Searching for the best small business accounting software for your business?

Save yourself time and stress. We’re here to help you find the right small business accounting software solution for your work.

What is small business accounting software?

Small business accounting software is software used by small businesses to track incoming and outgoing financial transactions as well as financial statements and cash flow. While traditionally small businesses have tracked financial information on tools such as spreadsheets, these manual methods are time-consuming and less accurate. Spreadsheets also do not offer the automation and notification capabilities of a dedicated tool.

What 4 key Small Business Accounting Software features should I look for?

Accounts payable / accounts receivable (AP/AR)

The fundamental bookkeeping application, which tracks what is owed to a company by its customers (accounts receivable) as well as what the company owes its suppliers, also known as its liabilities (accounts payable).

Financial reporting

Reporting applications allow businesses to export data from their accounting system in a structured manner that communicates financial history as well as financial projections. Some may include compliance-related functionality for government or industry audits (e.g., in banking and financial services).

Budgeting & forecasting

Budgeting applications allow small businesses to model potential financial outcomes and to compare actual profit and loss to planned budgets, which helps with decision-making about workforce, spending and growth. Some systems have dashboards that display information visually.

Fixed asset accounting

Fixed asset applications focus on tracking assets that aren’t easily converted to cash: For a small business, assets will typically be “tangible,” such as land, buildings or equipment. These applications calculate the value of such assets over time, allowing for depreciation due to wear and tear.

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Showing 1 - 20 of 378 products
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Showing 1 - 20 of 378 products

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is an enterprise resource planning software with primary features such as real estate management, human capital management, environmental health and safety and commodity trading. What is JD...Read more

4.13 (136 reviews)

3 recommendations

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Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides integrated solutions that allow businesses to track leads, automate field service, drive sales and improve operations using mobile, enterprise-ready business apps from the cloud. What is Mi...Read more

3.78 (65 reviews)

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Denali Business

Cougar Mountain Software’s Denali Business is an accounting solution with the ability to customize 10 integrated modules. It is for small to midsize businesses and can be deployed on premises or in the cloud. Key features include ...Read more

3.89 (60 reviews)

2 recommendations

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Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud-based financial management and accounting software. Sage Intacct's software solution is suitable for small to midsize accounting firms and can provide financial reporting and operational insight...Read more

4.17 (312 reviews)

17 recommendations

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OASIS

OASIS by Intellitek is a full-featured ERP solution that is a great solution for overall Supply Chain Management. It features several important applications, such as Supplier Management, Procurement, and Transportation Management....Read more

3.43 (7 reviews)

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NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more

No reviews yet

21 recommendations

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Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning, founded in 2003, provides a web-based system for budgeting, forecasting and reporting. The solution is suitable for a wide variety of company sizes. Delivered over the Web in a software-as-a-service (Saa...Read more

4.48 (174 reviews)

6 recommendations

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BizAutomation

BizAutomation is an ERP solution suitable for any industry. At the core of the system is intuitive and integrated functionality for Customer Relationship Management, and Financial Accounting. The system is delivered as a SaaS....Read more

4.88 (26 reviews)

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MIP Fund Accounting

Abila Fund Accounting 100 (formerly Sage MIP) is designed to meet the financial management needs of nonprofit organizations and associations. This is one of the most widely-used fund accounting solutions on the market. ...Read more

4.21 (65 reviews)

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AccuFund Accounting Suite

AccuFund is 100% focused on serving nonprofits and government entities. The complete fund accounting financial management solution, available online or onsite, consists of a strong core system and modules that allow you to expand ...Read more

4.32 (44 reviews)

9 recommendations

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Software pricing tips

Read our Small Business Accounting Software Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

Planning Maestro

Centage’s Planning Maestro is a cloud-native planning & analytics platform that delivers year-round financial insight, transforming how companies budget, forecast and report performance. Centage delivers a level of sophistica...Read more

3.95 (42 reviews)

5 recommendations

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PlanGuru

PlanGuru is an on-premise business planning and budgeting solution for small businesses and nonprofits. The solution helps accountants to build financial forecasts, prepare budget analysis and address financial constraints of smal...Read more

4.16 (54 reviews)

3 recommendations

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Blue Skies Accounting

Blue Skies Accounting is an on-premise accounting solution. It caters to agricultural farms, ranches, labor contractors, nurseries, vineyards, general contractors, accountants and bookkeepers. Primary features include general ledg...Read more

4.83 (6 reviews)

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Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT

Blackbaud’s cloud fund accounting software Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT®️ provides transparency across teams, security, and compliance, and reduces the need for manual processes. The fund accounting software provides a general led...Read more

4.25 (156 reviews)

15 recommendations

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Multiview ERP

Multiview Financials is the flagship ERP system developed, sold, implemented, and supported by Multiview Financial Software. Multiview is designed for organizations ranging in size from rapidly growing small businesses to large en...Read more

4.40 (10 reviews)

16 recommendations

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Fixed Assets Manager

Fixed Assets Manager by Red Moon Solutions is an asset management solution designed to support the businesses' internal tax practices. Fixed Assets Manager offers organizations in various industries, functionalities to track their...Read more

3.50 (2 reviews)

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Asset4000

Asset4000 is an on-premise and cloud-based fixed asset accounting solution for small, mid-sized and large enterprises. Real Asset Management, the software vendor has now rebranded and is part of MRI Software and continues to prov...Read more

4.55 (47 reviews)

13 recommendations

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Up Your Cash Flow

Up Your Cash Flow is an on-premise budgeting and cash flow forecasting solution for small and mid-sized businesses. It is designed to help the CPA’s, CFOs, controllers and consultants to perform financial analysis and create cash ...Read more

0.00 (2 reviews)

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FUND EZ

Fund EZ nonprofit accounting software gives visibility into every facet of their organization. The software helps users to create and track budgets across fiscal years, detailing actual vs. budget for multiple projects, programs, ...Read more

4.42 (25 reviews)

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Unanet A/E

Focused on the needs of mid-sized A/E firms, Clearview InFocus is an affordable, complete project management, billing and accounting solution. With Clearview InFocus, all necessary features a centralized into a single system....Read more

4.40 (70 reviews)

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Popular Small Business Accounting Software Comparisons

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 10, 2022

What is small business accounting software?

Small business accounting software is software used by small businesses to track incoming and outgoing financial transactions as well as financial statements and cash flow. While traditionally small businesses have tracked financial information on tools such as spreadsheets, these manual methods are time-consuming and less accurate. Spreadsheets also do not offer the automation and notification capabilities of a dedicated tool.

With small business accounting software, users can eliminate the need to create a spreadsheet and manually enter each transaction detail. Instead, they gain the flexibility of integrating with third-party tools such as point-of-sale software to automatically input data. These tools can also generate branded invoices, send notifications upon certain financial transactions or milestones, and provide an overview of the business’ budget.

Given all this, it can be tricky for small businesses to identify the right accounting software for their needs. We developed this guide to help buyers understand exactly what these products offer, so they can select the solution that is the best fit.

Here's what we'll cover:

Common Reasons Small Businesses Seek Accounting Solutions
Common Features of Small Business Accounting Software
Pricing: Web-Based vs. On-Premise
Key Considerations for Small Businesses

Common Reasons Small Businesses Seek Accounting Solutions

Thousands of small businesses contact us every year looking for help selecting the accounting solution best suited to them. Some of these buyers are just getting started, while others are looking to replace an outdated or problematic system.

Small businesses most commonly purchase an accounting system because they are:

  • Seeking to upgrade to a software system with more advanced features.
  • Seeking to automate functions that were previously done manually.
  • Looking to generate better financial reports.
  • In need of specific features (e.g., project or job accounting).
  • Frustrated with their current accounting software (e.g., it is not user-friendly).

Common Features of Small Business Accounting Software

There are several different applications for buyers to choose from, which can be purchased either as a standalone application or along with other related applications, as part of an integrated software suite (more on this below). Make sure the system you purchase covers all the functionality you’re going to need.

Here are some of the most common small-business accounting applications:

Application Function Best for...
Accounts payable / accounts receivable (AP/AR) The fundamental bookkeeping application, which tracks what is owed to a company by its customers (accounts receivable) as well as what the company owes its suppliers, also known as its liabilities (accounts payable). All small businesses (especially those without a dedicated bookkeeper); this is an essential accounting function.
Financial reporting Reporting applications allow businesses to export data from their accounting system in a structured manner that communicates financial history as well as financial projections. Some may include compliance-related functionality for government or industry audits (e.g., in banking and financial services). Any small business with seasonal or otherwise dynamic cash flow that needs to be tracked closely. Also, businesses that need to provide financial reports to stakeholders or to regulatory institutions for compliance.
Budgeting & forecasting Budgeting applications allow small businesses to model potential financial outcomes and to compare actual profit and loss to planned budgets, which helps with decision-making about workforce, spending and growth. Some systems have dashboards that display information visually. Small businesses that are currently growing or considering expanding.
Fixed asset accounting Fixed asset applications focus on tracking assets that aren’t easily converted to cash: For a small business, assets will typically be “tangible,” such as land, buildings or equipment. These applications calculate the value of such assets over time, allowing for depreciation due to wear and tear. Small businesses with substantial tangible assets, or any business that, for tax purposes, may benefit from reporting depreciations to assets.

Pricing: Web-Based vs. On-Premise Accounting Software

Most small businesses will want to consider cloud-based accounting solutions. Because these systems are hosted online by the vendor, they eliminate the need for you to have a dedicated IT team for managing and maintaining your own server. Conversely, an “on-premise” deployment means the software is hosted locally, on your company’s own servers (which you are responsible for maintaining).

Choosing a Web-based system drastically reduces upfront investment and installation costs. In addition, these systems typically offer monthly subscription pricing, which makes them scale well for fast-growing companies that need to add additional user licenses or features down the road. On-premise systems, on the other hand, come with a steeper, one-time fee to use the software in perpetuity.

At present, some businesses may still see savings with an on-premise system, especially if they already have the necessary hardware to host the software on-site. While on-premise solutions usually require purchasing an expensive perpetual license up front, this may still be the cheaper option if you use the same system over an extended period of time. However, keep in mind that with on-premise solutions, you might also pay additionally for upgrades, customizations and maintenance.

Our recent report shows that the great majority of accounting buyers are undetermined about whether they want Web-based or on-premise deployment. Among those with a preference, buyers are split approximately 50-50. According to experts, these preferences may soon change, as Web-based accounting programs become more widely available and as on-premise options are no longer supported. This change will likely mirror preferences in other software markets, where Web-based systems are more popular and have surpassed preferences for on-premise.

Key Considerations for Small Businesses

With so many options and feature sets to choose from, selecting the right accounting solution can quickly become an overwhelming task. To narrow things down, here are three key factors for small businesses to keep in mind while evaluating different products:

Best-of-breed vs. integrated suite options. Because accounting encompasses so many functions, from fund accounting to billing and invoicing, many entry-level products are actually “best-of-breed” solutions. This means they focus on only one of the core applications listed in the table above. “Integrated suites,” meaning solutions combining multiple applications in one software package (often billed as “professional” or “enterprise” editions), have much greater functionality, but are also are much more expensive.

So before you begin shopping, start with a clear assessment of exactly which functions you need. The “Best for...” column in the chart above provides recommendations as to which applications are best for which types of businesses.

Automation capabilities. Many small businesses we speak with say they’re replacing their accounting system in order to reduce the inaccuracies that come with manual entry and to automate more of their processes. Small businesses should pay particular attention to the degree of automation that a system provides as they evaluate accounting software for small business. If your company is growing, it's especially important to track everything in a system that can verify entries for accuracy and automate recurring functions to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Integration with other programs. While small businesses may not have as many integration requirements as larger companies, your accounting software’s ability to sync with other programs could still be a factor. Consider whether your desired accounting system can integrate with any of your company’s current stand-alone applications—for example, if you have a payroll system designed to support small businesses, or a retail point-of-sale (POS) system that will need to integrate with restaurant accounting software functionality.

Moreover, integration with banking institutions and credit cards can make it much easier to keep track of your company financials in real-time. Accounting software can sync with your online accounts automatically, so you don’t have to enter transaction information manually.