QuickBooks is accounting software that enjoys a very high profile, thanks in part to extensive advertising in the media and on TV, but the best alternatives to QuickBooks accounting software have plenty to offer too.
If you’re on the lookout for a quality cloud-based accounting software package then QuickBooks looks like it fits the bill. However, there are other options open to you even if some of them don't have quite the same advertising budgets in order to promote themselves.
In fact, when it comes to cloud-based accountancy software and tax filing packages too, there are all manner of variations on the theme. Our buying guides, some of which are listed below, should therefore be your first point of call to get an overview of the main packages worth considering.
Inside these guides we’ve selected the pick of the current crop, although many others feature in our reviews sections too.
There’s no doubt that QuickBooks is a pretty excellent all-round accountancy package, but different things suit different people. You may already be using QuickBooks and might possibly have found that it provides more features and functions than you really need.
If you’re a sole proprietor or a freelancer, for example, it may be that you just need something super simple.
Keeping on top of your accounts is vital of course, but some accountancy software can be needlessly complicated. If you’re going to be filing annual returns and don't have a huge turnover then it seems pretty pointless to sign up for an accountancy bundle that does way more than you’ll get full value from.
We've compared these accounting software solutions on several points, from their interface and features to the ease of setup and learning curve. We looked at their pricing plans, what sizes and types of businesses they'd be best suited for, and their documentation and tutorials. We also evaluated their performance, tools, and pricing plans, among other things.
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The best alternatives to QuickBooks accounting software in 2023 in full
So, what to look at if you’re bypassing QuickBooks? Xero is a great place to start as this is an accountancy software package that boasts similar features and functionality, but is more affordable. That’s mainly because it doesn't charge you based on the number of users it has.
Therefore, if you’ve got staff that need to access an accounts package this works out as a good alternative. Equally, the Xero Early package is ideally suited to very small businesses, so there’s a package to suit all.
Xero is a scalable software option and runs pretty smoothly as long as you're connected to the internet and using a swift web browser. Xero even performs well on Android and iOS devices, and the overall experience of using it on a smartphone or tablet is great.
Read our full Xero review here.
Next up, Wave is an ideal option if you’re looking to do things on the cheap. It delivers a great user experience and sports loads of the same features found in the premium-level QuickBooks. It’s aimed at everyone from freelancers and sole traders through to small businesses and those seeking to scale up their work.
Best of all though, Wave is free, and for that you also get the benefit of being able to add in multiple users. Considering you can get it for nothing this is a pretty impressive solution for anyone needing to tackle everyday accounts on a budget.
Wave's interface for the laptop browser and phone apps (iOS and Android) is slick
and works smoothly. There's a solid payroll feature too, but it can currently be used by US and Canadian users only.
Read our full Wave review here.
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If you’re a freelancer, then chances are your needs will be a little more straightforward than a small business that has employees. Therefore, FreshBooks is a solid bet. This is an easy to use program that has a wealth of great tools built-in.
Pricing is very competitive and there are versions to suit all pockets. Pay a little more and the features and functionality increase to match, but even in its most basic guise, FreshBooks is a winner. The try-free option is quite convenient because it lets you explore the package and cancel within 30 days if it’s not suitable for your needs.
In the UK, Freshbooks has collaborated with Barclays to provide joint bookkeeping solutions for customers, offering new ways to help with invoicing and wider business management tasks.
Read our full FreshBooks review here.
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The popular Zoho Books is just one product in a whole portfolio of software tools from this publishing house. The benefit of that is you can get Zoho Books to work in unison with other software in the range. That means it is fairly easy to ‘plug in’ expense accounting, billing and invoicing functionality into your standard accountancy tasks.
If you are running a multi faceted business with quite a lot of complex chores to complete , then Zoho Books is well worth looking into. It is quite scalable and offers beefier versions for users with larger business concerns, or anyone intent on expanding their operations. It comes in a range of affordable options too.
Along with the desktop app, Zoho Books' mobile apps are also pretty robust.
Read our full Zoho Books review here.
Not everyone enjoys tackling their bookkeeping and accountancy duties, so if you’re running a small business and fall into that category, then ZipBooks is worthy of investigation. This is a robust alternative to QuickBooks and comes with a weighty collection of features and functions.
ZipBooks' basic format revolves around four key areas: accounting, billing, expenses, and intelligence. The secret to the last feature is a powerful collection of reporting tools that offer practical and relevant insights into your financial affairs.
The added bonus with ZipBooks is that you can opt to pay for handing everything over to a qualified bookkeeper instead. There is also the provision to mix your own efforts with the help of an advisor, with prices to match.
The basic plan is free and lets you send unlimited invoices, manage unlimited vendors and customers, and check basic reports and supporting connections to one bank.
Read our ZipBooks review here.
If you’re a business that specialises in selling products rather than services, you’ll want to check out Spendwise (opens in new tab). This is a very practical solution that delivers lots of tools for managing inventory and tracking any type of product range.
While you’ll need to buy into the more advanced package to enjoy better accountancy-focused features, Spendwise is a powerful option. Product-focused businesses of any size might find this one a good alternative.
The software boasts multiple core features to maximize time and money, with tools for creating multiple purchase orders, managing budgets, and keeping track of bills and expenses. Spendwise can be set up for multiple users and the reporting functionality is quite powerful too.
Packages are attractive for smaller ventures, but with plenty of punch for businesses looking to scale up their operations.
Read our full Spendwise review here.
The appeal of FreeAgent is mainly due to its affordability factor, with a range of accounting tools on offer for just a few dollars a month. However, there are some limitations although it does possess a raft of cloud-based software essentials, including the ability to manage projects, send invoices, keep track of time as well as staying on top of your accounting tasks too.
If you’ve got pretty standard requirements and want an easy-to-use solution that won't break the bank then FreeAgent is another accountancy package that merits further investigation.
FreeAgent only offers a single tier, making the choice of this accounting solution a more simple ‘all or nothing’ choice that starts with a free 30-day trial. From there, new users get a generous 50% discount for the first 6 months, and then it goes to full price.
Read our FreeAgent review here.
The simplicity of accounting package OneUp (opens in new tab) makes a lot of sense if you’re after a straightforward solution. This isn’t just an accounting package either, because while you can do your bookkeeping with OneUp, the software is also able to assist you with invoicing, inventory management, and also CRM needs.
OneUp does boast a power-packed feature set, but it can also be quite complicated to use. Meanwhile, pricing comes in a tier-based arrangement and there’s a 30-day free trial too, so you can see for yourself just how it ticks.
All the different tools in OneUp were easy to configure, and populating templates for invoicing and inventory orders feels effortless. Overall, OneUp runs smoothly and efficiently thanks to its basic interface, but a weak spot would be the limited third-party integration it offers.
Read our full OneUp review here.
Last, but not least, is Sunrise (opens in new tab), which was known previously as Billy. This is an accounting package aimed at small business owners who want the added benefit of being able to work with a professional bookkeeper.
Considering the extra weight that adds to the beefiness of the package, the pricing is still very appealing, with access to advisors coming as part of a Starting package that is $99. There’s even a free self-service edition if you prefer a more do-it-yourself approach.
Sunrise covers many bases, from creating customized invoices and financial reports to expense tracking and payment processing. There are four different plans, with the most basic one being free. It offers unlimited customized invoices and bank transactions, cash flow reports, double-entry accounting and the ability to accept credit card payments.
Read the full Sunrise review here.
As you can see from our selection, there are quite a few options if you're looking for an alternative to using QuickBooks. While many people love QuickBooks, and it’s easy to see the appeal of this cloud-based software package, the other selections we’ve highlighted here might be more useful for more specific needs.
As is often the case, many accountancy packages come with the benefit of a free trial, so dip into our best accounting software guides and reviews and, perhaps, check them out for yourself.
- Also take a look at our roundup of the best tax software for small businesses
How to choose the best alternatives to QuickBooks accounting software for you?
When selecting the best alternatives to QuickBooks accounting software for you, start with considering your budget, the size and nature of your business, and the essential features you need on your accounting software.
If you're on a tight budget and need only basic accounting features, then free tools will suit you. But if you can invest in accounting software and have more complex requirements, then paid software services are a more efficient option.
Keep in mind that some accounting software are better for product-focused businesses and they'll have tools that'll help these businesses with managing inventory and tracking products.
Also, look out for the ease of setup, the learning curve, user interface, third-party integration, and quality of customer support.
The best alternatives to QuickBooks accounting software: How we test
We tested the best alternatives to QuickBooks accounting software across numerous points, like their interface, learning curve, features, and pricing plans.
We checked how easy it was to set up the different software and how simple the interface was to get started with. We looked at the documentation available and whether the software had a comprehensive knowledge base/FAQ section.
We evaluated what software were suited for the different business sizes and types. We assessed whether they had extra features like inventory management, product tracking, payroll, invoicing, etc.
We also looked at their pricing plans, third-party integrations, and the quality of their customer support, among other aspects.