Selecting a suitable accounting software system for your company’s needs is an important business decision. Accounting software tracks your financial data such as taxes collected, sales, and invoices as well as customer information, vendors, and inventory.

The solution can be used to generate insightful reports as well as data needed by your accountant. If you have unique needs, you can custom build an accounting system with the required features.

In this article, we compare the features, benefits and other important elements of top accounting software available in the US with special attention to cloud-based systems. Growing companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs can use this comparison article to get the lowdown on these leading accounting platforms and select a suitable one for their specific business needs.

Cloud-based accounting solutions such as QuickBooks Hosting are increasingly preferred by companies as they offer a host of advantages such as online data backup, everywhere access, supported maintenance and upgrades, and low upfront fees. Vendors such as Sage and QuickBooks also offer offline versions that can be used by companies that do not have dependable internet access.

Freelancers and Self-Employed

If you are running a one-man show, you need simple invoicing, time-tracking, and customer management features. For your needs, a full-featured solution like QuickBooks is not necessary. Instead, check out the features of solutions such as Square, Xero, FreeAgent, Hiveage, and Harvest. Zoho and FreshBooks also offer introductory functions for the basic needs of freelancers and contractors.

Startups and Small Businesses

Small businesses and startups require more than just basic features. To choose a suitable solution, be clear about your company’s business volume and whether you need added functionality like credit-card processing, payroll, and point-of-sale.

Factor in the growth of your business and select a scalable software system that can be easily enhanced with extra features such as advanced payroll and inventory. Ideal accounting programs for small businesses and startups are Zoho, LessAccounting, FreshBooks, and Xero.

If your small business has employees, then you need to be aware that most vendors charge extra for payroll processing, and the cost depends on the number of payroll periods and employees you have. You also need to be sure if you need to track hours worked as well as employee schedules.

If your employees get a commission based on their sales, then you need a platform that can track each employee’s sales. It should also offer a payroll feature that calculates local, state, and federal taxes. We recommend FreshBooks, Xero, Sage, and QuickBooks for small businesses with employees.

Tips to Select the Right Accounting Software

To help entrepreneurs and small businesses with a limited budget, many vendors offer affordable accounting solutions. You need to do thorough homework by making a shortlist of platforms that are within your budget, offer the functionality you require, and then sign up for their free trials.

Talk to the vendor and clarify whether they provide help for installation of the system and whether they assist in migrating your existing data to their software solution.


Get feedback from your accountant about the features of each software app during the free trial to ensure you select the perfect system for your company’s needs. For your business requirements we recommend the following three picks and summarize their main features for your benefit:

1. QuickBooks

Intuit’s QuickBooks is a popular and widely used accounting software solution. This system is used by more than 130,000 accountants to manage their clients’ taxes and books. This means that your accountant is also likely to have user experience with this product.

The software is supported by an active user community whose help you can take to resolve issues on your own and to interact with other company owners. Its online edition has been enhanced greatly over time and has become a full-service solution that is yet easy to use. The parent company also provides other well-known products like Mint and TurboTax.

2. Sage

Sage One is designed for contractors, freelancers, and small businesses. The app is streamlined for easy use. The company has been in business for more than 30 years and operates in more than 24 countries including the US.

Sage offers suitable software systems for businesses of all sizes and we recommend this vendor for growing companies that need an accounting product that can keep up with their business expansion. The vendor also provides suitable versions for a range of company types including international corporations.

3. FreshBooks

FreshBooks stands out because it offers a clean interface that is easy to use and navigate. Plus, the app integrates smoothly with other business systems. The vendor offers helpful and responsive customer support. This solution is ideal for service-oriented companies such as consulting as it offers limited inventory tools.

A notable benefit is your customers can pay with their credit card using FreshBooks’ invoices feature. The vendor offers four pricing packages and they all support unlimited time tracking, expenses, and invoicing.

Other Accounting Systems

Apart from the above three products, we also provide the lowdown on a few other good quality accounting solutions that you can check out:

1. Free Programs

Wave is a widely used free accounting platform. It stands out among free online apps because it offers unlimited invoicing. You can pay for features such as advanced support, credit card processing, and payroll. Wave is a good solution for small businesses with a limited number of employees as well as contractors and freelancers.

We also recommend Billy if you want another free option. It is similar to Wave as you can pay for options such as recurring invoices, custom invoices, and quotes and estimates. Plus, for a monthly fee, you can use the app’s open API to create your own integrations.

2. Enterprise Systems

Leading accounting solutions for large companies include Intacct, QuickBooks Enterprise, and NetSuite. Intacct is employed by more than 11,000 customers to handle their financials. This tool is ideal if your company is planning to go public and issue an IPO. QuickBooks Enterprise is a good option if you have up to 30 users and it offers advanced reporting, inventory, payment, and payroll features.

If your company is already using QuickBooks, you can easily upgrade to the Enterprise version to manage business growth. NetSuite provides a complete range of features including compatible professional services automation (PSA), eCommerce, CRM, and ERP options.

3. One Up

This solution is designed for small businesses and was originally produced for mobile devices. It is ideal for entrepreneurs and business owners who do not have accountancy knowledge. The platform can handle basic inventory, create quotes and invoices, track due bills, and import bank statements.

One Up can smoothly integrate with a range of third-party applications including Square Register. Subscription cost for one user is less than $10 and you can pay extra to add unlimited users.

4. inDinero

inDinero is also designed for small businesses and you can use it to calculate and file your company’s taxes. Pricing rates are calculated on what you use. The company was launched in 2009 and small business owners can easily manage their company’s books using this single software app.

Bottom line

We hope this article has given you the required information on the top accounting software solutions for US-based businesses and freelancers. We recommend you sign up for the free trials of your shortlisted apps to get a firsthand look at their features before you invest your hard-earned money in any of them.

Give us your feedback on this article and recommend other accounting systems that you have found to be good in your experience.

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