Small businesses, especially startups, often suffer at the hands of fixed overhead expenses. That’s why we wanted to do a small, but an extensive roundup of Free Accounting Software in 2019. If you have been following ‘Productivity Land’, you already know that we did a write-up on the best accounting software recently.
However, startups often get neglected. Since such businesses have a promising staff, but not enough resources, expenditure has to be maintained. Many a time, these companies make the transition from free accounting software to paid accounting software; all because of multiple features to help increase productivity by tenfold.
Here’s the Main Issue with Selecting a Free Accounting Software:
By now, there are tons of paid and free accounting software available on the internet. There is an obnoxious amount of programs that do not deliver on whatever features are advertised. As a result, users get fed up and they never use that specific program again.
The alarming factor is that these seemingly misguided users start spreading negative feedback about all “free accounting software” since they are made to believe that these programs are all alike. The truth is that if you have been a victim of freeware, or such other services, it does not hold for all programs within the same niche.
Since there’s an abundance of accounting programs on the internet, we did a roundup of a select few software. This helped us to eliminate the daunting task of finding the best free accounting software on your part. More so, you can save time; pick one program and then go ahead with your daily business/ clients’ requirements. Easy peasy!
When Is It Okay to Buy a Paid Accounting Program?
As a business owner, if you feel that now is the right time to pay for any accounting software go ahead. The ability to really assess the “need” factor is up to you. However, while you are at it, make sure that your favorite accounting software is offering maximum features that meet your business requirements.
Often, people act on impulse and pay for a great program that doesn’t add any value to the business. To avoid such dilemmas, make a list of your business’s accounting software related requirements and then run them through the trial version of the cheap free accounting software. Then, try to answer the following questions:
- Does everything look okay?
- Are the reports working to you and your clients’ expectations?
- How does the program impact productivity?
- On a scale of 1 – 5, what rating would you give?
- Are you satisfied with the paid version’s price tier?
From a general standpoint view, many businesses that transition to the paid edition of a free accounting software have already evaluated everything. These companies have grown by now, and realize that their needs are not met by the free version.
We Evaluated These Free Accounting Software On a Certain Criterion:
Since time is of the essence at Productivity Land, we wanted to save effort on your part. Also, all the recommended accounting programs were evaluated against a criterion. For instance, we wanted to recommend programs that offered the “homely” feeling of Microsoft Excel but are far advanced than simple spreadsheets.
The most important criterion for us was that the accounting software really and absolutely had to be free. That means no trial versions, no time gates and not even a single $1 fee for unlocked “features.” Other factors of our evaluation criterion for free accounting software are appended below:
Cost Factor: This was already talked about a bit earlier. While you’re out there looking to pay for a licensed version of free accounting software, check the price tag. Is it a one time expense, or it goes on recurring payments?
Ease of Use: No matter how good an accounting program is, if it’s not easy to use, there’s no point in getting it. By now, we have reviewed countless productivity apps. If there’s one thing we are keen about, it’s the learning curve and the UI experience. With an accounting software, make sure that bookkeeping, reporting, exporting, invoicing and such other basic tasks are right there where you need them.
Overall Features: This one applies to the existing version of the free accounting software and its paid variation. Sometimes, companies offer “unlocked” features once a customer transitions from the free version to the paid version. This could be a game-changer for you.
Alternatively, if the free accounting software that you are subscribed to, offers gradual updates to the core features, this might be something worth looking into. Some companies take user feedback very seriously, and they release constant updates to keep all the features updated.
Security Features & Access Control: Since this is an accounting software roundup, we wanted to make sure that there was a layer of security available to us. Such programs are dealing with money, functional areas of investments and various sensitive matters where you don’t want unwanted access.
Likewise, if you are working as a head accountant in a small team, you may need user access control levels. Are you able to give access to give your favorite bookie access to a certain account sheet? Is he able to view only the specific section that is relevant to his work, and not snoop his nose around other sensitive material? That’s what you need to confirm before paying for full services of free accounting software.
Multi-Platform Accessibility Options: Since technology has made it possible to remotely work from anywhere, you should be able to use your accounting software from the comfort of whatever area you’re in. on top of that, if you can get a mobile version of your accounting software, that’d be great. Sometimes, users need to keep tabs on accounts progress through a dedicated mobile app. That’s where such applications come in handy.
Best Free Accounting Software Recommendations for Small Businesses and Startups:
We have tried Wave on several different occasions. It is free; it is online and most of the competition doesn’t get anywhere close to what Wave has to offer. Above all, Wave is loaded with features that most of the paid accounting software websites offer for a fee.
As far as the learning curve is concerned, it is steep. You probably need to follow a few YouTube tutorials on how to use Wave. However, that doesn’t mean new users have a hard time using this program. It’s just that if you have followed Wave through a few tutorial videos, you will have a better understanding of how their system works.
One of the features that we liked was the ability to generate and send invoices through Wave’s inbuilt notification system. We tested this feature by setting up a few dummy invoices and sending them to different email addresses under our aliases. At the receivers’ end, there is a link and a portable PDF file to open. You can follow either of the options.
Wave has certain features that are too good to be true for a free accounting software. But if you need something reliable – and that too for free, Wave is your answer. As far as the “paid” version goes, there is no license fee or any other expense for using the software. You can work as much as you want; add as many users as you like and use the software to maintain bookkeeping at any pace.
The only “caveat” is that Wave charges a small percentage on any transaction that is processed through their invoice system. We think that it is fair. Given that they don’t push clients for money, and the fact that Wave has a large user base across the world, the server and website maintenance cost has to come from somewhere.
All Wave apps users do not process online payroll through Wave. For example, when we used Wave, we didn’t set up Payment and Payroll processing through their integrated online features. But, if you can pay, and you like Wave, you should pay. Their rates are nominal and don’t incur a huge dent on the lump-sum amount.
- Add multiple users, credit cards, accounts for free.
- Wave does not force users to upgrade for a so-called “paid” version.
- Manage account payable and receivable.
- Create unlimited invoices with unique URLs.
- Set payment reminders at desired intervals. Your customers will get email notifications on unpaid invoices.
WaveApps is accessible on the mobile platform as well. You can try their app on both iOS and Android devices.
Check out Wave at their official website. Since this free accounting software is cloud backed up, you need to create an account at their webpage. The only setback that ‘Productivity Land’ reportedly encountered was the inability to accurately keep tabs on unpaid bills. Other than that, the software is a deal-breaker when it comes to getting unlimited perks, convenience, and an overall sleek UI.
Next up on the list of free accounting software for startups and small businesses is ZipBooks. Next to WaveApps, ZipBooks has potential. It’s not as good as Wave Software, but ZipBooks does the job as advertised – and that too under the “free accounting software” panel. They have a price tier, but basic account starts at $0.
ZipBooks is suitable for those accountants who are used to old school methods. If you are using Excel alongside minimum automation, ZipBooks will feel like a major upgrade. Overall, this software is simple to use, and even simpler to manage when it’s about looking over accounts like a pro!
- Manage multiple accounts (*receivables, payables) through one user account.
- Create invoices, set due dates, reminders, and issue follow up emails.
- Link bank accounts, credit cards, and other 3rd party integrations.
- Remotely access your workspace with ZipBooks mobile app.
- Create profit loss expense sheets.
- Generate key financial accounts information to get by with the essentials of accounting.
- ZipBooks dedicated mobile app available at the app store for Apple iOS and Android users.
The standard version of ZipBooks comes at $0.00. Obviously, there are a few knockdowns. Unlike the free version of Wave accounting software, ZipBooks will limit you to one user per account. With that, you are also limited to adding only one credit card and bank account.
Let’s say, you want to link your client’s credit cards and their bank accounts as backup payment options, you won’t be able to do that on the basic version. Yep, this is something that has no workaround solution other than sending payment reminders to your clients.
However, since the overall usability of ZipBooks is pretty damn high, we tried the program and loved it.
Starter account available at $0.00.
ZipBooks Smarter available at $15 per month.
ZipBooks Sophisticated and Services are available at $35 & $125 respectively.
As a free accounting software, ZipBooks is available for download the at the official ZipBooks website. You can run up your inquiries for an enterprise account and any other details that you deem necessary.
As far as feasibility vs. usability is concerned, Money Manager Ex sits right where an ideal accounting software needs to be. In a startup company, you will find more than enough features to get started on internal and external audits, alongside generalized accounting reports easily. The program is scaled well enough in terms of features to rival against most of the paid accounting programs.
As a new user, setting up a profile at the Money Manager Ex website is easy. Since usability and learning curve is smooth, you will have no qualms in getting basic, but most crucial level accounting requirements met. Ideally, this program is suitable for traders who deal in binary options and personal home-based finances.
We spent well over a week in testing what Money Manager Ex has to offer. It is straightforward enough to help first-timers and professional accountants at almost the same level. What’s intriguing to us was the convenience of storing all our data in a USB and resuming work from anywhere. The program aligns with the concept of portability and remote access at all fronts.
- Good software from budgeting, forecasting and accounting perspective.
- Has a great user interface with a simple layout.
- Compatible with other 3rd party apps. Cross-platform usability is also an added perk.
- Has ample security options to prevent data theft and unwanted access to sensitive account information.
The only limitation of Money Manager Ex is its time consumption. Sometimes, large projects can be a little hard to manage. This does not imply that the software’s response time is slow – it’s just that the addition of manual tasks takes a lot of time on users’ end.
Gnu Cash is highly recommended by ‘Productivity Land’ experts as a nice substitute for those looking to get a free accounting software. From a cursory perspective, this program has tons of features, such as; forecasting, budgeting, and financial projections. We looked around at some sample reports and were impressed at how Gnu Cash’s algo was able to predict our supposed profit and loss etc.
Aside from meeting the needs of entry to an expert level accountant, Gnu Cash’s flagship feature is its ability to cater to the needs of strain tax-related projects. Bookkeeping can be tedious when it comes to managing taxes. Some of the programs are loaded with clutter information which easily sidetracks users from their core business requirements.
All you need to do is enter accurate information, and the program will handle the rest for you. Thanks to automated features, and the convenience to define formulas in worksheets, this free accounting software comes as a highly recommended suggestion to startup and entry-level business owners.
- Handle personal and business financial requirements easily.
- Easy to understand reports.
- Inbuilt projection and financial forecasting features.
- The latest update to Gnu Cash adds the option of uploading PDF files for your clients.
- Customizable to some extent.
Gnu Cash is available as freeware at the official Gnu Cash website. Get the full benefits of double-entry accounting, stock fund accounts management and many other advanced features right away.
TurboCASH comes as a hefty accounting tool for advance level users. Especially, if you are a small business owner who isn’t too big on spending right away, this free accounting software comes as a perky little companion.
Since we mentioned gradual updates as one of our measuring factor in the evaluation criterion section in this post, this program has tons of updated features to boast of. For instance, TurboCASH has been in development since 1985. That’s a long period for any free software to be in the market.
Over the last few decades, TurboCASH has undergone several reiterations, language support packs, a multitude of accounting features and vice versa. Compared to Wave Apps, TurboCash comes as the second-best alternative to paid accounting programs. It is free and covers more than just basic level accounting requirements. Of course, you can get a paid version of the program, but that is up to you.
- Absolutely free.
- Has Been in development since April 1985.
- Receives regular updates.
- Supports multiple languages.
- Has all the features to meet the requirements of stockbrokers, payroll managers, investment portfolios, etc.
- Supported in different languages.
- Hosted in Australia, Canada, US, and Europe.
- Has an active user base of over 100,000 accountants from different industries from all over the world.
Aside from helping SMBs, TurboCash is actively used by multiple large scale companies. The latter category of users usually goes for a paid version. If at any point, you feel that you need to make the switch to a paid edition of TurboCash, go ahead and give it a shot. You will not regret it.
TurboCash is available for download at the official TurboCash website. For details on pricing, check their respective info web page.
QuickBooks is comprehensive accounting software which comes with a rich feature set to help you maintain your records without losing track. The functionality of the software is specifically designed and developed for small businesses as it makes accounting easier for them. This ease of use and the intuitiveness of the tool that makes it the first choice for many freelancers and newcomers.
From the surface level, you can tell that the reporting capabilities of QuickBooks are some of the most elaborate ones. You get dashboards, expense tracking, cash flow management, and much more – all at one place. Your data is also backed up every day, so you don’t have to worry about any loss of information.
The software handles invoicing pretty smartly too. You can use native templates to avoid the hassle of creating invoices from scratch – or you can make one of your own. Easily share these invoices via email and timely bill clients.
- Dashboard for providing a holistic view of your business’ financial standing
- Invoicing tool for creating and sending custom invoices to clients and to keep a record
- All the detailed financial reports, including profit and loss statement, balance sheet, etc
- Cash flow management to handle all the payments related matters
- Data encryption for data security, along with daily backups
QuickBooks Simple Start is available at $15
QuickBooks Essentials is available at $23
QuickBooks Plus is available at $31
FreshBooks is one of the most popular names in the accounting software world. Packed with robust accounting features, it is a go-to software for many small businesses and freelancers. Rightly so, as the automatic invoicing capabilities of the tool allow you to quickly bill clients and get paid faster.
Providing users with a complete suite of accounting features — FreshBooks provides a fast and reliable solution for creating quick invoices, tracking expenses and much more. Through native time tracking, you can easily monitor the time your team is spending on tasks and bill your clients accordingly.
Not only this, but the tool also facilitates project management through an elaborate feature set for effectively handling project-related activities. Few prominent features centered towards project management include centralized file location, team chat, and project assignment.
- The expense and time tracking associated with your tasks
- Automatic invoicing for tracking costs and billing clients
- Accounting reports to get insights about the financial condition of the company
- Dashboards for quickly glancing over your financial details
- Customized team permissions and team chat
FreshBooks Lite is available at $15 per month for 5 clients
FreshBooks Plus is available at $25 per month for 50 clients
FreshBooks Premium is available at $50 per month for 500 clients
FreshBooks Select is available at custom pricing for 500+ clients
The next cheap accounting software to make it to our list is Xero. A feature-rich software, Xero comes with lots of powerful features to help small businesses manage their accounts smartly. It connects with your bank and syncs your transactions, so you don’t have to go through any hassle. It helps with efficient reconciliation too.
The software puts together all the major financial elements into one complete solution. Some of these are expense management, bank reconciliations, account payments, invoicing, and lots more. It comes with inventory management too.
The interface of this accounting software is simple and user-friendly, so the learning curve is flat. It doesn’t take much time to get a hang of it. Just some standard practice and you’re good to go. Also, if you’ve been using other tools for account management, Xero makes importing of data effortless too. Your data in CSV or Xls format can easily be imported into Xero to instantly get started on your work.
- Generate online invoices (including recurring ones) and make online payments
- View your cash flow and all other major account details through a customizable dashboard
- Sales overview functionality to monitor the estimates and expenses
- A dedicated client portal for your clients to view, print, and pay invoices directly online
- Add contact details, discounts, and sales tax rates for customers through contact management
Xero Starter is available at $20 per month
Xero Standard is available at $30 per month
Xero Premium is available at $40 per month
9. Sage Intacct:
Sage Intacct is another elaborate account management software which comes with a custom pricing structure – about your requirements. The software has everything that you’d generally expect from an industry-standard accounting tool to come with. At the most basic level, you get accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash flow management, and a few other core financial capabilities.
However, if you dig deeper – you get detailed budgeting and planning module, inventory management, expense management, and all the other advanced functionalities revolving around the elaborate financial working of your accounts.
When it comes to general entry of daily transactions, Sage Intacct’s general ledgers make it convenient for you to record them. They’re designed in a way to minimize the inaccuracies as much as possible. Same holds for all the other daily financial calculations – like accounts payable and accounts receivable, etc.
- Take a glance at your account details through dashboards and reports
- Plan your budgets through projected cash flows and sales data
- Track and manage your stock through the inventory management system
- Automate your billing and revenue processes for making quick payments
- Integrate your Sage Intacct account with multiple other third-party apps to maximize productivity
Sage Intacct’s pricing is custom and is available upon request
10. Zoho Books:
Powered by Zoho Corporation, Zoho Books is a beautiful addition to this roundup of cheap accounting software. If your hunt revolves around simplicity and aesthetically pleasing interface – look no further. Zoho Books is the right fit for you.
Don’t expect it to be as robust as FreshBooks, but it still gets the job done pretty nicely. Inside the software, all the major financial management functionalities are packed together to give an integrated solution for small businesses. These include accounts payable/receivable, inventory management, time tracking, and more.
An amazing thing about Zoho Books is its excellent ability to integrate with numerous other powerful third-party applications. It connects seamlessly with Zoho’s in-house apps too to double the goodness. Some of these integrations include Salesforce, Zapier, Evernote, Dropbox, OneDrive, and many more.
- Create customizable invoices for timely billing the clients
- Create estimates and share them on the client portal for clients to see and approve/disapprove
- Connect with your bank accounts and quickly reconcile
- Use the banking dashboard for monitoring cash flows, expected payments, and all the other major account details
- Track time through timesheets and convert them into invoices for generating money
Zoho Books Basic is available at $9 per organization/month
Zoho Standard is available at $19 per organization/month
Zoho Professional is available at $29 per organization/month
This roundup post is not conclusive. We will be adding more programs as we look for the best and free accounting software available in the market these days. Do bookmark this page, and visit after a few weeks for a followup session. In case you have any questions about, use the comments section below. You can also send us an email at [email protected]. Good luck.
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