Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses of 2024

Best overall free accounting software

Wave

Starting At 

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $16 

Consider it if you’re a small business with simple accounting needs that are generally concentrated in sending invoices and collecting payment. You’ll need to choose the paid plan if you want to enable clients to pay online directly through your invoice.

Pros


Intuitive, customizable invoicing capabilities compete with those of more robust accounting solutions.

Cons


Lacks features that quickly growing companies need, like audit trails.

Must subscribe to Wave’s Pro plan or other paid services (payroll, payments, advisor, etc.) to receive customer support from a human

No third-party integrations, mileage tracking feature or ability to accept in-person card payments.

Zoho Books

Starting At 

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20, $50, $70, $150, $275. 

Consider it if you’re just starting out on your small-business journey but anticipate substantial growth over time. (It’s our top pick for startup accounting software.) If you’re tech savvy and tend to work on the go, you may benefit from Zoho’s mobile app and unique features.

Pros


Less expensive than some competitors; free plan available for businesses with less than $50k in annual revenue.

Email support in free plan; phone and chat support in paid plans.

Rich feature set includes excellent invoicing, inventory management, workflow rules and a capable mobile app.

Add accounting widgets to your phone’s home screen; track time using your Apple Watch.

Cons


Fewer third-party integrations and reports than some competitors.

No plan includes more than 15 users (can add additional users for a fee).

Best free accounting software for Macs

ZipBooks

Starting At 

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $15, $35, custom. 

Consider it if you prefer to do your work on a Mac and/or if you already use Square or PayPal to accept payments, since ZipBooks can seamlessly connect with those platforms to enable online payments with your invoicing.

Pros


Send unlimited invoices and add expenses.

Unlimited customer and vendor management.

Free plan includes direct integration with Square and PayPal for payment processing.

Cons


Free plan lets users connect to only one bank account.

Limited to one user in the free plan.

Free plan doesn’t include live customer support.

Odoo

Starting At 

$0

For use of a single app. Additional pricing tiers per user (per month): $38.90, $58.40. 

Consider it if your business needs multiple software services, such as CRM, HR, point of sale (POS) or others. Try Odoo’s accounting app on its own for free, and then upgrade to a paid plan for access to Odoo’s full library of apps that smoothly integrate with one another.

Pros


Vast library of directly integrated apps means the software can grow with your business.

Open-source model encourages regular testing and improvement of the software.

Cons


Paid plan is required to access the full list of features for most apps and any additional apps.

Phone support is only available for database emergencies.

Best for freelancers and self-employed professionals

Brightbook

Consider it if you run your own business and don’t pay employees. Brightbook’s free accounting software is best suited for businesses of one to five employees, so either very small businesses or those who do freelance or contract work.

Pros


Run basic reports, like a profit and loss statement and tax report.

Cons


Does not use double-entry accounting.

Must manually import bank statements.

Best for inventory management

ProfitBooks

Starting At 

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20. 

Consider it if you’re a startup retail business on a budget with the need to carefully track and manage inventory.

Pros


Run more than 40 financial reports.

In-app chat and email support available.

Cons


Free plan capped at 25 invoices per month and can track no more than 25 products or services.

Free plan accommodates just one user.

Must manually import bank statements.

Best for desktop-based free accounting software

Manager

Starting At 

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $59 for cloud edition.  

Consider it if you prefer to locally install your accounting software on a single machine and don’t need to share access with colleagues or your accountant. If your access preferences change down the line, you can upgrade to Manager’s cloud edition.

Pros


Run reports, including a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, aged payables, aged receivables, cash flow statement.

Cons


Must upgrade to cloud edition to support multiple users.

Must manually import bank statements.

Best for open-source free accounting software

GnuCash

Consider it if you’re well-versed in coding (or have a team that is) and prefer to work on a desktop.

Pros


Open-source software is customizable, according to your business’s needs.

Run reports — like a balance sheet and profit and loss statement — and display results as a bar chart, pie chart or scatter plot.

Supports double-entry accounting.

Cons


Less automated than some competitors. Checkbook-style register can make entering transactions tedious.

Not capable of multiuser access.

Support is only available via chat and email forums and user guides; no dedicated customer support team.

How we determined the best free accounting software

NerdWallet independently reviews accounting software products before determining our top picks. We collect the data for our software ratings from products’ public-facing websites and from company representatives. Information is gathered on a regular basis and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy.

NerdWallet’s accounting software ratings favor products that are easy to use, reasonably priced, have a robust feature set and can grow with your business. The best accounting software received top marks when evaluated across 10 categories and more than 30 subcategories. Learn more about how we rate small-business accounting software.

These ratings are meant to provide clarity in the decision-making process, but what’s best for your business will depend on its size, growth trajectory and which features you need most. We encourage you to research and compare multiple accounting software products before choosing one.NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

How to choose free accounting software for a small business

Even though you’re not investing money when picking a free accounting software platform, you are investing your time. Plus, changing apps may mean inputting your financial data each time.

Consider these factors when deciding which free accounting software is best for your business.

Free accounting software features

Free accounting software should have some combination of the following features:

  • Income and expense tracking. 

  • The ability to automatically import your bank transactions so that you can categorize them.

  • Third-party integrations or in-house software options for payments, payroll, etc. 

However, it often lacks features you’d find in more robust small-business accounting software — think inventory management, advanced reporting and live support. If a free system doesn’t have everything you require, you’ll need to consider add-ons, upgraded versions or a different product altogether.

Mobile app and cloud access

Most accounting software is cloud-based, meaning it’s accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. If this level of access is important to you, be sure to look for platforms that have robust mobile websites or accounting apps to help you manage your money from wherever you are. If you plan on only using your accounting software from a single computer, though, a desktop-based option may work as well.

Scalability

Your accounting needs might be modest today, but they may not stay that way forever. If you think your business will grow in the future, make sure your accounting software offers higher-tier plans or add-ons that can scale with your company.

Ease of sharing with your bookkeeper or accountant

Your team of financial professionals will need to be able to access your books easily and with minimal risk of error. Check with your bookkeeper or accountant before choosing software. While accountants typically work with paid products like QuickBooks Online or Xero, they may be familiar with some of the free ones listed here, too.

Is free software right for your small business?

Free business software can be the right choice if it covers your financial, payroll, inventory, sales or other needs. The best choice will depend on your specific industry, budget and growth trajectory. But if a free product doesn’t make it easier to run your business, a paid option will likely be the better choice to save you time and help ensure accuracy. You can usually opt for free trials of paid versions before committing to get a better idea of how user-friendly and capable the software is.

If you’re interested in exploring other free business software options, NerdWallet has put together picks for the best free software across a range of business needs, including the following:

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