8 Best QuickBooks Alternatives For Small Business Accounting

By Russ Davidson • Updated on July 2nd, 2020
LinkedIn

QuickBooks has long been one of the most popular accounting software options. The low cost and ease of use offered by QuickBooks programs–such as QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Enterprise–has made them a preferred bookkeeping choice for small business owners since the inception by Intuit in 1998. Today, the program has over 3 million subscribers.

If their solutions aren’t for you, you can check out some of the best QuickBooks alternatives that we’ve cultivated. Whether on a tight budget, you are growing as a business, or you are looking for more advanced capabilities, your business has a lot of choices.

Top QuickBooks Alternatives:

Best
Overall
FreshBooks Screenshot
FreshBooks
No setup costs
Discounted intro pricing
Simple and intuitive
Best for
Small Businesses
Xero Screenshot
Xero
Strong invoicing capability
A large number of add ons and integrations
Easy-to-understand accounting language
Best for
Freelancers
FreeAgent Screenshot
FreeAgent
Project-based accounting
Sales Tax Reporting & Multi-Currency Invoicing
Unlimited users, clients, and projects
Best
Free
Wave Screenshot
Wave
Unlimited bank accounts and credit cards
Unlimited income/expense transactions
Multi-currency invoicing
Best for
Desktop
Denali Business Screenshot
Denali Business
Audit trail security
No arbitrary Payroll caps or requirements
Open data structure - No data limits
Best for
Invoicing
Sage Business Cloud Accounting Screenshot
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
Automated aged invoicing reports
Highly customizable invoices
Record purchase invoices
Best for
Inventory Management
Zoho Books Screenshot
Zoho Books
Create purchase orders at replenishment points
Client portal with sales and purchase approvals
Easily integrate with dozens of Zoho products
Best for
Payroll
Gusto Screenshot
Gusto
Strong support network
Employee self-service
Includes benefits administration

The best QuickBooks alternatives will be user-friendly and allow for the core bookkeeping capabilities offered by most small business accounting software. They will also fill a need QuickBooks may fall short in, such as industry preference, hosting preference, or even the size of your business.

Why should you consider a QuickBooks alternative? If you’ve already determined you need a replacement, you may have your own reasons. Perhaps you need something less expensive (or even free), or maybe you need better integration with other business management tools. Whatever your reason, these are the categories we’d classify their replacements in.

Best Overall
FreshBooks
★★★★★
★★★★★
(5)

Expense management
Invoicing
Project and task time tracking
Freshbooks Home Page
What We Like
No setup costs
Discounted intro pricing
Simple and intuitive
What We Don’t Like
Client-based pricing
No bulk invoice creation
Overview
Price Range: $
Starting Price: $15/month
Client OS: iOS, Android, Web

FreshBooks is a true all-in-one accounting software that improves cash flow and automates your administrative tasks such as basic invoicing, organizing expenses, and tracking your time worked on projects. It also offers a large number of reports that help monitor the finances and financial health of your business.

The biggest benefit of FreshBooks is what you get included in the price. Rather than offer a limited base version of their software (such as only invoicing), their “Lite” package includes a full suite of unlimited invoices, expense entries, estimating, and time tracking. It can also accept credit card payments and ACH bank transfers and has an automated bank import feature built-in.

Best for Small Businesses
Xero
★★★★★
★★★★★
(3)

Xero Dashboard
What We Like
Strong invoicing capability
A large number of add ons and integrations
Easy-to-understand accounting language
What We Don’t Like
No “paid” notification alerts
Limited to 2,000 transactions per month
Payroll is limited to 36 U.S. states
Overview
Price Range: $$
Starting Price: $9/month
Client OS: Web

Over 1.3 million users have chosen Xero as their primary accounting software. Xero is very scalable, meaning many small businesses continue to use Xero as they grow into larger enterprises and upgrade to more advanced versions.

Online accounting solutions (also known as cloud accounting software) such as Xero provide a “log in from anywhere” approach, which is intended to increase usage given the ease of access. On top of being able to access your financial information from anywhere you have access to a web browser, Xero has a mobile app for iOS devices, which can provide accounting features such as receipt scanning.

Xero learns and categorizes each transaction to help save your business time. Xero also has a large customer support network and an online “checkup tool” that lets the customer support team run some system checks to identify issues and handle issues via chat support.

Want more results? Check out our list of best small business accounting software.

Best for Freelancers

Overview
Settings
Contacts
What We Like
Project-based accounting
Sales Tax Reporting & Multi-Currency Invoicing
Unlimited users, clients, and projects
What We Don’t Like
No integrations with outside tools
Poor reporting
Overview
Price Range: $
Starting Price: $12/month
Client OS: Web

FreeAgent is a cloud accounting software that was created just for small businesses, freelancers, and their accountants. FreeAgent includes everything needed to manage your business, which is great for a freelancer looking to keep their finances under one program. The solution is also one of the easiest to use, providing a mobile-friendly interface that gives a birds-eye view of your projects.

FreeAgent works best for freelancers since it was created to be an accounting software for the micro-business. Because of this, if your small business has over 10 employees, you are likely not going to be the target demographic for FreeAgent. The program aims to eliminate the need for you to hire a bookkeeper to manage your expenses or reconcile your bank accounts.

This project-based accounting solution can simplify your finances by assigning all money coming in and out to a specific project. This allows you to reconcile your accounts more easily than browsing through spreadsheets. Nonpayment reminders for invoices are automatic, and time spent working on projects can easily be turned into billable time and added to an invoice. Finally, the easy to understand accounting dashboard will provide an instant overview to the financial well-being of your operation.

Best Free
Wave
★★★★★
★★★★★
(5)

Dashboard
New Invoice
Products and Services
Receipts
New Estimate
Available Reports
What We Like
Unlimited bank accounts and credit cards
Unlimited income/expense transactions
Multi-currency invoicing
What We Don’t Like
Collecting online payments is “pay-per-use”
Payroll is a monthly add-on
Overview
Price Range: $
Client OS: iOS, Android, Web

Wave is a forever-free accounting solution that offers accounting, invoicing, payments, payroll, and receipts. Wave is very transparent in their pricing structure. The accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning is 100% free. Collecting payments via credit card or bank transfers, or running payroll for your employees, does come at a price, however.

Wave is not only one of the most popular free accounting solutions, but it can also be thought of as one of the most popular accounting solutions period. Because of this, it’s a great choice for freelancers and start-ups who are strapped for cash.

Best for Desktop
Denali Business
★★★★★
★★★★★
(13)

Main Job Costing Screen
Job Management
Enter Cost Activity
Stock Item Vendors
Stock Item History
Main Inventory
General Ledger
What We Like
Audit trail security
No arbitrary Payroll caps or requirements
Open data structure - No data limits
What We Don’t Like
Longer setup time
Not much available for 3rd party add-ons or integrations
Overview
Price Range: $$$
Starting Price: $1,999/user (perpetual license)
Client OS: Windows

Denali Business from Cougar Mountain Software is a sophisticated accounting system for small businesses. The solution recognizes that accounting is important and that accounting software should grow with the business it serves. Due to being an on-premise solution, their services are always available and will inherit the security of your internal network.

Denali Business gives your business an ability to customize applications that will adapt to what your business needs out of an accounting software. Most growing businesses will want to save on costs initially and add on additional functionality as they grow–something Denali Business is very capable of. Denali Business provides three bundles: Basecamp, Ascent, and Summit. These versions will add features such as inventory, order entry, crystal reports, and payroll.

Cougar Mountain Software offers a 60-day trial offer, which is a huge benefit over a solution with a 15-day, 30-day, or no trial at all. The Denali product was built to resemble in-house accounting departments, and has no limits in their payroll module. Cougar Mountain Software also allows all forms of accepted banking–meaning customers will be able to choose their preferred direct deposit methods, depending on convenience or necessity.

Many users of Denali Business favor the functionality, intuitiveness, great support, and reasonable price. As a desktop option, the solution generally has a larger upfront cost than most online accounting software, but continued use of the software over the course of ownership provides a much more inexpensive investment. Cougar Mountain understands that, and provides quality service so you can continue using the software for years to come.

Best for Invoicing

Revenue
Sales
What We Like
Automated aged invoicing reports
Highly customizable invoices
Record purchase invoices
What We Don’t Like
No repeating invoices
Missing functionality from the former desktop version
Expensive support
Overview
Price Range: $$
Starting Price: $10/month
Client OS: Web

Sage Business Cloud Accounting (formerly known as Sage One) is an easy to use cloud invoicing solution that will help your small business get paid faster. Their “Accounting Start” program starts at only $10/month and will let you create sales invoices, track what is owed to you, and connect to your bank to import transactions automatically.

Backed by a powerful mobile app, Sage Business Cloud Accounting lets you handle your invoicing from anywhere with your iOS or Android device. Rather than a simple invoice-viewer or only a photo-capture tool, you’ll get full accessibility from the mobile solution. This includes data entry, reconciliation, reporting, and sales tax generation–something that can be useful when you’re constantly on the road handling sales.

In addition to its strong invoicing tools, Sage Business Cloud Accounting will also give your business everything it needs to succeed, whether you are looking for entry-level accounting software or a powerful cloud accounting solution with cash flow management and accrual entities. The “Accounting” package of Sage Business Cloud Accounting is only an extra $15/month ($25/month total).

Best for Inventory Management
Zoho Books
★★★★★
★★★★★
(4)

Invoicing
Recurring Bills
Inventory
Bank Reconciliation
Time Tracking
Contacts
Dashboards
What We Like
Create purchase orders at replenishment points
Client portal with sales and purchase approvals
Easily integrate with dozens of Zoho products
What We Don’t Like
Will require ‘Zoho Inventory’ if your inventory grows too large
Limited bank syncing
Difficult to modify invoices
Overview
Price Range: $
Starting Price: $9/month
Client OS: Web

Zoho Books is an online accounting solution that doubles as an inventory management software. The inventory control feature lets you capture the goods and services you offer and add them to your transactions. This allows you to track your current stock count, establish reorder points to replenish inventory levels when they run low, and organize your inventory data however you’d like–such as by SKU, cost, or quantity.

While companies in need of a dedicated inventory management program won’t necessarily stumble across Zoho Books (they’d be better off with Zoho Inventory), they will get the best of both worlds when looking for an integrated accounting and inventory solution. Zoho Books is already known as a top small business accounting software, mostly in part to it’s integrated suite of capabilities (such as sales order management, purchase orders, and sales tax).

Zoho Books inventory management will let you capture complete product data and upload images of a product for easier identification. Your business will also be able to create customized price lists with markups or markdowns that you can offer to preferred vendors and customers. Real-time stock count tracking will let you automatically reorder critical goods through your preferred vendors when needed.

Through Zoho’s vast ecosystem of business software options, if your business ever finds itself increasing sales and requiring a more powerful stock management tool, you’ll be able to easier transition into the aforementioned Zoho Inventory. This program easily integrates with Zoho Books, which allows you to continue using the accounting software you’re used to. This is what makes Zoho Books one of the best alternatives with regards to inventory management needs.

Best for Payroll
Gusto
★★★★★
★★★★★
(3)

Gusto Track Vacation and Sick Time
Gusto Adding New Employee
Gusto Run Payroll
Gusto Dashboard
What We Like
Strong support network
Employee self-service
Includes benefits administration
What We Don’t Like
Limited time-off options
Hard to add sporadic allowances
Overview
Price Range: $$
Starting Price: $45/month
Client OS:

Gusto is one of the most widely used online payroll options that lets users log in from anywhere using a web browser or mobile device. It’s payroll capabilities include deductions and filings, direct deposits, W-2s, and 1099s. It also includes additional HR features such as onboarding, benefits management, and time tracking with paid time off.

There are 3 plans available for Gusto that are dependent on the feature set your business needs. Advanced features available in higher plans include permissions, onboarding capabilities, time-off requests, and an employee directory with surveys.

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