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Looking for the best cloud accounting software for your business? Check out our comprehensive guide to find the top software options available.

Accounting software were once only available for download for on-premises devices. Now, cloud-based accounting software has become the new standard. Cloud accounting software lets business owners do their accounting work from any device as long as they have an internet connection.

With so many cloud accounting software platforms on the market, it can be tough to narrow down the field, so we’ve gathered six tried-and-tested recommendations to help you start your search.

Jump to:

Top cloud accounting software comparison

Besides pricing, there are many different features to consider when trying to decide on the best cloud accounting software for your needs.

Starting price Forever free plan Expense tracking Native time tracking Inventory management
Zoho Books $15/mo. Yes Requires integration with Zoho Expense Yes Yes Try Zoho Books
QuickBooks Online $30/mo. No Yes Yes Yes Try QuickBooks
Xero $15/mo. No Yes Yes Yes Try Xero
Sage Intacct Contact for pricing No Yes Yes Yes Try Sage
FreshBooks $17mo. No Yes Yes Yes Try FreshBooks
Wave Accounting Free forever Yes Yes, mobile receipt capture cost $8 a month No Limited Try Wave

Zoho Books: Best overall

Zoho Books logo.
Image: Zoho Books

Zoho Books combines comprehensive features alongside six pricing plans — including a forever free option — making it extremely scalable for businesses of many sizes. Cloud accounting features include recurring invoices, expense and mileage tracking, sales and purchase orders, budgeting, inventory control and many more features. Zoho Books also syncs seamlessly with other Zoho products, making it a great option for businesses looking for a full software stack.

Zoho Books dashboard.
Zoho Books dashboard

Pricing

  • Free: $0 for businesses with less than $50K USD per calendar year.
  • Standard: $15 per organization per month billed annually, or $20 per organization per month billed monthly.
  • Professional: $40 per organization per month billed annually, or $50 per organization per month billed monthly.
  • Premium: $60 per organization per month billed annually, or $70 per organization per month billed monthly. A 14-day free trial is available for this plan.
  • Elite: $120 per organization per month billed annually, or $150 per organization per month billed monthly.
  • Ultimate: $240 per organization per month billed annually, or $275 per organization per month billed monthly.

Zoho Books also offers the following add-ons:

  • Additional users: $3 per user per month.
  • Advanced auto scans: $10 per month for 50 scans per month.
  • Snail mails: $2 per credit.

Features

  • Automatic transaction sync.
  • Expense and mileage tracking.
  • Invoicing and estimate tools.
  • Inventory management available.

Pros

  • Forever free plan available for small businesses.
  • Free Zoho Books webinar every week.
  • Six pricing plans offer excellent scalability.
  • Integrates seamlessly with the entire Zoho software stack.

Cons

  • Need an outside integration for automatic sales tax calculations.
  • Must set up free invoicing and inventory add-ons to get full functionality in those areas.
  • Charges a small fee for extra users.
  • Email-only support for the free plan.

For more information, read the full Zoho Books review.

QuickBooks Online: Most comprehensive

QuickBooks logo.
Image: QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online is the industry standard in cloud accounting software, and it’s easy to see why: It comes with comprehensive accounting features even on the most basic entry-level plan. Pretty much every accountant is familiar with QuickBooks, speeding up your tax prep. However, QuickBooks’s advantages come at a price, since it’s one of the most expensive options on this list. Therefore, QuickBooks is the best choice for businesses that can justify the price.

QuickBooks dashboard.
QuickBooks dashboard

Pricing

  • QuickBooks Simple Start: $30 per month with access for one user.
  • QuickBooks Essentials: $60 per month with access for up to three users.
  • QuickBooks Plus: $90 per month with access for up to five users.
  • QuickBooks Advanced: $200 per month with access for up to 25 users.

Features

  • Create invoices, estimates and quotes.
  • Automatic income and expense tracking.
  • Free receipt capture offered for all plans.
  • Payroll add-on available in all 50 states.

Pros

  • Unlimited invoices, clients and bills on all plans.
  • Familiar to accountants all over the world.
  • Expense and mileage tracking on all plans.
  • Sales tax is calculated automatically right in the tool.

Cons

  • Customer service could be improved.
  • Higher than average prices.
  • Each plan limits the number of users.
  • Must choose between a free trial and a discount on the first three months of service.

For more information, read the full QuickBooks Online review.

Xero: Most user friendly

Xero logo.
Image: Xero

Xero Accounting offers a user-friendly interface that is easy to learn, even if you’ve never used accounting software before. Its entry level plan is affordable, though it’s best suited to freelancers, solopreneurs and small businesses since it only allows 20 invoices and 5 bills per month. Other features include financial reporting, project and time tracking, documentation management, expense management and payroll acceptance.

Xero dashboard.
Xero dashboard

Pricing

  • Early: $15 per month.
  • Growing: $42 per month.
  • Established: $78 per month.

Features

  • Inventory tracking and order creation.
  • Accounting and financial reports.
  • Manage customer and vendor contacts.
  • Mobile app for expense management.

Pros

  • Unlimited users on all plans.
  • Guided setup process.
  • Project and time tracking included on some plans.
  • Optional to add Gusto payroll.

Cons

  • Early plan limited to 20 invoices and 5 bills per month.
  • Only one organization per account.
  • Many features are confined to the most expensive Established plan.
  • No telephone support available.

For more information, read the full Xero review.

Sage Intacct: Best for mid-size businesses

Sage logo.
Image: Sage

While Sage does offer some other cloud accounting software products that are suitable for freelancers and small businesses, Sage Intacct is meant for mid-size businesses. Sage Intacct enhances the general ledger with automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to make it easier to manage accounts receivable and payable. The Multi-Entity Insights reporting module provides analytics for growing businesses whose accounting needs are becoming more complex.

Sage dashboard.
Sage dashboard

Pricing

Sage Intacct does not disclose pricing for this software product — interested customers must contact the sales team for a personalized pricing quote.

Features

  • AI-enhanced general ledger.
  • Multi-Entity Insights for growing businesses.
  • Advanced accounting modules can be added on.
  • Salesforce integration available.

Pros

  • Meets the demands of specialized industries.
  • Option to add fixed asset management.
  • Advanced financial analytics available.
  • Excellent customer support.

Cons

  • Pricing is not transparent.
  • Customers say that pricing tends to run high.
  • Software interface is not very intuitive.
  • Too advanced for small businesses.

FreshBooks: Best for invoicing and payment acceptance

FreshBooks logo.
Image: FreshBooks

If your business relies on sending invoices and accepting payments, then definitely check out FreshBooks. This cloud accounting software makes it very easy to create customized, professional invoices and send them to clients, then accept full or partial payments through credit cards and ACH payments. Users can send reminders, charge late fees and accept multiple currencies all within FreshBooks or you can connect to several major payment gateways.

Freshbooks dashboard.
Freshbooks dashboard

Pricing

  • Lite: $17 per month billed monthly or $204 billed yearly. Allows users to bill five clients per month.
  • Plus: $30 per month billed monthly or $360 billed yearly. Allows users to bill 50 clients per month.
  • Premium: $55 per month billed monthly or $660 billed yearly. Includes unlimited billable clients.
  • Select: Custom quote pricing for enterprises.

Features

  • Easy-to-use invoicing tools.
  • Convert estimates and proposals to invoices.
  • Accept payments directly in FreshBooks.
  • Native expense and time tracking.

Pros

  • Transparent, affordable pricing plans.
  • Well-reviewed mobile apps.
  • Payroll integration with Gusto and SurePayroll.
  • Built-in project tracking.

Cons

  • Limited accounting features and only 5 users on the Lite plan.
  • Charges $20 per month for Advanced Payments feature.
  • Additional users cost $11 per person per month.
  • Could use more third-party integrations.

For more information, read the full FreshBooks review.

Wave Accounting: Best budget option

Wave logo.
Image: Wave

Wave’s accounting and invoicing features are free forever — yes, you read that correctly! Instead of charging for those tools, Wave earns money through standard payment fees and optional add-ons like mobile receipts and payroll. Users get unlimited users, invoices, clients, bank accounts and credit connections with each Wave account, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking for cloud accounting software on a budget.

Wave Accounting dashboard.
Wave Accounting dashboard

Pricing

  • Accounting: Free forever.
  • Invoicing: Free forever.
  • Credit card payments: 2.9% (or 3.4% for AMEX) + $0.60 per transaction.
  • Bank payments: 1% per transaction.
  • Mobile receipts: $8 a month or $72 a year.
  • Payroll: $40 a month in tax service states and $20 a month in self service states, plus $6 per active employee or independent contractor paid each month.
  • Advisors: $149 a month for ongoing bookkeeping support, or $379 for a one-time accounting and payroll coaching package.

Features

  • Sales and sales tax tracking included.
  • Customizable, automatable invoices.
  • Detailed income and expense tracking.
  • Simple finance and accounting reports.

Pros

  • Free forever accounting and invoicing tools.
  • Unlimited users, clients, invoices and bank accounts.
  • Easy-to-navigate interface.
  • Manage multiple businesses in one accounting software.

Cons

  • Mobile receipt capture requires paid add-on.
  • No built-in integrations available.
  • Accounting features are not as comprehensive as some competitors.
  • Customer support through email and chat only.

For more information, read the full Wave Accounting review.

Key features of cloud accounting software

Invoicing and billing

The best cloud accounting software should make it easy to pick an invoice template, customize it to your needs and send it to your clients. It should also include helpful features such as automatic reminders and late fees, the ability to accept partial payments and more. Some accounting software also allows your company to receive bills from vendors and pay them directly.

Expense and mileage tracking

If your clients and customers expect you to drive your own car or pay for items out of pocket, then getting reimbursements through expense and mileage tracking is a must. Most cloud accounting software includes this feature in some capacity, though some impose limits on lower tier plans or require a paid add-on for things like mobile receipt capture.

Time tracking

Time tracking is essential for many activities, such as paying hourly employees and charging clients on a per hour basis. Cloud accounting software should include native time tracking capabilities as well as integration with popular time tracking services like Clockify and Harvest.

Inventory tracking and management

If your business sells products, then you absolutely need inventory tracking to help you monitor inventory levels and generate purchase receipts. Many cloud accounting software limits inventory management to more expensive, higher-tier plans, so be prepared to pay extra for this feature.

Reporting

Even a freelancer or solopreneur will benefit from accounting analytics that capture the financial health of their business. Cloud accounting software should include multiple reporting templates to choose from and automatically populate whichever one you pick with data pulled from other areas of the software.

How do I choose the best cloud accounting software for my business?

When searching for the best cloud accounting software for your needs, set your budget and make a list of your must-have features. Also consider whether you want to choose an accounting software that can scale with your needs for many years or if you’re okay with choosing something that works for now and potentially switching platforms later down the line.

Many cloud accounting platforms offer free trials, and some also offer forever free plans that allow for more extensive testing without a time limit. If you have questions about how the platform works, schedule a demo call with the sales team so that an expert can walk you through the software.

Fortunately, many cloud accounting software platforms charge you month-to-month, so you’re not locked into an annual contract if you do change your mind and decide that you need to switch later on.

Methodology

To choose the best cloud accounting software, we consulted user reviews and product documentation. We considered factors such as pricing, customer support and user reviews. We also considered features such as invoicing, time tracking, expense tracking, mileage tracking, inventory tracking and financial reports.


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