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QuickBooks Online is a popular accounting software with over 5 million users worldwide. However, it may not be the best fit for every small business. Entrepreneurs and micro-business owners might find that QuickBooks competitors offer simpler solutions at a lower price point. Other options can accommodate an unlimited number of users, unlike QuickBooks, and provide a similarly robust feature set. Here are the best QuickBooks alternatives for small businesses, including what sets them apart and who might find them most useful. Also check out our QuickBooks discounts for great savings.
Business owners who prefer ease of use and simplicity will appreciate Xero’s minimalist design and jargon-free language. Like QuickBooks for small business, it’s widely used, which makes it easy to find accountants who support it. Unlike QuickBooks Online, whose highest-tier plan caps users at 25, Xero allows unlimited users at all plan levels — and at a lower price point. If you want less expensive software that competes with QuickBooks Online’s rich feature set, Xero could be a good fit.
- Unlimited users in all pricing plans.
- Integrates with more than 1,000 third-party apps.
- Feature set includes an excellent mobile app and suite of reports, capable invoicing features, plus automated bill and receipt capture through Hubdoc.
- Simple layout and easy to use.
- No phone number for customer support listed.
- Entry-level plan limits bills and invoices to five and 20 per month, respectively.
With strong invoicing capabilities and an intuitive mobile app, FreshBooks is an affordable alternative for freelancers who might not need all of the features that QuickBooks Online offers. The software lets you log time, track mileage, snap photos of expense receipts, set up recurring invoices, send automatic payment reminders and accept payments online through FreshBooks Payments, Stripe or PayPal. One downside: It comes with a stricter user limit. All plans, except the Select plan, include access for only one user; additional users cost $10 each per month.
- Stay in touch with clients through the FreshBooks mobile app and get notified when invoices have been viewed or become overdue.
- Intuitive, customizable invoicing capabilities compete with those of more robust accounting solutions. Track time and add billable hours to invoices in all plans.
- Weekday phone support in all plans.
- Lacks features that quickly growing companies need, like audit trails for accountants to review.
- Highest-tier Select plan only comes with two users (additional users add $11 per month) and lower-tier plans put limits on billable clients.
- Least expensive plan lacks double-entry accounting reports, bank reconciliation and accountant access.
Zoho Books offers a lot of the same features as QuickBooks Online — like inventory management, reporting tags, invoicing and bank rules — but at a lower price. Higher-tier plans also include extra features you don’t find across the board, like customizable workflow rules for email alerts and the ability to let your clients approve or comment on timesheets before adding billable hours to an invoice. If you commit to the Zoho ecosystem, you can smoothly integrate its CRM and other software with Zoho Books. If not, its third-party integrations might be limiting.
- Less expensive than some competitors; free plan available for businesses with less than $50k in annual revenue.
- Email support in free plan; 24/5 phone and chat support in paid plans.
- Rich feature set includes excellent invoicing, inventory management, workflow rules and a capable mobile app.
- Add accounting widgets to your phone’s home screen; track time using your Apple Watch.
- Fewer third-party integrationsand reports than some competitors.
- No plan includes more than 15 users (can add additional users for a fee).
Wave delivers on most of the basics for micro businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs without requiring expensive add-ons. It’s a good alternative to QuickBooks Online if you’re on a tight budget and run a small operation, but it’s not ideal for scaling your business. Still, it can be sufficient for businesses with straightforward financials, especially if your main objectives are keeping tabs on expenses, sending invoices and tracking income.
- Unlimited partners, collaborators and accountants.
- Intuitive, customizable invoicing capabilities compete with those of more robust accounting solutions.
- Lacks features that quickly growing companies need, like audit trails. There are no additional plans to increase functionality.
- Must subscribe to Wave’s paid services (payroll, payments, advisor, etc.) to receive customer support from a human.
- No third-party integrations, mileage tracking feature or ability to accept in-person card payments.
Sage 50cloud is a desktop product that has to be locally installed, but it includes features you’d find in cloud-based software, like automated bank reconciliation. This makes it a good solution for small-business owners who are hesitant to adopt an entirely cloud-based system or don’t have reliable internet access. Entrepreneurs who are newer to accounting will also appreciate having a dedicated account representative and free training modules to help them get used to the software.
- Advanced inventory tracking and job costing features.
- Industry-specific features for construction, manufacturing and distribution businesses.
- Phone and chat support, plus a dedicated account representative in all plans.
- Runs on Windows operating systems only.
- Lowest-tier plan doesn’t include audit trails.
Business owners that foresee extreme growth, like global expansion, may consider a cloud-based enterprise resource planning product like NetSuite, as opposed to accounting software intended only for small businesses. Clients can customize their plans with add-on modules and additional users.
- Can scale to accommodate larger, enterprise businesses.
- Offers an array of other software products, like CRM, HR, supply chain management, global business management and commerce software for larger companies.
- Industry-specific software solutions for a wide range of businesses, including nonprofits, advertising and digital marketing, consulting, retail and food and beverage.
- Pricing is not transparent.
- Setup fee.
The best QuickBooks alternative for your business depends on your budget, the type of business you run and which features you need. In other words, the right fit will vary from business to business. In terms of QuickBooks’ biggest competitors though, Xero is a strong contender. It offers a lot of the same key features as QuickBooks at a lower price point and is growing in popularity in the U.S. Your accountant or bookkeeper will almost certainly be familiar with QuickBooks, but they might also know the ins and outs of Xero.
If the cost of QuickBooks is too steep, there are plenty of other options with lower price points. One of the best free accounting software options is Wave Accounting. It’s not as scalable as QuickBooks, but it can accommodate solopreneurs and, in some cases, businesses with straightforward financials.