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With so many different accounting solutions available, figuring out which one is right for you is tough. You know you want to track income and expenses, generate financial reports, and maintain accurate financial records for decision-making and compliance, but need to figure out which tool is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my experience having thoroughly researched these tools and my exposure to accounting tools through my consultancy, with my picks of the best accounting software.

What is Accounting Software?

Accounting software is a tool used to record and track financial transactions, manage accounts, and generate reports that streamline and automate financial processes within an organization. Modern accounting software often includes a range of features, such as general ledger management, invoicing, budgeting, payroll management, and reporting tools.

The main benefits of accounting software include increased efficiency in financial management, improved accuracy in bookkeeping, simplified tax preparation, and enhanced visibility into the financial health of the business.

Overview Of The Best Accounting Software

I’ll give you an overview of each platform’s features, pricing, integrations, customer support, usability, and overall value. Plus, some pros and cons to help you compare each.

Best for small businesses

  • 30-day free trial
  • from $22.50/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4/5

Quickbooks is an accounting software platform for smaller businesses across nearly every industry. This platform supports most core bookkeeping and accounting functions, while users can purchase other functions, such as payroll, as add-ons.

Why I Picked Quickbooks: Quickbooks continues to be the most widely used accounting software among small business owners. It’s easy to set up and use—you can probably do it without professional implementation, although they can help you if you need it.

Plus, Quickbooks has several plans. You can start small and upgrade to higher plans as your budget and needs grow. You can even hire a remote bookkeeper through Quickbooks if you need one.

Quickbooks Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include accountant access, bank reconciliations, income and expense tracking, inventory tracking, invoicing, financial reporting, and live bookkeeping services.

Several core Quickbooks functions can be customized to suit different industries, although Quickbooks itself does not offer industry-specific features.

I really like that QuickBooks has been specifically designed so that you don’t need any accounting experience whatsoever to be able to use it.

Integrations are available with over 750 business applications, from internal systems to eCommerce websites. These include Amazon Business, eBay, Etsy, Gusto, MailChimp, Method:CRM, PayPal, RewardBuilder, Shopify, and Square.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automated bank reconciliation features
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Offers both cloud-based and desktop solutions

Cons:

  • Pricier than industry peers
  • Must upgrade to add users

Best for multi-entity financial management

  • Free demo
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4.5/5

Xledger provides a robust cloud-based solution primarily designed for businesses looking to streamline their financial management processes. This platform is tailored for organizations that require powerful automation, real-time data access, and scalability to adapt to growing and changing business needs. As a vendor, Xledger caters to a variety of sectors including nonprofits, professional services, and finance sectors.

Why I Picked Xledger: As accounting software, Xledger excels in delivering extensive automation for financial operations, reducing the need for manual entry and minimizing errors. It supports complex financial management requirements with features like multi-entity consolidation, real-time reporting, and advanced budgeting tools. The software is particularly noted for its strong compliance features and the ability to handle various currencies and tax regulations, making it suitable for global businesses.

Xledger Standout Features and Integrations

Features include real-time reporting, automation of core financial processes, scalable cloud architecture, integrated project management, advanced budgeting and forecasting, multi-currency and multi-entity support, robust security protocols, comprehensive audit trails, and intuitive dashboards for financial analytics.

Xledger natively integrates with several other tools and platforms to provide a seamless workflow experience. These integrations include Microsoft Excel, Salesforce, Power BI, Bank APIs for automated banking transactions, HR systems, procurement software, project management tools, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, electronic payment processing platforms, and tax compliance software.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • High degree of automation for financial processes
  • Comprehensive multi-entity and multi-currency support
  • Real-time financial reporting and analytics

Cons:

  • Potentially high cost for smaller businesses
  • Slight learning curve for new users

Best for service-based businesses

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $17 per month
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Rating: 4.5/5

FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software platform for freelancers and small service-based businesses. It supports several features service businesses need (proposals, estimates, time tracking) and sells some functions as add-ons.

Why I Picked FreshBooks: FreshBooks is a top choice for small service businesses, like freelancers or digital marketing agencies, thanks to its billing and invoicing emphasis. Not to mention its affordability and other features like client management and time tracking.

FreshBooks’s bookkeeping side is easy enough to learn on your own—perfect for small service businesses that may not have an accountant.

FreshBooks Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features that help service businesses handle their accounting include custom invoicing, mileage tracking, a mobile app, payment management, project management, and time-tracking.

I like that it also helps service businesses craft proposals, send estimates, and manage clients.

Integrations include a massive number of business applications through the FreshBooks app store. Some of the top integrations include Calendly, HubSpot CRM, GSuite, MailChimp, Shopify, Slack, Squarespace, Toggl, WooCommerce, and ZenDesk. You can connect a paid Zapier account to access even more integrations.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Several features for managing projects and clients
  • Easy to learn
  • High degree of invoice customization

Cons:

  • No inventory management
  • Limited mobile app

Best for mid-sized businesses

  • Free demo available.
  • Pricing Upon Request
Visit Website
Rating: 4.5/5

BlackLine is a cloud-based accounting and financial automation platform streamlining the entire financial close process. This platform can automate accounts receivable and financial closing and supports intercompany accounting management.

Why I Picked BlackLine: BlackLine is not a comprehensive piece of accounting software—it aims to streamline and modernize the financial close, one of accounting’s largest tasks.

As such, BlackLine can complement your general ledger accounting software and take a lot of weight off your accounting and finance teams. I think that’s definitely a worthwhile feature for companies that are already using SAP because BlackLine’s SAP integration unlocks BlackLine’s prized Smart Close feature.

BlackLine Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include everything involved in financial closing, especially the Smart Close feature you unlock when you integrate BlackLine and SAP.

I like how Smart Close standardizes the closing process by eliminating many manual tasks usually involved in financial closing. It can also automate the accounts receivable process and help larger organizations with intercompany financial management.

Integrations include Acumatica, Intacct, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Quickbooks, Sage, SAP, and Workday. Integrating with SAP unlocks BlackLine’s Smart Close feature.

BlackLine can integrate with several other accounting and ERP systems as well.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Offers several intercompany accounting management features
  • Automates most of the accounts receivable process
  • Accelerates and improves the financial close process

Cons:

  • Very little accounts payable automation
  • Only handles accounting and finance tasks

Best for healthcare companies

  • Free demo
  • Pricing upon request
Visit Website
Rating: 4.2/5

Multiview ERP is a financial ERP system offering several core business modules beyond accounting. You can implement Multiview ERP as a cloud-based or on-premises solution. Multiview primarily services healthcare companies, but industries such as financial services and utilities may benefit.

Why I Picked Multiview ERP: Multiview’s shining feature is its View360 Source data warehouse. It lets you see data from other systems that support the accounting information in your general ledger without having to visit those systems or export and import.

Speaking of that, it has plenty of non-accounting modules, such as business intelligence, inventory management, and automations.

Multiview ERP Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features that set Multiview ERP include asset management, document, and project management, inventory and materials management, POs, and tax management.

Its ViewSource 360 multi-source data warehouse notably lets you view data from across your business systems to find the “why” behind the information in the general ledger.

Integrations include Ancora Software, Avalara, Azalea EHR, Cerner, EasyVoice, EpicCare EMR, John Daniel Associates, MDI Solutions, Paylocity, and Salesforce.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Data visibility via ViewSource 360
  • Customizable and scalable

Cons:

  • Moderate learning curve

Best for hospitality industry

  • Free demo available.
  • From $250/month
Visit Website
Rating: 3.5/5

Nimble Property is a cloud-based accounting platform for hospitality companies. Its accounting and business intelligence features help hotel owners, accounting departments, and management agencies track and manage multiple properties.

Why I Picked Nimble Property: Nimble Property isn’t just “good for hotels”—it’s made for hotels. The pricing and features place Nimble Property out of range for a tiny bed and breakfast, but it suits larger chains with plenty of rooms and employees.

Nimble Property Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features specific to hoteliers include a door lock system, hospitality-specific financial statements and reports, industry research, and room inventory management.

In my opinion, one of its main advantages is the multi-property management feature—you can do all this across multiple hotels. You can also purchase assisted bookkeeping through Nimble Property.

Integrations include many payroll and property management systems, although it doesn’t list them.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automated reconciliations
  • Over 60 custom reports available
  • Several hospitality-specific features, such as a door lock system
  • Android and iOS mobile apps

Cons:

  • No free trial
  • Not suitable for small boutique hotels

Best for large retailers

  • 90-day free trial
  • From $3,200/user for a perpetual license

SAP is a popular ERP solution offering software for numerous business functions, from accounting to spend management to CRM. As one of the first ERPs, it primarily serves companies in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space but can also help firms outside this industry.

Why I Picked SAP: As an ERP, SAP has plenty of modules besides accounting. What I liked most about SAP is its financial planning and analysis suite with multiple modules that assist with performance management, financial forecasting, and even scenario simulation.

SAP Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include continuous accounting, financial closing automation and templates, group reporting, intercompany management and processing, purchasing/inventory control, and real estate management. Plus, business intelligence and reporting features

Integrations include thousands of prebuilt integrations, APIs, and connectors to integrate with nearly any software.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Faster implementation than other complex solutions
  • Large number of integrations
  • Covers most business functions

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Dated UI

Best for public service organizations

  • Purchase required
  • Pricing upon request

Serenic Navigator is an accounting platform for public service organizations, such as nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, K-12 school districts, and governments. It is currently part of SylogistMission ERP after its acquisition by Sylogist.

Why I Picked Serenic Navigator: Most software solutions on this list cover for-profit companies, not nonprofits or the public sector. Serenic Navigator fills that niche. It covers general accounting/finance functions as well as public-sector needs, such as grants and awards.

Serenic Navigator Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features that make Serenic Navigator great for nonprofits include its grant and award management suite. This includes automation to help public service organizations stay compliant while maximizing their chances of winning awards and saving time.

Plus, Serenic Navigator also includes automation, budget management, HR, and payroll features. I like its reporting and analytics tools, too.

Integrations include Greenshades, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Paymerang, and TntWare Donorhub. Serenic Navigator also integrates with Sylogist’s other apps.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Available as a cloud-based and on-premise solution
  • Strong reporting features
  • Can be customized to your type of public service organization
  • Grant/award management suite

Cons:

  • Lack of pricing transparency
  • Can be confusing to implement and learn

Best free accounting ERP

  • Freemium plan available.
  • From $24.90/user/month (billed annually).

Odoo is an open-source ERP solution with a freemium plan and modules for nearly every business function. Since it is open-source, you can edit the code to customize the software.

Why I Picked Odoo: Odoo’s Freemium plan helps it stand out from competitors, although you only get one app.

The other reason I picked Odoo is its open-source nature. If you or a teammate can code, you can adjust the software to suit your needs.

Odoo Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include AI-powered document management, automatic reconciliations, customer self-service portals, custom invoicing, international accounting compliance, multi-currency billings, and numerous reports.

I like Odoo’s custom modules for HR, inventory management, marketing, productivity, project management, sales, and website management. Each of those has several apps for specific functions.

Integrations include Amazon, Bill.com, FedEx, Google Workspace, HubSpot, OnSip, PayPal, Shopify, Stripe, and WhatsApp. Odoo AI also integrates with ChatGPT, giving you ChatGPT’s capabilities in Odoo’s UI. You can use this for tasks requiring text or copy, such as writing product descriptions or emails.

You can link any Odoo app with other Odoo apps. You can also connect a paid Zapier account to unlock more integrations. Finally, Odoo’s EDI connection can help transfer document data from other software.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Open-source
  • Modules and apps for nearly every business function
  • Freemium plan

Cons:

  • Freemium plan can be harder to maintain
  • Freemium plan is limited

Best for software companies

  • Free demo available.
  • Pricing upon request

Certinia, previously called FinancialForce, is a cloud-based ERP solution designed to fit the needs of both small businesses and larger enterprises. It supports several core business functions through accounting-related ERP modules and professional services automation.

Why I Picked Certinia: Certinia’s great for several types of businesses with subscription or recurring revenue models, especially software.

Two features that make this clear are customizable subscription/usage billing and the customer success cloud. These can help you manage how your subscription offers work (vs. one-off offers) and helps your customers get the most out of your software.

Certinia Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include billing and subscription management and a customer success cloud. The former lets you customize product and plan billing structures for more accurate accounting and billing. The latter helps enhance customer satisfaction.

Certinia also includes inventory and procurement features, multi-company accounting, financial planning and analysis, real-time financial reporting, and service CPQ (configure, price, quote) features.

I especially like the CFO Dashboard; it’s easy to customize and gives you an overview of all your major metrics.

Integrations include ADP, Avalara, B2B Gateway, Conga, DocuSign, Expensify, Jira, Plaid, SAP Concur, and Scribe. Developers can also create more integrations with Certinia’s APIs.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No setup fee
  • A large number of critical automations
  • Customer success cloud
  • Customer success cloud
  • Subscription and billing management for recurring revenue streams

Cons:

  • Lack of transparent pricing
  • No free trial
Tools Price
QuickBooks Online from $22.50/month
Xledger Pricing upon request
FreshBooks From $17 per month
BlackLine Pricing Upon Request
Multiview ERP Pricing upon request
Nimble Property From $250/month
SAP ERP From $3,200/user for a perpetual license
Serenic Navigator Pricing upon request
Odoo ERP From $24.90/user/month (billed annually).
Certinia Pricing upon request
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

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Other Accounting Software Options

Here are a few more worthwhile options that didn’t make the best accounting software list:

  1. ExpensePoint

    Best for expense management and reporting

  2. NetSuite

    Best for large enterprises

  3. Xero

    Best for fast-growing businesses

  4. Zoho Books

    Best for integrations

  5. Microsoft Dynamics 365

    Best for industry-specific customizations

  6. Kashoo

    Best for startups

  7. MarginEdge

    Best for restaurants

  8. WAVE

    Best free accounting software

Selection Criteria

To put this list together, I looked at accounting software for a broad range of industries and business sizes. I narrowed it down to the best options by looking at product demos, testing whatever software I could, and reading up on accounting software market trends.

Ultimately, I made my selections using the following criteria:

Core Functionality

Most accounting software can do general bookkeeping, including recording and categorizing financial transactions, and producing financial reports.

If it can't automate manual data entry, it had better offer something amazing to make up for it. Ideally, it should offer access from anywhere via the cloud and/or mobile apps.

Similarly, any accounting software that can’t handle the other core bookkeeping tasks is still accounting software if it can automate peripheral matters, such as expense approvals.

Key Features

Here are some key features I hunted for to ensure each platform delivers on the core functionality I just outlined:

  • Bank connections: Your software must connect to your firm’s bank accounts to manage financial transactions and perform bank reconciliations.
  • Expense tracking: This includes syncing with bank accounts to import, categorize, search, and filter through transactions.
  • Financial reporting and analysis: This lets you create income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. Some software may let you make industry-specific reports and look at other analytics.
  • Multi-currency management: Some solutions, usually larger ERPs, let you switch currencies if you do business internationally.
  • Payroll: Some accounting platforms include payroll, whereas others let you pay for a payroll add-on or integration.
  • Accountant access: This feature lets you add your bookkeeper or accountant to the software so you don’t have to do everything yourself.

Usability

Accounting software with good UX and UI makes managing your journals, ledgers, and financial reporting easier. Categorizing or recategorizing transactions manually should be easy if the AI or automation algorithms don’t do it correctly.

Integrations

Your accounting software will be the heart of tracking your finances, so it must connect to anything related to money going out or coming in. That includes:

  • Bank accounts
  • CRMs
  • Payroll
  • Inventory management systems
  • POS systems

Customer Support

I looked for accounting solutions with customer phone support available beyond business hours. Most of the tools I picked also have chat and email support. Self-service support like educational and training articles, video tutorials, and similar items are a plus in my book, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to a few FAQs about accounting software:

Other Business and Accounting Software Reviews

Here are a few of our other business and accounting software reviews worth checking out:

12 Best Accounts Payable Automation Software Solutions of 2024

12 Best Point Of Sale Systems for 2024

12 Best Corporate Performance Management Software in 2024

Summary

No accounting platform is “the best” for everyone. That depends on many things, like your industry, company size, vendors and suppliers, products and services, and more.

So compare each carefully and grab a free demo or a free trial if you can. Your accounting and finance team might be able to help you pick one, too. They’re the ones who will use it, after all.

In the meantime, subscribe to our email newsletter for the latest accounting and finance resources and insights.

By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the Editor of The CFO Club, where he shares his passion for all things money-related. Performing research, talking to experts, and calling on his own professional background, he'll be working hard to ensure that The CFO Club is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to stay informed on the latest financial trends and topics in the world of tech.

Prior to editing this publication, Simon spent years working in, and running his own, investor relations agency, servicing public companies that wanted to reach and connect deeper with their shareholder base. Simon's experience includes constructing comprehensive budgets for IR activities, consulting CEOs & executive teams on best practices for the public markets, and facilitating compliant communications training.