9 Best Free Accounting Software For Small Business

9 Best Free Accounting Software For Small Business | Accounting Smarts
Charles Hall

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Charles Hall

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June 10, 2022

Are you looking for accounting software for a small business? Maybe you are wondering if a free software solution can solve your basic accounting needs?

Are you looking for accounting software for a small business? Maybe you are wondering if a free software solution can solve your basic accounting needs?

The good news is that there are several accounting software for a small business that has been helping companies to fulfill their accounting needs and more. With these software solutions, not only will you be able to complete your accounting tasks but also create reports and other analytical data for informed business decisions.

This article will provide you valuable insight into what options do you have when it comes to accounting software for a small business. Additionally, you will also learn what these software solutions do and how they operate.

This knowledge will enable you to establish a robust accounting system within your organization and increase the productivity of your entire organization when it comes to the numbers game.

The best part is that we have gathered up these software solutions after extensive research into which accounting software for a small business is making the most noise out there. So without further ado, let us dive right in and explore which one of these might be the best fit for your company.

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Table of contents

What is Accounting Software for a small business

Accounting software allows your business to record the flow of money and examine the financial condition. Using accounting software will enable you to do the following

  • record financial transactions
  • generate reports, charts, graphs, etc
  •  manage your customers, employees, vendors
  • Create your purchase orders
  • Track your inventory’ stock levels
  • Generate invoices and send bills to the customers
  • Monitor your account balances

Why Accounting Software?

If you are currently using basic software solutions such as Microsoft Excel, you might wonder if you really need accounting software. Well, here is the answer in full detail as to why accounting software for a small business offers you value-added benefits than a spreadsheet.

Using accounting software will prove to be a cost-effective tool that will also help you save time while preventing errors.

Another significant benefit of using accounting software for a small business is the efficiency factor. Instead of simply copying and pasting your data from one spreadsheet to another, you can now record and monitor all your financial transactions from a single hub.

Moreover, it will be far more convenient for you to analyze your incoming and outgoing money trail. Hence, you will be able to make a smart and informed decision.

Benefits of Accounting Software for a small business

Apart from the above-mentioned aspects, accounting software will allow you to automate financial tasks and enable faster data management. Moreover, you will be able to bridge gaps between different departments and keeping everyone on the same page via centralized financial information.

Some online accounting software provides tools that will ensure that your business stays compliant with federal, state, and local tax laws and avoid IRS scrutiny. There are other benefits and features of using accounting software for a small business. Now you can manage the following tasks.

  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Invoice processing
  • Automatic invoicing
  • Payments processing
  • Automating your payment system
  • Generate purchasing orders
  • Create vendors credit memos
  • Fill and manage IRS tax forms
  • Manage your payroll operations
  • Create and manage your wage schedules
  • Some allow connecting your bank accounts and manage direct deposits
  • Manage and automate your tax calculations
  • Manage your expense deductions and reimbursements
  • Accounts reconciliation
  • Check handling etc.

So, let us look at some of the best free accounting software you can get your hands on in 2021.

How Do You Choose Free Accounting Software for a small business

In case you are looking for accounting software without having to splash a lot of cash, you can do better than spreadsheets. Therefore, we rounded up the nine best accounting software to help you with at least a single free plan without any expiration date.

However, free should not mean compromising on quality and features. So, here are some factors you must consider when it comes to choosing even free accounting software for a small business.

Access to Other/Multiple Users

If you are a small business, you will still have a small number of employees. Therefore, you must have free accounting software that must offer options to give access to multiple users. This will allow you to access financial data while saving time. In this case, free cloud-based accounting software is far more superiors to a computer program.

Cost

While accounting software may come with a price tag, it must offer at least one free-of-cost plan without any expiration date. That also means a free trial for a certain number of days does not qualify as free accounting software according to our qualifying parameters.

It will be fair play for the software developer to charge you for advanced features. However, you must consider if the price tag is worth paying for those features, or you can simply do without them.

Features

When you choose accounting software for a small business, it must allow you to connect your bank accounts, reconcile bank accounts, produce financial statements, generate invoices, sending emails, and tracking unpaid expenses.

Mobile-Friendly

In the modern world, mobile accessibility is a must-have. Good free accounting software shall give you a mobile-friendly option to carry your business accounts wherever you want.

User-Friendly Step and Interface

Accounting software, even when free, must have a simple user interface. This makes the learning curve a piece of cake and does not require you to have prior knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping.

9 Best Free Accounting Software for a small business

Whether you are an entrepreneur starting a new small business or an owner of an existing company, there is free accounting software to help you track your expenses, income, and tax returns.

However, when you say best free accounting software, it must include certain features to help you track the financial aspects of your company, such as

  • Tracking financial transactions (incoming and outgoing)
  • Importing your bank account transactions
  • Producing basic financial reports such as balance sheets, profit and loss sheets, and cash-flow statements.

So, let us look at each of our chosen free accounting software for a small business.

Akaunting

Akaunting is comprehensive free accounting software for small businesses. It is a cloud-based service with all the convenient tools you will ever need. You can use this software on any of your mobile or computing devices. This accounting tool comes with a very user-friendly interface.

Benefits

  • One of the most notable features of Akaunting is its ability to produce the most professional-looking invoices by free software.
  • You will also be able to use multiple currencies support
  • Expense tracking has never been easier
  • You will also be able to create a clients’ portal with multi-company functionality.
  • Moreover, if you are an owner of several businesses, you can use Akaunting to manage multiple companies from  a single hub
  • You do not need any prior knowledge or experience with book-keepings

Drawbacks

  • In order to purchase add-ons, you will have to pay extra
  • Only suitable for small or medium-sized businesses.

CloudBooks

Are you a very small business or a freelancer with basic accounting needs? Get a CloudBooks accounting software solution. The free version of this accounting tool will offer you impeccable cloud storage, meaning you will have remote access to all your financial and accounting data and report. Moreover, you will be able to give access to your accounting tools to unlimited users.

Benefits

  • You will get email support to email your invoices to the relevant parties
  • CloudBooks give you access to invoicing features for free, but it limits you to only a single client and a total of five invoices.

Drawbacks

  • If you wish for any added features apart from basic invoicing and emailing account details, you will have to buy a paid account with CloudBooks.

Suppose you are a business owner, an entrepreneur or a freelancer looking for an accounting solution. In that case, you can never go wrong with any of the above-mentioned accounting software for a small business. Some of them might be specifically desktop-based; others offer remote functionality as a cloud-based or online platform.

That said, whatever your needs are an accounting software will help you save a lot of time and money due to their efficient approach, powerful tools, and flexibility to add multiple users in most cases.

GnuCash

Are you a seasoned bookkeeper at a company looking for a free desktop version of accounting software? Well, look no further because GnuCash offers all that and more.

GnuCash is completely free and an open-source software offering you both personal and professional financial management and accounting capabilities. If you are a start-up company and micro-business with great options in a limited budget, then check this one out.

GnuCash also implements a double-entry bookkeeping infrastructure with features specifically designed for small organizations.

Benefits

  • You will get the credit card and bank accounts reconciliation
  • With GnuCash, you will be able to generate an extensive list of all financial reports
  • It is open-source accounting software with customization options
  • You will not need to get a certification; GnuCash provides an online new user tutorial that you can download with the GnuCash software program

Drawbacks

  • You will need a certain amount of booking experience in order to use GnuCash, or it may cause some difficulty.
  • You can only use this accounting software for a small business on a desktop computer
  • You will not be able to compare prior periods with the current fiscal period.
  • You will not be able to email directly from the GnuCash interface.

GnuCash offers some of the best features in free accounting software for a small business. However, there is a learning curve involved, so you will need to educate yourself and your employees about its usage.

If you or your accounting team has no prior knowledge of bookkeeping experience, we recommend you either train or use a different solution.

While it allows you to connect your financial accounts, such as bank and credit card accounts, you will need certain IT knowledge for configuration. However, if you are not into too much automation and do not mind importing financial transactions manually, GnuCash will serve you CSV.

Another significant lack of this accounting is its inability to remote access the company’s data while you are not at work. So, if you wish to continue operating your accounts from anywhere in the world, look for something other than GnuCash.

While GnuCash is free of cost, volunteer software developers supporting GnuCash do accept donations. Moreover, you can get GnuCash accounting software for Linus, Mac Os, and Windows without providing any credit card details or committing to buy.

NCH Express Accounts

NCH Express Accounts is unique user-friendly free desktop-based accounting software for a small business. This is a professional business accounting solution offering an impeccable platform for easy payment tracking and deposit transactions. You will also be able to view all your reports to have a financial overview of your business.

NCH Express Accounts is perfect for small businesses looking for financial solutions to document and report their financial transactions and cash-flows regularly. You will also be able to receipts, sales, purchases, and payments, etc.

The accounts receivable and sales features of NCH Express Accounts facilitates tracking your accounts receivable and sales generation. You will be able to record recurring invoices and orders. The financial analysis and report feature enables you to generate more than 20 financial reports simultaneously.

You will also be able to produce an analysis of your salesperson's performances, customers’ purchasing behavior, and each item’s performance in the market. The balance sheet will not only show you the analysis and current assets but the statuses of what items are more of a liability.

Benefits

  • You will be able to reconcile all your financial accounts.
  • NCH Express Accounts upload all your banking transactions in CSV file format.
  • Convenient and wallet-friendly for start-ups and small businesses.
  • You also get an inventory accounting feature as an add-on for a small fee.

Drawbacks

  • You will not be able to establish a live connection between your credit cards and bank accounts.
  • There is no remote access feature which means there is no smartphone app
  • You will not be able to attach any photos or images with your transactions
  • In case you wish to configure remote access to your software program, it will require the assistance of an IT professional for router and firewall applications.

NCH Express Accounts is somewhat similar to GnuCash; however, it is far better when it comes to a user-friendly interface. You will be able to access most of your financial transactions and overview from a single home tab.

The interface is straightforward to understand with a logical workflow. Customers’ invoice is straightforward to create. Additionally, this free accounting software for a small business is smart enough to remember your previous products and services used for future invoices.

If you are a business with many employees, you will generally have to pay. However, if you are a small business with five or fewer workers, you can easily download the software for free.

SlickPie

Are you a small business with little-to-no booking experience? Then SlickPie will suit your accounting and finance operations needs. This is easy-to-use accounting software with huge perks of automated features.

One of the best features of using SlickPie is a built-in app known as “MagicBot” that will allow you to add financial receipts and bills automatically. Moreover, it will give you an automated feature to produce auto-recurring invoices.

You will also be able to manage your accounts payable. However, you will have to manually work on these in order to enter each bill and mark it paid.

Benefits

  • It is entirely free of cost
  • You will be able to manage your Accounts Payable along with general accounting functions
  • Generate extensive financial reports for recurring invoices and expenses

Drawbacks

  • It probably is accounting software for a small business with very basic features. Therefore, it does not require any extensive knowledge or prior booking experience.
  • There is no option for smartphone support, meaning you will have no remote access to your accounts away from your desk.

Sunrise

Sunrise is one of the best free accounting software for a small business with mobile app users. Sunrise comes in a double-entry accounting framework. Moreover, you will also get support for product and contact records, estimates, quotes, invoices, expenses, and other financial data imports.

Sunrise will also work with other financial services such as PayPal Business Payments and Square Stripe for business payment processing. Other additional integrations but with payment include payroll service along with retooling of invoices.

Benefits

  • It will allow you to connect your bank accounts and import financial transactions.
  • You will be able to print these imported financial records in the form of charts and graphs to compare the current year to previous years.
  • You will also be able to generate customers’ invoices and vendors’ bills and track their status
  • Sunrise also offers an adequate mobile app

Drawbacks

  • You will not be able to extract any information directly from the receipts you captured to create financial transactions.
  • There is no option to reconcile bank accounts.
  • There are no options to track any project associated income and expenses
  • You will not be able to assign and bill customers for paid expenses.

Sunrise is predominantly an online bookkeeping service. However, it is still one of the best accounting software for a small business that wishes to use its proprietary bookkeeping feature. This is probably one of the most favorites amongst new start-ups because they do not have to pay extra to get an online bookkeeping feature.

If you are wondering what you can get if you wish to pay for an upgrade with Sunrise, here is what you need to know. Sunrise’s offers a free-of-cost Self-Service plan, including an accounting program. However, you can pay extra to choose from a bookkeeping plan allowing you to seek support from a dedicated personal bookkeeper. Sunrise offers these plans on monthly payment plans.

Wave

Looking for software that is 100 percent free, then Wave is an ideal candidate? This software comes with no price tag at all. There are no free-trials, limitations of duration of use, and hidden charges. Wave comes with some of the most mainstream accounting features, including invoice generation, receipt scanning, etc.

This accounting software for a small business offers you free services while generating revenue from add-on to run your accounts and business operations faster. If you are looking for free accounting software but would not mind paying a bit extra for the payroll management feature, Wave gives you a payroll add-on at an affordable price.

With Wave, you will get impeccable accounting features for freelancing entrepreneurs as well. It offers invoice creation and advanced management tools. In case you are considering a start-up and want to experiment with accounting software, Wave is not going to disappoint you at all.

Benefits

  • You will be able to import your bank transactions from several accounts into Wave automatically.
  • You will be able to reconcile your bank statements automatically
  • You can create invoices for your customers and vendors while keeping track of all your incoming and outgoing money.
  • While you monitor the financial transactions of your small business by scanning all receipts remotely via Wave Receipts mobile phone application.

Drawbacks

  • Wave’s bank reconciliation feature does not work if the bank does not clear your written checks. This may cause discrepancies in your accounts.
  • There is no mobile app for full-scale accounting features by Wave
  • You cannot track a project’s profitability
  • You will not be able to compare your financial statements, i.e., prior periods, with an on-going financial period.

That said, Wave is a user-friendly software that will allow you to connect your company’s financial accounts. This feature will give you a crystal clear overview of all your bank statements, credit card expenditures, pending bills, and invoices to make better business decisions.

You can give access to multiple users. The best is that Wave operates on a machine-learning mechanism, i.e., it will learn from your previous history and start making suggestions for future usage.

Most banks allow you to import financial transactions within the first 90 days of the transaction’s initial date. However, Wave can import older transaction reports in a CSV file format. However, you will have to download this file from your bank’s online banking portal and upload it into Wave manually.

Wave is the overall best free accounting software for a small business. You will still need to pay to get some functions. Therefore, check if the free features take care of most of your accounts and financial needs and if a couple of add-ons are a pocket-friendly option at all.

While Wave is entirely free of charge and does not offer any paid packages at all. However, you will have to pay a charge when accepting online payments as well as for using Wave’s payroll processing feature. Which is alright, why? Because even the top-notch services are going to charge you something for both these services. They do not come for free with any accounting software

ZipBooks

Are you a business dealing with the task of creating simple invoices on a frequent basis? If yes, then ZipBooks is a perfect and the most accessible accounting software for a small business. This account one of the best solutions available in the market that allows you to produce simple but impeccably designed invoices.

ZipBooks comes with a built-in invoice template that will allow you to customize your brand’s logo on the invoice. Moreover, you will also be able to fill in any of the sales information. All of this makes creating and sending your invoices a very convenient task.

However, you must remember that ZipBooks does not have any pre-defined categories of products or services for any industry. Therefore, you will have to manually type in entire descriptions of your products and services for each and every invoice.  

Benefits

  • You will be able to generate an unlimited number of invoices without breaking a sweat.
  • This accounting software for a small business creates and tracks all your financial transactions in extreme details
  • You can attach a receipt with each financial transaction
  • Unlimited list of vendors and customer details and records.

Drawbacks

  • You will have the option to allow access to multiple users. It is single person use software
  • There is no smartphone app support
  • You will have no option to import financial transactions from spreadsheet files or CSV format.
  • You will also be able to connect only one credit card or bank account.

Although ZipBooks has a free starter pack for small businesses, it also offers two paid offers. These paid offers will allow you access to added features to connect multiple credit card and bank accounts and allow multiple user access.

You also get an option to tag financial transactions to their projects and locations. Plus, their sophisticated price plan allows you unlimited users’ access.

ZipBooks is an entirely double-entry accounting infrastructure that allows you to print your balance sheets. You will also be able to manage your income statements for tax return purposes. The best part about ZipBooks is that it has some features missing from other free accounting software for a small business.

However, the most marketable feature of the company developing this software is its professional-looking invoices.

Charles Hall

Charles Hall

Charles has spent 25 plus years in the world of accounting and business. His experience includes working as a CPA/Auditor international accounting firms. He has worked as a controller and as a COO for small to medium sized companies.

Learn more about Charles Hall