4 Best Accounting Software Reviews in 2021 | For Invoices, Payments, Taxes and More

August 3, 2021 | Editorial Team

If you own a business, tax season is likely your least favourite time of year. Collecting all of your receipts, invoices, and other paperwork to submit can be stressful, even with an accountant. Thankfully, there’s an easier alternative. Accounting platforms, such as FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Sage 50cloud, and Xero, are great options.

These platforms allow you to input all of your financial information throughout the year. So, when tax season rolls around, you’ll be ready. Everything can be done digitally as well, so you won’t have to worry about having loose papers scattered around your office. You can send invoices, pay your employees, store receipts, and more with all of these platforms.

You may be wondering which accounting software is the best for you and your business. To help you decide, we’re going to break down the pros and cons of each software. So, if you’re looking for a much easier way to finish your accounting and store all of your financial information, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s look at the best accounting software on the market right now.

FreshBooks

Starting off our list is FreshBooks, one of the best cloud-based accounting software options for small businesses. FreshBooks was created in 2003 to help small businesses easily handle their finances. Since its inception, over 5 million customers have used the accounting platform.

Small businesses can use FreshBooks for any of their accounting needs, such as billing, purchase orders, and payroll. If you are looking for one of the best small business accounting software platforms, look no further! Here are some of the pros and cons of using this accounting platform.

Pros

  • There are three account types available on this accounting software for small businesses. A lite, plus, or premium plan that you pay for per month.
  • Allows users to create professional invoices and collect payments online.
  • You can utilize a free trial to test out the small business accounting software before committing to a paid plan.
  • FreshBooks provides an excellent user experience as it is extremely easy to use.
  • One of the cheapest cloud-based accounting software companies.
  • This accounting software is available on your computer or your phone via the FreshBooks mobile app.
  • Expense tracking is easy with FreshBooks. Users can take a picture of receipts or link the business bank and credit card accounts used to input the data directly.
  • Both small business owners and self-employed workers can use FreshBooks.
  • Time tracking is available.

Cons

  • If you collect payments online by invoicing companies directly, you will have to pay 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
  • Some features, such as metrics, goal setting, and reporting, could be improved.
  • The mobile app has limited use as you cannot access reports on the go with it.
  • No double-entry accounting support.

Summary

FreshBooks is often voted the bests accounting software because of all the great features available. With even the lite account, you have access to these features:

  • Customization options.
  • Tax time reports.
  • Time tracking.
  • Create and send estimates.
  • Automated bank account import for expense tracking and reporting.
  • Accept credit card payments and bank transfers online with sales tax.
  • Customized invoices with your small business logo.
  • Unlimited expense entries.

These are only the features of the lite account. The plus and premium versions have even more great accounting features. FreshBooks is thus a great accounting software for any small business owners or self-employed workers.

Intuit QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks, by the company Intuit, has been around for a long time. The original version was released in 1998 and was beloved by many small business owners. In 2002, Intuit created QuickBooks Online to appeal to a larger audience.

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is now one of the best accounting software options. It has cloud accounting abilities, and users simply need to pay per month for an account. It can be easily accessed on any web browser, unlike the original QuickBooks that needed to be installed on your computer.

If you are a faithful QuickBooks user, making the switch to the online accounting software platform makes sense. Here are the pros and cons of using QuickBooks Online.

Pros

  • Three different payroll plans are available. If you choose a payroll option, you will be able to pay your staff automatically.
  • You can access this accounting software from any computer as it is cloud-based.
  • QuickBooks makes it easy to track income and expenses. You can set rules on QuickBooks to sort your expenses into different categories.
  • You can easily create personalized invoices for your customers, broken down by services, products and price.
  • Great for inventory management as inventory tracking can be done automatically. As you make sales, the inventory management software will update the amount of inventory you have.
  • Reports can be highly customized to meet the needs of any small business. Reports can be used to manage any cash flow in and out of your business.
  • The user interface is modern and sleek.
  • All of your data will be synced whether you are using a web browser, desktop app, or mobile app.

Cons

  • QuickBooks can be a hard small business accounting software to learn as it has so many features.
  • QuickBooks self-employed is a separate platform. Freelancers will thus need QuickBooks self-employed instead of the normal version.
  • QuickBooks is one of the more expensive accounting software options.

Summary

Although some users have said QuickBooks Online is not easy to use, the learning curve is worth it. This is one of the best accounting software platforms for all small businesses. Simply pay a fee of $20 to $50 per month, depending on the account type you choose. Then, enjoy the many features this accounting software for small businesses has to offer.

You can utilize free accounting software for a month with QuickBooks as they offer a free trial. Head over there to try it out without needing to commit to anything.

Sage 50cloud

Next on our list of the best small business accounting software is Sage 50cloud. Sage 50cloud is one of the best accounting software available to date. It has been around since the 1980s, formerly known as Peachtree. With Sage 50cloud, users have access to a variety of accounting features. From inventory management to project management, this accounting software has everything business owners could possibly need.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using this accounting software for small to large businesses.

Pros

  • Sage 50cloud has a variety of features. You can create invoices, quotes, proposals, manage contact details for customers/ vendors/ employees, track expenses, inventory, accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank reconciliation and much more.
  • The bookkeeping software Sage 50cloud provides is great for larger businesses as it is so detailed.
  • Sage 50cloud offers a free trial. This will help you see if you can learn how to use the accounting software or not before you start paying per month.
  • Customer support from Sage 50cloud is good as you can talk to customer service via live chat or phone.
  • Over 70 third-party integration are available on Sage 50cloud.
  • Sage 50cloud provides security safeguards, such as 128-bit SSL encryption and redundancy.
  • To set up the accounting software, you receive an easy to follow set-up guide.
  • The platform can be accessed on the web, desktop or mobile.

Cons

  • The price of an account with Sage 50 cloud is much more than other software for small business owners. The cheapest account available is $50 per month.
  • It is not cloud-based, so accessing your data from other computers or phones is harder.
  • Sage 50cloud is not an easy accounting software to use. There is a steep learning curve.

Summary

If you have an accounting background or a bigger business, Sage 50cloud is the best choice of accounting software. That being said, it may be too detailed for small businesses. There are so many useful accounting features on Sage 50cloud that small businesses wouldn’t need to utilize, such as project management. As the price per month is much steeper than other accounting software solutions as well, Sage 50cloud is quite an investment.

For medium or large businesses, Sage 50cloud is one of the best accounting software products. Small businesses, however, may benefit more from free accounting software. Luckily, Sage 50cloud offers a free 30-day trial. This will help you figure out if this software best suits your business or not before committing to paying for it per month.

Xero

Last on our list of the best accounting software for small business owners is Xero. Xero is made for any small business to use easily, especially because it is so affordable. Xero has over 2 million users happily using the software to track their business finances. Although the company is based in New Zealand, Xero is available globally.

As Xero is cloud-based, you can get all of your business finance information anywhere at any time. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using this small business online accounting software

Pros

  • You don’t need to install any desktop app as Xero is cloud-based and can be accessed through the web.
  • There is a free 30-day trial available so you can test out the best software before committing to paying per month.
  • You can easily integrate with third-party apps and plugins.
  • One of the best options for a small business as the per month fee is affordable.
  • A great invoicing system that is fully customizable. Add or remove anything you want to your invoice and have them automatically recur each month.
  • You can connect Xero to your business bank accounts or credit card, and the software will pull the transactions automatically.
  • Payment gateways can be utilized to set up recurring payments, limiting the need for payment reminders.
  • You will be connected with your own advisor to help you with any issues you come across.

Cons

  • You are limited to 2,000 monthly transactions. This means this small business software wouldn’t be beneficial for bigger businesses.
  • Similarly, there is a limit of 1,000 invoices and purchase orders per month.
  • Setting up this small business software can be confusing.

Summary

This software best suits the needs of small businesses. This is due to its transactions, invoices, and purchase order limitations. Bigger businesses may benefit more from one of our previous recommendations. That being said, Xero has everything a smaller business could need. You can create customized invoices that recur every month and easily access your business data from any phone or computer.

Xero also allows you to have an unlimited amount of users, so anyone in your business can access the pertinent information. The best part of Xero is that it is constantly updated and improved, so you’ll always have the best software available for your business.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are a small business owner or a large business owner, the best accounting software is out there and available to you. Detailed accounting software, such as Sage 50cloud, is best for big businesses that have a lot of data to track. On the other hand, Xero is best suited to smaller businesses who simply want to keep their information organized.

FreshBooks and QuickBooks are great options for businesses of any size. They are some of the best options because of how customizable they can be to suit any business’ needs.

Whatever your needs are, these four accounting software platforms are some of the best available, both in Canada and around the globe. Each software has a great free trial of 30 days. This can help you decide which is the best option for you and your business. Head over to any of the four respective websites to get started!

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