We researched several products and narrowed it down to the three best QuickBooks alternatives: Xero, Wave, and Zoho Books. In order to “make the cut,” the software had to offer something beyond the basic bookkeeping functions like paying bills and invoicing customers. Take a look at how these QuickBooks competitors match up.
Best QuickBooks Alternative: Xero
We chose Xero as the best QuickBooks competitor because Xero beats QuickBooks when it comes to the amount of features for the price, and the number of users included in the account. All Xero pricing plans include an unlimited number of users, and the Standard and Premium editions also include payroll processing at no additional cost.
Best QuickBook Alternatives Summary Table
|Pricing for recommended edition||$30 per month (Standard Edition)|
Includes: Unlimited users plus payroll
Includes: Unlimited users
|$19 per month (Professional Edition) |
Includes: Unlimited users
|Ease of Use|
|Import bank/credit card activity?|
|Key Financial Reports Available||Over 40 + reports available||All but the Statement of Cash Flows||Create customized reports with Zoho Reports|
|Payroll Options||Standard edition includes payroll up to 5 employees||Payroll available at $15 + $4 per employee (per month)||None|
|Credit Card payment processing?||Add for an additional cost (cost depend on which payment service you add).||Add on feature - pricing is 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction||No|
|Customer Support||24/7 Email Support (can request a call back)||Email support with 2-3 day response time.||Free phone & email support available 24/5.|
When to Consider QuickBooks Online
Before I get too much further, it is important to realize that there is one major reason so many small business owners use QuickBooks Online. It’s because many accountants/bookkeepers are much more familiar with QuickBooks than any other accounting software (over 50,000 accountants/bookkeepers are certified QB ProAdvisors). If your accountant is most comfortable with QuickBooks, it’s a no-brainer to go that direction.
They also have live phone support and integrated credit card processing, two features that most competitors either don’t have or charge extra for. If either of those are important to you, that might also be a good reason to consider QuickBooks Online.
Xero: Best QuickBooks Alternative for Small Businesses
Xero is the closest you can get to using accounting software that’s like QuickBooks without actually using QuickBooks. Both of these products are very similar when it comes to how quickly you can get your account setup and handling day-to-day business basics like paying bills, invoicing customers, importing bank and credit card transactions, and running key financial statements. Both Xero and QuickBooks are more than capable of handling these day to day business basics. However, there’s a few areas where Xero is even better than QuickBooks.
Advantages of Xero vs. QuickBooks
Xero is the way to go if you are looking for the accounting software that will give you the most features for your money. By including payroll in the Standard and Premium editions of Xero, offering an unlimited number of users for all plans, and offering more integrations for businesses accepting credit card payments, Xero actually beats out QuickBooks when it comes to bang for your buck.
Disadvantages of Xero vs. QuickBooks
One of the big disadvantages with Xero is that it does not have the large ecosystem that QuickBooks does. There are not as many accountants or bookkeepers that are familiar with the product. As a result, it could prove to be challenging to find a local Xero expert to help you.
The second area where Xero falls short compared to QuickBooks is customer service. By not offering telephone or chat support, it leaves their customers to fend for themselves while waiting for a response to an email sent to customer support. You can request a phone call by sending an email to customer support with your question, but in my opinion, if your question can be answered via email, then the likelihood that you will receive a call is low.
The good news is, Fit Small Business has created a free Xero Course that shows you step by step how to set up your Xero account and manage your day to day business transactions.
Xero Price vs. QuickBooks
Both Xero and QuickBooks offer three pricing plans. Overall, Xero beats QuickBooks when it comes to the features included for the price. Xero’s starter plan is priced at $9 per month and QuickBooks Online is $15 per month. Both starter packages are very limited when it comes to paying bills (Xero limits you to 5 bills per month, and QuickBooks Simple Start does not include a pay bills feature).
The Standard edition for Xero and the Essentials edition for QuickBooks are the next level up. QuickBooks Essentials is priced at $35 per month while Xero Standard edition is a bit cheaper at $30 per month. Both editions offer similar basic features, like bill payment and generating financial reports. However, with Xero, you get an unlimited number of users and payroll processing for up to 5 employees is included. Payroll is not included in QuickBooks Essentials (you must add it at an additional cost).
The third edition is Xero Premium and QuickBooks Online Plus. Here, QuickBooks is cheaper at $50 per month compared to the $70 per month for Xero. However, Xero Premium includes an unlimited number of users and offers payroll processing for to 10 employees. Payroll is an additional cost with QuickBooks.
Xero Features vs. QuickBooks
Number of Users
Xero also includes an unlimited number of users for all of their plans so there is no need to upgrade or worry about a price increase if you need to add an additional user. QuickBooks Online has a limited number of users for each price level, but they do include 2 accountant users on top of this. If you need additional users you can expect to pay an additional fee.
All Xero pricing plans include payroll for up to 5 employees (Standard edition) or 10 employees (Premium edition). The Xero payroll service includes automatic payroll tax calculations and self-service access for your employees to submit timesheets and request time off. You can pay your employees with direct deposit or check and electronically file payroll tax forms and taxes directly from Xero.
QuickBooks Online also offers an integrated Payroll solution that includes all of these features, but you must add this to your plan for an additional cost of $25/month plus $5 per employee, per month for both the Essentials and Plus editions.
Credit Card Payment Integration
Xero has over 20 credit card processors that integrate within the product. For example, you can add a payment service like Paypal, Stripe, or Square to your invoices so that customers can make their payments online using a debit or credit card. Once the payment has been made, you will receive a notification and the invoice in Xero will be updated to a paid status,and all of your accounts and financial statements will be updated as well.
On the other hand, QuickBooks has their own credit card processor that integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online–QuickBooks Merchant Services. Similar to Xero, QuickBooks customers are able to pay their invoices using a debit or credit card. Once payment is made, the invoice is updated to reflect a paid status, and all of your accounts and financial statements are updated as well. If you prefer to use a third party processor, QuickBooks has over 30 credit card processors that integrate with QuickBooks. You can find them in the app center. Be sure to take steps to ensure that QuickBooks is updated with any credit card sales that you process through a third party.
Wave Accounting: Best Free QuickBooks Alternative
If you want an accounting software that has about 85% of the features that QuickBooks Online offers without having to pay for it, then Wave is the way to go. If you cannot afford to pay a monthly fee but you need an accounting solution that is more sophisticated than your Excel spreadsheets, then you will be very pleased with Wave. It comes with free email support that has a response time of 1 business day.
Advantages of Wave vs. QuickBooks
Similar to Xero, Wave beats QuickBooks when it comes to price (it’s FREE) and the number of users . There is only one edition of Wave, and that is the free edition. With this edition, you can set up as many additional users as needed to access your data.
Disadvantages of Wave vs. QuickBooks
One of the main disadvantages of Wave compared to QuickBooks is that you cannot print checks to pay your bills. You can enter your bills into Wave and run reports to manage due dates, but you will have to manually write checks to pay your bills. Once your bills clear your bank statement then you will need to manually mark the bills as paid in Wave. As a result, your accounts payable balance (what you owe to vendors) will not always be up-to-date. In contrast, bill payments in QuickBooks are updated automatically, and as a result, your accounts and financial statements are always up-to-date.
Another disadvantage of Wave is that you cannot give anyone (other than the account owner) access to bank and credit card information. What this means is if you set up a bookkeeper with user access, that person cannot view or edit any bank or credit card information. This can be a hassle if the bookkeeper’s responsibility is to reconcile bank and credit card accounts. As the owner, you would have to let your bookkeeper use your login in order to manage bank and credit card transactions. Since your privileges as an owner are not limited, I would not recommend sharing your user id and password, especially since they could easily log in from their home computer and share your information with anyone.
One last downside to Wave is that they do not offer telephone or chat support to their customers like QuickBooks does. If you need help with Wave, you would need to send an email to customer support and wait to receive a response back.
Wave Price vs. QuickBooks
Wave beats QuickBooks when it comes to price since it is free. However, at a price of free there are limitations that we have discussed like no telephone support. You also can’t give a bookkeeper or accountant access to bank and credit card transactions and can’t write checks in Wave to pay bills, so your accounts payable balances will not be updated until you manually mark bills as paid.
Wave Features vs. QuickBooks
Number of Users
Wave beats QuickBooks when it comes to the number of users. Similar to Xero, you can set up as many users as you need to at no additional charge. QuickBooks limits the number of users for each pricing plan (3 users + 2 accountants for Essentials edition, 5 users + 2 accountants for Plus edition). You can expect to pay an additional cost for adding users beyond what is included in your QuickBooks plan.
With Wave, you can prepare a profit and loss statement and a balance sheet report, but you are not able to prepare a statement of cash flows. All pricing plans for QuickBooks include the ability to prepare a profit and loss statement, balance sheet report, and a statement of cash flows. Not having a statement of cash flows can make it difficult to see how financially solvent your business is.
Number of Companies
If you have multiple companies that you need to track in an accounting software, then Wave will allow you to set up multiple companies within the same account. If you sign into your Wave account and add a company to your profile, you can quickly and easily toggle between company files without the need to sign out and sign back in. If you need to set up multiple companies with QuickBooks, you would have to set up separate accounts that require you to log in separately.
Zoho Books: Best QuickBooks Alternative for Existing Zoho Users
While you may have heard of Zoho CRM, Zoho also offers accounting software called Zoho Books. This accounting software program integrates with the suite of Zoho products. If you want an accounting solution that integrates seamlessly with a CRM, Inventory, and Reports, then Zoho Books just might work for you.
Here is a list of the Zoho products that Zoho Books will integrate with:
- Zoho CRM – Allows you to sync your contacts, accounts, products, and transactions with Zoho Books
- Zoho Reports – Slice and dice data to create customized reports for insight into your business
- Zoho Projects – Create invoices in Zoho Books for projects based on hours logged
- Zoho Expenses – Allows for quick & easy employee expense reports in Zoho Books
- Zoho Inventory – Keep track of inventory purchases and sales in Zoho Books
To see how easy it is to use Zoho Books, check out Bank Reconciliation: What it is and How it works. This video tutorial shows you the Zoho Dashboard and walks you through each step to reconcile your bank and credit card accounts.
Advantages of Zoho Books vs. QuickBooks
If you use one or more products in the Zoho suite and you don’t need to pay employees or write checks in Zoho to pay your bills, then you might want to give Zoho Books a try. Having a suite of products that work together is an ideal solution that QuickBooks Online does not currently offer.
Another advantage of Zoho Books is that it is cheaper than QuickBooks. The starter edition is $9 per month ( vs. QuickBooks Simple Start is $15 per month), the standard edition is $19 per month ( vs. QuickBooks Essentials is $35 per month), and the professional edition is $29 per month (vs. QuickBooks Plus is $50 per month).
Disadvantages of Zoho Books vs. QuickBooks
Zoho Books does not offer an integrated payroll or credit card payment option like QuickBooks does. If you need to pay employees now or in the future or if you would like to accept credit card payments from your customers, you will have to take a look at their app store to see if one of those products will work for you. Similar to Wave, you will have to manually write checks (instead of printing them) in Zoho Books.
Zoho Pricing vs. QuickBooks
Both Zoho Books and QuickBooks offer three pricing plans. Overall, Zoho beats QuickBooks when it comes to price alone. Both have starter packages–Zoho Basic is $9 per month, and QuickBooks Simple Start is $15 per month. They are very similar in features that they offer. The main limitation of both editions is that you cannot pay bills.
The Standard edition is the next level for Zoho compared to the Essentials edition for QuickBooks. Zoho Standard is $19 per month, and QuickBooks Essentials is $35 per month. Both of these editions offer very similar features except for the number of users. Zoho Standard comes with 2 users plus 1 accountant, and QuickBooks Essentials comes with 3 users plus 2 accountants.
The third edition is Zoho Professional and QuickBooks Online Plus. Here, Zoho again beats QuickBooks when it comes to price (Zoho $29 vs. QuickBooks $50). Also, Zoho Professional includes unlimited users versus the 5 users plus 2 accountants that is included with the QuickBooks Plus edition.
Zoho Features vs. QuickBooks
One of the primary advantages of using Zoho Books is access to the range of Zoho products that it integrates with. Integration with a CRM, an Inventory program, and Reports will allow you to transfer information across systems quickly and easily. For example, if you create a vendor in Zoho Books then you can easily transfer that info to your CRM, Inventory, and Reports modules. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Similar to Wave, Zoho Books will allow you to create multiple companies with a single account. Instead of having to sign out of a company file and sign into another one (like you would have to with QuickBooks for multiple companies), you can sign in once and just toggle between companies as needed.
Zoho Reports allows you to create customized reports with data from Zoho Books. This can be helpful if there is not a report in Zoho Books that will give you the information that you are looking for. QuickBooks has lots of pre-created reports, but Zoho offers more customization options.
Final Verdict: Should You Switch from QuickBooks?
Xero, Wave, and Zoho Books beat QuickBooks Online when it comes to price and the included number of users. However, the main disadvantage all three of these products is that they do not have the large network of accountants, bookkeepers, and small businesses that QuickBooks has built over the last 25 years. The QuickBooks ecosystem makes it easy to work with your accountant or bookkeeper and to find local experts if you need help with the product. If you’re on the fence, I recommend at least giving Quickbooks a try with a 30-day free trial.
If you do plan to switch to a product other than QuickBooks, be sure to check with your accountant or bookkeeper first. You want to make sure that they are comfortable with the system, since they will be using it constantly to manage your books. To read all of our accounting software reviews, go here.
Then, make sure you’re picking the best program that will suite your needs:
|Quickbooks Alternative:||Best for:|
Best overall QuickBooks alternative; has all the same key features.
Best free accounting program.
Best option for Zoho users.