Easy-to-use accounting software is a must for any new business. Even the simplest of accounting software will usually save you hours by providing an easy way to classify income and expenses, issue invoices, pay bills, and track your cash balance. We’ve reviewed numerous simple accounting software and narrowed it down to five for you to consider.
Top Easy Accounting Software
- QuickBooks Online Simple Start: Best overall easy-to-use accounting software
- QuickBooks Self-Employed: Best easy software for freelancers and self-employed people with no employees
- Xero: Best software for companies with inventory
- FreshBooks: Best software for professional service firms with few clients
- Wave: Best free easy-to-use software
By answering a few easy questions, we will be able to provide you with a personalized recommendation for easy accounting software. Afterwards, you can continue to read the article to learn more details.
How to Choose Your Easy Accounting Software
There is inevitably a trade-off between simplicity and features when choosing accounting software. The key to choosing the simplest software for your business is to find one with all the features you need without a bunch of features you don’t. Ideally, you’ll be able to add features as your business grows, and they become necessary. Here is a list of features you should consider when choosing easy-to-use software.
- Bank accounts: The software should automatically import your checking and credit card transactions for you to classify into income and expense accounts. The software should also give you an easy way to reconcile the account balance in the software to your monthly bank statements.
- Print checks: When you print checks directly from the software, the transaction is automatically recorded. Otherwise, you’ll need to write a check by hand and then go into your software to record the transaction.
- Invoices: If you send customers invoices, then your software should create invoices that can be printed or emailed and track the amount due as an accounts receivable until the customer pays you.
- Online payments: The software should be able to integrate with an online payment system so the transactions seamlessly flow into your books.
- Unpaid bills: Depending on the number of bills you receive each month, you may want your software to allow you to enter the unpaid bills and provide reminders when they become due.
- Reports: At the very least, your software should print a profit and loss statement for whatever period you choose. It’s also important to print a balance sheet showing your assets and liabilities if you are a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or partnership.
- Sales tax: If you must collect sales tax from customers, then your software should automatically retrieve the correct sales tax rate based on location, track the total amount of tax collected, and perhaps even help you file the sales tax return.
- Inventory: If your business deals with inventory, then it’s important the software tracks not only the cost of inventory but the quantity and cost per unit of inventory. This is crucial information needed to determine your cost of goods sold versus ending inventory at the end of the year.
- Payroll: If you have employees, then it is crucial that your software be able to integrate with payroll software. Even if you outsource your payroll to a full-service provider, you need to import the payroll transactions to keep accurate books.
QuickBooks Online Simple Start: Overall Best Easy-to-Use Accounting Software
QuickBooks Online is our choice for the best overall small business accounting software. The Simple Start edition of QuickBooks Online has all the necessities for a small company, including managing sales tax collections, payments, and returns. As your company grows and you become more confident in your bookkeeping skills, you can upgrade your edition of QuickBooks Online for more features. QuickBooks Online subscribers have the choice of 70% off for three months or a 30-day free trial.
Affordable with everything you need to manage sales tax
Tracking unpaid bills requires Essentials edition
Great mobile app
Assigning costs to projects and jobs requires Plus edition
Large network of independent QuickBooks ProAdvisors
Inventory management requires Plus edition
Import transactions from your bank accounts
Limited to one user
QuickBooks Online Pricing
All editions of QuickBooks Online include the sales tax feature, which is a necessity for companies that are required to collect sales tax. As your company grows, you might choose to upgrade to take advantage of some advanced features.
- Simple Start: $25 per month
- Essentials: $40 per month (includes time tracking and managing unpaid bills)
- Plus: $70 per month (includes inventory management and tracking expenses by project)
- 70% off all editions for the first three months
QuickBooks Online Simple Start Features
- Bank accounts: QuickBooks Online connects to your bank accounts and imports transactions to classify automatically
- Bank reconciliation: Reconcile your bank account balance from QuickBooks Online easily with your bank statement
- Print checks: Checks can be printed directly from QuickBooks Online
- Receipt capture: Take pictures of receipts with the mobile app and attach them to existing transactions or create new transactions
- Invoices: Generate invoices, including sales tax where the tax rates are determined automatically based on the location of the sale
- Online payments: Receive online payments from customers (fee applies)
- Sales tax return: Prepare and file your sales tax return using QuickBooks Online
- Business miles: Track your business miles using your smartphone’s GPS and import into QuickBooks Online automatically
- QuickBooks Payroll: QuickBooks Online Payroll can be added with varying levels of service (fee applies)
- Reports: Print both profit and loss statements and balance sheet statements
For more information, read our complete QuickBooks Online Simple Start review.
QuickBooks Self-Employed: Best for Freelancers and Self-Employed Workers
QuickBooks Self-Employed has special features that make life simple for freelancers and self- employed persons. It will calculate your quarterly estimated tax payment and transfer your profit and loss information to TurboTax at the end of the year. QuickBooks Self-Employed does not have integrated payroll, so if you have employees, you should probably choose different software. QuickBooks Self-Employed is available for just $1 per month for the first 12 months.
Import bank account transactions
No integrated payroll
Share access with your accountant
No sales tax tracking
Profit and loss transfers to TurboTax (with the TurboTax Bundle)
No management of inventory
Separate personal and business expenses when paid from the same account
Does not track unpaid bills
QuickBooks Self-Employed Pricing
- QuickBooks Self-Employed: $1 per month for 12 months, then $15 per month
- Self-Employed Tax Bundle: $12 per month for three months, then $25 per month
- Includes both QuickBooks Self-Employed and TurboTax Self-Employed
QuickBooks Self-Employed Features
- Bank accounts: Connect bank and credit card accounts to import transactions to classify into expenses and easily reconcile account activity with your bank statement
- Attach receipts: Capture receipts with the mobile app and attach to transactions
- Mileage tracker: Use the mobile app to track your business mileage
- Invoices: Create invoices from within your account or mobile app and receive online payments (fee applies)
- Quarterly tax payments: Calculate your required quarterly payment of estimated income and self-employment taxes
- Reports: Print a profit and loss statement, but a balance sheet is not available
For more information, read our QuickBooks Self-Employed review.
Xero: Best for Companies With Inventory
Xero is a comprehensive accounting solution that is still easy to use and gives you the tools needed to deal with both inventory and sales tax. Xero will not only track inventory units and costs but will analyze profit and loss by product line. Sales tax also is a breeze as Xero will determine the sales tax rate to apply based on the address you provide. You can evaluate Xero for free with a 30-day trial.
Inventory management is available in all editions of Xero
Tracking expense by project requires an expensive plan
Allow online access by your accountant
Sales tax payments and returns require the purchase of Avalara add-on
Connect bank and credit card account
Inventory management is included with all three plans. If you’re looking for simple accounting software, then Growing will probably be your choice:
- Early: $9 per month—limited to five invoices, five bills, and 20 bank transactions
- Growing: $30 per month
- Established: $60 per month—includes receipt capture and project costing
- Connect accounts: Bank and credit card accounts can be connected and transactions imported and then a bank reconciliation performed
- Invoices: Print or email invoices and track payments received, including payments received online (fee applies)
- Sales tax: Sales tax rates are calculated automatically based on the address you entered and amounts tracked until paid
- Inventory: Track inventory costs and quantities to separate the cost of goods sold and cost of inventory held at year’s end
- Unpaid bills: Input and track unpaid bills including printing a report showing how long each account has been outstanding
- Reports: Both profit and loss statements and balance sheet statements can be printed, along with many other insightful reports
- Payroll: Payroll with Gusto is integrated, making it easy to use and the transactions from each payroll automatically recorded
For more information, read our complete Xero review.
FreshBooks: Best for Service Providers With 5 of Fewer Clients
FreshBooks keeps accounting simple for service providers with a built-in time tracker for a very low price when you have five or fewer clients. You can perform all the major bookkeeping tasks of a service provider, except for tracking unpaid bills. You can evaluate the software with a 30-day free trial.
Integrated time tracker at a low price
Inventory tracking not provided
Share your online books easily with an accountant
Program cannot automatically determine sales tax rate
Lite version cannot print a balance sheet
Good-looking customizable invoices
Cannot track unpaid bills
The Lite version has all the necessary features for simple bookkeeping, but you’ll have to upgrade to the Plus version if you have more than five billable clients.
- Lite: $15 per month (maximum of five clients)
- Plus: $25 per month (maximum of 50 clients)
- Premium: $50 per month (maximum of 500 clients)
- Bank connections: Import bank and credit card accounts to classify and reconcile transactions
- Checks: Print checks from FreshBooks
- Invoice: Generate customized invoices and receive online payments from customers (fee applies)
- Time tracker: Track time by using either the integrated time clock or inputting hours after-the-fact
- Sales tax: Add taxes to invoices, but the rate must be determined manually
- Payroll: Integrates with Gusto to import your payroll transactions automatically (fee applies)
- Reports: Print a profit and loss statement from Lite, but you’ll need Plus or Premium to print a balance sheet
For more information, read our complete FreshBooks review.
Wave: Best Free Easy-to-Use Accounting Software
Wave is a simple system that provides all the basic bookkeeping features. As long as you don’t need to collect sales tax or track the cost of inventory sold, you’ll likely love Wave and how easy it is to use. Best of all, Wave is free forever.
No inventory cost tracking
Receipts by Wave app captures and imports receipts
Sales tax rate must be determined manually
Wave Invoicing app sends invoices
No time tracking
Very simple to use accounting program
Cannot print checks
- Banking: Connect your bank and credit cards accounts to automatically import activity and reconcile your account with your monthly bank statements
- Receipt capture: Submit receipts using the free app, or email to Wave
- Invoice: Create custom invoices with company logo to print or email
- Online payments: Receive online credit card payments from customers (fee applies)
- Unpaid bills: Input unpaid bills and track them until paid
- Wave Payroll: Wave Payroll is integrated to account for your payroll expenses (fee applies) automatically
- Reports: Print both profit and loss and balance sheet statements
For more information, read our complete Wave review.
There are several good choices for easy-to-use accounting software. However, as your need for features increases, the complexity of the program is also going to increase. To keep things simple, I recommend using accounting software that has all the features you need, but not a lot of features you don’t need.
QuickBooks Online Simple Start is the most basic version of QuickBooks Online and is easy to use and provides all the basic features you’d expect. Beyond the basics, Simple Start offers a sales tax feature that both automatically determines the sales tax rate and helps you to file your sales tax returns. You can easily upgrade your QuickBooks Online account to include other features as your business grows and needs change. QuickBooks Online is currently offering 70% off its normal rates.