The Best Accounting Apps for Simplifying SMB Financial Management in 2023

An accounting program is among those necessary in every business. Effectively tracking bank balances and accounts payable and receivable are critical tasks for firms of any size but particularly for small and midsize businesses (SMB) that don’t possess the capital and resources of larger organizations.

Deploying the right accounting package can make a big difference for smaller companies seeking to focus their time and energy servicing customers. Instead of requiring they distance themselves from customer-facing operations, leading SMB accounting solutions permit business owners and managers to efficiently administer accounting and finance tasks, while also freeing time to better and more directly service the organization’s mission.

Several software providers offer accounting platforms designed to simplify daily SMB operations. Here’s a look at a half-dozen leading accounting packages that can assist SMBs in managing budgeting, banking, invoicing and payment responsibilities without having to become a finance wizard. Note, all pricing is based on annual subscription rates and any active discounts offered in spring 2023.


Targeting freelancers, self-employed workers and small businesses (including those with employees and contractors), FreshBooks is an easily learned and administered online accounting and bookkeeping program. Offering all the accounting functions most SMBs require, FreshBooks fulfills standard accounting, bookkeeping, estimating, expense management, invoicing, mileage tracking, payment tracking, project management, estimating and proposal features, reporting and time tracking.

As is proving true with numerous software solutions, the more interconnected a program is, the more effective the offering typically proves. This fact is particularly applicable for cloud-based programs whose usefulness and potency are extended when they can pass and receive information to and from other operations software and solutions. FreshBooks is no exception. With support for more than 100 integrations, the software can communicate with such other platforms as Acuity Scheduling, to assist clients seeking to book appointments, and SurePayroll, which enables paying employees.

There are four FreshBooks pricing plans: Lite ($122.40 per year with promotional pricing versus the regular price of $204), Plus ($216 versus $360), Premium ($396 versus $660) and Select (custom pricing applies).

The Lite package targets freelancers and smaller firms and permits sending unlimited invoices but only for up to five clients, while also offering unlimited expenses and estimates, receiving credit card payments and tracking sales tax. Other Lite features include a performance dashboard, business health reports and mobile mileage tracking.

The Plus plan extends the ability to send invoices to up to 50 customers. Other features included within the upgrade are double-entry accounting reports, bank reconciliation and accountant access.

The Premium subscription includes several important upgrades, including project profitability forecasts and accounts payable functionality. The upgrade also adds automatic capturing of receipts.

The Select plan adds the ability to add a variety of features. From subscription-based payments and secure credit card storage to another team member account and data migration services, the Select subscription adds features likely to be used by growing or more established businesses.

Since the software is entirely cloud-based, there’s no need to download and install any native Windows or Mac application. You can also use FreshBooks on smartphones and tablets, as the company maintains Android and Apple hardware apps, too.

The program also offers support via a live human, as opposed to just message boards or email. That said, the developer maintains a robust help center to assist customers preferring a self-help approach, and a dedicated account manager is included with a Select subscription.


Boldly marketed as “the world’s simplest accounting solution,” Kashoo especially targets freelancers, sole practitioners, contractors and other small businesses with its emphasis on automation and the elimination of repetitive manual tasks. The company offers a pair of options: Kashoo and trulysmall.accounting.

Both platforms offer invoicing, payment collecting, accounting, transaction tracking and reporting capabilities, but there are important differences. At just one dollar for the first year (regular price $216), trulysmall.accounting permits adding a logo to and tracking invoices, accepting payments and employing a standard chart of accounts. The first-tier option also includes income and expense tracking, a mobile Apple app and direct support.

Kashoo, however, at two dollars a year for the first year (regularly $324), adds important upgrades. With Kashoo, businesses can also customize invoice designs, print checks, customize their chart of accounts, access advanced (as opposed to just basic) business reports, manage projects and ingrate accounting information with payroll.

Numerous reports are supported within Kashoo, too. The program’s history report, for example, confirms transactions and helps service audit trail requirements. The platform also supports integrations, such as with payroll services and credit card processors, further extending its ability to optimize financial processes.

The company maintains an article-based help center. Telephone and email-based support is also available.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a mainstay standard. With numerous subscription options, everyone from sole proprietors and freelancers to larger SMBs can choose a plan matching their needs. And, while Intuit’s cloud-based offering may not prove the easiest to navigate, the platform’s capabilities are extensive and unlikely to miss any SMB’s specific requirements.

The online accounting package extends an almost exhaustive list of features. Subscribers can manage invoices and payments, administer accounts payable responsibilities, track expenses, discover tax deductions, perform job costing, track inventory, process 1099s for contractors, produce estimates, review audit trails and record mileage. The platform also supports producing custom reports, integrating with payroll services, forecasting cash flow, tracking and entering time and capturing receipts. Additional options include virtual bookkeeping services, point-of-sale capabilities and e-commerce components. Numerous third-party integrations—such as with popular CRM and document management platforms, are also supported.

Four QuickBooks Online subscriptions are available: Simple Start ($15 a month with promotional pricing), Essentials ($27.50 versus $55), Plus ($42.50 versus $85) and Advanced ($100 versus $200). All subscribers can access help information within the QuickBooks Support center, while the Advanced plan adds a dedicated account team. Additional QuickBooks assistance is available from the active QuickBooks Community forums, as well as online and by telephone, not to mention a wealth of independent ProAdvisors (for a fee).

The Simple Start subscription includes all the basics, but there are some important limitations, such as support for just a single user. Among the plan’s features, though, are income and expense management, invoicing and payment management, general reporting, sales tax administration and estimating capabilities.

The Essentials plan adds support for up to three users, bill management and the ability to enter time to projects, among other elements, while the Plus option includes support for up to five users, inventory management and project profitability tracking. The Advanced subscription adds advanced business analytics, on-demand training, workflow automation, customized access controls and employee expense administration, in addition to other features.

Thanks to QuickBooks Online’s cloud-based approach, small business owners’ daily accounting operations become easier because they can access the platform online from most any Internet-connected computer without having to install local software and using most any popular web browser. As should be expected with any online accounting solution, firms can connect their bank accounts to further save time. QuickBooks Online’s capacity to automate many common tasks—such as routing invoices using approved workflows and automatically notifying customers when their payments are received—adds yet additional efficiencies.

Wave Accounting

Suitable for freelancers, self-employed professionals and small consultants and contractors, the Wave accounting system provides free invoicing, accounting and banking services. Using the accounting services, small shops receive unlimited income and expense tracking, unlimited partner and accountant users and standard accounting reports. Banking features include separating business and personal expenses and the ability to deposit checks and track income. A mobile app for Android and Apple users, meanwhile, is available to assist.

Fees apply for payment processing, payroll and advisor services, however. Using Wave’s payment solution, small operators can receive payments in just a few business days paying fees as low as one percent (for bank payments), 2.9 percent (for Visa and MasterCard payments) and 3.4 percent (for American Express transactions). The system is also compatible with Apple Pay. Payments automatically connect to the business’ Wave account, which helps streamline daily accounting operations.

Payroll services start at $6 per employee and independent contractor, while a $40-monthly fee also applies for tax-service states (the fee is just $20 for self-service states). Bookkeeping support runs $149 a month, while accounting and one-time payroll coaching packages begin at $379.

With the free accounting and banking services understandably come a few potential drawbacks. Wave boasts no audit trail nor numerous third-party integrations. Instead, the platform encourages customers to use its own payment system and payroll and bookkeeping services, tasks many micro businesses may prove more than willing to offload in exchange for the corresponding fees, thereby enabling them to focus on their core operations.

Support is also limited, as help is provided on a self-service basis when using the free accounting and invoicing services. However, a paid accounting coach option that includes an hour of live coaching and 30 days of unlimited email support and live chat service is available beginning at $229. Payroll, payments and advisor customers receive additional assistance options, including email support and live chat, via a chatbot, weekdays during regular business hours.


Xero offers an online accounting and banking solution for sole proprietors, self-employed professionals, operations that are small but growing and even mature SMBs. While the provider also offers cloud-based software for accountants and bookkeepers, its SMB services cater to smaller firms, including those operating within the construction and farming industries, as well as landlords, nonprofits and startups. By focusing on essential tasks, eliminating the need for desktop software and providing key add-ons, the company assists SMB customers in minimizing the time required to properly manage their books.

There are three Xero pricing plans. The subscriptions are named for an SMB’s growth stages: Early ($3.25 per month to start but regularly $13), Growing ($9.25 versus $37) and Established ($17.50 versus $70). Every plan includes the ability to connect bank accounts and accept payments and purchase orders, simple inventory management, reporting and sales tax functionality.

The Early plan, targeted at single practitioner shops and those just starting out, permits sending quotes and up to 20 invoices, tracking and paying up to five bills, reconciling bank transactions, capturing expenses using Hubdoc and forecasting cash flow. The Gusto payroll service is an optional upgrade that, when enabled, can automatically update corresponding Xero accounts.

The Growing plan eliminates invoice and bill payment limits. The Established subscription adds support for multiple currencies, the ability to manage projects, expense management and cash-flow and financial health analytics. Audit log information is also available using the platform’s history and notes report.

Xero maintains a support center that primarily depends upon previously published articles and discussions to address customer questions. Subscribers can also contact Xero support by submitting a case using a provided online portal. The free and unlimited online assistance is provided around the clock as part of a customer’s subscription.

In addition to supporting a wide range of third-party integrations—including from Square and Stripe payment processing, Chaser invoice processing and HubSpot CRM—the company also offers a mobile Xero accounting app. The mobile platform is available for both Android and Apple users.

Zoho Books

Structured to streamline accounting processes via an easily accessed online platform, workflow automations and cross-department collaboration, Zoho Books offers a feature-rich platform and a host of subscription plans targeting a range of business needs. Capabilities include accounts receivable (invoicing and payment processing) and payable (purchase orders, expense management and payment tracking) responsibilities, inventory management, banking functionality, audit trails, time tracking, contact management and reporting.

The online accounting solution’s usefulness is further extended by its support for dozens of apps and integrations—including with Microsoft 365 apps, Slack and numerous Zoho tools—including Zoho CRM and Zoho Inventory—that further assist administering a business and smoothing accounting practices. Activity logs support tracking audit trails, while other reports enable confirming profit and loss, cash flow and retainer details.

Overall, there are a half-dozen Zoho Books subscription options in the US: Free (no charge for operations with less than $50,000 in annual revenue), Standard ($15 per organization per month), Professional ($40), Premium ($60), Elite ($120) and Ultimate ($240). Plans start with support for a single user and grow all the way to accommodating 15.

The Free plan extends a comprehensive list of features, including invoices and payments (as well as customized and recurring invoices), support for multiple languages, banks and credit card accounts, bank reconciliation, reports, Stripe and PayPal gateway payment compatibility and support via email. Other included capabilities are 1099 contractor management, credit notes and expense and mileage tracking.

The Standard platform adds sales tax tracking, project support and the ability to send up to 5,000 invoices annually (whereas the Free version is limited to 1,000). The Professional plan adds, among other elements, sales and purchase orders, workflow rules, validation capabilities and sales and timesheet approvals. Premium adds support for a custom domain and vendor portal, budgeting, custom modules and reports and Zoho and Twilio integration support, among other features, while Elite and Premium introduce support for Shopify stores, warehouse management and advanced analytics, as well as other benefits.

Various add-ons are available, too. For example, additional users can be added to subscriptions other than the Free plan for just $2.50 per user per month. Advanced autoscans are another option, with up to 50 running just an additional $8 per month.

A mobile app is also available for Android and Apple users. The platform supports tracking cash flow and monitoring spending, among other features.

Email support is provided to Free subscribers. Those selecting the Standard plan on up also receive voice and chat support.

Which Is Best For Your Business?

Selecting an accounting plan that’s best for your business can prove confusing, especially with so many bookkeeping and related components—including payroll—available. The problem is compounded by the fact that, once added, corresponding workflows become difficult to change.

If you need help choosing or optimizing your organization’s accounting package, drop us a line. Louisville Geek boasts almost two decades’ experience assisting SMBs with their accounting packages. Call us at 502-897-7577 or email [email protected].