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Best QuickBooks Online Alternatives of September 2021

These QuickBooks Online alternatives are easy to use, customizable and have good customer support.

Amrita JayakumarJun 18, 2021

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QuickBooks Online, the most widely used accounting product in the U.S., comes with valuable features that make it a strong choice for many small businesses. But its drawbacks include a high price tag, the need for basic accounting knowledge to use it, low-rated customer support, invoices that aren't very customizable and limited inventory management capabilities that are available only on higher-tier plans.

These alternatives fill some of those gaps. Like QuickBooks Online, they also make it simple to manage your books accurately, share your records with a bookkeeper, grow with your business and integrate with other apps.

Our pick for

Overall QuickBooks Online alternative

FreshBooks
Shop now

on FreshBooks's website

FreshBooks Accounting

FreshBooks

Starting at

$15/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $25, $50, custom.

Promotion

60% off

60% off for first six months

Shop now

on FreshBooks's website


Why we like it

FreshBooks' mobile app is intuitive and feature-rich, making it a great choice for entrepreneurs who spend more time on the phone than at a desk. Aside from general accounting functions, the mobile app also allows you to respond to clients' questions and get notified when they view or pay invoices or when invoices are overdue. With FreshBooks' relatively recent addition of double-entry accounting, it's also now a candidate for a larger spectrum of companies, getting generally strong industry reviews for its intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Entirely cloud-based, it covers the basics and includes some attractive automated features and reports. If you need to have more than one person access the system, be sure you factor that into the price.

Pros

  • Ease of use.

  • Double-entry accounting.

  • Billing includes unlimited estimates and invoices.

  • Option to add advanced payment processing.

  • Phone and online support.

Cons

  • Each pricing tier includes one user; each additional user adds $10 per month.

  • Limited features (no advanced budgeting or tax support).

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Our pick for

Better ease of use

Xero

Xero

Starting at

$11/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $32, $62.

Promotion

50% off

50% off for first two months.


Why we like it

Xero stands out by allowing unlimited users at every subscription tier, a potentially valuable feature for businesses where several users may need at least limited access to the system to run reports or analyze performance. You can also set up different permissions for each user so employees only have access to what's relevant to their job. By contrast, QuickBooks Online Advanced allows just 25 users and three accounting firms. The New Zealand-based company, which has accounting software that is a market leader in some parts of the world, is also working to make inroads in the U.S. It offers a full certification program for accountants (like QuickBooks does), with more than 100,000 accountants and bookkeepers using Xero — which makes it easier for Xero customers to find outside help.

Pros

  • Unlimited users in all pricing plans.

  • Inventory management.

  • Full reporting included with all subscription levels.

  • Automated bill and receipt capture.

  • Double-entry accounting.

Cons

  • No live phone support.

  • Limits on bills and invoices with the entry-level plan (five and 20 monthly, respectively).

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Our pick for

Free alternative

Wave Accounting

Wave

Starting at

$0

Free (Wave makes money via payment processing).

Promotion

N/A

Why we like it

Unlike some “freemium” software products, Wave doesn’t put out a bare-bones free product as bait, then load it down with costly upgrades. Even the free version has things like the ability to add unlimited collaborators, along with unlimited bank and credit card connections. Its separate invoicing product (also free) adds unlimited invoices and automated invoice reminders. The company, which was purchased by H&R Block in 2019, makes money instead through payment processing, a service you can add on (starting at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction). It also offers a payroll add-on that starts at $20 per month ($35 in tax service states).

Pros

  • Free.

  • Ease of use.

  • Unlimited income and expense tracking.

  • Unlimited partners, collaborators or accountants.

  • Double-entry accounting.

Cons

  • Not suitable for larger or fast-growing companies.

  • Not ideal for companies that handle foreign transactions.

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Our pick for

Better alternative for invoices

Zoho Books

Zoho

Starting at

$0/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20, $50, $70.

Promotion

N/A

Why we like it

Zoho Books packs an impressive collection of features and reporting capabilities for an affordable price. Its interface is easy to learn and use, and the option to automate workflows — for example, to send an email alert if an invoice exceeds a certain amount, or to apply a discount or late fee in certain cases — makes it stand out as an attractive choice. (You can create five automated workflows under the basic plan and up to 10 under the higher tiers.) Zoho is perhaps best-known for its customer relationship management, or CRM, and productivity apps, which integrate well with its accounting software. It's possible to create contacts on Zoho Books based on new leads in Zoho CRM, for instance.

Pros

  • Ease of use.

  • Can integrate with a family of other Zoho products and several third-party apps.

  • Ability to automate workflows.

  • Phone and email support.

  • Double-entry accounting.

  • Specialized versions for nonprofits and startups.

Cons

  • Third-party app integrations are more limited than other choices.

  • Even the top-tier plan is capped at 10 users (additional seats can be added at $2 each per month).

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Our pick for

Better alternative for inventory management

Sage 50cloud

Sage

Starting at

$56/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $84.58, $139.58.

Promotion

N/A

Why we like it

Sage 50cloud combines the reliability of desktop software and the flexibility of the cloud. The software lets users spend less time on administrative tasks, with built-in automation and cloud access features such as remote data access.

Pros

  • Inventory management features in all plans.

  • Job costing features in all plans.

  • Phone, chat and email customer support.

Cons

  • Runs on Windows operating systems only.

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Summary of Best QuickBooks Online Alternatives of September 2021

Our picks for best QuickBooks Online alternatives

Click software name to read review.

Our pick for: Overall QuickBooks Online alternative

Price:

  • Lite: $15 per month.

  • Plus: $25 per month.

  • Premium: $50 per month.

  • Select: Quote only.

FreshBooks addresses most of QuickBooks Online’s major drawbacks by including a variety of customizable invoice templates, inventory tracking and good customer service in all plans — and it does so for a lower price. Its customer service, in particular, gets positive reviews across multiple platforms. One downside: Unlike other products on our list, it comes with a user limit. All plans include access for only one user; additional users cost $10 per user per month.

Our pick for: Better ease of use

Price (before any discounts): 

  • Early: $11 per month.

  • Growing: $32 per month.

  • Established: $62 per month.

Xero stands out for ease of use and intuitiveness, especially for accounting novices. Its minimalist, simple design and jargon-free language are especially popular among small-business owners. Like QuickBooks Online, it's also widely used, which makes it easy to find accountants who support it. But it falls short in customer support, which is online-only through chat or email; QuickBooks Online offers phone, chat and email support.

Our pick for: Free alternative

Price:

  • Free (Wave makes money via payment processing).

You can’t beat accounting software that’s completely free, and Wave delivers on most of the basics without requiring expensive add-ons. The company, which is owned by H&R Block, makes money by charging a fee for processing payments from clients. Wave is a good alternative to QuickBooks Online if you’re on a tight budget and run a small operation, but it’s not ideal for scaling your business. Like Xero, there is no phone customer support available, which QuickBooks Online offers.

Our pick for: Better alternative for invoices

Price (when paid annually): 

  • Free for businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue.

  • Three users: $15 per month.

  • Five users: $40 per month.

  • 10 users: $60 per month.

Zoho Books stands apart from QuickBooks Online because its combined invoice and accounting software product allows for more invoice customization. You can choose the invoice design, create invoices in multiple languages and accept payments in cash, check or online in different currencies. If you commit to the Zoho ecosystem, you can smoothly integrate its inventory management, customer relationship management and other software with Zoho Books.

Our pick for: Better alternative for inventory management

Price:

  • Pro Accounting: $567 per year for one user.

  • Premium Accounting: $850 (one user) to $1,947 (five users) per year.

  • Quantum Accounting: $1,404 (one user) to $3,583 per year (10 users).

  • For more than 10 users, contact Sage for pricing.

Sage 50cloud stands out for its solid inventory management and job costing features in all its plans, potentially making it a better option for businesses with more complicated inventory needs, such as retail or manufacturing businesses, or service-based businesses that use job costing, like law firms. QuickBooks offers inventory tracking only in the Plus and Advanced plans. Sage 50cloud is desktop software with some cloud-based features, and runs only on Windows, which is different from all the other cloud-based software products on our list.

Awards for QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online earned a spot as one of the best products in NerdWallet roundups for these categories:

Last updated on June 18, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best QuickBooks Online Alternatives of September 2021