The Best Accounting Apps for Small Businesses in 2021

Accurate accounting is a key factor in small business success, whether you’re a freelancer or running a small business with employees. Our readers weighed in on which accounting apps best help them run their businesses.

Small business accounting used to be something everyone had to outsource unless they had an actual background in accounting. You either had to hire a bookkeeper or keep every receipt, invoice and record on file and scramble to get them to your accountant when tax season rolled around.

Mobile app developers have been churning out apps for small business owners, and today’s accounting apps offer a range of functionality for all kinds of businesses. If you’re a solo freelancer, run a small business, or have a part-time side hustle, there’s an app out there for you.

(And if you lean strongly towards one of these apps, be sure to vote on your favorite at the end!)

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Wave Apps seems to understand something that’s essential in today’s business world: not every small business owner is an accounting expert. Nor does every business have the capital to bring in an expensive accountant. Wave’s accounting software is completely free and manages to make the process a breeze for busy small business owners.

Wave’s dashboard lets you organize income, expenses, payments and invoices so you have everything in order when tax season comes around. You can connect as many bank accounts or credit cards as you like. To top it off, Wave organizes everything so well that you’ll be able to give your accountant everything they need without any hassle.

Pros:

  • Free accounting software
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Great for freelancers
  • Extremely easy to set up and use

Cons:

  • Wave Accounting doesn’t have a mobile app yet
  • Lacks some of the finer details of more advanced accounting software
  • More suited for freelancers or one-person businesses

Price: Free

App store rating: N/A

 

Owned by Intuit, QuickBooks has been the brand name in accounting and bookkeeping software for over two decades. QuickBooks’ biggest draw is its wealth of features, which offer a wide range of customization and flexibility. You can easily create invoices in the app with the built-in invoice generators. For vehicle-based businesses, QuickBooks also has a handy mileage tracker. On top of all that, the app allows you to view your profits and cashflow on the go.

Not every business owner is an accountant by trade, and QuickBooks can be tough to dive into if you’re not familiar with accounting practices. If you do use an accountant for your business, the app is still handy to log valuable information and check on your company’s stats in real time.

Pros:

  • Plenty of financial analytics options
  • Invoice tracking
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Intuit is always adding new features
  • Dashboard allows an at-a-glance view of your company’s financials

Cons:

  • Lack of invoice customization options
  • Some users report poor customer support
  • Steep learning curve for non-accountants
  • Not every desktop function is available in the app

Price: $15-$150 per month

App store rating: 4.7

Found

Best for solo entrepreneurs: Found

If you’re self-employed, a freelancer or an independent contractor, you’re probably wondering if there’s an app that can handle just about all of your business’s financial needs. Found strives to be that solution. It’s a banking, accounting, tax and business management tool all rolled into one app.

The basis of Found is its free business banking account. You can sign up in just a few minutes and there’s no credit check required. From there, you can access tax features like automatic tax withholding, quarterly tax payments, Schedule C generation, and more.

Pros:

  • No minimum balance
  • No fees
  • Custom expense categories
  • Great if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution

Cons:

  • Not suitable for small businesses that require advanced accounting

Price: Free

App store rating: 4.7

 

Freshbooks

Best for freelancers and agencies: Freshbooks

Freshbooks bills themselves as “accounting built for owners,” and it’s easy to see why. It’s designed to manage your team and your clients with time tracking, automatic invoicing and convenient client payment options. It goes beyond simple accounting with functions for project management and third-party app integrations.

A popular choice among agencies and small consulting firms, Freshbooks provides just enough functionality without the steep price tag of some of the higher-ticket accounting apps on the market today.

Pros:

  • Easy invoice creation
  • Robust reporting features
  • Easy to use interface
  • Instantly check invoice status

Cons:

  • Can suffer from slow loading times
  • Some important screens require multiple clicks to access
  • No 3rd-party payment processor support

Price: $7.50-$15 per month

App store rating: 4.8

 

Xero

Best for collaboration: Xero

Xero is a cloud-based accounting app that’s designed to allow business owners to collaborate with their accountant or tax professional. And it’s built for scale, whether you’re a one-person team or run a business with 50 employees.

Business owners can easily add their accountant as a user to help with collaboration on taxes and other accounting tasks. You can add hundreds of financial accounts to your dashboard as your business grows. Best of all, it comes with a free, 30-day trial.

Pros:

  • Integrates with hundreds of other business apps
  • Great for users with little accounting background
  • Inventory management
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Unlimited users

Cons:

  • Very few customization options
  • Many users report bugs in the app
  • Adding new accounts can be difficult

Price: $11-$62 per month

App store rating: 4.5

According to our polls. Quickbooks and Wave come in tied as the top accounting apps for small businesses in 2021. We’d still like to hear from more readers about their favorite apps. Vote below and let us know which accounting app best suits your needs!

  1. What’s your favorite app for all that accounting and tax stuff?

    • Wave
    • QuickBooks
    • Found
    • Other
    • Vote

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