The best small business budgeting software must let users budget income and expenses, categorize budgets in classes and locations, create budget reports, and provide different options to forecast amounts. Additionally, it should be easy to use to give users a more meaningful budgeting experience. With that in mind, here are the five best budgeting software for small businesses:
- Zoho Books: Best overall small business budgeting software with detailed budgeting features
- Xero: Best for large budgeting teams
- QuickBooks Online: Best for simple budgeting
- PlanGuru: Best standalone software for advanced budgeting
- YNAB: Best for freelancers and self-employed individuals
QuickBooks Online is our pick for best overall small business accounting software with outstanding invoicing, bill pay, and inventory tracking. Get 50% off QuickBooks Online for three months.
We are committed to providing you with an unbiased, thorough, and comprehensive evaluation to help you find the right accounting software for your business. We meticulously and objectively assess each software based on a fixed set of criteria—including pricing, features, ease of use, and customer support—in our internal case study.
To delve deeper into our best small business accounting software, we tested and used each platform to evaluate how the features perform against our metrics. This hands-on approach helps us strengthen our accounting software expertise and deliver on the Fit Small Business mission of providing the best answers to your small business questions.
Best Small Business Budgeting Software: Quick Comparison
Zoho Books: Best Overall Small Business Budgeting Software With Detailed Budgeting Features
- Lacks advanced budgeting features like roll forward budgeting and multi-year budgets
- Is not a dedicated budgeting software
- Lacks complex forecasting features
Zoho Books has six pricing plans, but the Free, Standard, and Professional plans lack budgeting features. The plans with budgeting are:
- Premium: $70 per month for up to 10 users
- Elite: $150 per month for up to 10 users
- Ultimate: $275 per month for up to 15 users
You can try these plans for free for 14 days. Also, you can add more seats at $3 per user, per month.
We ranked Zoho Books as our overall best small business budgeting software because of its flexibility and scalability. It makes budgeting easier for small businesses since there are options to add increments per budget period. This feature also autofills per period, which reduces the time spent needed to complete a budget spreadsheet even more.
Besides budgeting, Zoho Books is primarily accounting software. That’s why we find the combination of accounting and budgeting convenient because all data needed for budgeting are in the same ecosystem. The platform also has workflow rules, validation rules, and advanced inventory features that can be helpful for small business accounting. Overall, we picked it because it is easy to use, especially for DIY small business owners.
Xero: Best for Large Budgeting Teams
- Lacks advanced budgeting features, such as roll forward budgeting and multiyear budgets
- Is not a dedicated budgeting software
- Has no complex forecasting features
All Xero plans include budgeting and are good for unlimited users:
- Early: $15 per month
- Growing: $42 per month
- Established: $78 per month
You can try Xero for free for 30 days.
Xero is our top pick for large budgeting teams because it has unlimited users. Its convenient actual vs budget comparisons make it easier to access these figures without creating a separate report for it. We like this because it reduces the work needed to be done just by assembling a unique report.
Overall, pricing is Xero’s main advantage against all the picks in the guide. For only $78 per month at the highest plan, it’s by far the most affordable pick for small business budgeting (except YNAB, because it’s mainly for personal budgeting). You also get the powerful accounting features of Xero and access to Xero Advisors for assisted bookkeeping.
QuickBooks Online: Best for Simple Budgeting
- Lacks budget autofilling based on budget formula
- Is not ideal for making comprehensive budgets using budget formulas and percentage increments
QuickBooks Online has four plans, but only Plus and Advanced are ideal for budgeting:
- Plus: $90 per month for up to five users
- Advanced: $200 per month for up to 25 users
You can try QuickBooks Online for free for 30 days or sign up right away to get 50% off for three months, plus a free guided setup from a QuickBooks expert.
As our best small business accounting software, QuickBooks Online offers a wide array of features in accounting and bookkeeping. Its budgeting features may not be as powerful as Xero or Zoho Books, but users can still make a simple budget. For example, you can autofill budget fields and columns, select or deselect accounts to budget, and create a budget by income statement. You can also generate actual-to-budget comparisons, budgeted financial statements, and budget reports by class or location.
We picked QuickBooks Online because of its powerful accounting features, which can complement budgeting. With the help of a vast network of ProAdvisors, your small business can access professional advisory services from certified public accountant (CPA) ProAdvisors.
PlanGuru: Best Standalone Software for Advanced Budgeting
- Is expensive for businesses with multiple departments
- Has a steep learning curve
- Is not ideal for freelancers
PlanGuru has no free trial but offers a 30-day money-back guarantee:
- Single Entity: $99 per month for one user
- Multi-Department Consolidations: $299 per month for three users
You can add more seats at $29 per user monthly.
PlanGuru is one of the dedicated budgeting software on our list—with YNAB being the other. We chose it as a niche pick for users wanting to do a deep dive into budgeting. It contains advanced budgeting features that incorporate forecasting and projection methods, growth rate formula, and a comprehensive report building tool. It also supports imports from Xero, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel.
We highly recommend it as software solely for budgeting. It has a powerful report builder that you’ll not find in Zoho Books and Xero. It is ideal if you want to include more factors and assumptions when creating budgets, as it gives you more ways to manipulate your budget and gives detailed insights into specific areas of the budget.
YNAB: Best for Freelancers & Self-employed Individuals
- Is only for freelancers or self-employed, not larger businesses
- Lacks budget formula and assumptions
- Doesn’t integrate with accounting software
YNAB (You Need A Budget) is priced at $14.99 per month or $99 per year and is good for only one user. You can try the platform for free for 34 days. There’s also a prorated money-back guarantee if you cancel the annual plan.
We picked YNAB as a budgeting tool for freelancers and self-employed individuals. We know that freelancers often mix their personal and professional transactions in one or two bank accounts, and some also use personal credit cards for professional expenses. YNAB is a good choice if you don’t like maintaining accounting software but would like a platform to budget your income and expenses.
Overall, YNAB offers comprehensive features for budgeting personal and self-employed finances. It helps users determine where their income goes, how much income is allocated for expenses, and how much should be left after budgeting everything.
How We Evaluated the Best Budgeting Software for Small Businesses
In evaluating small business budgeting software, we considered pricing, basic budgeting features, advanced budgeting features, and ease of use. Here is the rubric for evaluation:
10% of Overall Score
In evaluating pricing, we heavily considered the additional cost it would bring to small businesses. Getting a new budgeting software means more monthly or annual subscriptions. Hence, three of our top picks are accounting software with budgeting features while two are specialized software for budgeting.
25% of Overall Score
Having accounting features within the budgeting software is a big plus since it doesn’t require integration. It is also a cost saver since you get two features in one software package. We put more weight on software with accounting and budgeting features. However, we still gave points for standalone budgeting software with direct or indirect integration into accounting software.
20% of Overall Score
Basic budgeting features must include an interactive worksheet that would let users plot budgets for different periods. We also put more weight on the software’s capability to import budgets or integrate with accounting software for faster access to historical data. Other features we considered are:
- Budgeting by income statement, balance sheet, or cash flow statement
- Budget prefilling or autofilling for reduced data entry
- Budget personalization such as the ability to add, edit, or delete budget line items
35% of Overall Score
Advanced budgeting features take a deeper look at more complicated aspects of budgeting. We considered financial modeling, comprehensive reporting, complex projection and forecasting methods, and multiyear budgeting. While most small businesses might not need advanced features, using advanced tools can help businesses predict future performance.
10% of Overall Score
The main objective of this criterion is to evaluate the difficulty of using the software. We considered that some do-it-yourself (DIY) business owners might want to do the budgeting since they know the ins and outs of business. Hence, the user experience must not be too difficult for them, and they should be able to navigate and use all budgeting tools easily. Aside from that, we also considered user reviews, customer service, support network, and accessibility as additional criteria.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, QuickBooks does have a budgeting tool that is available with the QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced plans. The budgeting feature in QuickBooks allows users to create, track, and manage budgets for their businesses. With this tool, you can set up budget goals for income and expenses, compare actual financial data against your budgeted amounts, and analyze variances.
First, it is important to define your business goals to identify the key areas where you want to allocate resources and focus your financial efforts. Then, list your income sources and estimate your monthly income and expenses, taking into account items like utilities, supplies, insurance, and advertising. Calculate your net income to ensure that you can plan for contingencies, and regularly review your budget so that you can adjust as needed based on income and expenses. Also, consider using accounting or budgeting software to streamline the budgeting process and track your finances more effectively.
It makes budgeting easier as it automatically performs the needed calculations without creating a formula. Traditionally, managers and analysts create budgets using a spreadsheet. But with complexities in formula and the need to interconnect multiple sheets, budgeting using spreadsheets can be a nightmare.
Budgets can be either financial or operating. Financial budgets focus on capital inflows and outflows, cash flow, financing, and investment plans. Meanwhile, operating budgets focus on operations such as sales forecasting, production planning, and resource allocation.
Overall, the best small business budgeting software has features that let users create budgets from within the platform. It should automate basic calculations and reporting formatting to make the experience easy for users. Zoho Books is our top pick because it contains the ideal blend of features for small business budgeting. Otherwise, PlanGuru is a good choice for businesses that want to perform a deep budgeting analysis.