7 Top-Rated Affordable Accounting Software

By: Barkha Bali on January 3, 2024

Manual bookkeeping and spreadsheets may fail to keep pace with your organization’s complex accounting processes. That’s where accounting software comes into play. It automates key accounting workflows, including expense tracking, invoice management, and bank reconciliation. It also enables customizable reporting, real-time cash flow visibility, and predictive analytics to optimize spending and boost profitability.

Due to the range of options available at various affordable price points, every small business can purchase accounting software regardless of their size or budget. But how do you identify software that would offer the best value for your budget?

To help you choose, this article lists seven top-rated affordable accounting software based on verified software reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products priced less than $28 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices.

All the products in this list are dedicated online accounting tools with account receivables, accounts payable, bank reconciliation, general ledger, and financial reporting as core features.

1. Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting is an accounting platform that delivers a real-time overview of your income, expenses, payments, and invoices. It lets you categorize transactions based on merchant names and transaction details, customize the categories for specific needs, and bulk categorize transactions for efficiency. It also allows you to conduct month-on-month or year-on-year revenue comparisons to identify cash flow trends. You can connect your bank accounts to automatically import all transactions in the bookkeeping module. You can even automate the process of calculating and tracking taxes and generating tax reports for filing.

Product features of interest:*

  • Receipt scanning: Take a photo of receipts with your mobile device or upload digital copies on Wave. This feature automatically extracts information from receipts, such as the transaction date, vendor or merchant name, total amount spent, and applicable taxes, and matches them with existing accounting records.

  • Recurring billing: Automate the billing and invoicing process for clients who make regular payments. The tool automatically generates invoices and sends them to customers based on the predefined billing schedule.

  • Data security: Secure financial data in transit between your device and Wave’s servers with 256-bit encryption, often used by online banks and e-commerce sites. Wave adheres to data security standards set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) to protect credit card information and other sensitive data.

Starting price: $6 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Chatbot, FAQs, and knowledge base

Who should consider Wave Accounting?

Wave Accounting is worth considering for finance and accounting teams that want to prioritize data security. When users upload data into Wave, their information is encrypted using 256-bit TLS encryption while it’s moving over the internet. Additionally, accounting data stored on Wave servers is secured with strict physical access protocols with 24/7 monitoring. Moreover, banking connections to import transactions are read-only for increased security. This security infrastructure is further enhanced by Wave’s PCI Level 1 Certification, verifying that its systems and processes meet the highest security standards for handling credit card and bank account information.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting

4.43 out of 5 stars

1518 reviews

2. Plooto

Plooto is online accounting software that automatically captures invoices from emails, uploads, or its mobile app. It then extracts data, including the vendor name, amount, due date, and line items, for entry into the system. Additionally, it lets you set up multi-level approval workflows, based on predefined rules and spending limits, to route invoices to specific users for authorization. You can send invoices electronically and track their status in real time. You can schedule automatic payment reminders and recurring payment cycles for subscription-based clients. You can also create personalized accounting dashboards to track key financial metrics at a glance.

Product features of interest:*

  • International payments: Send and receive payments across borders without complex paperwork or high transfer fees. You can manage invoices and payments in various currencies, simplifying international business transactions.

  • Forecasting tools: Analyze historical cash flow trends, seasonal variations, and economic factors to predict future cash flow and financial performance. You can define the forecasting period, adjust assumptions and parameters, and choose from various visualization options, such as charts and graphs, to create customized reports.

  • Financial controls: Restrict access to sensitive financial data based on user roles and permissions. You can track all actions and changes made within the system for a complete audit history. Plooto uses real-time fraud detection algorithms to identify suspicious activity and alert you.

Starting price: $9 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Call, email, and knowledge base

Who should consider Plooto?

Finance and accounting teams in businesses that regularly deal in international transactions could consider Plooto. Its global money transfer service enables users to send money abroad and automate functions such as vendor payments and currency conversions. It also offers competitive exchange rates and lower transfer fees than traditional banks, saving businesses money on international transactions. Additionally, its centralized dashboard simplifies global transaction management with the ability to make payments, manage approvals, track payment status, and generate reports within a single platform.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Plooto

Plooto

4.36 out of 5 stars

230 reviews

Pro tip

Consider the unique requirements of your industry. For instance, if you’re a construction business, your shortlisted accounting software should include job costing to calculate the precise costs of hiring construction equipment, labor, and materials. Likewise, if you’re in retail, the software should offer inventory management and tracking capabilities to monitor and record retail sales and purchases.

3. Ramp

As an accounting tool, Ramp uses machine learning to analyze merchant names, locations, and purchase types and categorize transactions into relevant expense categories (e.g., travel, office supplies). It lets you build automated workflows for transaction reviews and approvals. Its spend analysis functionally identifies areas to optimize spending and provides recommendations on which subscriptions to cancel, which vendors to negotiate with, etc. Additionally, it offers employee cards with predefined usage restrictions to simplify expense tracking and improve budget control for managers.

Product features of interest:*

  • Custom spend controls: Set custom spending limits and restrictions on employee cards to limit how much individuals or departments can spend. You can also establish vendor-specific restrictions to manage and control employee spending. 

  • Month-over-month analysis: View and compare the current month’s expenditure with the previous month. This feature assists in forecasting spending and making informed accounting decisions.

  • Real-time expense insights: Generate expense reports with filters and drill-down capabilities to analyze spending patterns and identify cost-saving opportunities. This feature lets you consolidate expense reporting, including card expenses, global payments, and reimbursements, on a single dashboard.

Starting price: $12 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Chat, email, phone, and knowledge base

Who should consider Ramp?

Ramp is worth considering for accounting teams seeking a centralized platform to handle all types of business expenses. Its suite of features, including automated bill pay, receipt integration, and expense reporting, simplifies expense tracking and analysis for finance teams. Additionally, Ramp lets businesses issue unlimited physical and virtual cards to employees to manage all expenses from one place. These cards offer secure and controlled spending options, enabling organizations to set predefined spending limits, restrict specific merchants, and streamline expense approvals. This approach helps gain greater visibility into expenses, optimize budgets, and prevent overspending.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Ramp

Ramp

4.92 out of 5 stars

178 reviews

4. AccountsPortal

AccountsPortal is online accounting software with a centralized dashboard that offers an overview of your current account balance, outstanding invoices, profit and loss reports, and cash flows. You can connect your bank and PayPal accounts with the software to automate the import and reconciliation of transactions. You can create invoices, send them to customers, and accept payments online. Additionally, you can analyze your profit and loss reports by income or expense category (such as advertising, travel, salary, and product sales) to monitor the expenses and profitability of each branch, department, division, cost center, or staff member.

Product features of interest:*

  • Taxes and VAT: Manage different value-added tax (VAT) rates, track reclaimable VAT, and generate VAT returns all within the same dashboard. This feature simplifies complex VAT calculations and ensures compliance, eliminating hassle and potential penalties.

  • Quotes: Create and send customized quotes to potential clients and convert accepted quotes into invoices. This feature improves sales pipeline management by keeping track of all quotes and their status in one central location.

  • Real-time reporting: Access the financial reporting dashboard to view your real-time income and expenses to manage cash flow and avoid potential shortfalls. Get a real-time picture of your profitability and adjust your pricing strategy or sales efforts based on the reported data.

Starting price: $12.52*** per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Help center

***Converted from EUR to USD on Dec. 18, 2023, using xe.com.

Who should consider AccountsPortal?

Small-business finance and accounting teams that often deal with the complexities of VAT due to international operations, e-commerce sales, or digital goods could benefit from AccountsPortal’s VAT management feature. It simplifies VAT accounting across countries, eliminates manual calculations, and saves time by generating customized reports. Notably, the platform’s flat rate VAT module, a scheme allowing businesses to pay a fixed percentage of turnover as VAT instead of calculating it per transaction, provides valuable insights into profit and loss within the scheme. 

**Analysis performed December 2023

AccountsPortal

AccountsPortal

4.83 out of 5 stars

23 reviews

5. ProfitBooks

As a business accounting solution, ProfitBooks helps track account payables and receivables, manage inventory, and collect payments online. It offers pre-installed invoice templates that you can customize by adding your company logo, showing/hiding items, changing column names, etc. It lets you log various expenses, including utility bills, rent, employee salaries, and office supplies. Additionally, it uses invoice details to calculate taxes automatically. It follows jurisdictional rates and rules to calculate various types of taxes, including VAT and service tax.

Product features of interest:*

  • Purchase order management: Create, track, and manage inventory purchase orders within a reporting dashboard. Purchase orders record planned expenditures before actual transactions occur. This information helps track and manage expenses, set budgets for procurement, and provide accurate data for financial records. 

  • Online payments: Accept customer payments through online methods such as credit or debit cards, net banking, and digital wallets. You can generate a payment link for each invoice and send it to the customer along with the invoice. Payments made via the link are directly deposited to your bank account.

  • Reporting and analysis: Generate detailed income and expense reports to analyze cash flow trends and patterns over different periods. These reports assist in identifying cost-saving opportunities, evaluating the profitability of projects, and making strategic decisions based on financial data.

Starting price: $15 per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Knowledge base, live chat, and video tutorials

Who should consider ProfitBooks?

Businesses with high inventory volumes can use ProfitBooks to control spending and prevent unexpected expenses. Its purchase order management dashboard helps plan and record inventory expenditures in advance through purchase orders. This proactive approach lets businesses set budgets for inventory procurement, control spending, and prevent unforeseen costs. Additionally, ProfitBooks’ expense reporting feature helps assess the actual cost of goods sold (COGS). It tracks expenses related to inventory spoilage or obsolescence, which is particularly relevant for businesses dealing with perishable goods or products with a limited shelf life.

**Analysis performed December 2023

ProfitBooks

ProfitBooks

4.47 out of 5 stars

68 reviews

Pro tip

Given the frequent changes in accounting and tax regulations, keeping up with the latest requirements can be challenging. Failure to maintain compliance puts your small business at risk of penalties and other legal consequences. Therefore, opt for accounting software with features such as automatic tax updates, integrated compliance checklists, and audit-ready transaction records.

6. ZarMoney

ZarMoney is an accounting platform that helps generate invoices, track expenses, manage bills, reconcile bank statements, and create financial reports. It automatically calculates taxes and prepares tax filing reports. Given different locations have unique tax rules and regulations, the software lets you assign specific tax jurisdictions to your business and customers. This ensures accurate tax calculations and protects you from compliance issues. ZarMoney also allows you to automate expense tracking workflows, such as grouping similar transactions, matching transactions with bank statements, and attaching receipts for clients or vendors when processing transactions.

Product features of interest:*

  • Payable calendars: Create a visual calendar to schedule and track upcoming bill payments. You can upload invoices, add receipts, print checks in bulk, pay multiple vendors simultaneously, and schedule recurring payments, all from within the calendar module.

  • Auto-billing cycle: Set up recurring invoices and automatic billing cycles for your customers. You can create flexible billing schedules, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly billing cycles.

  • Financial reports: Generate various financial reports, including income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. You can use these reports to organize accounting data and report on your business’s current financial status.

Starting price: $15 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Call, help center, and online form

Who should consider ZarMoney?

ZarMoney is worth considering for finance and accounting teams that want to automate expense tracking and management. The software offers the flexibility to define unique expense entry fields and tag transactions to specific expense categories. For example, businesses can track marketing campaign costs by tagging expenses such as “Facebook Ads” or “Twitter-promoted tweets.” This tailored tagging approach helps categorize cost drivers and track progress toward specific financial goals, such as budget compliance or expense reduction. Users can also integrate the payable calendar to sync tracked expenses directly to payment schedules and deadlines. 

**Analysis performed December 2023

ZarMoney

ZarMoney

4.69 out of 5 stars

83 reviews

7. Zoho Books

Zoho Books is an accounting solution that automates accounts payable and receivable, time tracking, payroll, and transaction management. It lets you create client profiles to set up automated billing and invoicing workflows. It offers a client portal where you can access recent transactions, ask for client feedback, and speed up the quote approval process. Additionally, it allows you to define multiple taxes, set a default tax rate, and enter applicable exemptions. Once all the information is ready, it calculates taxes and creates a consolidated report for tax filing.

Product features of interest:*

  • Vendor portal: Allow vendors and suppliers to self-manage their transactions, upload invoices, and check their payment status. They can also leave comments on documents in case of discrepancies.

  • Billable time tracking: Track billable hours for each project using timesheets. Your employees can log time daily or weekly. They can also use a timer to clock billable hours.

  • Purchase and sales orders: Create, record, and manage customized sales and purchase orders. You can use these records to automate the process of sending order confirmations, generating invoices, tracking deliveries, and updating inventory levels.

Starting price: $15 per organization, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Call, chat, email, and knowledge base

Who should consider Zoho Books?

Accounting teams in service-based businesses, such as consulting firms or marketing agencies, might find Zoho Books’ billable time tracking feature useful. It allows companies to track billable hours spent on client projects or tasks and categorize time entries to specify the clients or projects they align to. This feature simplifies invoicing by ensuring transparency and precise billing for clients. Additionally, businesses can streamline client communication through the vendor portal, sharing purchase orders, invoices, and payment schedules. Clients can use this portal to get an overview of their transactions, raise queries, and resolve discrepancies.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Zoho Books

Zoho Books

4.39 out of 5 stars

617 reviews

Pro tip

Accounting solutions store sensitive financial information, including bank account numbers, credit card details, and contracts. In the wrong hands, this data can lead to identity theft and financial fraud. Ensure your chosen accounting tool has essential security measures, such as robust encryption, access control, secure login protocols, and multi-factor authentication. These measures safeguard your data, allowing access to only authorized individuals and mitigating the risk of potential security breaches.

How much does accounting software cost?

Accounting software tools can cost as low as $4.25 per month or up to $499+ per month, depending on various factors—accounting features, number of users, infrastructure requirements, business size/type, training availability, deployment options, integrations, and storage. Most accounting solutions typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for businesses that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer limited access to basic software features. These free plans are ideal for small-business owners or individuals on a budget.

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $4.25 per month and offer access to limited features. These are ideal for small businesses with basic accounting needs, such as accounting, bookkeeping, invoicing, and reporting tools.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $12 to $48 per month and offer advanced features such as advanced reporting tools, inventory management modules, and customizable dashboards. These are suitable for businesses that have outgrown basic accounting tools but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level systems.

  • High-end plans: May cost more than $499 per month and offer a range of advanced capabilities, including unlimited features from entry-level and mid-tier plans, robust automation, multi-user collaboration, and advanced security measures. These plans are suitable for large enterprises with cross-functional accounting teams or complex accounting requirements.

Hidden costs associated with accounting software

Besides the license, additional costs associated with business accounting software can include:

  • Implementation and training: These comprise data migration, customization, and employee training costs. They can be substantial, especially for complex systems or large organizations.

  • Hidden fees: Beware of per-user fees, transaction charges, and other seemingly minor costs that can add up quickly, particularly for larger workforces.

  • Software upgrades: Additional costs may be incurred for software upgrades to access the latest accounting features and security patches, ensuring the small business accounting software remains up to date and functional.

Frequently asked questions when selecting accounting software 

Here are some questions to ask small business accounting software providers before making a final purchase:

  • Is the software mobile-compatible? 

A mobile-compatible accounting solution ensures you can access real-time financial data, manage expenses, approve payments, and generate reports any time, regardless of location. Performing these tasks on the go enhances accessibility and increases efficiency in monitoring financial metrics.

  • What reporting features are available? 

The right accounting software should let you generate various financial reports, including balance sheets, profit and loss statements, budget reports, and expense reports. Each of these reports serves a specific purpose—balance sheets provide a snapshot of your financial health, profit and loss statements reveal your profitability, budget reports assist in financial planning, and expense reports track your spending. By leveraging the reporting feature, you can gain insights into your small business’s financial status and devise data-driven accounting plans.

  • Does the software support activity tracking?

Activity tracking allows you to monitor user actions, including transaction modifications, sensitive data access, and configuration changes. By understanding an accounting app’s activity logging and auditing functions, you can enhance data security and ensure compliance with accounting regulations. This operational transparency also helps your accounting team detect anomalies, investigate suspicious activity, and prevent unauthorized changes to financial data, preventing fraud or accounting errors.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Feature in Software Advice’s 2023 FrontRunners report for accounting software.

  • Include accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, financial reporting, and general ledger as core features.

  • Meet our market definition for accounting software: “Accounting software automates an organization’s financial functions and transactions with modules including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, billing, and general ledger.”

  • For all 25 products included in the FrontRunners report, we assessed the monthly subscription price and found the average price to be $28—we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. We then shortlisted products with a monthly subscription price lower than $28 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of Dec. 18, 2023) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from accounting software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor’s website.

**To present the most up-to-date information, the product cards show the latest real-time ratings, which may differ from the ratings values at the time this report's analysis was conducted, since new reviews may have been left in the meantime.

Editorial independence: We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s accounting software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of Dec. 18, 2023, were considered for pricing calculation.