20 best accounting software tools

Marija Kojic

Last updated on: January 4, 2022

Accounting tasks, which involve handling and processing payroll, taxes, and payments, are often demanding – it makes no wonder that the word “taxing” means “difficult or needing a lot of thought or effort”.

In truth, if you make certain accounting errors while handling your payroll or taxes, you’ll likely run into problems with your government, and jeopardize the future legitimacy of your entire business.

The same is true of bookkeepers and accountants – if you make an error in your calculations and document preparation, you’ll hurt your clients, and your reputation as a reliable professional will take a hit.

And this is where accounting tools emerge as possible solutions to your accounting challenges.

Are tools assets or expenses? And what are the best ones?

In accounting, in relation to the tasks you have to perform (preparing, reviewing, and auditing finances), accounting tools serve more as assets than expenses, due to the resources they help you save. With them, you’ll automate and speed up your accounting tasks, as well as minimize the risk of errors, and even save money.

Research shows that as much as 60% of small-business owners struggle with their accounting and finance management – and Statista research reports that about 64% of them use a type of accounting technology.

The technology used to handle various finances and accounting processes is often referred to as Accounts Payable automation (I.e. AP automation) – and one infographic shows that AP automation systems can save you at least 16$ per invoice.

So, to help you make the most out of the available AP automation, here are the best accounting tools for businesses, with a special emphasis on the best accounting software for small businesses:

QuickBooks Online – automated accounting software


Quickbooks is all-inclusive automated accounting software for small businesses that lets you handle bookkeeping, sales tax, expense tracking, invoicing, and other accounting tasks.

You’ll be able to:

  • automate the process of entering transactions
  • perform tax calculations
  • track bills and expenses, as well as set automatic payments
  • create invoices and have your business clients pay you directly via PayPal, debit card or credit card

As a standout feature, QuickBooks will help you easily define estimates and quotes for your clients – then, once the estimate is accepted, this software will convert the estimate to an invoice and you can then track its progress.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Google Chrome

Market: United States, Canadian, UK (with support for South African and Irish VAT), Australia

💡Clockify pro tip

Want to try other great apps with invoicing features? Then check out our list of the best free invoicing tools you can currently find on the market.

Freshbooks – cloud-based accounting software


Freshbooks is a cloud-based accounting software, that mainly serves as an invoicing and bookkeeping app that also allows you to handle payroll.

With this tool, you’ll get a nice solution to:

  • create customized invoices online, and later duplicate them
  • send out personalized thank you notes
  • attach and send out receipts
  • process credit card information and receive electronic payments
  • track your profit and loss

You’ll also be able to set due dates for payments and track late fees – clients who don’t pay their fees on time will get a polite automatic reminder to do so at their earliest convenience.

Available for: Web, Mac, iOS, Android

Market: Global

💡Clockify pro tip

Looking for a how-to-guide on the best way to calculate payroll? Check out our blog post on the subject of how to calculate payroll and hours worked

Wave Accounting – invoicing and payroll software

wave accounting

If you’re looking for a free alternative to the more expensive accounting tools such as QuickBooks and FreshBooks, you can try Wave Accounting – you’ll get a cost-effective invoicing and accounting app that allows card processing and handling payroll.

With Wave Accounting, you’ll get a great solution to help you:

  • handle invoices
  • track investments, expenses, and transactions
  • handle basic financial reporting
  • track your personal finances, cash balance, and invoicing status for clients
  • scan receipts

Overall, the app is an effective solution for small businesses.

Perhaps as its best feature, Wave Accounting handles all client payments automatically – the system allows you to connect bank accounts with credit cards, as well as accept and process payments from all credit cards.

Available for: Web, Windows, iOS, Android, Google Chrome

Market: Global

💡Clockify pro tip

Looking for more great free alternatives to expensive apps to enhance your workflow and productivity in a cost-effective way? Check out our extensive guide on the subject here.

Sage Accounting – accounting and business management software

sage accounting

Sage Accounting is a business and accounting software mostly aimed at small businesses – you’ll also be able to track payments, expenses, set automatic reminders for payments and other important information, as well as generate reports and track statistics.

You’ll get to handle:

  • invoicing
  • compliance and accounting management
  • electronic payments
  • financial analysis
  • data imports and exports

If you’re looking to streamline the accounting processes of your medium-sized business, you can try Sage 50 Accounting (also known as Sage 50cloud) – this specific Sage accounting system offers a set of payroll and accountancy products with specific features meant to cater to different world regions.

Among these Sage Packages, you’ll find Sage 50 Pastel for South Africa, Sage 50 for the UK, a US version (formerly Peachtree Accounting), a Canadian version (formerly known as Bedford Accounting), etc.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Market: Australia, US, UK, Canada, France, South Africa, Ireland, Spain

ZipBooks – accounting and invoicing software


ZipBooks is a free accounting and online invoicing software with a wider scope of features that help you streamline more than just your accounting tasks – you’ll also gain insight into your businesses’ operations.

With this software, you’ll get a chance to:

  • handle your tax management with ease
  • manage accounting tasks for each specific project
  • track your expenses
  • process your invoicing
  • manage receipts
  • secure partial payments

The standout feature of the ZipBooks accounting tool is its Intelligence system – you’ll get insights and reports that highlight your profitable customers and show how you fare when compared to the competition.

Available for: Web, Mac, iOS, Google Chrome

Market: United States, Canada

TurboCASH – open-source accounting app


TurboCASH effectively caters to small businesses and accountant needs – it’s open-source accounting app that allows you to share data with relevant people in the cloud.

With this accounting tool, you’ll be able to manage your accounting tasks on a truly large scale:

  • connect 10 bank accounts and manage nearly a 1,000 books
  • open and manage 12000 accounts and 24000 related sub-accounts
  • manage 40000 creditors and debtors

Apart from that, you’ll also be able to create invoices, set estimates and quotes, handle orders, as well as track your credit notes, cash flows, income statements, and tax reports.

As a highlight feature, TurboCASH lets you reverse all your transactions in a batch – you’ll get a chance to check and edit transaction entries before updating them in your ledger.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac

Market: Global

KMyMoney – personal finance manager


KMyMoney is a free personal finance manager aimed at small businesses, with a large number of easy-to-use financial tools and features.

With this finance manager, you’ll be able to:

  • gain easy access and insight into all your accounts and transactions
  • track the performance of your ledger
  • perform a budget revamp when necessary
  • manage your internal financial structure
  • create new accounts or transfer existing ones easily

The highlight of this accounting system is its simplicity – you can perform all your personal financial tasks easily, even if you’re a non-technical user not accustomed to using apps.

Available for: Mac, Windows, Linux  

Market: US, Canada

AccountEdge Pro – desktop accounting software

accountedge pro

AccountEdge Pro is a free accounting software aimed at Mac and Windows users that lets you manage your bank accounts and keep track of your annual budget.

More specifically, you’ll be able to:

  • handle all your expense, banking, and credit card, asset, equity, and income accounts
  • set up regular recurring, daily, weekly, or monthly transactions
  • track reimbursements
  • automatically calculate, secure, and back up all your financial data
  • manage different profit centers and departments

One of the standout features of this accounting tool are its advanced search options – you’ll easily be able to find accounts by name, number, contact, across your all accountant lists.

Available for: Mac, Windows, iOS

Market: US, Canada (can adapt to UK and EU VAT requirements)

GnuCash – personal and small business accounting software


GnuCash is a free accounting tool aimed at individual users and small businesses that offers the usual array of features and tools meant to streamline your accounting tasks.

Apart from other useful functionalities, you’ll get the chance to:

  • generate graphs representing your current financial status
  • generate 30 different types of reports, including Income, Expenses, and Balance Sheet Reports
  • ensure all your transactions are “book balanced”
  • view multiple accounts at the same time in a “Journal” view
  • easily categorize your cash flow

As a standout functionality, you’ll also be able to quickly split all your transactions  – this will allow you to correctly record all your fees and taxes when handling documentation.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android

Market: Canada, US, UK

NolaPro – customizable free accounting software


NolaPro is another free software (similar in function to accounting tools such as QuickBooks and Gnucash) that allows you to completely customize and personalize the system to fit your business.

You’ll be able to:

  • check payroll and direct deposits
  • generate tax payables from your payroll data
  • generate W-2 and 941 tax forms
  • automate credit card processing
  • generate Balance Sheets and Trial Balance

Most importantly, if there’s any accounting feature you need but is currently missing from NolaPro, you can ask the team directly to include the said feature to your package or request the software’s editable source code.

Available for: Web, Windows, Linux, Mac

Market: Global

Xero – traditional online accounting software


Xero is a free cloud-based online accounting software aimed at small and midsize businesses – it offers an easy way to handle your transactions and run your business.

In gist, you’ll be able to:

  • create, process, and send out recurring invoices
  • organize and categorize all your credit card transactions
  • precisely schedule payments to manage your cash flow
  • calculate payroll and manage subsequent taxes
  • manage your 1099 independent forms

One notable highlight of this app caters to freelance accountant needs – you’ll be able to collaborate with an unlimited number of clients, as well as enjoy strong data encryption and multiple authentications.

Available for: Web, Mac, iOS, Android

Market: Global

FreeAgent – accounting software for small businesses

free agent

FreeAgent is another cloud-based accounting software meant to ease collaboration between small business and its accountants.

You’ll easily be able to:

  • send out and track estimates and corresponding invoices
  • store receipts in order to track your expenses
  • connect to bank accounts and import transactions automatically
  • manage and prepare your taxes in relation to IRS categories
  • view tax timelines

The standout feature of this app is its automatization – each time you enter new bank statements, expenses, and invoices,  FreeAgent automatically builds corresponding accounts in its system in real-time.

Available for: Web, Mac, iOS, Android

Market: US, UK, Australia, Canada

Gusto Payroll – online payroll software for HR

payroll gusto

Gusto Payroll is an online payroll software with select features that cater to the needs of HR specialists.

In essence, you’ll be able to:

  • completely automate your payroll within small-to-midsize businesses
  • fully automate your tax management
  • manage all payroll deductions
  • automatically adjust minimum wages

Considering that complying to government requirements is vital in accounting, Gusto Payroll also helps you automatically report all new hires to the government.

Available for: Web

Market: Global

💡Clockify pro tip

Looking for more great payroll and accounting apps? Check out our extensive guide on HR software that caters to the needs of HR professionals.

Tally ERP 9 – Enterprise resource planning system

tally erp 9

Tally ERP 9 is a flexible business accounting tool with inventory management features –  you’ll get an easy way to handle accounting and payroll management.

More specifically, you’ll be able to:

  • generate reports that clearly show income and other taxes
  • handle all GST invoicing and transactions
  • generate tax computation reports
  • generate a deposit and cash slips directly from the app

As a highlight, Tally ERP 9 offers effective sales and purchase management – this includes sales orders and purchases, but also credit and debit card notes.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac,

Market: India

KashFlow – cloud-based bookkeeping and HR software


KashFlow is a cloud-based bookkeeping software with select HR features that cater to the needs of small businesses in the UK.

With it, you’ll be able to:

  • gain full insight into your finances
  • share accounting data with clients directly
  • convert approved quotes to invoices
  • link your bank account to the software
  • keep track of expenses

The standout feature of this tool is the effective way it lets you handle VAT – you’ll have your VAT automatically updated according to the right parameters, and then have this data submitted directly to HMRC.

Available for: Web

Markets: UK

Expensify – expense management system


Expensify is an accounting system fit for a business of any size that lets you manage your receipts, and easily submit business expenses for both reimbursement and approval.

In gist, you’ll be able to:

  • review expenses that haven’t been submitted yet
  • scan receipts
  • automatically detect duplicate receipts in the system
  • import all your card transactions
  • automatically confirm each transaction
  • easily manage all your general ledger codes
  • set and apply tax rules based on the relevant expense policies

As a bonus, Expensify also syncs with most major accounting apps, so you’ll be able to effectively enhance the app’s functionalities.

Available for: Web, iOS, Android,

Markets: US, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia

Wagepoint – small-to-mid-size business payroll software


Wagepoint is online payroll software aimed to help your small or midsize business pay employees and contractors, as well as stay compliant to government tax requirements.

With this accounting tool, you’ll be able to:

  • handle your payroll processes on a cloud
  • make direct deposits
  • provide worker compensation
  • calculate company deductions
  • handle your pay stubs with no paperwork

One of the best functionalities of this accounting tool is the way it helps you handle taxes – you’ll get to process yearly W-2 forms (US) and T4 slips (CA), process 1099 forms for your independent contractors, but also make reports on federal, state, and local taxes.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac

Markets: US, Canada

💡Clockify pro tip

Looking for an insight into the best practices for paying contractors and freelancers, as well as handling 1099 forms? Our guide on how to pay contractors and freelancers has all the answers.

Receipt Bank – paperless accounting platform

recepit bank

Receipt Bank is an app from the FreeAgent family of apps, but it offers a number of select features that make it worthy of its own slot on this list.

In essence, you’ll get to:

  • extract bank statements
  • set submission reminders
  • capture, process, and share relevant financial documents
  • request paperwork directly to your client’s mobile device
  • communicate with clients directly from the app’s built-in chat system

The tool promises to save you at least 3 hours weekly on paperwork, and you’ll get to streamline your receipt and invoice management – you’ll be able to upload them directly, email them in, post them in for processing, but also share, export, search, and sort them in a couple of clicks.

In addition, you’ll be able to integrate Receipt Bank with Sage Accounting and combine their functionalities.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

Markets: US, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe

SurePayroll – online payroll system


SurePayroll is an online payroll system that caters to the needs of small businesses in the US – you’ll be able to fully manage your payroll, from calculations and deductions to payments and taxes.

Some of the more prominent features include:

  • managing 401(k) employee benefits
  • automatic filling and paying all relevant local, state, and federal taxes
  • 4 different options for your payroll schedule – monthly, semi-monthly, weekly, and bi-weekly
  • handling w-2 employees and 1099 independent contractors

Apart from that, you’ll also be able to handle additional payroll procedures, such as employee bonuses, corrections on payroll, and reimbursements.

Available for: Web, iOS, Android

Market: US

Clockify – free time tracking software for accountants

clockify for accounting

Clockify is a free time tracking and timesheet app that lets you track billable hours for payroll, invoices, and taxes.

You instruct your clients or employees to define their hourly rates, and then they track time as they work on activities through a timer (or add it manually after work).

In the end, all their earnings are automatically calculated based on their billable time, and you can view them in Reports. Alternatively, they can enter time in a timesheet view for the same effect.

Either way, you get the numbers you need in order to prepare invoice documentation, as well as payroll and tax calculations, all while staying compliant to FLSA and DCAA requirements.

Some of the more prominent features include:

  • tracking time in a timer, adding it manually, or in a timesheet
  • billable and non-billable time
  • Summary, Detailed, and Weekly reports
  • a robust filtering system for precise and accurate reporting
  • an easy way to add and keep track of projects, tasks, and tags
  • an easy way to categorize your time entries based on these parameters
  • 4 types of hourly rates, ranging from less specific to more specific

In addition, you’ll also be able to lock time entries after a certain time period (in order to ensure consistency in your documentation), as well as quickly edit your billable (and non-billable) time entries in bulks.

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Google extension, Firefox extension

Market: Global

Fyle – Travel and expense management software

Fyle screenshot

Fyle is an AI-powered travel and expense management software that streamlines and automates pre-accounting from end to end. It gives employees easy-to-use tools to submit, approve, and process business expenses while ensuring your business is in a state of constant compliance. 

Here’s what you can do with Fyle:

  • Track and submit business expense receipts from Slack, G-Suite, or Office 365
  • Scan paper receipts with Instafyle and see a draft expense in a ready to report state 
  • Detect duplicates and risky expenses before they are even submitted
  • Get detailed audit trails for every expense and stay audit-ready, always
  • Process reimbursements in a day with Fyle ACH 
  • Bring your existing/preferred credit card vendors and get live feeds straight to your Fyle dashboard
  • Get in-depth and real-time analytics on spending across the organization 

Further, Fyle has bi-directional and self-serve integrations with major accounting software NetSuite, QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, and Xero. The tight-knit integrations enable Finance teams to hit the ground running and automate the entire accounting process with no additional IT support!

Available for: Web, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Market: Global

💡Clockify pro tip

Want to learn more about how you can use Clockify in your accounting process and while gathering documentation for taxes? Then check some of our previous blog posts:

Author: MarijaKojic

Marija Kojic is a productivity writer who's always researching about various productivity techniques and time management tips in order to find the best ones to write about. She can often be found testing and writing about apps meant to enhance the workflow of freelancers, remote workers, and regular employees. Appeared in G2 Crowd Learning Hub, The Good Men Project, and Pick the Brain, among other places.

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