Multi-company accounting software can be necessary to track multiple companies or entities that comprise your business and possibly to consolidate those entities into a single set of financial statements. Independent bookkeepers can also benefit from multi-company software by serving numerous clients while paying only one license fee. Regardless of why you want accounting software for multiple entities, one of the five software presented here should fit your needs.
Top 5 Multi-company Accounting Software
- QuickBooks Desktop: Best overall accounting software to keep the books for multiple companies that do not need consolidated financial statements
- QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: Best for independent full-service bookkeepers
- Sage 50Cloud: Best accounting for consolidated entities
- Wave: Best free accounting software to keep the books of an unlimited number of companies
- SoftLedger: Best for consolidating entities with cryptocurrency transactions
Provide us with a few details as to why you need to account for multiple companies and we will provide a custom recommendation. Afterwards, you can continue to read the article to learn more details.
How to Choose your Multi-company Accounting Software
Most businesses in need of multi-company accounting fall into one of three categories:
- Independent bookkeepers and accountants offering full-service bookkeeping who don’t want to pay a separate license fee for each client
- Businesses that consist of multiple companies or entities that each need a separate set of books
- Businesses that consist of parent-subsidiary companies that require separate bookkeeping yet consolidated financial statements
Beyond making sure your multi-company accounting software matches your needs, ensure the software has good basic accounting functions. We considered these accounting functions in determining which multi-company accounting software is best for a variety of companies.
- Bank transactions: Bank transactions should be automatically imported into the software. The software should provide an easy way to reconcile the account balance to the bank statement.
- Invoices: Invoices should be generated directly from the software and tracked until payment is received.
- Unpaid bills: Bills should be able to be entered into the software when received and tracked until paid.
- Payroll: If you have employees, payroll should be integrated into the accounting software.
- Classes: You may want software that will track income and expenses by different classes, such as product lines or locations.
- Jobs: You might want to be able to track profit and loss by job. This is especially important for construction companies.
QuickBooks Desktop: Best Overall Multi-company Accounting Software
One QuickBooks Desktop license can be used for the bookkeeping of an unlimited number of companies. QuickBooks Desktop is powerful accounting software for small businesses and made our list of best small business accounting software. However, QuickBooks Desktop will not help you consolidate the financial statements of multiple entities. QuickBooks Desktop Plus subscriptions are currently 50% off for the first year.
QuickBooks Desktop Pros
QuickBooks Desktop Cons
One license allows accounting for unlimited companies
Cannot prepare consolidated financial statements
Industry-specific editions of software (Premier only)
No special tools for independent bookkeepers
Large network of independent QuickBooks ProAdvisors for support
Must purchase a license for each concurrent user
Export “Accountant’s Copy” to share books with an external accountant
Cannot access program from the internet
QuickBooks Desktop Pricing
You can purchase QuickBooks Desktop for a one-time fee or purchase an annual “Plus” subscription, which includes unlimited backups and customer support along with a free edition upgrade each year. If you want customer support, then purchase the annual subscription because an unlimited customer support plan purchased separately costs $299.95 per year. All plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- QuickBooks Pro: $299.95 one-time fee
- QuickBooks Pro Plus: $149.95 for the first year, then $299.95 per year, which includes unlimited customer support
- QuickBooks Premier: $499.95 one-time fee
- QuickBooks Premier Plus: $249.95 for the first year, then $499.95 per year, which includes unlimited customer support
- Unlimited Customer Support without a Plus plan: $299.95 per year
QuickBooks Desktop Features
- Unlimited companies: Create and maintain the books for an unlimited number of companies with a single license
- Basic accounting features: Import and reconcile bank transactions, create and track invoices, input and track unpaid bills
- Industry-specific editions: Available for nonprofit, construction, wholesale, retail, and professional services (Premier only)
- Inventory: Track total costs, quantity, and the average cost per unit of inventory
- Classes & jobs: Track income and expense by customized classes and individual jobs within classes
- Users: Pro allows three concurrent users and Premier allows five concurrent users but each user must have a separate license
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: Best for Independent Full-service Bookkeepers
QuickBooks Desktop Accountant is a special version of QuickBooks Desktop that includes powerful accountant tools designed to assist bookkeepers and accountants in providing full-service bookkeeping to an unlimited number of clients for $449 per year. You can also provide full-service payroll for up to 50 clients for only $615 per year. QuickBooks Accountant Desktop requires an active QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor membership, but the cost of the ProAdvisor program is included with the purchase of Accountant.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Pros
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Cons
One license allows bookkeeping for unlimited clients
No consolidated financial statements
Special accountant tools
More difficult to share books with client than QuickBooks Online Accountant
Annual subscription includes ProAdvisor membership
Only one user can access file at a time
Full-service payroll for up to 50 clients (additional fee)
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Pricing
- QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: $449 per year for a license that allows access by one user at a time, which includes ProAdvisor membership, training, certifications, and unlimited customer support
- QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants: $615 per year, plus $1.75 per direct deposit for up to 50 clients
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Features
- Unlimited companies: Both QuickBooks Accountant Desktop options provide bookkeeping for an unlimited number of clients.
- Accountant toolbox: Special tools for accountants include troubleshooting prior balances, bulk reclassifications of transactions, working trial balance, and batch entry of transactions.
- Flexible edition: Accountant Desktop can open files from the current and preceding year from any QuickBooks Desktop edition, except Enterprise, and can toggle between the industry-specific editions of Premier.
- General accounting: Accountant Desktop includes importing and reconciling bank transactions, generating and tracking invoices, entering and tracking unpaid bills, and industry-specific reports for nonprofits, contractors, wholesalers, retailers, and professional service firms.
- Payroll: Users can prepare payroll, enter after-the-fact payroll, make tax deposits, and file payroll tax returns for up to 50 clients with the purchase of QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants.
Our review of QuickBooks Accountant Desktop provides an in-depth view of the tools and reports available to help bookkeepers provide exceptional service to their clients.
Sage 50cloud: Best Accounting for Consolidated Entities
Sage 50cloud not only allows accounting for multiple entities, but it also allows the entities to be consolidated into a single set of financial statements. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) require consolidated financial statements when one company owns more than 50% of the stock of another company. Sage 50cloud can help you close and consolidate your books quickly without relying on time-consuming spreadsheets.
Sage 50cloud Pros
Sage 50cloud Cons
Consolidate unlimited companies (Premium and Quantum)
No automatic tracking of cryptocurrency transactions
Open multiple companies simultaneously (Quantum only)
Only one remote user at a time can make changes to the company file
Affordable software to consolidate entities
Sage 50cloud Pricing
- Pro: $503.23 per year with a maximum of one user and one company
- Premium price: Varies from $778.63 per year for one user to $1,843.51 per year for five users
- Premium limitations: Maximum of five users and unlimited companies
- Quantum price: Varies from $1,981.75 per year for three users to $3,431.95 per year for ten users; custom prices for 11 to 40 users
- Quantum limitations: Maximum of 40 users and unlimited companies
Sage 50cloud Features
- Accounting functions: Import and reconcile bank transactions, track inventory, create and track invoices to customers, and instantly pay bills
- Jobs: Track profit and loss by job
- Remote access: Remote access for employees and accountants via Sage Drive, although only one user can read/write at a time
- Manage multiple companies: Ability to simultaneously open multiple companies to allocate shared revenue and expenses easily (Quantum only)
- Customer support: Unlimited phone and online support included
Read our review of Sage 50cloud to see how this relatively inexpensive software gives you the power to prepare consolidated financial statements.
Wave: Best Online Accounting Software for Multiple Companies
Wave is a free online bookkeeping program that includes all the major accounting functions and can be used for an unlimited number of companies within the same login ID. It doesn’t include more advanced functions like reporting by class, inventory tracking, or consolidating multiple entities. Wave is easy to use, and you can start using your free subscription immediately.
No profit and loss by class or job
No inventory accounting
Can’t consolidate multiple entitiesg
Simple to use
Only one user
- Accounting functions: Import and reconcile bank transactions, create invoices and track until payment received, and input and track unpaid bills
- Unlimited companies: Create unlimited companies from within the same login ID without using a separate email account for each company
- Payroll: Integrated payroll is available for an additional fee
- Integrations: Ability to integrate with many apps through Zapier to create automatic custom workflows, such as sending follow-up emails from Gmail 30 days after a completed sale in Wave
For more information on how this free software can provide the solid accounting features you need, read our review of Wave.
SoftLedger: Best for Consolidating Entities With Cryptocurrency Transactions
SoftLedger is right for companies that need consolidated financial statements and the ability to deal with multiple currencies, including cryptocurrencies. The tax treatment of cryptocurrency is very tedious because a gain or loss must be recognized on every cryptocurrency transaction. This is very burdensome to track in a spreadsheet and makes SoftLedger well worth the money if you also need to consolidate entities.
Limited to five companies
Allocate shared income and expenses among companies
Limited to three users
Track cryptocurrency gains and losses automatically
Customer support is online only
- $4,788 per year for three users and five companies
- General accounting: Automatic bank feeds, account reconciliations, plus the ability to create and track invoices and enter and track bills
- Inventory: Track inventory quantity and costs, up to 500 stock keeping units (SKUs)
- Chart of accounts: Multidimensional chart of accounts spans multiple companies
- Manage multiple companies: Record shared expenses, automatically calculate journal entries to eliminate intercompany activity to consolidate financial statements
- Cryptocurrency: Track up to 5,000 cryptocurrency transactions
- Multiple currencies: Record transactions in multiple currencies
Read our complete review of SoftLedger to see how it can help you manage the various entities within your company.
Multi-company accounting software can serve a variety of functions. If your business is run through two or more companies or entities, then QuickBooks Desktop will allow you to keep separate books for each company. However, if you need to consolidate those companies into one set of financial statements, you’ll need Sage 50cloud. Finally, if you are an independent accountant or bookkeeper looking to provide full-service accounting to unlimited companies, QuickBooks Accountant Desktop will serve you well.