8.5
Editor’s Rating:
Best Overall
FreshBooks: Dashboard
FreshBooks
  • Customizable payment terms
  • Discounted intro pricing
  • No setup costs
8.3
Editor’s Rating:
Best ERP System
NetSuite ERP: Home Screen
NetSuite ERP
  • Hundreds of third-party add-ons available
  • Feature sets for multiple industries
  • Highly customizable
7.8
Editor’s Rating:
Best for Small Businesses
QuickBooks Online: Sales Dashboard
QuickBooks Online
  • Widely used by most accountants
  • Tons of integrations available
  • Customizable invoicing

Web-based accounting software helps small businesses and medium-sized companies complete financial tasks from any device with an internet connection.

We used our advanced review methodology to test the most popular online accounting software for features like invoicing, reporting, and payment processing.

1 FreshBooks - Best Overall

Why We Chose It: After a test run of FreshBooks, we found it best overall due to its strong invoicing features. These allow users to easily create, customize, and send invoices, set up recurring schedules, and accept online payments. We like that the platform supports online payments via FreshBooks Payments, accepting major credit cards and Apple Pay at a rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

In 2024, FreshBooks introduced several enhancements, including a partnership with Gusto for FreshBooks Payroll. This allows U.S. businesses to handle payroll, tax filings, and labor compliance within the platform. Additionally, FreshBooks integrates with over 100 third-party apps, though point-of-sale integration options are limited.

Pricing starts at $19 per month for five billable clients. While this might be an attractive entry point for many, our free trial of FreshBooks revealed limited inventory management and report customizations. We also wish there was an option for bulk invoicing.

Best Overall:
FreshBooks

FreshBooks: Dashboard
FreshBooks: Add Ons
FreshBooks: Mobile Dashboard
FreshBooks: Accounting Settings and Reports
FreshBooks: Advanced Accounting
FreshBooks: Bank Connections
FreshBooks: Mileage Tracking on Mobile
FreshBooks: Email Templates
FreshBooks: Expense Report
FreshBooks: Invoice From Unbilled Hours
FreshBooks: Mobile Trip Tracking
FreshBooks: Mobile Dashboard
FreshBooks: Mobile New Invoice
FreshBooks: Available Integrations
FreshBooks: Mobile New Invoice
FreshBooks: Add New Client
FreshBooks: Add New Expense
FreshBooks: Payroll Settings
FreshBooks: Create New Invoice
FreshBooks: Time Tracking
FreshBooks: New Project
FreshBooks: View Invoice
FreshBooks: FreshBooks Reports
What We Like
Customizable payment terms
Discounted intro pricing
No setup costs
What We Don’t Like
Client-based pricing
No bulk invoice creation
Limited report customization
Overview
Price Range: $
Starting Price: $19/month
Client OS: iOS, Android, Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

2 NetSuite - Best ERP System

Why We Chose It: Our research into NetSuite has shown it’s a solid ERP system with strong accounting capabilities. In terms of general ledger management, NetSuite offers customizable charts of accounts, financial period close flexibility, multi-currency support, and automated bank reconciliation.

Cash management in NetSuite is another feature that caught our attention. The platform offers clear visibility into bank and credit card data to help forecast cash flow. Additionally, it consolidates financials for multi-company environments and generates graphical dashboards for revenue trends, profit margins, and accounts receivable and payable.

While we found NetSuite offers advanced tools and capabilities beyond many cheaper alternatives, the UI can be quite busy and might require some time to navigate effectively. Additionally, business owners may need to engage a consultant to leverage NetSuite’s extensive features fully​.

Best ERP System:
NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP: Home Screen
NetSuite ERP: Income Statement
NetSuite ERP: Journal
NetSuite ERP: Unrealized Exchange Rate Gains and Losses
NetSuite ERP: Ecommerce Customer Statistics
NetSuite ERP: Sales Orders
NetSuite ERP: Revenue Recognition
What We Like
Hundreds of third-party add-ons available
Feature sets for multiple industries
Highly customizable
What We Don’t Like
Must schedule a consult for pricing details
Tedious setup
Difficult to build reports
Overview
Price Range: $$$$
Starting Price: $99/user/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

3 QuickBooks Online - Best for Small Businesses

Why We Chose It: Our test run of QuickBooks Online showed efficient invoicing capabilities, helping small businesses get paid quicker and maintain healthy cash flows. We like that the platform provides pre-designed invoice templates, allowing small companies to reinforce their brand identity through varying layouts, logos, colors, and fonts.

QuickBooks Online also has many features to simplify billing, including mobile optimization, payment buttons, recurring invoices, and reminders. We also like that it syncs with popular payment gateways like Stripe, Square, and PayPal, with varying transaction fees. Users can also integrate QuickBooks Payments, with a variable fee of 1-3.5% per transaction.

However, our research also revealed some considerations for potential users. QuickBooks’ pricing, which ranges from $30 to $90 per month, can be cost-prohibitive for very small teams and freelancers. Like most cloud-based accounting software, it operates on a subscription-based pricing model. These expenses can add up over time, especially as businesses scale and require additional features.

Best for Small Businesses:
QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online: Sales Dashboard
QuickBooks Online: Find an Accountant
QuickBooks Online: Track Mileleage
QuickBooks Online: Mobile Cash Flow
QuickBooks Online: Bank Reconciliation
QuickBooks Online: Dashboard
QuickBooks Online: Mobile Dashboard
QuickBooks Online: Customers
QuickBooks Online: Mobile Shortcuts
QuickBooks Online: Create Invoice
QuickBooks Online: Sales Vendors
QuickBooks Online: Bill Pay
QuickBooks Online: Banking
QuickBooks Online: Expense Dashboard
QuickBooks Online: Payroll Dashboard
What We Like
Widely used by most accountants
Tons of integrations available
Customizable invoicing
What We Don’t Like
Comparatively expensive
Few industry-specific features
Limited users per plan
Overview
Price Range: $
Starting Price: $30/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

4 Odoo

Why We Chose It: During our test run of Odoo Accounting, we explored an extensive feature set covering accounts payable and receivable, bank synchronization, and reporting. We also like Odoo’s tax report module, which extends the accounting app’s functionality. It allows for easy pre-configuration of taxes and reports based on your fiscal localization package.

In terms of accounting capabilities, Odoo includes features like easy cost tracking, recurring invoice management, and auto-synchronization of bank feeds. It supports multiple currencies and payment methods like credit cards, digital wallets, and online banking. Odoo connects with over 15,000 banks worldwide, making transaction management simpler​.

When we created an invoice in Odoo, we found the form layout counterintuitive, especially on a mobile device. We also thought the bank reconciliation layout was confusing – line items aren’t presented in a direct one-to-one comparison.


Odoo: CRM Pipeline
Odoo: Project Tasks
Odoo: Invoicing
What We Like
Community version is free
Heavy customization options
Double entry inventory system
What We Don’t Like
May have to build specific modules yourself
No centralized support
Upgrades not free
Overview
Price Range: $$$
Starting Price: $25/user/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud or On-Premises

5 Xero

Why We Chose It: We tested Xero’s free trial and found it user-friendly. It presents outstanding invoices and upcoming bills in a clear, tabular format. It also provides in-app guidance for accounting beginners, along with extensive videos and guides on best practices. Xero doesn’t have a built-in payment gateway, but it does integrate with over 1,000 apps, including Square, PayPal, Venmo, Apply Pay, and Google Pay.

We like that Xero has over 50 pre-built report templates, covering financial statements like profit and loss, balance sheet, aged receivables/payables, and cash flow. It also enables users to edit report layouts, filters, and parameters. Invoice customization is slightly limited compared to QuickBooks Online or FreshBooks – you can only make content changes and minor tweaks to page margins, fonts, logos, columns, and fields.

Unlike competitors, Xero has no user cap, allowing unlimited users per subscription. However, the basic plan lacks multi-currency support and bulk reconciliation features, which can inconvenience businesses with high transaction volumes. Additionally, the basic plan imposes limits on invoices and bills.


Xero: Dashboard
Xero: Expenses
What We Like
Basic inventory management capabilities
Free trial available and no setup fees
Large number of add ons and integrations
What We Don’t Like
Big learning curve
Hard to get phone support (email is more frequent)
Limited to 2,000 transactions per month
Overview
Price Range: $$
Starting Price: $13/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

6 Sage Intacct

Why We Chose It: Sage Intacct’s AI-powered accounting and ERP capabilities impressed us with their ability to support growth from the get-go and scale alongside a business. This adaptability is useful for businesses at different stages of growth, offering automated accounts payable and a general ledger equipped with anomaly detection.

We appreciated Intacct’s sophisticated general ledger, which includes a multidimensional chart of accounts. This feature helps manage intricate financial operations across multiple entities, best for international organizations. The real game changer is the ability to merge data, manage currency conversions, and generate consolidated reports without waiting for month-end closings.

Intacct provides editable invoice templates in Microsoft Word format and integrates with payment processors like Paya and EBizCharge to accept credit card, debit card, and eCheck payments. However, you’ll need the help of a value-added reseller or VAR for implementation, support, and customizations. VARs offer industry knowledge and local expertise, but their quality and costs can vary.

7 Zoho Books

Why We Chose It: When testing Zoho Books, we were drawn to its automated report generation feature. It schedules and emails reports at predetermined intervals, with over 50 financial reports like aging summaries, balance sheets, and profit and loss statements. We also like that Zoho Books offers 16 customizable invoice templates – it even has the option to create custom HTML templates and schedule recurring invoices for repeat clients.

Unlike Xero, FreshBooks, or QuickBooks Online, Zoho Books offers a free plan for one user and one accountant. However, it doesn’t have a built-in payment gateway, so you’ll need to integrate with third-party services. We also found Zoho apps quite interdependent; if you need more than just Zoho Books and Zoho Inventory, you’re better off getting the Zoho One bundle for full functionality.


Zoho Books: Invoicing
Zoho Books: Recurring Bills
Zoho Books: Inventory
Zoho Books: Bank Reconciliation
Zoho Books: Time Tracking
Zoho Books: Contacts
Zoho Books: Dashboards
What We Like
Client portal with sales and purchase approvals
Easily integrate with dozens of Zoho products
Time-tracking
What We Don’t Like
Difficult to modify invoices
Time tracking must be tied to projects
Maximum of 10 users
Overview
Price Range: $
Starting Price: $15/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

8 AccountingSuite

Why We Chose It: During our demo of AccountingSuite, we found it well-equipped to handle cloud banking. It syncs with over 15,000 banks and credit card institutions and automatically downloads transactions. Additionally, we found bank reconciliations easy, and we liked that you can manage transfers and payments directly from within the software. This includes transferring funds between accounts and making payments to vendors.

AccountingSuite offers a seamless billing process, automatically updating inventory records and making adjustments during invoicing. You can personalize your invoices to fit your business’s branding and style. These templates also support custom product fields, promise dates, and dropship specifications.

However, we noticed some areas for improvement. The UI could be streamlined by reducing dropdowns and extra windows, making navigation smoother. There’s also no mobile app. When we accessed the demo version of the site on a smartphone, font sizes were small and some links were unresponsive.


AccountingSuite: Home Page
AccountingSuite: Create Quote
AccountingSuite: Create Purchase Order
What We Like
Includes inventory management and time tracking
No costs beyond subscription fee
Use multiple modules at once via tabs
What We Don’t Like
Crowded user interface
No mobile app
Less efficient with high volume of transactions
Overview
Price Range: $$
Starting Price: $19/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

9 Striven

Why We Chose It: Our live demo of Striven showed a well-integrated ERP system with solid accounting tools. It includes features like AP/AR, revenue tracking, online banking, and general ledger. We found Striven useful for global operations with support for multi-currency transactions inherent in its system.

Striven can generate a wide span of financial reports, including cash flow, balance sheets, and profit and loss statements. It can also generate custom reports, automate invoicing, send reminders, and manage vendor bills electronically. However, Striven might not be the best fit if your company needs complex tax calculations or advanced budgeting and forecasting support.


Striven: CRM and Sales
Striven: Project Management
Striven: Accounting
Striven: Human Resources
What We Like
Automated workflows
Mobile responsive design
API access
What We Don’t Like
No native payroll system
Phone support is only available in priority support option
No critical path management
Overview
Price Range: $$
Starting Price: $35/user/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

10 Multiview ERP

Why We Chose It: After reviewing Multiview ERP, we found it to be a full ERP system ideal for medium to large businesses. It offers customizable invoice templates and includes essential elements like item descriptions, payment terms, costs, and deadlines.

Multiview’s general ledger module enables users to generate tailored reports for in-depth analysis across various dimensions such as time, cost, and product performance.

However, we found a few drawbacks during our research. For example, some users have reported the implementation process is time-consuming and challenging, even with support from Multiview. Additionally, you’ll need to consult Multiview Corporation directly for specific pricing details.


Multiview: Supply Expenses
Multiview: Report Viewer
Multiview: Purchase Orders and Invoices
Multiview: Payroll Analysis
Multiview: Expense Reports
Multiview: Customers by State
What We Like
ViewPoint tool offers strong reporting and analytics
Scalable, user-based pricing model
Includes 18 fully integrated modules for different industries
What We Don’t Like
Asset module functionality could be more streamlined
Some initial challenges with system setup
Pricing quote requires consultation
Overview
Price Range: $$$$
Client OS: Windows
Deployment: Cloud or On-Premises

What Is Online Accounting Software?

Online accounting software is a type of application hosted on remote servers providing financial tools like billing, invoicing, and reporting.

Unlike offline, on-premises solutions, cloud accounting tools are not installed or maintained on individual desktop computers. They operate under a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, meaning users can access and use the software via the internet, often through a web browser.

Key Features

Feature Description
Online Invoicing and Billing Automates the billing process, allowing for creating, sending, and managing invoices online.
Financial Reporting and Analysis Generates detailed financial reports such as profit and loss, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, offering insights into financial performance.
Expense Tracking Enables tracking and categorizing business expenses, making monitoring spending and managing finances easier.
Bank Reconciliation Automatically syncs with bank accounts and credit cards to match transactions for accurate financial records.
Tax Preparation and Compliance Helps prepare tax returns and ensures compliance with laws by keeping up-to-date with the latest tax rates and regulations.
Multi-user Access Allows multiple users to access financial data simultaneously, with customizable permission levels to maintain security and control.
Data Security and Backup Provides security measures, including encryption and backups, to protect financial data from unauthorized access and loss.
Integration with Other Tools Offers integration with various business tools and systems such as payroll, CRM, and eCommerce platforms.
Mobile Access Includes mobile apps or mobile-friendly web interfaces to manage finances on the go.
Payment Processing Facilitates the acceptance and processing of online payments directly within the software, supporting various methods such as credit cards, bank transfers, and digital wallets.
FreshBooks Bank Connections
Connect to over 14,000 different financial institutions in FreshBooks.

Benefits

  • Accessibility: Being cloud-based, accounting software allows users to access financial data and tools from anywhere with an internet connection, facilitating remote work and business management on the go.
  • Cost Efficiency: Typically reduces upfront costs associated with traditional software, such as installation and maintenance fees, since the cloud provider manages these aspects.
  • Scalability: Easily scales with the growth of a business, offering flexible plans and features that can be adjusted as business needs change.
  • Real-Time Data: Offers live financial information, allowing for timely decision-making.
  • Data Security: Often provides high levels of security and regular backups, safeguarding against data loss and unauthorized access, although the level of security can vary between providers.
  • Automatic Updates: Software updates are automatic and managed by the service provider, ensuring access to the latest features and security enhancements without additional effort or cost.

Drawbacks

  • Dependence on Internet Connectivity: Requires a stable and reliable internet connection for access, which can be a significant limitation in areas with poor connectivity.
  • Ongoing Subscription Costs: While initial costs may be lower, the subscription-based pricing model can become a recurring expense that adds up over time.
  • Data Security Concerns: Despite high-security standards, storing sensitive financial data on external servers can raise concerns about data privacy and control, especially given varying regional regulations.
  • Limited Customization: Some cloud accounting solutions may offer less flexibility for customization compared to traditional, on-premises solutions, potentially not meeting specific business needs.
  • Learning Curve: Transitioning from traditional accounting practices to cloud-based systems may require staff training and an initial adjustment period.
  • Potential for Service Outages: Relies on the service provider’s ability to maintain uptime; any outages or disruptions in the service can temporarily halt access to financial data and tools.
NetSuite Revenue Recognition
View financial KPIs in NetSuite.

Offline vs. Cloud-based Accounting Software

Offline accounting software differs from cloud-based solutions in many ways:

Feature Offline Accounting Software Cloud-Based Accounting Software
Accessibility Limited to devices with the software installed, requiring physical presence or a local network. Accessible from any device with an internet connection, offering flexibility to work from anywhere.
Data Storage Data is stored locally on the user’s device or an on-site server. Data is stored on remote servers managed by the software provider.
Cost Often involves a one-time purchase price, with potential additional costs for updates, maintenance, and hardware. Typically uses a subscription-based model with ongoing fees that cover software updates, maintenance, and storage.
Data Backup and Recovery User’s responsibility, requiring manual setups for backup and recovery processes. Automatic backups and data recovery services are usually provided, reducing the risk of data loss.
Updates and Upgrades Requires manual downloading and installation of updates; significant upgrades might require additional purchases. Automatic updates and new features covered by the service provider without additional costs.
Collaboration and Sharing Can be cumbersome, often requiring a local network or physical data transfer for sharing. Designed for easy collaboration, allowing multiple users to access and work on the same data simultaneously from different locations.
Security Depends largely on local security measures, which might be less robust than those of cloud-based solutions. High-level security features are typically provided, though there are concerns about data privacy and reliance on the provider’s security measures.
Scalability Scaling up may require hardware upgrades or additional software licenses. Easily adjusts to business growth, with flexible subscription plans to accommodate more users, storage, or features.

Pricing

Online accounting software pricing can vary widely based on several factors, reflected in the monthly subscription rates that range from as low as $9 to upwards of $375 per user. This is influenced by various elements like user count, required functionality and features, and the scale of business operations.

  • For smaller setups, typically involving 1 to 4 users, the monthly cost can be anywhere between $10 and $999. Cloud-based accounting software for small businesses covers features from simple bookkeeping to cash flow forecasting.

  • Mid-range options, which accommodate 5 to 9 users, see a further increase in pricing, starting from $15 up to $1,646 per month. This tier introduces more advanced features like financial reporting and greater support for customization.

  • For larger enterprises with 10 or more users, costs begin at $24 and can potentially exceed $1,795 monthly. These solutions prioritize scalability, advanced features, specialized support, and integration with other enterprise systems.

QuickBooks Online Invoicing
Create and customize invoices in QuickBooks Online.

FAQs

What is the easiest online accounting software?

Xero and FreshBooks are frequently highlighted for their user-centric design and intuitive functionalities. Xero has a fairly comprehensive feature set, which provides expense management, bank reconciliation, and multi-currency accounting.

FreshBooks, on the other hand, is often praised for its simplicity and focus on small businesses and freelancers. It offers straightforward invoicing, expense tracking, and time management tools.

What is the most-used cloud accounting software?

QuickBooks Online is the most popular cloud accounting software solution, particularly among small to medium-sized businesses and accounting professionals. It offers a suite of features like invoicing, expense tracking, payroll, and reporting.

Its popularity is attributed to its extensive ecosystem of integrations and mobile app. QuickBooks Online’s widespread adoption is also supported by strong brand recognition and a reputation for reliability in the accounting software market.

What web-based accounting software options are free?

Wave Accounting is a free cloud-based accounting app that handles unlimited transactions, multi-currency invoicing, and bank and credit card connections. Another option is ZipBooks, which offers a free starter plan that includes basic invoicing, bookkeeping, and the ability to manage unlimited vendors and customers.

Which online accounting software is best for small businesses?

Small businesses favor QuickBooks Online for its ease of use, cloud-based access, and ability to integrate with over 750 apps like Gusto, Shopify, Expensify, and Salesforce. It makes it easy to share data with accountants, as many are already familiar with the platform. Automatic updates, data backups, and over 100 customizable reports further streamline accounting tasks for small teams.

All Products

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FreshBooks Screenshot

FreshBooks

★★★★★
★★★★★
(5)
FreshBooks is well-recognized in the accounting world and stands as a competitor to QuickBooks Online. It’s a simple cloud accounting software that allows you to invoice clients, track expenses, and accept payments.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$19/month
Client OS
iOS, Android, Web
Deployment
Cloud Hosted
NetSuite ERP Screenshot

NetSuite ERP

★★★★★
★★★★★
(25)
Oracle’s NetSuite is well-known in the ERP world for its customization and scalability. It’s a multi-tenant ERP software supporting finance, operations, sales, service, and HR needs.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$99/user/month
Client OS
Web
Deployment
Cloud Hosted
QuickBooks Online Screenshot

QuickBooks Online

★★★★★
★★★★★
(54)
QuickBooks Online is the most popular financial software on the market. This cloud-based accounting solution enables tracking of sales and expenses, generating estimates, customer management, and seamless collaboration with external accountants.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$30/month
Client OS
Web
Deployment
Cloud Hosted
Odoo Screenshot

Odoo

★★★★★
★★★★★
(21)
Odoo is an open-source ERP software that integrates CRM, manufacturing, eCommerce, and more. Odoo’s accounting module offers functionality in accounts payables and receivables, bank synchronization, and reporting. You can extend the accounting app’s functionality with the tax report module.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$25/user/month
Client OS
Web
Deployment
Cloud or On-Premises
Xero Screenshot

Xero

★★★★★
★★★★★
(3)
A contender against QuickBooks Online, Xero is a popular solution for its user-friendly interface, affordability, and unlimited users per subscription. It’s a cloud-based, double-entry accounting software that offers bank reconciliation, financial reporting, and basic invoicing and billing.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$13/month
Client OS
Web
Deployment
Cloud Hosted
Zoho Books Screenshot

Zoho Books

★★★★★
★★★★★
(6)
Zoho Books is a popular alternative to QuickBooks Online. It’s a cloud-based accounting software that offers accounts receivables and payables functionality. It lets you manage your financials and banking, create reports, and automate your sales and purchasing workflows.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$15/month
Client OS
Web
Deployment
Cloud Hosted
AccountingSuite Screenshot

AccountingSuite

★★★★★
★★★★★
(11)
AccountingSuite is a competitively-priced accounting software offering advanced functionalities beyond financial management. It provides banking integration, budgeting, financial reporting, and accounts receivables and payables.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$19/month
Client OS
Web
Deployment
Cloud Hosted
Striven Screenshot

Striven

★★★★★
★★★★★
(9)
Striven is a cloud-based ERP software that enhances productivity and collaboration by integrating various business management tools into one platform, including accounting, CRM, project management, HR, and inventory management.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
$35/user/month
Client OS
Web
Deployment
Cloud Hosted
Multiview Screenshot

Multiview

★★★★★
★★★★★
(3)
Multiview is an ERP software designed to enhance financial operations. Its key features include advanced financial consolidation, customizable reporting, and integrated budgeting and forecasting. Multiview offers customizable dashboards, data export to Excel, and advanced drill-down capabilities to enhance audit efficiency and data transparency.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Client OS
Windows
Deployment
Cloud or On-Premises

We searched and searched, but we couldn’t find any products in our database that match your criteria. Perhaps our team of software experts can help? They’d be happy to provide a list of free recommendations that meet your exact requirements.

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