Free Accounting Software Apps for Small Business

April 25, 2022

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Have you just started a small business, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for an
accounting software solution? Sure, there are state-of-the-art accounting software options out there, but most small businesses don’t need expensive software solutions and accounting programs. Free software solutions are immediately available to provide you with a lot of the functionality you may need.

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But first, a friendly warning. Many business accounting software companies advertise their
offerings as a free plan. However, they may not openly reveal that they require payment for anything other than “bare-bones” features. For example, they may charge you for accessing important features, additional management software, and upgrades, so always do your research.  In reviewing different free accounting solutions for small businesses, we identified the eight listed below that meet a minimum level of functionality.

Compare this to the leading cloud accounting system, Quickbooks online which carries a monthly subscription charge of between $49-$79 per month.

Our ranking was based on: basic accounting features, user-friendly interface (ease of use), overall density of accounting tools, integration with CRM, email support, invoicing software, bank transactions, and bank reconciliation functionality.

Bookkeeping & Accounting Software Ranking

(1) ZipBooks (www.zipbooks.com)

ZipBooks has small business owners’ needs in mind. It’s a cloud-based solution that you can
access from any computer or device using their mobile app.
Using it is intuitive and straightforward, and, unlike many of its competitors, it doesn’t require extensive training or bookkeeping knowledge. ZipBooks enables business owners to manage all necessary accounting, bookkeeping, expense tracking, and reporting processes.
The ZipBooks Starter plan is truly free with no monthly or annual fees. *One important caveat: If you need to accept online payments from your invoiced customers, you’ll need to connect with either PayPal or Square and pay their standard rates per transaction.

Company profile:

ZipBooks is an accounting software company based in American Fork, Utah. The cloud-based software is an accounting and bookkeeping tool that helps business owners process credit cards and send finance and invoices, among other features.

Functionality:

Accounting
  • Accountant Access

  • Accounts Receivable

  • Bank Connect

  • Bank Reconciliation

  • Auto-Categorization

  • Chart of Accounts

  • Project Accounting

  • Tagging

Reports
  • Accounts Receivable Aging

  • Balance Sheet

  • General Ledger

  • Income Statement

  • Taxes Invoiced

  • Trial Balance

Billing
  • Billable Expenses

  • Credit card processing

  • Estimates

  • Invoices

  • Manage Customers

  • Mobile

  • Multi-currency

  • Recurring Billing

  • Reminders

  • Saved Items

  • Team Management

  • Time Tracking

Intelligence
  • Business Health Score

  • Invoice Quality Score

  • Machine Learning

  • Recommendations

  • Smart Search

Expense Management
  • Billable Expenses

  • Save Receipts

  • Split Categories

  • Vendor Management

(2) Wave (www.waveapps.com)

Wave, another cloud-based solution, is an award-winning, secure financial and accounting
software. It’s easy to set up your account, link to your business bank account, and start using its free functionality immediately.

You’ll obtain unlimited access to multiple accounting capabilities, including income and
expenses tracking, banking connections, spending tracking, etc. Wave also offers two
free add-ons that integrate its accounting software, including invoicing and receipts.
Please note that you’ll need to pay for such functionality if you want payroll services or online payments.

Functionality

Accounting
  • Fast setup with no training required!

  • Unlimited bank and credit card connections

  • Total income and expense tracking

  • Instant updates for your invoicing, payroll, and payments data

  • Unlimited customizable invoicing and receipt uploads per month

  • Bill and invoice reminders

  • Dashboards (cash balances and invoice status)

  • Exportable accounting reports: profit/loss, sales tax, cash flow, comparative, and more

  • Bulk transaction updates for quicker bookkeeping

  • Customizable sales taxes

  • Journal transactions

  • Automatic exchange rate calculations

  • Customizable expense/income categories (chart of accounts) with Account IDs

  • Automatic payment transaction reconciliation for Payments by Wave users

  • Search transaction descriptions

  • Accountant approved: actual double-entry software

  • Run multiple businesses in one account

Billing (additional fees may apply)
  • Automatic receipts for processed payments

  • Allow saved payment methods

  • Choose a preferred payment method

  • Flexible scheduling

  • Time zone control

  • Turn recurring on and off

  • Turn off recurring without deleting your invoice

  • Automatically send invoices to multiple recipients.

  • Add your logo and brand colors

  • Drag-and-drop editing

  • Create once and duplicate

  • Change sender or add recipients

  • Add custom messages

  • Filter by invoice status for easier viewing

  • Hover over an invoice to view details on the main page

  • See all invoices created on a recurring schedule

Payments (additional fees may apply)
  • Simple fee structure with low rates and no hidden fees

  • All major cards accepted: Visa, Visa Debit, Mastercard, Mastercard Debit, American Express, and Discover

  • Compatible with Apple Pay

  • Get paid within two business days for credit card payments and 2-to 7 business days for bank payments (ACH)

  • Accept credit card payments over the phone, online, or in-person

  • Set up recurring billing with automatic payments for your repeat customers

  • Bank-grade security for all online payments

  • Automate bookkeeping: payments connect seamlessly with your Wave account

Payroll (additional fees may apply)
  • Payroll: Run your payroll with ease and accuracy.

  • Contractor Payments: Make payments, record accounting entries, and file tax documents for your independent contractors.

  • Direct Deposit: Pay Employees with a straightforward click every payday.

  • Reporting: See a breakdown of your payroll expenses by employee, expense type, etc.

  • Employee Portal: Employees get online access to pay stubs and tax forms and can update their banking and contact details.

Tax (additional fees may apply)
  • Tax filing / Tax payment: Save time with automatic tax filings and payments available in the Tax Service States.

  • Year-End Tax Forms for Employees W-2: Generate the W2 form without the hassle.

  • Year-End Tax Forms for Contractors 1099: Generate the 1099 form.

Time and Attendance
  • Timesheets: Track leave time and accruals required to process payroll.

Complete Financial Solution (additional fees may apply)
  • Integrated to Wave AccountingInvoicing, and Payments: Payroll automatically integrates with Wave Accounting, Invoicing, and Payments to keep your records updated.

Support (additional fees may apply)
  • Live Chat Support (Monday-Friday): Get a priority connection to our highly-skilled customer support team.

  • Email Support: Connect with our support team via email for prompt assistance.

Wave Advisors (additional fees may apply)
  • Business Tax Filing: Get help completing and filing your business income taxes.

  • Personal Tax Filing: Get help completing and filing your income taxes.

(3) Sunrise

Sunrise is a top solution for small businesses interested in simple bookkeeping software that’s free and easy to use. It’s also safe and reliable, providing enough functionality to support the needs of most small businesses.

Unlike many free accounting software solutions, it offers unlimited user support. Sunrise is also known for its good customer service. Sunrise enables users to:

● Send unlimited invoices
● Manage and track expenses
● Provide absolute estimates and quotes
● Track cash flow

Functionality

Customized invoices

  • Create personalized invoices and allow your customers to pay by credit card. Set up a recurring schedule to ensure you don’t miss a payment.

  • Create quotes and estimates

  • Easily create a quote or estimate to send to customers. Get it approved online and converted to an invoice with one click.

Financial reports

  • Understand the financial health of your business with reports like profit and loss, balance sheet, tax summary, customer statements, and accounts receivable.

  • View unpaid invoices

  • You will always know where your invoices sit – unpaid, overdue, and paid.



Track expenses automatically
  • Link your bank account and credit cards and categorize your expenses and income.

  • Process discounts and refunds

  • Add discounts to invoices and process refunds/returns with no hassle.

Add sales tax to invoices.
  • Add different state sales taxes, which will be added to the invoice based on your customers’ locations.

  • Taxes done right

  • Invite your accountant to access your transactions and financial reports, and they’ll do the rest.

  • Security is the top priority – Your data is backed up to multiple data centers and encrypted. Export your information anytime because it’s yours.

  • Outstanding Support

(4) Odoo (www.odoo.com)

Odoo is enterprise resource planning (ERP) open-source software where the company provides over 40 business software applications, including Odoo Accounting. Small businesses can use Odoo Accounting alone or combine additional small business applications. One of Odoo’s most significant benefits is its fully customizable, scalable solutions to fulfill your current and future business needs.

Odoo Accounting provides invoicing, accounts payable, a chart of accounts, basic inventory,
analytics, etc. Further, its software is intuitive and straightforward to use. However, it’s
important to note that its customer service has received some negative reviews.

Odoo is a suite of business management software tools including, for example, CRM, e-commerce, billing, accounting, manufacturing, warehouse, project management, and inventory management. The Community version is libre software, licensed under the GNU LGPLv3.



(5) Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a top option if you’re interested in reliable accounting software to help automate your invoicing. Its free version for small business owners offers a variety of features, including:


● Expense tracking
● Customer interaction via a client portal
● Financial reporting
● Software that automates business workflows and enables your business to work
collectively across multiple departments
● Customizable invoice templates

Further, Zoho Books is known for its exceptional customer support. However, as is often the
case, some of their most advanced features and functionality are only available with their paid plans.

Functionality

  • 1 User + 1 Accountant

  • Manage Clients

  • Manage Invoices (Up to 1,000 per annum)

  • Client Portal

  • Online/Offline Payments

  • Automate Payment Reminders

  • Multi-lingual Invoicing

  • Credit Notes

  • Recurring Invoices

  • Expenses & Mileage Tracking

  • Add Multiple Bank and Credit Card Accounts

  • Import Bank and Credit Card Statements

  • Bank Rules & Reconciliation

  • Chart of Accounts & Sub-accounts

  • Manual Journals

  • Reports

  • Invoice Customization

  • Manage 1099 Contractors

  • Payment Gateways 

(6) Akaunting (www.akaunting.com)

Akaunting is free online accounting software that is extremely simple to use, with features that help businesses manage their finances, track cash flow and expenses, and work to invoice. Their functionality helps sync accounts, set up recurring bills, manage customers and vendors alike, etc.

They also offer lifetime free updates, a feature that often isn’t seen with most accounting
software solutions. Unfortunately, if you’re interested in using more advanced features, you’ll be required to download third-party apps with annual fees.

Functionality

Free Accounting

Completely Free. No setup fees. No hidden charges. Not a free limited version. Free means free.

Online Accounting

See your financials online anytime, anywhere on your Mac, PC, tablet, or mobile phone. No limits.

Open Source Accounting

Take care about the privacy of your financials. Akaunting is Open Source, so that you can install it on your host.

Easy Invoicing

Send professional invoices to clients and start accepting online payments with no commission/transaction fee.

Deposits & Transfers

Add deposits to and transfers between accounts and keep the balance of your bank accounts active.

Vendor Management

Create vendors so you can assign bills and payments to them and later filter their transactions easily.

Customer Management

Create clients and send invoices to them. You can also set a password so they can access the client portal.

Billable Expenses

Create and manage bills, so your finances are always accurate and healthy. Know what and when to pay.

(7) GnuCash (www.gnucash.org)

GnuCash is a personal and business financial accounting software that is open-source. It is
easy and intuitive to use with features including double-entry accounting, scheduled
transactions, financial calculations, reporting, and more.
However, unfortunately, GnuCash’s user interface is highly outdated. In addition, it doesn’t offer the many benefits of cloud-based solutions since its software is open source. Also, its customer support primarily comprises user forums.

Company Profile: GnuCash is an accounting program that implements a double-entry bookkeeping system. It was initially aimed at developing capabilities similar to Intuit, Inc.’s Quicken application but also has features for small business accounting.

GnuCash is a robust open-source application and one of the best free accounting software platforms. It encompasses a wide range of accounting tasks, team member integrations, real-time bank feed integrations, payment processing interfaces, excel compatibility, and hundreds of configurable applications for any sized business.

You can see all basic and advanced features for a complete functionality overview.

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