This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
The core feature that you need to pay attention to in looking for a multi-company accounting software depends on whether you need to keep the books for multiple organizations or consolidate those organizations into a single set of consolidated financial statements. When keeping the books for multiple organizations, it’s nice to have the ability to add multiple companies to your software without paying for each one. However, consolidated financial statements generally require more sophisticated and expensive software. Meaning, you need to find the software that best fits your multi-company accounting needs at the best possible price point.
Here are our five picks for best accounting software for multiple companies:
- QuickBooks Desktop: Best overall accounting software for keeping the books of multiple companies that don’t need consolidated financial statements
- QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: Best for independent full-service bookkeepers
- Sage 50cloud Accounting: Best accounting for consolidated entities
- Wave: Best free online accounting software for multiple companies
- SoftLedger: Best for consolidating entities with cryptocurrency transactions
Best Multi-company Accounting Software Compared
Starts at $349.99 per year for 1 user
Starts at $499 per year
Starts at $567 per year for 1 user
Number of Users
1 to 40
1 to 40
Number of Organizations
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QuickBooks Desktop: Best Overall Multi-company Accounting Software
QuickBooks Desktop Standout Features
- Enhanced computing power: With QuickBooks Desktop’s new subscription-based plan, the software is 38 percent faster since it’s now using 64-bit computing power.
- Income and expense tracking: Track your income and expenses easily with QuickBooks Desktop. You can connect your bank and credit card to categorize your transactions. Income and expense items can be seen in one place depending on the type of transaction, such as transactions with customers, vendors, and employee centers.
- Time and project tracking: Tracking time is essential for computing operating and billable expenses. With QuickBooks Desktop, you can clock employee time spent working on tasks and track billable hours, which can be added to invoices by client or employee.
Our Expert Opinion
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. It has outstanding general features that can be customized for any business. However, QuickBooks Desktop won’t help you consolidate the financial statements of multiple entities. Instead, Sage 50cloud or SoftLedger are the best software for consolidation. Both of these software products can consolidate separate financial statements of subsidiaries easily in a few clicks. Moreover, it also handles the complex accounting procedure of eliminating intercompany transactions and accounts.
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop: Best for Independent Full-service Bookkeepers
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Standout Features
- Fixed asset manager: QuickBooks Accountant Desktop’s fixed asset manager is a perfect tool for real estate companies. It helps in tracking depreciation, monitoring fixed asset purchases, managing disposals, and generating reports, such as amortization schedules and detailed reports.
- Faster client collaboration: There’s no need to schedule a meet-up with the client just to transfer files: with Accountant’s Copy, you and your clients can work together easily and quickly. You can receive files from clients seamlessly and make changes without affecting the client’s files. Adjustments are merged with clients’ files without interrupting their work.
Our Expert Opinion
QuickBooks Accountant Desktop 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 $499 per year. You can also provide after-the-fact payroll for up to 50 clients for only $350 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.
However, QuickBooks Desktop Accountant is Intuit’s version of Quickbooks Desktop with accounting specialists in mind. Hence, it’s software intended for self-practicing certified public accountants (CPAs), bookkeepers, or CPA firms. Small business owners can’t use QuickBooks Accountant Desktop to export data to their QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Instead, they should choose QuickBooks Pro or Premier, which allows the creation of an Accountant’s Copy to share data.
Sage 50cloud Accounting: Best Accounting for Consolidated Entities
Sage 50cloud Standout Features
- Advanced inventory management: Product businesses will like Sage 50cloud’s advanced inventory management because it lets them monitor stock, manage assemblies, track cost flow, and establish reorder points.
- Project tracking and job costing: Do you want to keep track of your projects and bill the right amount to clients? Sage 50cloud offers project tracking plus job costing to make billing easier. You can set up job records, phases, and cost codes. You can estimate profits from jobs and projects while keeping track of expenses incurred through specialized reports.
- Robust collection of reports: There are more than 150 reports available on Sage 50cloud, including specialized reports for construction, manufacturing, and distribution industries. With just one click, you can generate reports or design new reports if needed.
- Multientity and multicurrency consolidations: With Sage 50cloud, you can consolidate subsidiaries, whether in the United States or overseas. Sage 50cloud can help you consolidate separate financial statements of subsidiaries, eliminate intercompany transactions, and account for foreign currency translation gains and losses in the income statement and balance sheet.
Our Expert Opinion
Sage 50cloud allows accounting for multiple entities and 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 is a desktop program but employees and accountants can access the company file through Sage Drive. While Sage 50cloud is more expensive than QuickBooks Desktop, it’s very affordable for software that can perform consolidations.
Wave: Best Free Online Accounting Software for Multiple Companies
Wave Standout Features
- Free accounting and invoicing: Wave’s full accounting and invoicing features are free, including chart of accounts, payables, receivables, and banking features.
- Track sales and income tax: You can add sales taxes on invoices, bills, estimates, and transactions with Wave. Every time you do this, the software credits the sales tax in the sales tax liability account automatically.
- Receipt scanning: Through your smartphone, you can upload or take a picture of your receipts whenever you create an expense record. This feature helps reduce office clutter and supports your records with actual receipts.
- Robust reporting features: Although Wave doesn’t have report customization, the software gives users 16 different types of reports. These reports are more than enough for small businesses and freelancers.
Our Expert Opinion
Wave is a great software option for freelancers and small businesses looking for free accounting software. Although it’s free, we see a lot of great features that fit the needs of small businesses and freelancers. We also really admire the reporting capabilities of Wave, given that it’s a free service. However, we don’t think Wave is suitable for large businesses, especially product-based companies. The lack of inventory management features is understandable since it’s a free service. For product-based businesses, we recommend going for QuickBooks Desktop since it has all the inventory tracking features that you’ll need.
The best multi-company feature of Wave is the ability to add an unlimited number of businesses in just one account. We like this feature because it doesn’t require a separate email to receive a free account for each organization. Whether you’re an entrepreneur with multiple businesses or an accountant handling books of several freelancers, Wave is a great software choice because there’s no limit to adding new companies.
SoftLedger: Best for Consolidating Entities With Cryptocurrency Transactions
SoftLedger Standout Features
- Cryptocurrency accounting: SoftLedger is the only software in this list that offers cryptocurrency accounting features. Crypto investors can integrate with crypto exchanges, manage their wallets, and see real-time crypto transactions.
- Business adaptability: Since it has an application programming interface (API), you can modify the software to match your accounting needs. You can build specific accounting functions by programming or creating software connections for integration.
- Easy consolidation accounting: Are you tired of making consolidation working papers in spreadsheets? With SoftLedger, consolidation is simple. You can consolidate your financial statements across subsidiaries and segments and eliminate intercompany transactions and accounts automatically.
Our Expert Opinion
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. While SoftLedger is a sophisticated, scalable, general ledger system, it lacks many of the convenient features of small accounting business software. You can instead go with QuickBooks Desktop for cryptocurrency management. QuickBooks doesn’t have an exclusive feature for crypto but it can integrate with third-party apps like Glided and Sync.
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 imported into the software automatically. 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’ll 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 (P&L) by job. This is especially important for construction companies.
How We Evaluated Accounting Software for Multiple Companies
We considered only software that allows users to account for multiple companies without paying additional license fees. Each software program was then evaluated further on features specific to handling multi-company accounting as well as pricing, ease of use, general accounting features, and our own expert evaluation.
10% of Overall Score
Pricing was weighted lightly given the complexity of multi-company accounting software. In addition to cost, the pricing score considers any limitations on users, customers, vendors, or transactions.
10% of Overall Score
Ease of use is also weighted lightly since multi-company accounting is somewhat complex, and we expect most users will have some bookkeeping experience. In addition to our subjective evaluation, “ease of use” also includes customer support and the availability of independent accountants familiar with the software.
50% of Overall Score
General features are the most important factor in determining the score for multi-company accounting software. The software must be robust to support the needs of companies in a diverse set of industries. Features considered, among others, include sales tax management, invoicing, payables management, payroll, and time and expense billing.
20% of Overall Score
All evaluated software is required to provide the ability to keep accounting records for multiple companies without paying additional licensing fees. Additional features evaluated include tools available for independent bookkeepers to review client records and the ability to produce consolidated financial statements from multiple companies.
10% of Overall Score
Our expert evaluation is a subjective analysis of the software’s features, mobile app, and reports. It also includes our evaluation of the functionality and professionalism of the software’s invoices.
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’re an independent accountant or bookkeeper looking to provide full-service accounting to unlimited companies, QuickBooks Accountant Desktop will serve you well.