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Best Accounting Software for Small Retail Businesses of June 2024

If your retail shop uses multiple sales channels, narrow down your choices to products that include the right POS and e-commerce integrations.
By Hillary Crawford, Billie Anne Grigg
Last updated on April 5, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed

⏰ Estimated read time: 9 minutes

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Retail accounting software can help you manage inventory, track taxes and sync sales across multiple channels. Which of those channels your business uses will likely determine the best option for you. Have a brick-and-mortar? You'll want accounting software that works with your POS system. If you sell online, make sure your choice integrates with your e-commerce platform.
On top of retail-specific features, look for all the basics you’d want in typical small-business accounting software — think reporting, online bank connections, live customer support and a mobile app.
Here are NerdWallet’s picks for best accounting software for small retail businesses, organized by the capabilities that make them stand out.

Best Accounting Software for Small Retail Businesses

Product
Promotion
Learn more

QuickBooks Online

Learn more

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Retail stores that sell online and in person

$30/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $60, $90, $200.

50% off

for first three months or free 30-day trial.

Learn more

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

Xero

Learn more

on Xero's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Access for multiple employees

$15/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $42, $78.

30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Learn more

on Xero's secure website

Zoho Books

Learn more

on Zoho Books' secure website

4.5/5

Best for In-house e-commerce website builder

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20, $50, $70, $150, $275.

14-day free trial

of the Premium plan.

Learn more

on Zoho Books' secure website

Wave Accounting

3.5/5

Best for Free accounting for invoice-based retail businesses

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $16

N/A

QuickBooks Enterprise

4.0/5

Best for Advanced inventory tracking for larger brick-and-mortar stores

$1,481/year

Additional pricing tiers (per year): $1,922; $2,363; $4,668. Adding users or cloud access costs extra.

30-day free trial

Our pick for

Retail stores that sell online and in person

QuickBooks Online

Learn more

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

Starting at
$30/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $60, $90, $200.

Promotion
50% off

for first three months or free 30-day trial.

Our pick for

Access for multiple employees

Learn more

on Xero's secure website

Starting at
$15/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $42, $78.

Promotion
30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Our pick for

In-house e-commerce website builder

Zoho Books

Learn more

on Zoho Books' secure website

Starting at
$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20, $50, $70, $150, $275.

Promotion
14-day free trial

of the Premium plan.

Our pick for

Free accounting for invoice-based retail businesses

Wave Accounting

Starting at
$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $16

Promotion
N/A

Our pick for

Advanced inventory tracking for larger brick-and-mortar stores

QuickBooks Enterprise

Starting at
$1,481/year

Additional pricing tiers (per year): $1,922; $2,363; $4,668. Adding users or cloud access costs extra.

Promotion
30-day free trial

NerdWallet’s picks for the best retail accounting software

QuickBooks Online: Best for retail stores that sell online and in person

Price:
  • $30 per month for the Simple Start plan.
  • $60 per month for the Essentials plan.
  • $90 per month for the Plus plan.
  • $200 per month for the Advanced plan.
Why we like it: All QuickBooks Online plans include a built-in connection with an Amazon, Shopify or eBay e-commerce account — a convenient feature for retail shop owners who sell products on these platforms. QuickBooks Online also integrates with a variety of retail POS systems, like Square and Lightspeed Retail. These built-in e-commerce connections plus POS system integrations make QuickBooks Online a good option for retail store owners with multiple sales channels.
QuickBooks Online’s robust feature set makes it versatile, too — it can be a good fit for very small retail businesses and growing ones alike. Whereas some competitors stand out for having excellent invoicing but potentially fall short in other categories, for instance, QuickBooks Online’s key features are solid across the board. Read our full QuickBooks Online review.

Xero: Best for access for multiple employees

Price:
  • $15 per month for the Early plan.
  • $42 per month for the Growing plan.
  • $78 per month for the Established plan.
Why we like it: For retail businesses that give multiple employees some level of access to their accounting software, Xero can be a big money saver. Whereas competitors often cap how many users can access the software or charge a monthly fee per additional user, all of Xero’s plans let you loop in as many users as you want. And you can assign them different permission levels: For example, one user might only be able to create invoice drafts and submit time entries, while another can view reports but not edit transactions.
Unlimited users aside, Xero also includes the most third-party integrations of the products listed here. Just keep in mind that some popular e-commerce store apps aren’t direct integrations, which means they may require extra steps to set up or charge additional fees. Still, the product can suit both online shops and physical storefronts alike. Read our full Xero review.

Zoho Books: Best for in-house e-commerce website builder

Price:
  • $0 per month for the Free plan.
  • $20 per month for the Standard plan.
  • $50 per month for the Professional plan.
  • $70 per month for the Premium plan.
  • $150 per month for the Elite plan.
  • $275 per month for the Ultimate plan.
Why we like it: If you’re looking to bundle your retail accounting software with additional business tools from the same provider, Zoho Books should be on your list of considerations. On top of its accounting software, Zoho has a range of other products — like Zoho Inventory, Expenses and CRM — that conveniently integrate with each other to form an all-in-one retail software solution.
Unlike some of its competitors, it offers its own online shop builder through Zoho Commerce, which starts at $27 per month. First, you choose a website template and add images of your products. From there, Zoho Commerce lets you accept payments, manage orders and shipping, automate emails to customers and gather product reviews in a single platform.
It’s also one of the most affordable business accounting solutions out there, with plans starting at $0 per month. It’s worth noting that although Zoho Books has two lower-level plans, many of the retail-specific features — sales orders, purchase orders, etc. — are only available with the Professional plan. Read our full Zoho Books review.

Wave: Best for free accounting for invoice-based retail businesses

Price: $0.
Why we like it: Wave can be a simple solution for entrepreneurs who operate their retail business out of their homes and do most of their sales via invoice, as opposed to through an online store or POS system.
Unlimited online bank connections enable business-related credit card transactions to flow seamlessly into Wave, and the software automatically sends invoice payment reminders to customers for you. The software also includes basic reporting, as well as income and expense tracking. You’ll only pay associated fees if you choose to utilize Wave’s online payment processing services or integrated payroll. Read our full Wave Accounting review.

QuickBooks Enterprise: Best for advanced inventory tracking for larger brick-and-mortar stores

Price:
  • $1,481 per year for the Silver plan.
  • $1,922 per year for the Gold plan.
  • $2,363 per year for the Platinum plan.
  • $4,668 per year for the Diamond plan.
Why we like it: QuickBooks Enterprise has advanced inventory tracking and other industry-specific features you don’t typically find in competitors’ products. These can be valuable for larger small retail businesses that need more complex inventory tracking and pricing capabilities built in.
In addition to having a prebuilt chart of accounts tailored to retail businesses, Enterprise includes 14 retail-specific reports that calculate insights like gross margin by inventory item, monthly sales by customer and purchase volume by vendor. You can also track the cost of goods sold, adjust inventory for loss or shrinkage and create up to four inventory categorization levels to organize your items.
It’s important to remember that QuickBooks Enterprise is locally hosted unless you pay extra for cloud access, which starts at $171 per month for one user. If you operate multiple stores or an online business and want to be able to manage your finances from anywhere, a cloud-based accounting software might be a better fit. Read our full QuickBooks Enterprise review.

How to choose retail accounting software

You can use any business accounting software for a retail business. This being said, certain accounting software solutions offer features that are better suited for small retail businesses than others.
The best retail accounting software should help you find opportunities to save money and boost profits. For example, by calculating the cost of goods sold and collecting sales data from your POS system or e-commerce website, your software can help determine which products are most profitable or, on the flip side, not worth producing anymore.
In addition to standard bookkeeping and accounting tools, here are a few important features retail businesses should consider when choosing accounting software:

Inventory management

Inventory is the lifeblood of a retail business, so it's extremely helpful to have inventory management tools integrated within your accounting software.
However, inventory management should expand beyond monitoring the merchandise you have in stock. Along these lines, you’ll want to look for accounting software that can determine:
  • The profitability of each product you sell. 
  • How long your inventory sits on the shelves or in the warehouse before it’s sold. 
  • The rate at which your entire inventory turns in a given period. 
  • Shrinkage due to theft or damage.
Although your POS system might be able to take care of some of these functions, having these inventory tools in your retail accounting software can be more convenient.

Sales tax tools

Most states charge a sales tax, though certain items like medication, food and clothing may be exempt in your state. With the increased impact of online business on sales tax revenues, many states are passing laws requiring out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales taxes. You’ll want to look for retail accounting software that can track sales taxes due and customize your sales tax rates.

Sales channel integrations

If you have multiple sales channels — both online and offline — it’s important to choose an accounting product that has plenty of integrations with retail POS systems and e-commerce websites. That way, all of your sales data will be centralized in one place. This makes it easier to compare how your business is doing in one sales channel versus another. While browsing integrations, make sure to note whether they come with an additional monthly fee and factor that into your budget.

Payroll integrations

If you have employees operating your retail store, payroll software will be an important consideration. Although payroll isn’t unique to retailers, it’s often one of the biggest expenses these types of businesses incur. Your accounting software should handle your payroll correctly and efficiently, whether it’s through an integration or an in-house payroll product.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.
Last updated on April 5, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet independently reviews accounting software products before determining our top picks. We collect the data for our software ratings from products’ public-facing websites and from company representatives. Information is gathered on a regular basis and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy.
NerdWallet’s accounting software ratings favor products that are easy to use, reasonably priced, have a robust feature set and can grow with your business. The best accounting software received top marks when evaluated across 10 categories and more than 30 subcategories. Learn more about how we rate small-business accounting software.
These ratings are meant to provide clarity in the decision-making process, but what’s best for your business will depend on its size, growth trajectory and which features you need most. We encourage you to research and compare multiple accounting software products before choosing one.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
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