet, but who do need some features like invoicing. Within the main Kashoo product you can track expenses, invoice, accept payments, add bank feeds and get reports and insights.
- If you’re not sure whether you need accounting software, Trulysmall can help you with invoicing for free
- Fuller accounting packages are 20 USD or 30 USD a month - making them a competitive offer
- Known for having excellent customer service with good response times
Quicken offers a range of products aimed at people who want to better manage their personal budgets, improve their finances and invest. Their top tier package also includes an option for managing personal and business finances within the same product. This has features which are aimed at people collecting rental income, as well as options to invoice and collect payments. May not be the ideal option if you’re already covered for personal finance tools - but if you want to keep all your financial information in the same place, this is worth a look.
- Manage business and personal finance side by side
- Get personal budgeting and investment tools as well as a limited range of business management options
- Good for landlords collecting a rental income, options to track and chase rent and upload rental information direct to the program
7. Wave accounting
Wave is set up as a direct alternative to QuickBooks which offers a different way of buying services. Wave has free to use invoicing and accounting tools, and instead makes its money through a pay per use billing option. This costs 3.4% + 0.50 USD per transaction for credit card payments.
- Get free accounting and invoicing tools including income and expense tracking, reporting and multi currency invoicing
- Link unlimited accounts and cards, and manage multiple businesses from the same account
- Quick and easy to set up an account and get started
You can get the basic package from the ZipBooks suite for free, or upgrade for more features. Even on the free option you get unlimited invoices, vendors and customers, and can accept payments with Square or PayPal. Upgrade to the 15 USD/month or 35 USD month advanced packages for more, or go for a custom build and priced model for more advanced business needs.
- Free Starter package is a good way to test out whether accounting and invoicing tools are necessary for your business
- Reasonable package prices with some solid options based on team size and business complexity
- Depending on your package you can invoice, get paid, reconcile accounts, track time, add team members and access detailed reporting and analytics
Built for freelancers and small business owners, FreeAgent gets a top Excellent rating from TrustPilot. There’s only one pricing option - which is a standard 20 USD/month with a new customer discount to 10 USD/month for the first 6 months. This gets you unlimited access to the features which may be easier than wading through the range of prices, add ons and extra options available from some providers.
- No limits to the number of users, clients or projects, and no contract to sign
- Expenses, invoices, projects, time tracking and bank reconciliations are all covered to save you time on admin
- Well rated customer support
Is your accounting software integrated with any payment processor?
A final but important point to consider. Before you choose accounting software, check the apps and integrations that are available to make sure they work for you.
For example, you’ll want to know that your chosen payment processor is accepted, and that you’ll be able to integrate all your payment accounts for easy reconciliation.
Different software packages have different options. Xero, for example, has an app marketplace with over 1000 options, and will let you integrate a range of bank and specialist accounts including the Wise multi-currency account to make it easier to take payments in foreign currencies. Other providers may have more limited ranges of integrations, favoring their own apps, or working in partnership with only certain payment processors.