The Best Business Accounting Software Services of 2024

Many aspects of accounting software make it a useful tool. If you’re a small business owner, it’s important to know which features to look for. Most online accounting software offers accounts receivable, accounts payable, banking and reporting features. Some programs include inventory management, project management, time tracking and payroll tools.

Here are some of the core features to look for in accounting software:

Bank feed Accounting software connects with your bank so that your banking transactions appear in your online ledger as well.
Dashboard The best accounting software platforms have organized, customizable dashboards with clear data visualization and organization features.
Online invoicing You can create and send invoices from within most accounting software, so there’s no need to print or mail anything.
Recurring invoices Often, accounting software includes automation features for sending recurring invoices each month.
Automatic payment reminders Many accounting software platforms regularly and automatically remind your customers to pay outstanding invoices.
Bank reconciliation All accounting software should match your bank transactions to invoices, bills, purchase orders and expenses.
Financial reporting You can use accounting software to generate basic forms, such as profit and loss statements and advanced business health reports.
Mobile apps Almost all accounting software platforms offer iOS and Android mobile apps, some of which include nearly all of the software’s features.
Integrations The best accounting software integrates with point-of-sale systems, payroll services, HR platforms, customer relationship management software and more.
Tracking for billable hours Many platforms include features for tracking your time spent per task or project, or they integrate with your third-party time-tracking platform.
Inventory management Some accounting software includes tools for tracking your inventory, creating purchase orders and keeping your warehouses stocked.
Project-based billing With this feature, you can bill your clients based on your time spent per project or task and your hourly rates.
Support for multiple businesses Some accounting software platforms let you use the same set of tools for more than one business.

Bank Feed

This feature connects the software to your business bank and credit card accounts to provide a daily update of your transactions. This saves time, as you will not have to upload transactions manually. It also gives you a daily, rather than monthly, overview of your accounts. A real-time bank-feed feature can assist with reconciliation, which allows you to make it a small daily task rather than a monthly ordeal.

Dashboard

When you log in to your account, you’ll be greeted by a dashboard that shows you an overview of your account activity and key metrics, such as cash flow, profit and loss, account balances, expenses, accounts payable and receivable, and sales. Some accounting programs allow you to rearrange the information.

Online Invoicing

If your business sends invoices, the ability to email them and accept online payments helps you get paid faster. Most accounting programs integrate with third-party payment processors; others require you to use their in-house processing services. It’s a plus for accounting software to serve as an invoice generator.

Recurring Invoices

With this feature, you can schedule the system to automatically generate and send invoices for recurring charges, such as subscriptions. You can choose how frequently invoices are sent — daily, weekly, monthly or annually — and indicate whether there’s an end date to the billing.

Automatic Payment Reminders

This feature helps you remind customers about upcoming and past-due payments. Some have sample email text that you can use or customize. You can then choose when you want the reminders to be sent. Some programs give you the option to send thank-you emails to customers after you receive their payments.

Bank Reconciliation

Smart reconciliation tools identify potential matches between your bank transactions and the invoices you’ve entered into the accounting software. This saves you the time it would otherwise take to sift through your bank account for this information. You can then approve or deny the suggested matches. The best applications suggest potential matches as you reconcile your accounts, and a few include a reconciliation tool in their mobile apps.

Financial Reporting

Every accounting program can generate financial reports. But some are more basic than others, and some require you to subscribe to a pricier plan for advanced reporting. If you need specific types of financial reports, make sure they’re included in the software application and plan you choose. Detailed reports can help you interpret your financial data to make informed business decisions.

Mobile Apps

Not all accounting and invoicing programs have mobile apps, but the best ones do. There is, however, quite a range in the capabilities of mobile apps. Some can only capture receipts for expense tracking, some allow you to create and send invoices, and others have almost every feature the web-based software does. It’s worth checking if the software you’re considering offers a mobile app and, if so, what features will help you manage your business while you’re away from the office.

The best accounting software mobile apps include all of the features available in the browser version.

Integrations

The ability to connect your accounting software to other business programs you use saves you valuable time because you don’t have to manually transfer data from one system to another. Payroll, payment processing, the best point-of-sale (POS) systems and the best customer relationship management (CRM) software are just a few of the popular types of integrations that are available with accounting software. Integration with systems you already use also cuts down on training time for employees who will use the software.

Tracking for Billable Hours

If you’re a consultant or your business bills clients by the hour, you need accounting software that allows you to track and bill your time or that integrates with the time-tracking program you already use. This is an important feature in the best accounting software for freelancers.

Inventory Management

If you have a retail, e-commerce or distribution business, you need an application that helps with inventory tracking and purchase orders. You may need to subscribe to a top-tier plan to get this feature, unless you use ZarMoney. If you need more advanced inventory features, look for software that integrates with a dedicated inventory management system.

Project-Based Billing

Firms, freelancers and consultants who work with clients on projects or jobs should look for accounting software that helps them track their projects’ tasks and budgets. The software should allow you to invoice customers for tracked time and bill them for project expenses.

Support for Multiple Businesses

Several programs we evaluated let you add more than one business to your account, though some companies charge extra for this convenience. Also, the types of accounting methods that are important to you will depend on the specific needs of your business. For example, if you run a small freelance business, project-based billing might be the most important feature. Or, if you plan to do some work on your mobile device, a full-featured mobile app might be at the top of your list.