We live in an age when there is software for everything, right? Well, accounting is no different. If you are still paying a person for tax assistance and cash flow monitoring, perhaps you should consider the possibilities that accounting software offers.
What is even more surprising is that you don’t need to necessarily pay for software to benefit from online accounting anymore. In this text, we will provide a brief description of some great free accounting software available in 2020.
We will let you know what parameters we considered when deciding, followed by a list of selected software with a short description of each, to end with some tips and advice on choosing the right software for you.
Hope you find what you need and enjoy reading.
Live chat support
Here we have one of the best free accounting software for freelancers - ZipBooks. It provides unlimited invoicing and increased security while allowing integrations with popular services such as PayPal or Square. If any of this sounds like something you are missing in your accounting software, consider switching to ZipBooks.Read full review
Great customer support options
Free iOS and Android apps
Reasonable price for paid services
For all your basic accounting needs, and beyond - here is Wave. Wave is quite honestly the most complete free accounting software app. It offers numerous solutions included in its free versions and the paid options are reasonably priced.Read full review
Integrations with PayPal and Stripe
Allows up to 10 companies
Great for new business owners
If you are looking to run accounts on several different companies, but do not want to invest in several different bookkeeping agents or software, then SlickPie is what you’re looking for. Easy to use and with a straightforward interface, SlickPie allows you to connect up to 10 companies with your account for free.Read full review
Up to 20 reports available instantly
Easy to use
Here we have software designed for all the freelancers and small business owners who are looking to simply keep their books in check. With a variety of bookkeeping features and great report generation, Express Accounts by NCH might be just what you need to take your bookkeeping headaches away.Read full review
Visual reports (graphs)
Ease of use
Akaunting is another great option in the realm of free accounting software programs. It provides you with an amazing choice of features, a modern and sleek interface, and the ability to track your finances on the go through its app. And all of that absolutely free of charge. If you are looking for a free accounting solution for your business, Akaunting may just be it.Read full review
TurboCASH comes in as a global player in the game of free accounting software. You can now operate from 80 countries thanks to TurboCASH’s international access. Its free version comes packed with all the features you need to get your business started.Read full review
Free email support
PayPal and 2CO integrations
CloudBooks is the perfect tool for freelance accountants serving a single client. It is quick and easy to master, and its free time tracking feature will make charging for your services easier than ever. Its cloud-based hosting solution gives you additional peace of mind, knowing that you can access your data anywhere at any time.Read full review
Accounts receivable and A/P
GnuCash really stands out among the free accounting software for small business in 2020. It offers to do your accounting for you absolutely for free, and not only that, it provides amazing reports and helps you manage customer accounts, again for free. GnuCash is a superhero for all those running on a tight budget.Read full review
Customer Portal for support
Available in many languages
Are invoices giving you a headache? Well, Zoho Invoice is here to save the day. With an unlimited number of invoices for up to 5 clients, Zoho is the answer to your small business invoicing issues. It doesn't matter where you operate from because Zoho works across many languages and currencies.Read full review
Bill and deposit reminders
If your homestead or small business is in need of some simple financing assistance, look no further than Money Manager EX. This simple offline tool offers a plethora of features helping you keep your finances in check, without a need for an installation or web registration. Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it cannot compete with the best.Read full review
In this section, we will explain what parameters we used to decide which are the best free accounting software in 2020.
To evaluate the services of each software we observed it across several different criteria, taking our own and existing customer experience into account. Each review contains descriptions divided into categories.
A general overview of the software. What it provides, what platform it runs on, etc.
A quick glimpse into the most interesting free features of the given software.
Ease of Use
How user-friendly and clear-cut the software is. Does it come as an app? What is the interface like? This can turn out to be very important if you are not particularly tech-savvy or familiar with accounting in general.
Are there any integrations with outside services and are they included in the free plan? Integrations are important because they can add a lot to your overall user experience.
Paid Plans and Add-ons
What additional features are available if you choose to break the bank a bit?
What kind of support does your free accounting software or billing and payroll tool provide? Can you count on them when you get stuck?
Who Is It For?
Generally, this section describes the target audience of each software, making it easier for you to place yourself on the scale.
One of the newer faces in the world of online accounting services, ZipBooks is already posing as a serious competitor. This is mostly due to the variety of free services it provides, such as no-limit invoicing, tracking receipts, etc.
ZipBooks is a free accounting software that offers a great number of features. Its unlimited invoicing option in the free plan makes it great for freelancers and people who, for whatever reason, need to send out tons of invoices.
This digital financial accounting assistant offers a lot of free features, and we have found the following to be the most useful:
We have found that ZipBooks’ software is pretty straightforward and easy to use. The web app is especially effective. What we think could use an upgrade is the mobile app (at times it looks like running the web app on a mobile browser).
Integrations are another part of what makes ZipBooks one of the best free accounting systems. It allows integrations with some great services, such as Google Drive, Asana, and even PayPal.
ZipBooks’ paid plans allow you to connect more than one bank account to your ZipBooks profile. If you are using the free plan, you can connect one bank account. Paid plans include many other useful features, which we will list below:
ZipBooks offers customer support through live chat, and customers are saying that this service is becoming increasingly faster and more effective.
ZipBooks is great for freelancers and small business owners working on their own or with a small team. If you need to do a lot of invoicing as well, ZipBooks might be the best free accounting software for you.
Considered to be the best free accounting software for small business overall, Wave offers an unparalleled number of free features with no hidden costs. With Wave, there is no limit to the number of users, and all the paid features are clearly stated, so you don’t need to pay if you don’t want to.
Wave was a pretty obvious choice for our free accounting software list, since it comes packed with more than just basic accounting features, and all of that is completely free or comes at a reasonable price.
Wave does not force you to upgrade to a paid plan by limiting the available free features. On the contrary, you get some great free features such as:
Another aspect where Wave gets all the accolades – it is really easy to set up, and using it requires very little to no experience in accounting and financing. For even easier use Wave has developed 3 free apps: Wave Accounting, Wave Invoicing, and Wave Receipts. All of them are available for iOS and Android.
Integrations: This is one of the very few aspects where Wave could do better. It offers very few integrations compared to other free accounting software. The most notable ones would be Etsy and PayPal.
The only features that Wave charges for are:
Wave users can count on numerous channels for getting the support they need. Some of them include:
Wave is a top free accounting software designed for anyone who wants to get the widest possible array of online accounting services for little to no money in exchange. It is great for beginners and small businesses.
SlickPie was described as an ideal free basic accounting software for new business owners. It is straightforward and very easy to use, and it provides more than enough free features to make it on our list.
SlickPie offers an easy-to-use platform, making it great for new business owners and those who are not so accounting savvy. Other than that, SlickPie offers great free features, the most notable of which is providing accounting services for up to 10 companies.
As we said before, SlickPie lets you use its free plan for up to 10 different companies, and that includes some of the following features as well:
SlickPie is almost ridiculously easy to use. It is recommended as the go-to easy free accounting software for new and inexperienced business owners.
This accounting software allows for integrations with some payment services such as PayPal and Stripe.
According to SlickPie’s website, their paid service called “Pro” allows you to add more than 50 companies and provides support through phone calls and emails. It comes at a price of $39.95/month.
For its free plan, the only customer support SlickPie provides is through email, and that is only available during the company’s working hours.
SlickPie is great for new business owners and those looking for a tool to run the accounts of more than one company. Its ease of use and sleek interface just adds to the overall experience.
Express Accounts is an amazing accounting software that caters mostly to your bookkeeping needs. Its free version provides you with all the essential bookkeeping tools to monitor your cash flow with ease and efficiency.
This popular free accounting software comes with a rather dated, but easy-to-use interface that provides you with all the tools you need to keep your books in check. It is able to provide up to 20 essential book reports to you at any given moment, which is rather impressive.
Even though it is a simple software, Express Accounts still offers some great features with its free plan:
Express Accounts is pretty straightforward in its free version. After installation, you can choose which features to add. Some are paid, some are free.
At the moment, Express Accounts does not allow for any third-party integrations.
Paid plans range from $130 to $140 but at the moment there is a discount going on where you can get either a “Basic” or a “Plus” plan for only $49.99. This offer is valid until the 15th of September.
Paid plans offer many additional tools, but maybe most importantly, they offer cloud hosting which can turn out to be rather useful these days. Other features include:
Express Accounts offers basic customer support mainly through email forms.
This software is ideal for anyone trying to get control of their books, from freelance bookkeepers to small businesses. It could be an ideal free accounting software for nonprofits as well. It provides multiple reports and allows many users and accounts to connect. For anything more than this, we would recommend getting another software or combining Express Books with another free accounting software.
Akaunting is a fully open-source accounting software that can run on multiple platforms. Being open-source means that it is absolutely free of charge and in its basic form, it provides you with all the features necessary for running an accounting operation for a small business.
Akaunting provides the best completely free accounting services in 2020, which make it one of the most popular open-source accounting software at the moment. The difference between this software and GnuCash is that it comes packed with a set of amazing features.
For an open-source app, Akaunting provides an amazing array of features, and some of the most interesting are:
Its fully customizable dashboard makes this a very user-friendly software. The interface has a clean and modern design, and customers have nothing but words of praise for its functionality. Being available as a mobile and tablet app does not hurt this experience either.
Akaunting allows multiple integrations that can be found on their website. However, all the integrations are paid and you will need to use them if your needs exceed basic accounting.
There are no paid plans, but Akaunting does charge you for third-party integrations of which there is a whole library to choose from.
If you want personalized customer support, this is one more thing you need to pay for with Akaunting. However, there is a troubleshooting library and customer forums where you can get answers to most of your questions.
This free accounting software was designed for everyone looking to save some money on accounting software while allowing them to work as a team.
With TurboCASH, you get a great, quick solution if your business is operating internationally. TurboCASH allows you to do your accounting across 80 countries where it is available.
A free version of this accounting software is increasing in popularity due to its flexibility and a wide array of features included. TurboCASH is deservedly one of the best free online accounting software, and here is why.
Along with international access, TurboCASH also provides some amazing features such as:
Even though its interface could use a facelift, TurboCASH is rather easy to use and extremely simple to set up and get started. However, it does not exist as an app yet.
TurboCASH’s paid plan is called TurboCASH5, and at a price of around $60 and upwards per year it includes:
And many other extremely useful features.
TurboCASH provides 24/7 live chat support and phone troubleshooting during working hours.
TurboCASH is a free cloud-based accounting software created for small to medium business owners who are looking for a system that will provide a clear overview and comprehensive reporting.
This software is ideal for freelance accountants who work with a single client. It provides just enough tools to get you familiar with the world of accounting.
CloudBooks’ free plan is your go-to solution if you are handling only one client and do not have to do a lot of invoicing. It is a cloud-based system, meaning your data will be safely stored and accessible wherever you are.
Among the more notable free features of CloudBooks we would note the following:
It needs to be noted that CloudShare provides a plethora of other features as a part of its paid plans.
Even though it offers limited free options, this free accounting software is rather intuitive and quick. Work gets done easily and fast because the interface is very user-friendly.
CloudBooks offers integrations only on its paid plans. Its integrations are only with PayPal and 2CO.
There are 2 paid plans available with CloudBooks:
These paid plans will get you more features such as better support, unlimited invoicing, integrations, etc.
The free accounting software support for CloudBooks is limited compared to its paid plans. You will get access to email support, during working hours only.
As we mentioned above, this is probably the best free accounting software for freelancers and small business owners who require quick and straightforward solutions but do not need to send out a lot of invoices.
GnuCash is considered the best free accounting software for desktop platforms because of its open-source style.
GnuCash is an open-source free accounting software, which means that it allows you to almost completely personalize your experience and working style. If some of the features do not match your needs, you can change them with some simple programming and still use them in GnuCash.
This accounting software includes more or less all the basic features you will need to run your business, but reports are its bread and butter. GnuCash offers great report generation, unparalleled to its competitors. GnuCash can even generate a full cash flow statement.
Even though this is one of the best-rated free accounting software options around, the initial setup proved to be a bit tricky for some users. This is mostly because GnuCash offers different setups for personal and company needs. However, GnuCash provides tutorial videos and setup support to help you overcome these issues.
“Open-source” are the two words that best describe this software. This means that GnuCash is absolutely and completely free to use for everyone. However, they do accept donations.
GnuCash does not offer standard customer support, but many of the issues can be resolved by consulting their online help manual or the GnuCash Wiki page.
Since it offers basic accounting and financial reporting services completely for free, GnuCash is a great choice for startup owners who are trying not to save money or individuals who want to gain more control over their personal finances.
Zoho Invoice is a part of the Zoho Books family. It is a software designed for all business owners with heavy invoicing needs, as the name itself suggests.
With Zoho Invoice, you get a tool for all your invoicing needs. It can operate in multiple languages and across many currencies, which makes it available worldwide. It provides invoicing through simple and clean templates which helps you save time and increase effectiveness.
The free accounting software packages provided by Zoho Invoice include some of the following features:
Zoho Invoice provides support when setting up an initial account, and it is reported to be fairly straightforward and easy to use by most customers.
With its free plan, Zoho Invoice provides integrations only with its Zoho Sign service, but there is an incredible choice of third-party integrations available with some of the paid plans.
There are 3 paid plans offered by Zoho:
Depending on which one you choose, these plans can offer some incredible solutions such as invoicing more customers (from 50 to unlimited), more integrations, customized domain, etc. These plans are definitely worth considering if you are looking for some premium accounting features.
Zoho Invoice provides multiple levels of customer support including emails, live chat, and calls within working hours.
Zoho Invoice is designed for all business owners who need a hand to help them with their invoicing. If you are handling up to 5 clients, and need to create a ton of invoices, Zoho’s free plan is the right fit for you.
Here we have one of the best free offline accounting software to end this list with. Money Manager EX is an extremely handy tool because you can store it on a USB stick and carry it with you wherever you go.
Money Manager EX is an easy-to-use open-source offline tool designed for small traders or those who want to control their home finances.
Just because this is open-source software, doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with an array of features, including:
This section is where Money Manager EX really shines. It is so simple to use that you do not need almost any background in accounting to work it. Since it is an offline software, you will need to enter a lot of data manually, which can turn out to be quite time-consuming.
Since it is a completely free accounting software, it does not provide paid plans.
On its website, Money Manager EX offers a bug reporting page. Other than that, it provides support through Slack, a Wiki page, and a users’ forum.
This software is for anyone looking to do simple and basic home or small business financing for free.
Here we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to decide what free accounting software is the best for you. We’re aware that having so many choices could be overwhelming, so here are some things to take into consideration:
Check how many free features your chosen software provides, and consider whether that is enough for your current/future needs. Think about upgrading to a paid plan or switching to different software.
How important are reports to you? If you need a lot of them, try to opt for software that provides the best reports.
There is a lot of free accounting software for PC, but today we need information on the go. If you are like this, you might want to consider choosing software that rocks its own Android or iOS application.
This feature is not crucial but can turn out to be rather useful. Integrations can help you boost your overall user experience and make your accounting journey a bit more enjoyable.
You should check what kind of options your software provides in case you need extra services. You may even decide to change the software altogether in the future if it doesn’t have some vital features you will need.
The bottom line here is that deciding on what free accounting software to choose is not an easy choice to make. You need to consider so many different factors, such as the size of your business, the number of partners/clients, online/offline options, etc. The good news is that there are so many free options, that even if you don’t like your initial choice, you can just cancel and move to the next one, free of charge.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing the best accounting software is what types there are. Here we will provide an overview of some of the most popular types with a short description of each:
Commercial Off-the-shelf Software (COTS)
This is pre-packaged software, usually sold by the developer directly. It has a set pack of features, and while they do provide convenience in terms of easy choosing, they lack in customization space.
Enterprise Accounting Software
This type is mostly used by big companies because they allow for a lot more than just basic accounting and bookkeeping services. It can be both local and cloud-based.
Small business accounting software
Most of those in our free accounting software comparison list fall into this category. These solutions are created for freelancers and those running small-to-medium operations, allowing them to perform basic accounting operations with ease.
Online accounting software
Here we can put all those software solutions that operate only through the web. They can be a good solution if you want to stay in the loop at any moment, but it is always advisable to have an offline backup.
Free accounting software
These are the so-called open-source software solutions. They do not charge for their services, but use donations or paid add-ons as their means of financing.
So, why should you get accounting software instead of doing it yourself or hiring an accountant?
There are numerous reasons to switch to accounting software, and here are just some of them:
It’s easier – Think about it. Your books can now follow you wherever you go. You can always stay in touch with your business and control everything from inventory to auditing with the swipe of a finger.
You don’t have to do it alone – There are so many options of free accounting software for multiple users, that you can basically build a team and take care of those numbers together with the help of all the amazing features.
It saves time – You don’t have to make an appointment to see your accountant anymore. Your accountant now lives in your pocket or on your desk, available any time, 24/7. This is incredibly convenient.
Your clients will appreciate it – Just like you, your clients appreciate it when things are done quickly and effectively. Using an accounting software will keep you in the loop with their needs and make you a more desirable business partner as a result.
There are numerous other benefits and reasons why you should switch to accounting software as soon as possible. To put it simply, they will make your work and consequently your life much easier, at an affordable price.
ZIP Books: Best free accounting software for freelancers
Wave: Overall best free accounting software for small business in 2020
SlickPie: Best for startups
TurboCASH: Good for international businesses
GnuCash: Best open-source accounting software for desktops
CloudBooks: For freelance accountants serving a single client
Akaunting: Best for open-source online accounting
NCH Express Accounts: Best bookkeeping solutions
Zoho Invoice: Ideal for those in need of a lot of invoicing
Money Manager EX: Best offline and free personal accounting software
In this text, we gave you an overview of some of the most popular free accounting software in 2020. It is now up to you to decide whether you will switch to one or not. If you are having any doubts still, just ask yourself what benefits you are getting now, and compare it to the benefits you could get with free accounting software.
Choosing the best free accounting software for you might not be easy. There are so many things that you will need to consider. However, once you have decided, and when you are ready to dive into the world of free accounting software, you will find that you have been missing on a lot. It will provide you with better business solutions, better customer care, and overall better accounting experience.
Let’s be honest, nobody is crazy about accounting, right? Well, that is why we have chosen these software solutions for you to consider. If you are struggling with accounting on a daily basis, we hope that we’ve helped you decide on what the best free accounting software for you may be, and we wish you good luck in all your accounting endeavors.