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What is online accounting software?

Accounting solutions track the financial transactions within an organization. Online accounting systems are specifically designed to be used through the Internet, rather than being installed locally onto company computers. This reduces information technology requirements like server hardware, backups and maintenance and shifts the expenditure from being a large up-front capital cost to a much smaller, but ongoing, monthly or annual fee.

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How can Online Accounting Software benefit me at work?

Saves time by automatically updating ledgers.

Strengthens data security through access safeguards.

Offers better control of your core financial processes.

Compare All Online Accounting Software

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Recommendations: Sorts listings by the number of recommendations our advisors have made over the past 30 days. Our advisors assess buyers’ needs for free and only recommend products that meet buyers’ needs. Vendors pay Software Advice for these referrals.
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Showing 1 - 20 of 220 products
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Showing 1 - 20 of 220 products

NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more

32 recommendations

Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud-based financial management and accounting software. Sage Intacct's software solution is suitable for small to midsize accounting firms and can provide financial reporting and operational insight...Read more

26 recommendations

Striven

Striven is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution suitable for many industries and organizations of all sizes. It offers features for accounting, inventory management, human resources, customer relationship mana...Read more

4.79 (48 reviews)

25 recommendations

Multiview ERP

Multiview Financials is the flagship ERP system developed, sold, implemented, and supported by Multiview Financial Software. Multiview is designed for organizations ranging in size from rapidly growing small businesses to large en...Read more

4.40 (10 reviews)

18 recommendations

Pilot

Pilot is a cloud-based accounting solution that assists small to medium-sized businesses with financial reporting and cash flow analysis. Its key features include accounts payable/receivable, bookkeeping, data export, expense calc...Read more

4.93 (15 reviews)

16 recommendations

BQE Core Suite

BQE Core makes it easier and more profitable to run your business. It organizes information, automates repetitive tasks and allows your firm to spend more time providing service to your clients instead of managing internal process...Read more

13 recommendations

QuickBooks Online Advanced

QuickBooks Online Advanced is a cloud-based accounting solution that helps small to large enterprises manage expenses, projects, invoices and more. It comes with a centralized dashboard, which enables users to gain insights into b...Read more

9 recommendations

Aplos

Aplos is a cloud-based system designed specially to serve the needs of nonprofit and church organizations. The Aplos platform includes fund accounting, online donation management, reporting functionalities, fundraising tools, memb...Read more

9 recommendations

AccuFund Accounting Suite

AccuFund is 100% focused on serving nonprofits and government entities. The complete fund accounting financial management solution, available online or onsite, consists of a strong core system and modules that allow you to expand ...Read more

4.33 (43 reviews)

9 recommendations

Blackbaud Financial Edge NXT

Financial Edge NXT is a cloud accounting solution from Blackbaud that provides transparency across teams, security, compliance, and reduces the need for manual processes. The system is a fund accounting solution that provides a ge...Read more

8 recommendations

Software pricing tips

Read our Online Accounting Software Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

Flexi Software

Flexi is an on-premise as well as a cloud-based accounting solution for the banking, insurance, healthcare and service industries. The Flexi accounting solution features automation of accounting process and completion of audit tra...Read more

4.40 (5 reviews)

7 recommendations

Denali Business

Cougar Mountain Software’s Denali Business is an accounting solution with the ability to customize 10 integrated modules. It is for small to midsize businesses and can be deployed on premises or in the cloud. Key features include ...Read more

3.89 (60 reviews)

4 recommendations

Canopy

Canopy is a cloud-based practice management and tax resolution platform for accounting firms, tax professionals, tax attorneys, and enrolled agents. It provides an integrated suite with various tools to help enhance efficiency whi...Read more

3 recommendations

RealPage

RealPage is a cloud-based property management solution suitable for businesses of any size. Key features include accounting, budgeting, facilities maintenance, purchasing, document management and reporting. RealPage enables u...Read more

4.22 (97 reviews)

3 recommendations

Infor CloudSuite Financials

Infor CloudSuite Financials is a solution suite that provides financial functionality coupled with a source-to-settle supply management offering. The solution is role-based, mobile responsive and delivered in the cloud. It deliver...Read more

3.36 (7 reviews)

3 recommendations

Xledger

Xledger is a cloud ERP software that is scalable and user-friendly. Used by 6,000 companies, this integrated solution is great for companies seeking streamlined automation, business intelligence and the ability to track analytics....Read more

4.67 (6 reviews)

3 recommendations

Nimble Property

Nimble Property is a Hotel Accounting and Operational Software that enables Property Management System (PMS) Integration and works on Automation. It also provides bookkeeping services to the full-service and limited-services hotel...Read more

0.00 (1 reviews)

3 recommendations

SAP Business ByDesign

With strong proficiencies in project management, accounting, and customer relationship management, SAP Business ByDesign is a software-as-a-service solution for professional services with 25 or more employees. ...Read more

4.18 (28 reviews)

2 recommendations

Beyond Software

Beyond Software is a project accounting and management software system available for small to mid-size companies. The system allows organizations to manage and execute around their projects by increasing visibility and creating ac...Read more

4.71 (7 reviews)

2 recommendations

Connected

Connected is a hybrid integrated accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) that caters to small and midsize businesses across various industry verticals and helps them to integrate their data and processes across departmen...Read more

5.00 (3 reviews)

2 recommendations

Popular Online Accounting Software Comparisons

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: October 19, 2021

With online, or Web-based accounting software, an organization’s financial data is hosted by the vendor. In this software-as-a-service (SaaS) module, data is stored on secure servers with automatic back-up and redundancy capabilities. In recent years, these programs have become highly customizable: businesses only pay for the services that they consume. This flexibility, along with the lack of capital investment requirements, attracts small and medium-sized businesses especially.

Because of the hundreds of online accounting programs, it can be very difficult to decide which one is best for your business. This buyer’s guide is designed to help you navigate the online business accounting software market. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Online Accounting Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape

What Is Online Accounting Software?

Accounting solutions track the financial transactions within an organization. Typical features include:

Specialty systems often have additional features dedicated to a particular market. These include fund accounting for nonprofits, commission calculations for sales-oriented businesses like real estate, rate analysis for banking or claims scrubbing for medical practices.

Online accounting systems are specifically designed to be used through the Internet, rather than being installed locally onto company computers. This reduces information technology requirements like server hardware, backups and maintenance and shifts the expenditure from being a large up-front capital cost to a much smaller, but ongoing, monthly or annual fee.

AR invoice screenshot in AccuFund

AR invoice screenshot in AccuFund

There are two types of accounting software online: browser-based, SaaS and application service providers (ASPs). SaaS solutions are designed for the user to access the information through an Internet browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari. This allows the information to be accessed from anywhere, and it always looks exactly the same. An ASP is a client-server system, where the business installs a small software “client” onto their computers. In both models—SaaS and ASP—all of the data is hosted by the vendor on a remote server. Most ASPs are also “Web-enabled,” meaning that a Web-browser can be used if necessary, though it will come with a few disadvantages since it is not designed for that purpose.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Online financial software falls into three main categories:

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. This describes an integrated suite of features that includes manufacturing, sales, customer relationship management, project management, supply chain management etc. Buyers will want an ERP if they’re looking for a full-suite comprehensive solution, of which accounting is just a small part.

Basic systems. Basic programs online that aren’t part of an ERP tend to be much more cost effective to purchase outright and install locally, and there aren’t very many Web-based systems that focus in this market. But there are a handful available, if this is the deployment model you prefer and all you need is basic functionality. There are also a number of online vendors that will let you select only the features you wish to use.

Fund accounting solutions. There are several products out there designed specifically for the nonprofit market, which include industry-specific features like fund accounting, requisitions and grant and donation management.

Benefits and Potential Issues

A Web-based system has a number of significant advantages over traditional on-premise software platforms:

Greater level of interactivity. Online bookkeeping software extends system capabilities with functions such as online payments and employee portals. An online accounting system can support a user interface for business employees and customers for communication and sales. Online payments save time by integrating with accounts payable/receivable and the general ledger to automatically update a company’s books. Online employee portals can increase the flexibility of communication and collaboration.

Limited IT burden. Browser-based access for Web accounting software avoids potential compatibility problems, which can sometimes happen when installing these kinds of programs locally to your system. In addition, the vendor handles all of the routine back-ups, upgrades and maintenance, saving considerable time and money on IT infrastructure, a particular benefit for smaller businesses.

Lower up-front costs. Rather than paying a large installation fee, Web-based systems come on more of a subscription basis. In the SaaS model, the user pays a monthly or annual fee, making it a low but ongoing operational expense rather than a capital one.

Data security. Web-based software vendors have stringent security requirements to ensure that your data is secure from hackers and protected from loss. Therefore, an on-premise crash, theft or other hazard to the company’s computers will not destroy the business accounting data. Many online solutions also allow businesses download their data locally, if that’s preferred.

Although Web-based solutions don’t require the same investment in hardware as traditional software installations, subscription costs can accrue over time. The longer it stays in use, the more the user pays, and after a few years the costs may exceed whatever would have been paid for an on-premise system. This is especially true for larger organizations that have the capital and IT infrastructure to make an on-premise system more cost-effective.

Another issue to consider whenever purchasing any new product is to ensure user buy-in. If people feel like they’re having new software “forced” on them, they’re more likely to resist its implementation. Therefore, it’s important to get them excited about the benefits of the new program. A great way to do this is to involve them in the selection process, either inviting them to the demos directly or, if there are too many users for that to be practical, at the very least surveying employees for their opinions on the features they’d want in a new program.

Market Trends to Understand

Customization. A growing trend in the SaaS accounting market is the ability to select the features your organization needs or wants. If all you need is core accounting, that’s all you pay for, and if you want forecasting but not grant management, the software won’t include it.

Electronic payments. The ability to pay invoices and collect receipts electronically is a great way to save time and money. The benefits are strong enough that most solutions are developing electronic payment features to allow their customers to take full advantage of those capabilities.

SaaS for larger businesses. In the past, Web-based systems were being marketed exclusively as online small business accounting software for companies that couldn’t afford the up-front costs associated with an on-premise system. Today, however—although many small business systems still offer SaaS models—more and more vendors are targeting larger companies with SaaS solutions offering extremely high-level functionality, as in the ERP realm, offering the best of both worlds.

The Vendor Landscape

These are the best online accounting software solutions and vendors to consider, categories by program type:

These types of buyers... Should evaluate these systems...
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions NetSuite, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics GP, SAP, Royal 4
Basic programs HIntacct, Accumatica, Lawson S3
Fund solutions FastFund, Serenic, Accufund, Sage MIP Fund