The right business accounting software can make the difference between smooth management and chaos. Online accounting software simplifies the hassle of keeping books in compliance with industry regulations and automates repetitive financial management tasks and processes. 

With the right business accounting software, your accounting team can be proactive rather than reactive in planning and executing strategies that optimize cash flow and increase profitability. This article explains how to find the best accounting software, whether you're a freelancer, small business, or large enterprise. We'll discuss the types and benefits of business accounting software with examples and must-have features to look out for. 

Are there different types of accounting software?

The purpose of all types of accounting software is to monitor financial health and operations. Typically, you list your expenses, such as payroll and overheads, against income, such as sales. Your accounting software then converts this data into reports and insights to help you make informed and timely decisions that increase the chances of success for the business. There are four different types of accounting software to choose from: 

1. Custom accounting software

When a business creates its own accounting software, it's known as custom accounting software. This happens organically from time and experience. As a business grows, accounting teams develop accounting processes and tweak and improve accounting tools, creating unique custom accounting software. Large enterprises create custom software when there are no commercial accounting programs that meet their needs.

2. Commercial accounting software

Commercial accounting software handles small- to mid-size businesses' accounting needs. This software simplifies, automates, and streamlines financial management tasks and responsibilities. They're customizable to prioritize various accounting functions to fit each organization's needs. Commercial accounting software distributes scheduled reports and insights, indicating a business's financial health at any point. 

3. Enterprise accounting software

Larger companies run complex operations, which enterprise accounting software helps to manage. Enterprise accounting software typically integrates accounting with other core business functions, like workflow management, customer relationship management, vendor management, and operations.

4. Spreadsheets and free accounting software

Spreadsheets and free accounting software are easily adaptable to fit anyone's needs. You can use them to list income and expenses and other financial data. You can also create more advanced financial templates to derive insights and turn data into actionable metrics that drive the business. Usually, only individuals and small businesses at the beginning stages use spreadsheets to handle their accounting needs. For others, spreadsheets complement other accounting processes.

What is the best accounting software for freelancers?

The best accounting software freelancers use has free and affordable plans and provides basic payroll, sales, expenses, and accounting functionalities needed to run a solo business successfully and keep up with tax and other laws. 

Freelancers typically don't need a balance sheet because they have minimal fixed assets and business debts. Most freelancers can get by with only a profit and loss statement, so their accounting software can be simple. Three of the best online accounting software solutions for freelancers are: 

Zoho Books

Zoho Books is free accounting software for freelancers making up to $50k per year. It is part of Zoho's suite of tools, including CRM, communication, collaboration, and IT management tools. Zoho Books is perfect for managing all administrative and accounting needs a freelancer may have and is easily accessible with web and mobile apps. 


  • Enables scheduling and automation, which helps to save time and effort on repetitive work
  • Integrates easily with email and chats if you use the Zoho suite of tools, making it easy to track payments and other financial activities
  • Real-time alerts let you know when clients view your invoices or make a payment 
  • Provides an online portal for clients to rate services, give feedback, and make payments


  • Restricts the number of users you can have on your account — however, you can add more users with a paid plan 
  • Unlike other online accounting software, Zoho Books does not have payroll capabilities

Licensing and fees

Zoho Books is free for individuals making less than $50k/year. Paid plans start at $10/month. You can find more information here


Sunrise is a solid choice for freelancers to track income and expenses and send customer invoices. It's easy to use and accessible with mobile and web apps. Sunrise makes it easy to set up business finances as a freelancer. You can perform tasks like sending invoices, tracking expenses, and accepting online payments in minutes.


  • Completely free
  • Good invoicing tools and a detailed cash flow page
  • Supports unlimited users


  • No time or project tracking feature, which usually comes in handy for freelancers
  • Limited integrations with other work-critical apps

Licensing and fees

Sunrise has an entirely free plan; its paid options start at $19.99/month. You can find more information here.

QuickBooks for Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed software helps freelancers and sole business owners track income, expenses, and tax obligations. This online accounting software offers basic accounting features only and works best for people starting down the self-employment track. Use QuickBooks Online instead if your business is growing fast.


  • Easy to separate business and personal expenses
  • Automatically forecasts estimated quarterly tax calculations
  • Facilitates easy collaboration with your accountant


  • Additional fees for particular tax filings
  • Difficult to upgrade to QuickBooks Online, which inhibits scaling your business with the software

Licensing and fees

QuickBooks Self Employed has three pricing plans starting at $15/month (with a 50% discount). Find more information here

What is the best accounting software for small businesses?

The best accounting software for small businesses tracks accounts receivable and payable, helps prepare for tax season, and ensures compliance with industry regulations. Most small businesses require balance sheets and profit and loss statements to track finances and profitability accurately. 

Industry, software features, and team size are the main factors to consider for small business accounting software. You need accounting software that can handle double-entry accounting and maintain your balance sheet. Three of the best online accounting software solutions for small businesses are: 

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is one of the best online accounting software options for small businesses. There are many online training resources and support forums. It is cloud-based and easily accessible through a web browser or mobile app. The central dashboard highlights KPIs, making financial management more efficient and centered. QuickBooks Online is easy to navigate. Each plan offers more advanced features, including time-tracking, budgeting, and additional users. 


  • Easily scalable
  • Facilitates payroll automation
  • Expense tracking is easy and intuitive
  • Offers free-form invoicing


  • You need a plan upgrade to add more team members or users to your account
  • There are occasional issues with banks, payment gateways, and credit cards

Licensing and fees

QuickBooks Online offers a 30-day free trial and starts at $16/month (with a 50% discount). You can find more information here.


If you have shifting invoice needs, FreshBooks is the right business accounting software for you. You can set up multiple clients and projects with automated payment requests and reminders. FreshBooks allows you to track time, record expenses, send invoices, and collect payments. You can upgrade to get more advanced features like tracking proposals, collaborating with an accountant, and charging late fees on overdue invoices.


  • Easy to use and offers excellent customer support
  • Forecasts country-specific tax calculations
  • Offers time-tracking and mileage-tracking functionalities on all plans


  • Doesn't automatically number invoices, so you may have to update this manually

Licensing and fees

FreshBooks offers a 30-day free trial, then starts at $15/month (with a 70% discount). You can find more information here


Wave is one of the best online accounting software solutions for freelancers and small businesses. It helps with tracking invoices and expenses and provides all the tools you need for basic accounting. You can connect Wave directly to your bank and credit card accounts to easily capture business expenses, add unlimited collaborators, run multiple businesses, and monitor your financial health over time. This makes Wave handy for accounting and tax purposes.


  • Completely free, except for a few features like payments and payroll
  • Easy to learn, navigate, and use
  • Facilitates bank upload and reconciliations
  • Offers multi-currency support


  • Lacks a time-tracking functionality
  • Provides only basic reporting options

Licensing and fees

Wave offers a free plan with all basic accounting features. You can find more information here.

What is the best big business accounting software?

The best accounting software for big businesses helps you scale without financial hitches. It integrates critical business functions like sales, purchasing, payroll, inventory, and accounting, and supports a large number of users, multiple administrators, complex accounting, and advanced reporting. It also tracks accounts receivable and payable and ensures compliance with tax and industry regulations. Three of the best online accounting software options for big businesses are: 

FinancialForce Accounting

FinancialForce Accounting is an accounting platform for Salesforce customers. It's ideal for small and large enterprises in sales- and service-oriented industries. FinancialForce helps set up, streamline, and automate workflows, making it easy to manage finances and expenses in sync with tax, payroll, and other accounting needs. The platform is integrated with Salesforce CRM, enabling higher visibility and efficiency team-wide. 


  • Manages complex processes and helps automate recurring journal entries, taking care of repetitive and time-consuming tasks
  • Offers ready-made templates for invoicing and other financial transactions 
  • Allows you to create bank accounts in multiple currencies
  • With Salesforce CRM integrated, your teams get updated, accurate customer accounts for operations and decision-making


  • Slows down when pending a software upgrade
  • Has a steep learning curve

Licensing and fees

FinancialForce Accounting offers monthly, quote-based payments. You can find more information here.

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite is a cloud-based accounting solution with premium features, including strong reporting and numerous third-party integrations. It's best suited for big and established companies because of its features and cost. NetSuite users have typically outgrown their accounting software and need a complete ERP solution. This software also offers expense tracking, a chart of accounts, bank reconciliation, and accounts payable. 


  • Provides deep analytics and insights highlighting key metrics 
  • Offers multiple currency support 
  • Integrates easily with many work applications


  • May be considered expensive
  • Has a steep learning curve

Licensing and fees

NetSuite offers monthly, quote-based payments. Find more information here.


AvidXchange is a cloud-based business accounting software focused on automation. It has four main modules: invoice processing, bill payment, purchase order, and utility bill management. AvidXchange simplifies invoicing and payment management and provides a holistic view of accounts payable at any given time. 


  • Offers paperless invoicing 
  • Easily sets up automated payments and approvals
  • Customizable for various industries
  • Integrates with many work applications and tools, including ERP systems, sales tools, accounting solutions, and payment gateway platforms


  • No mobile application for iOS and Android devices 

Licensing and fees

AvidXchange offers monthly, quote-based payments. Find more information here.

Why use Wrike as your accounting firm management software? 

Wrike provides secure and robust project management software for accountants that integrates easily with business accounting software. This helps to boost, optimize, and connect valuable functionalities, including pulling time logs from Wrike into your accounting software, syncing and updating projects between apps, and converting new tickets into Wrike tasks automatically.

The possibilities are endless when using Wrike as your accounting firm management software. You can customize and set up the platform to seamlessly serve your clients' and internal teams' project management needs. Manage your resources such as time, personnel, schedules, and budgeting. Create effective automated workflows to ensure on-time delivery of paperwork, approvals, processing, and payments. 

Streamline everything from timesheets to taxes with Wrike. This produces better results for your clients and gives you a competitive advantage over professional service firms and accountants relying on outdated methods. Are you ready to streamline your accounting operations and increase client satisfaction and employee productivity? Get started with a two-week free Wrike trial today.