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Best Quickbooks Alternatives for Small Business

What is Quickbooks?


QuickBooks is an accounting software package geared primarily towards small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). It offers both on-premise accounting applications as well as a cloud-based version. It can handle and track bookkeeping sales tax, invoicing, accept business payments, manage and pay bills, payroll functions, etc.

Simply put, this accounting software helps manage your business anytime, anywhere. Although QuickBooks’ many versions and integrations make it adaptable to almost all situations, what works for others may not work for you.

Quickbooks is the reigning incumbent for best accounting software to date. It holds a dominating market share of over 60%. Of course, this isn’t surprising given that it started in the '80s. That’s ample time to build comprehensive and resilient software along with a solid user base. 

Yet despite this staggering dominance, Quickbooks isn’t perfect. Because of that, many Quickbooks alternatives have emerged.

Popular Quickbooks competitors include:

  1. Bonsai
  2. Xero
  3. Zoho Books
  4. Saga Business Cloud Accounting
  5. Wave
  6. Quicken
  7. Patriot
  8. ZipBooks
  9. FreshBooks

For whatever reason that you may have that spurred you to look elsewhere, fret not – we’ll be taking a closer look at some of them today.

Alternatives to Quickbooks Accounting Tools

1. Bonsai

Bonsai Workflow is the brainchild of co-founders Matt Brown and Matt Nish. The duo spent much of their college years freelancing and wanted to address freelancer pain points once they graduated. The result grow into Bonsai Workflow, a collection of tools that filled multiple needs.

Why Bonsai as an Alternative to QuickBooks?

Bonsai Workflow and Quickbooks both target the needs of freelancers. However, the latter mainly addresses the financial aspect with limited support towards the business end of things. Comparatively, Bonsai Workflow offers freelancers a more complete solution. 

Aside from features, Bonsai Workflow and Quickbooks also slightly differ in their approach toward solutions. For example, Bonsai Workflow takes problem-solving one step further by introducing the capability of automating repetitive tasks and streamlining businesses.

The plan structure of Bonsai Workflow is also superior. Bonsai Workflow provides freelancers starting out with essential tools. Beyond that, the Workflow Plus plan costs more but supports the needs of a growing freelancer’s business. 

Can You Use Workflow for Free?

Bonsai Workflow offers users a 14-day free trial. During this period you can access all parts of the service with no holds barred – but a credit card is needed on file for approval. Don’t worry, though, there’s no charge until you go beyond the trial period. Once past the 14-days, Bonsai Workflow costs $19/mo while Workflow Plus is $29/mo. If you pay an annual subscription, you get 2 months for free! In addition, Bonsai users can invite an unlimited number of collaborators for free to join their projects. 

2. Xero


Xero is known as the strongest contender when compared with Quickbooks. It is a complete accounting package that is cloud-based. Hailing from New Zealand, it is an industry leader in its home country, Australia, and several European countries. 

It covers all typical accounting tasks, like generating financial documents, syncing with bank accounts to track your business's numbers, sending online invoices, etc. 

Why is Xero a Strong Competitor to QuickBooks?

Xero shines in the simplicity of its interface and also, no usage of accounting and finance jargon. This streamlined design allows non-accounts-savvy people a smoother transition. Highlights include easy-to-understand language and a reconcile-as-you-go feature.

With comparable features to QuickBooks, Xero costs less and, best of all, allows an unlimited number of users with any subscription. Their lowest plan (Starter Plan) costs $20/month, but you’ll need to upgrade to the highest plan (Premier Plan) at $40/month if you need to support multiple currencies.

Xero Plans & Pricing

They have a 30-day free trial where you can access all Xero features, and you have the option to cancel anytime within the trial period. So if your quarrel with Quickbooks is on the pricing and limited users, Xero is a solid choice.

3. Zoho Books

Zoho Books

Founded in India in 1996, Zoho Books is an accounting tool designed for small businesses. Zoho Books is part of the more extensive Zoho suite of services, covering other things like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), HR, etc. 

It is web-based, thus allowing you to access your account anytime, anywhere. Also, it supports mobile platforms so that you can perform your accounting needs on the go. 

Why Zoho Books Over QuickBooks?

Zoho Books covers the usual accounting and finance needs. Functionality includes invoicing, cost estimates, bank account integration, expense tracking, and more. In addition, it plays well with Zoho's other software and third-party tools such as Zapier and Square Point-of-Sale (POS).

If you’re a fan of automation, then Zoho Books is a solid choice. It can ease the mundane thought automated workflows and functions. That said, it restricts its targeted audience by limiting certain processes to specific areas only, which can be downright frustrating. 

Zoho Books is a Great Free Alternative to Quickbooks

The good news is that Zoho Books has a free plan but only for businesses with an annual turnover of less than  $50,000. That plan is also limited to one user and an accountant. Should you wish to increase the number of users, you’ll need to upgrade your plan. 

4. Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage, one of the biggest tech companies in the UK, offers Sage Business Cloud Accounting (formerly known as Sage One) as their online accounting product for smaller businesses. It is a Cloud-based accounting system with all the features you need to keep your books easily without complicated features.

What Makes Sage Accounting Ticks?

Sage is a complete accounting package with a balance sheet function and allows for bank reconciliations. Like QuickBooks, Sage Business Cloud Accounting has a wide variety of options that can help you scale your business. Unfortunately, Sage Accounting has no integrated payroll available, not even from third-party vendors. 

Sage Accounting Start Plan allows you access to entry-level accounting software ideal for the self-employed and micro-businesses. However, this plan is limited and only offers invoicing and bank account syncing. 

You can upgrade to their Sage Accounting Plan, which comes with more features. You can sign up for their 30 days free trial with no credit card required and cancel anytime within this period.

Is Sage Accounting Good for Small Business?

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is deemed to be the best alternative for mobile apps so you can perform all your bookkeeping tasks on the go. Although Sage Business Cloud Accounting can be seen as more of a pricey option, its cost is justified with its thorough and quality inventory tracking and legal compliance assistance.

5. Wave


Launched in 2009 in Toronto, Wave Accounting is a solid cloud-based bookkeeping software that is absolutely free for an unlimited number of users. It is highly favored among small business owners. Although it does not have all the features available in QuickBooks, Wave is easier to use in general. 

Why Wave Accounting?

Without needing you to pay a single dime, Wave Accounting certainly ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the basic bookkeeping features. You can connect a bank account, send unlimited recurring invoices, generating statements and reports, and much more. 

Integrated credit card processing and payroll are available but at a price though. They charge a competitive 2.9% + 30¢ fee to process most credit cards (with 3.4% + 30¢ fee for American Express) and 1% for bank payments. Payroll begins at $20 per month plus $4 per employee.

Is Wave Accounting Really Free?

So, if you're looking for a simple accounting tool at absolutely no cost and don’t need advanced features, you can’t go wrong with Wave. 

6. Quicken


Quicken and QuickBooks are different products owned by different companies, despite their names sounding similar. For those who own several rental properties and need to manage them financially, you may find Quicken to be more to your liking. 

Why Quicken?

Quicken helps you manage your rental needs by creating invoices, accepting online payments, and managing lease terms, rental rates, even security deposits. Also, Quicken helps track your income and expenses. However, Quicken cannot produce a balance sheet, so it’s not that suitable for you if your rental activity needs to file a business return.

You’ll be required to sign up for their Home & Business plan to manage your rental properties. Take note that Quicken may not be that appropriate for rental properties owned by corporations or partnerships. 

Quicken keeps things simple by focusing on your income and expenses instead of tracking assets and liabilities. Additionally, you can track retirement accounts. In short, Quicken provides a lot of value beyond simply accounting for rental income.

7. Patriot


With more than three decades in the industry, Patriot Software is a long-standing Ohio-based accounting software provider. It is an online accounting and payroll management software meant for smaller businesses. You can securely run your payroll from any internet-connected device.

Why Patriot Over QuickBooks?

Patriot Accounting helps your business quickly track and manage money. Also, it has reports detailing your profits and losses. This feature can help give better oversight over your income, expenses, and net profit up-close-and-personal so that you are always in the know on the financial health of your business.

Patriot Plans & Pricing 

Their paid plans start at $15/month – the Basic plan. However, if you need more features such as account reconciliation, recurring invoices along with invoice payment reminders, etc, you’ll need to upgrade to their Premium plan. You can choose to try out their 30 days free trial with no obligations and cancel anytime you need within the 30 days.

Simply put, Patriot has a significant edge over QuickBooks regarding ease of use and customer service. Also, if you need your accounting to run your payroll, you can save more with Patriot than QuickBooks. 

8. ZipBooks


Founded in 2015, ZipBooks is based in Lehi, Utah. It is a smart and mature accounting application for contractors, small businesses, and accountants. The user interface is well-designed, which makes online invoicing and time tracking easier. 

Something to highlight is that ZipBooks does not watermark invoices, sell your data, or send you “partner emails.”

What Makes ZipBooks An Alternative to QuickBooks?

It can automate transaction imports, reconcile your bank account(s), and customize reporting. Additionally, you get to enjoy more innovative bookkeeping operations such as built-in time-tracking, client texting, and payroll integration. Take note that you have the choice to automate everything with recurring auto-bills. 

That said, there are limited invoice templates and customizations and also lacks inventory and traditional journal entries. There are minimal integrations available, so this can be a deal-breaker for larger businesses. Also, its support on mobile platforms is still dubious. 

You have a free option to work on, which comes with the basic features. It is a great free plan that caters to unlimited invoices, customers even includes support for invoicing multiple currencies, and accepts payment by Square or PayPal. 

ZipBooks is constantly updating its software to be better, which speaks volumes of its commitment to this business. Simply put, ZipBooks is considered one of the best freemium alternatives to Quickbooks.

9. FreshBooks


Hailing from Toronto, Canada, FreshBooks has been in the business for more than 15 years. It is a complete bookkeeping system that emphasizes invoices. FreshBooks is perfect for eCommerce businesses with integrations for Squarespace, Shopify, eBay, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce

Why Freshbooks is a Strong Contender to Quickbooks

Although Freshbooks started as an invoicing and time-tracking software, it has since evolved into a powerhouse mainly for smaller businesses, primarily the self-employed. FreshBooks allows you to invoice and collect payments from your clients, track your expenses, and even collaborate with your subcontractors. 

Additionally, it can work with a suite of external applications to help extend your needed functionalities. FreshBooks excels at customization, especially when it comes to invoicing. FreshBooks also allows you to track hours, expenses and automatically add them to invoices, like QuickBooks. 

However, FreshBooks doesn’t have a balance sheet function, but you can create one with its readily available template. Unfortunately, you may still need the help of an accountant to handle this. So, if you require a balance sheet, FreshBooks may not be the right solution for you.

You’d be glad to know that FreshBooks has an excellent customer service team that responds quickly, usually within an hour, unlike QuickBooks. 

Read our FreshBooks to review to find out more.

Freshbooks Plans & Pricing

FreshBooks’ tiered paid plans are structured based on the number of billable clients. Its Lite Plan at $6/month allows you to send unlimited invoices to five clients only. But if you prefer unlimited clients, you need to subscribe to the Premium plan at $20/month, and of course, this comes with additional features. You can try any of the plans for free with no credit card required for 30 days and cancel anytime you want within this period.

Final Thought on Accounting Software like Quickbooks

As you know, your financial data is crucial and is the heart of your business. Managing such data can be very tedious and exhausting, especially if you go for the wrong solution or you’ve gone about it all wrong from the get-go.

QuickBooks is a household name when it comes to accounting software. However, this doesn't make it the most suitable for everyone. This list shows that there are good QuickBooks alternatives still in the market for you to explore. 

They are different in specific ways, which is good, seeing that being different can sometimes be the exact thing your business needs.

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Article by Jason Chow

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