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Best Free Accounting Software for Small Business

Free accounting software might seem like a myth—in fact, many business accounting software options that say they’re free end up charging you in some form or fashion, whether they require you to upgrade for some crucial feature or require that you pay for installation.

While searching for free software for your small business, be sure to know exactly what costs each option could potentially entail. We’ve compiled some of the best accounting software options that are actually free.

Small business owners benefit from accounting software because it helps them track accounts receivable and accounts payable, have a clear understanding of their profitability, and be prepared for tax season. In the world of accounting software, a small business is one that can use out-of-the-box software without requiring extensive customizations. As a business grows, its accounting needs become more complex, and a custom enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is often needed.

There are many different types of accounting software available for small businesses, with varying capabilities and price tags. Generally, the type of industry and number of employees are two factors that can help a small business owner begin to choose the accounting software that is appropriate. For example, a freelancer would not need the same features in accounting software as a restaurant.

Sunrise: Best Free Bookkeeping Software

Sunrise by Lendio

Best for small businesses that want simple bookkeeping software that’s easy to use. 

Sunrise by Lendio (formerly Billy) is a great free option for businesses that want simple bookkeeping software without the bells and whistles (and high price tags!) of full accounting software. With Sunrise, you can be up and running in just minutes, performing tasks such as sending invoices to clients, managing expenses, and accepting online payments.

One unique feature of Sunrise is that you may qualify for additional funding opportunities through Lendio just by maintaining your books. And if your books become too time-consuming to manage? You can upgrade to Sunrise’s paid professional bookkeeping service, which offers extremely competitive pricing. Throw in support for unlimited users, good customer service, and positive online reviews, and it’s easy to see why Sunrise makes our cut.


  • Supports unlimited users
  • Good customer service
  • Easy to use


  • Limited integrations
  • Lacks advanced features

Sunrise Features & Pric

Best Free Accounting Software

With Sunrise’s free self-service software, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited quotes and estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Chart of accounts
  • Cash flow tracking
  • Journal entry
  • Tax support

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is the best overall accounting software for small businesses of those reviewed. Not only do the majority of small business accounting professionals use QuickBooks Online, but there are also endless online training resources and forums to get support when needed. All accounting features can be conveniently accessed on one main dashboard, making bookkeeping more fluid and efficient.Pros

  • Scalable
  • Commonly used by accounting professionals
  • Integration with third-party applications
  • Cloud-based
  • Mobile app


  • Upgrade required for more users
  • Occasional syncing problems with banks and credit cards

Intuit’s QuickBooks Online has been the most common accounting software used by small businesses and their bookkeeping and tax professionals. The software is cloud-based and can be accessed through a web browser or through the mobile app.

After the 30-day free trial, the four options for subscription plans include: Simple Start at $25 per month, Essentials at $40 per month, Plus at $70 per month, and Advanced at $150 per month. Typically there is a significant discount offered for the first few months, and some accountants are able to offer wholesale pricing to small businesses, as well. 

The monthly subscription for this software can be upgraded as a business grows, and there are many customization options with the mobile app that can be used to receive payments, review reports, capture an image of a receipt, and track business mileage. For businesses looking for a payroll solution, QuickBooks Payroll fully integrates with QuickBooks Online.

Each plan offers more advanced features like inventory management, time tracking, additional users, and budgeting. Most service-based small businesses will find that Simple Start meets all of their needs. For product-based small businesses, Essentials or Plus will have more options for inventory and customizations. The Advanced subscription is a new offering and provides robust financial reporting that is powered by Fathom. Fathom is an elite online financial report analysis tool used by many large companies all over the world.

All plans allow integration with third-party apps such as Stripe or PayPal. QuickBooks Online’s app store breaks down all of their apps by function and provides helpful examples of the benefits of each app.

 NCH Express Accounts

Another free desktop accounting software option to consider is NCH Express Accounts. The free version of this accounting software can support the accounting needs of small businesses with fewer than five employees. Through this free accounting software for small businesses, you’ll be able to access and generate 20 crucial financial reports and analyze revenues by customer, team member, or item. You’ll also be able to manage accounts receivable and payable easily through this software. That said, in order to access your books online, you’ll have to purchase the cloud version of Express Accounts, which isn’t free and currently starts at $59.95.

ZipBooks: Best Free Accounting Software For Beginners


Best for small business owners and freelancers looking for a simple accounting solution. 

ZipBooks is free accounting software designed by small business owners for other business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Automation is where ZipBooks truly stands out, combining a color-coded design with a strong feature set to simplify the accounting process.

With a free account from ZipBooks, you’ll be able to send invoices to customers, manage your contacts, and access business health scores. If you need additional features, ZipBooks offers several monthly membership plans. ZipBooks also stands out for excellent customer service and robust security features and has an excellent reputation among its users.


  • Cloud-based software
  • Strong security features
  • Easy to use
  • Good customer support


  • Limited integrations
  • Some features limited on the free plan

ZipBooks Features

accounting software for free

ZipBooks offers several plans, but for those that don’t want to pay a monthly fee, the free Starter plan includes:

  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited customers and vendors
  • Expense tracking
  • Connect to one bank account
  • Digital payments through Square or PayPal
  • Basic reporting
  • Recurring invoices

One thing to note is that ZipBooks offers just five integrations and limits some of its features to its paid plans. However, small businesses that need basic accounting software that’s easy to use will find that it doesn’t get much better than ZipBooks.


Xero is the best in our review for micro-businesses that are looking for very simple accounting software. This software has a clean interface and also fully integrates with a third-party payroll service. Businesses can collect payment online from customers through Xero’s integration with Stripe and GoCardless.Pros

  • Cloud-based
  • Mobile app
  • Payroll integration with Gusto
  • Third-party app marketplace
  • Simple inventory management


  • Limited reporting
  • Fees charged for ACH payments
  • Limited customer service

Xero was founded in 2006 in New Zealand and now has over two million users worldwide. This accounting software is popular in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Xero has over 3,000 employees and is growing rapidly in the U.S., as well.

Xero offers three monthly subscription options and a full-service payroll add-on: Early at $11 per month, Growing at $32 per month, and Established at $62 per month. The full-service payroll option is offered through Gusto and is an additional $39 per month, plus $6 per employee. The company offers a 30-day free trial and a promotion for 50% off for two months. 

The Early plan limits usage and only allows entry for five invoices or quotes, five bills, and reconciliation of 20 bank transactions per month. This limited plan may be suitable for a micro-business with high-ticket transactions, but only a few per month, such as a consulting or small service provider. Both the Growing and Established plans offer unlimited invoices, bills, and transactions. The only difference between the two is that the Established plan has additional features like multi-currency, expense management, and project costing. All three plans offer Hubdoc, a bill and receipt capture solution.

 Odoo: Best Scalable Free Accounting Software

Odoo Accounting

Best for businesses of any size that want a customizable, scalable accounting solution.

Odoo is different from the other software on the list because it isn’t accounting software. Instead, it’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. While we could get technical about ERP, we’ll keep it simple: Odoo offers over 40 business applications, including Odoo Accounting. You can stick with just Odoo Accounting, or you can combine several different small business apps. One of the best things about Odoo is that the software is completely customizable to fit your business’s needs now and scalable to meet your needs in the future, too.

For this review, though, we’re focusing solely on Odoo Accounting. Odoo comes with features you’d expect from your accounting software, such as a chart of accounts, invoicing, expense tracking, accounts payable, and basic inventory. In addition, the software is easy to use, and you can choose from web-hosted and on-premise installations, although this may affect your total monthly cost.


  • Open-source software
  • Customizable
  • Scalable
  • Easy to use


  • Poor customer support
  • It can be expensive to scale

Odoo Features

best free accounting software

The pricing structure for Odoo is a bit different than the other software on this list. If you only need Odoo Accounting for a single user, you can get the cloud-hosted version for free. Odoo Accounting includes the following features:

  • Invoicing
  • Expense tracking
  • Accounts payable
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Journal entries
  • Budgeting
  • Fixed asset management
  • Basic reporting


When it comes to handling accounting data online, there are several options to consider. Nearly everyone uses some type of software for accounting — personal or small business. Regardless of which type you choose, it’s important to understand how it works and how much it costs. Accounting software can be a crucial part of any company’s accounting drug mix. It can be used by anyone from an accountant to a marketing manager — whether they are just getting started or, like most people, have been using paper books for awhile.

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