Small business owners, it might be time to consider an off-the-shelf solution to your bookkeeping needs. The problem is: There are a plethora of choices. Like choosing between Power Bi and Tableau for data vis software, it depends on what type of commerce with which you make your living. We’ve narrowed-down 4 of the top small business accounting software packages. Three live in the “cloud.” One you actually install on your business office computer. Check-out the chart. Afterwards, we’ll give you a little more detail on the quartet:


For small to medium size businesses, QuickBooks offers a total accounting solution. Since Intuit has been around since the ’90′s, this online version further demonstrates an expertise, which seamlessly integrates with mobile devices. In the chart above, we quoted the bare-bones cost. However, there are three levels you can subscribe to: Simple Start, Essentials or Plus. To discover more about the trio, here’s a link detailing expenses and features.

There are limitations to all three offerings. Payroll functionality. That’ll cost you an additional $31.20 per month. (If you are in the market for an accounting and payroll combo read this)  Another crummy thing is that just five users can access QuickBooks Online at the same time. Not a good thing for even a medium size business where there are separate people working on accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the overall accounting.QuickBooks has a major advantage over its competitors.  There is a huge, huge ecosystem of people that know how to use Quickbooks.


Those who aren’t yet batting in the big league, FreshBooks does a good job for a small business owner. Another plus is the learning curve. It will not take-up as much time to figure-out as QuickBooks. Aside from the starter package, if you want more features, upgrade to the Mighty Oak package for $39.95. Get the scoop by tripping-over to FreshBooks website. Two big drawbacks we’ve found is that its price; much steeper than the QuickBooks starter solution. Additionally, if you’re looking to grow, best to think QuickBooks. Don’t want to have to meddle with migrating to the Intuit solution down-the-line.


Some people are not quite sold on the cloud. They like to have something they can (somewhat) hold in their hands. Sage 50 could be for them. Be forewarned, though, setting it up is not child’s play. Likewise a drawback is Sage 50′s limited remote access. Those who have a smartphone fetish, this may not be your bailiwick. Sage 50 does the trick for those who know the ins-and-outs of accounting. Beginners may experience head explosions. Go here for more on this product, formerly known as Peachtree Accounting.


On a tight budget? Wave fits the bill. As we mentioned above, it’s free. Basic, but gratis. A dose of honesty is in order at this point. Wave ain’t going to do it for you unless you’re a one-person shop. Sure, it costs nothing to use. But for micro-businesses who need payroll features, there’s a price tag — 5-bucks a month and four-dollars per employee for the first 10 workers. After that, the charges drop to $1 per employee. Credit card payments will be billed at 2.9% of the transaction, plus 30-cents.The biggest distraction we found were the internal advertising junk integrated into your dashboard. Hey, that’s why it’s free. Bottom line: Those who simply need to fling-out a couple of invoices, get your online payments and do Bookkeeping 101 stuff, Wave is worth a shot. Click here for the list of features.

To repeat, Wave is for really simple bookkeeping. Other than that, it won’t cut the butter for most small business owners.