Accounting Software Comparison Chart for 2018

Last updated on February 3, 2018 09:00am EST

This accounting software review chart compares key features based on our opinion & feedback from users:

Top Choice

Rating [1]

4.7

4.6

4.5

4.3

4.0

Version Reviewed [2]

Premium 10

Professional

Premium

Plus

-

Overall

Best for SMBs

Best for very small businesses

Best for freelancers

Great range of features

Best free software

Number of Users [3]

1m+

n.d.

10m+

2m+

2.8m

Ease of Setup

4.5 / 5

5 / 5

5 / 5

4 / 5

5 / 5

Ease of Use

4.5 / 5

5 / 5

5 / 5

4 / 5

5 / 5

Mobile App [4]

X

Cloud [5]

Service Scalability and Speed

5 / 5

4 / 5

4 / 5

4.5 / 5

3 / 5

Maximum Number of Users [6]

Unlimited

10 [6]

[6]

5 + 2 [6]

Unlimited

Client / Contact Capacity [7]

Unlimited

Unlimited

500 [7]

Unlimited

Unlimited

Features

5 / 5

4 / 5

3.5 / 5

5 / 5

3.5 / 5

Double Entry / General Ledger

X

Bank Feeds and Reconcilliation

Revenue and Expense Tracking

Accounts

Receivable 

Accounts

Payable

X

Send Quotes and Invoices

Pay Bills

X

Multicurrency

Inventory Purchasing

X

X

X

Tax Management

X

Fixed Assets Management

X

X

Time Tr​​​​acking

X

X

Inventory Tracking

X

X

Payroll

X

X

X

Customer Service

4.5 / 5

5 / 5

5 / 5

4 / 5

3.5 / 5

Support Options [8]

Email

Email

Phone

Live chat

Email

Phone

Email

Live chat

Email

Free Trial Length

30 days

14 days

30 days

30 days

-

Pricing (Monthly) [9] 

$9

$30

$70

$9

$19

$29

$15

$25

$50

$14

$34

$50

Free

Rating

4.7

4.6

4.5

4.3

4.0

See My Detailed Review


Did the chart help you choose an accounting software provider? Have a burning question you want to ask? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Why did I include the accounting software providers above in my chart?

I’ve spent hundreds of hours testing a wide range of accounting software solutions and, like you, have asked a number of questions in order to really understand the differences between these various options and how they work. I’m hoping this puts me in a good position to help you with your search!

The comparison table above should be your first port of call if you’re just starting your accounting software search. When I researching accounting software for my family business, I definitely would have found it useful having all of the answers in one place like this.

Before you go ahead and pick your accounting software, here’s a list of the top criteria I’ve used to choose the above accounting software options (from a much more extensive list of 50+ options) in my comparison chart. I’ve based this off my testing and research, and also feedback I’ve received from small business owners and freelancers.

1

Ease of setup and use

Each accounting software provider has its own look and feel. From my experience, I’ve chosen the options that are easiest and quickest to set up and use. They have been designed to make the financial management process as easy for you as possible, especially for non-technical users. Using accounting software removes the stress of having to run any calculations manually!

2

Pricing

Thankfully the pricing of cloud packages offered by most providers is accessible for almost all small businesses and freelancers. I’ve included accounting software providers that offer a range of pricing plans at good value for money to suit whatever needs you have - in the case of Wave, the software is completely free!

3

Limitations on service, scalability and speed

Avoid providers which impose too many limitations on transactions, clients, contacts, etc. Whilst some will be inevitable, it’s important that your choice won’t cause you issues as your company grows. Also, it goes without saying that you want software which quick, both in terms of inputting transactions, and also processing calculations and running reports - after all, time is money!

4

Range of features (including ability to automate tasks)

No matter what accounting software provider you go with, you should be able to complete a range of basic and more advanced tasks. The options above by far offer the widest and most extensive range of features, meaning you can rest assured that they will take the headache out of your accounting! See my checklist to see what features are important for your accounting software.

5

Support and customer service

Although accounting software is incredibly easy to use, the likelihood is that at some point you may need additional assistance, such as answering queries about your plan or explaining how to use certain tools. We’re not all trained accountants after all! In my opinion the selected providers provide quality and timely customer support. They’re also popular enough that there is likely to be a wealth of information online, including blogs, forums and tutorial guides, which are all definitely helpful.

6

Popularity of accounting software providers

Generally the more users an accounting software provider has then the more you can trust it as a quality product - after all, millions of people can’t be wrong, can they?

I'm more than happy to add more providers to this list - in fact, that's my plan over the next few months. If there are any particular ones you think I should focus on, please do send your request via the Contact Form.

Footnotes:

[1] Rating – Scores are based on an average of the scoring above – you shouldn’t base your decision solely on the average scores as there are many qualitative / subjective factors that you should consider prior to deciding. My scoring is to help you narrow your choices, then you should always test out at least 2 of the accounting software providers to see which one you are comfortable with before investing your time and money.

I highly recommend you read my detailed reviews for each accounting software provider as I cover each one in much more depth in those reviews.

[2] Version Reviewed – Accounting software providers usually offer different tiers of their product, each with their own range of features (with the more expensive options offering the widest range). For the purposes of comparing the features for this chart, I've looked at the highest tier offering for each.

[3] Number of Users – Number of users (in millions) by each accounting software provider is based on publicly available information. This does not necessarily equal the number of active or paying customers, since each provider will have a different basis of calculation.

[4] Mobile App – functionality of mobile apps will vary depending on the accounting software provider. See my comparison of mobile apps here.

[5] Cloud – All the accounting software options in my comparison are cloud based, which are generally more superior to desktop solutions.

[6] Maximum number of users:

  • Xero and Wave allow an unlimited number of users.
  • Zoho Books allows a maximum of 10 users in their Professional package. Additional users can be added for $2 each per month.
  • FreshBooks charges $10 for each additional user.
  • QuickBooks allows 5 users + 2 accountants access by default (i.e. "5+2").

[7] Client / Contract Capacity:

  • Xero, Wave, Zoho Books and QuickBooks allow an unlimited number of contracts and clients for their highest tier offerings.
  • FreshBooks has a limit of 500 clients for its Premium package.

[8] Customer Service:

  • Xero: 24/7 email support.
  • Zoho Books: 24/5 email, phone and live chat support.
  • FreshBooks: 8am-8pm ET email and phone support.
  • QuickBooks: Monday-Friday 6am-6pm PT and Saturday 6am-3pm phone and live chat support.
  • Wave: email support.

[9] Pricing Monthly pricing based on rolling monthly plans. Monthly price will be a bit lower if you enroll on an annual plan (offered by some providers only). Pricing plans should not be compared directly based on pricing, as each accounting software provider offers different features for their own plans. I have an in-depth discussions of pricing plans in my detailed reviews for FreshBooks,​ QuickBooks, Xero and Zoho Books. here Luckily for you, all of the accounting software providers in my comparison offer a free trial which removes any financial risk from you.

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