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Online Accounting Software Review and Comparison

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I'm going to do an online accounting software review and comparison and try and help you figure out what's best for your bookkeeping needs. However, I first have to define the problems that are trying to be solved.

This is going to be an ongoing document, that I'll continue to update as I get more information. So please do ask questions, add comments, give suggestions in the comments section below and I'll incorporate it into this document. This document may get so big that I'll split it up into separate posts. Remember, it's about the best online accounting software for your needs, not necessarily what the "best" software is. I'll try to do an overall comparison of all the accounting software once I complete the individual reviews.

This article was last updated  September 20th, 2013.
This is important to note, since software changes so rapidly, the facts in this article can and will change.

I'm currently reviewing various online accounting software providers, so will post them as I get them done, then do a roundup of all of them. This essentially means redoing a few months of bookkeeping for each software provider... it's going to take a bit of time.

Here's my dilemma. I've been trying to help myself and my bookkeeping clients work on the same set of files. I've traditionally been a QuickBooks user (have been since 2000). The old method of doing this was to physically go to wherever the computer with the software was. This was fraught with a few downsides.

The old year 2000 method of doing your accounting using bookkeeping software

  1. Travel time: to get from one location to another.
  2. Scheduling: had to setup a time to meet, taking time out of the bookkeeper's and the client's day.
  3. One software license: you need to have a license for each computer the software was on, which means extra money, extra hassle to install, and need to be on the same computer operating system.
  4. Different software versions: both parties, bookkeeper and client needed to have the same version of QuickBooks. If one party had a newer version of the software, it would update the file and then the party with the older software couldn't use it.
  5. Portability of bookkeeping file: way back when (and even now honestly), the files could not be emailed, so you needed to physically get the file on something portable, like a CD.
  6. Versions of bookkeeping files: if the bookkeeping file was transferred over to a bookkeeper to work on, the client couldn't touch their books, without the risk of having two different versions of the same file.

From 2000, some things progressed over the next decade which brings us to 2010. There were a few nice additions that cut down on the work.

Some 2010 solutions to problems from 2000

  1. Scanning: digitally scanning in your documents to an electronic format was possible, thus potentially eliminating the need to physically take all the receipts from a location or having to work at a location where all the receipts were located.
  2. Networking: if you had some tech savvy people, you could virtually network computers. This was quite complicated, but cool if you could get it to work. If you were a business that had multiple people that needed to use the same software on a daily basis, this may have been a worthwhile and necessary expense and effort.
  3. Emailing large files: services like yousendit arrived, allowing you to email large files. This worked and still works.
  4. File hosting / sharing service: Dropbox was the first big name on the scene. Dropbox was magical (and still kind of is to me) because it allowed you to sync one file across multiple computers and operating systems. You could even access your files via the web. It's free and lets people share documents easily.
  5. Online Accounting Software: companies were starting to develop software that lived online
  6. Remote Desktop: Remote desktop, whether through using something like the Windows based "Remote Desktop" or a service such as logmein allowed you to connect to your computer remotely. This meant you could work from and get access to your computer from anywhere.
  7. Digital bank downloads: you could download your digital file statements from your banks to make reconciling and data-entry easier.

New problems introduced around 2010

  1. Networking: unless you had a specialist on call at a moment's notice, sooner or later your network would break, leaving you stuck with having to digitally send files back and forth or physically going to a location
  2. Size of files: as it became possible to email attachments with bigger sizes, the sizes of files grew. So if you had a small company file, it was possible to email files, but this didn't last for long once your file size got bigger.
  3. Duplicate files: when sending files was possible, the problem of versions became even bigger. Who has the master file(s)? With a file hosting / sharing service like Dropbox, conflicts became an issue, since QuickBooks is database driven. Conflicts means that there is more than one version of the file. For regular non-database files, this happens when two people work on the file at the same time. However, I've noticed with QuickBooks, there are conflict issues even when two people are not using the file at the same time.
  4. Digital and paper filing system: Now that some transactions were done purely online, and receipts and invoices were sent digitally, you have to contend with two filing systems, a digital one and paper one. For people who hate filing, this is twice the headache. Paper in some ways was easy, because you had one master paper copy. With the mix of digital, you could have multiple versions of the same document. Which version was the real one, which one do you keep?
  5. Remote Desktop: Working at your desktop remotely is slow and buggy. You drop your connection and have to reconnect. You click on something or type something and there's a few second lag. Very frustrating and difficult to work with. However, if you only needed to do a little bit of work, this could be acceptable. You also have an issue with security. When someone uses a remote desktop application to get to your computer, they have access to everything on your computer. This is a big risk.
  6. Digital bank downloads: some many download formats. If you were lucky, you'd get the right format to work with QuickBooks (QBO) and it could work. This was not always the case. Despite entering some data for you, you still needed to verify the digital download with your actual paper or digital documents (your receipts, invoices, etc...). If you made an error, you couldn't easily undo the digital download.

What I need my modern online accounting software to do

  1. Access from anywhere, by anyone, regardless of device, platform, operating system: this means that your accounting software is not dependent on if you are MAC or PC, whether you have the latest operating system, whether your computer is networked or not, even whether you are on a desktop, and where you physically are. Your data is truly mobile.
  2. No more file version problems: there is only one file, the online file, that's the master file! No more emailing those files back and forth, no more worrying about who has the master file.
  3. No more software version problems: there is only one software version for every... single... user. It is always up-to-date
  4. Better user interface: QuickBooks was created in the 90's. The world of bookkeeping and accounting was different back then. Writing checks was the norm and online shopping was not to be trusted and rare. This was before the dot-com boom and bust. Successful software remains powerful while being extremely user friendly. The more easy and intuitive, the better.
  5. Syncing with bank / Import of banking datas: All the electronic information is out there. Wouldn't it be nice if your bank and your accounting software talked to each other? Reconciling is the process of matching your bank records to your accounting / bookkeeping records. Computers can do this for humans.
  6. Double-entry accounting: I want to see the proper method of bookkeeping / accounting with a general ledger that can be used for any non-standard, difficult, or custom scenarios you'll inevitably run into. Ease of use is nice, and I'd like to have the majority of transactions done through a nice user interface that non-bookkeepers or accountants can understand. However, anything can be done with a general ledger, so it's nice to have that in case the easy way doesn't work.
  7. Document attachment: Since it is easy to digitize your records, it should be an easy task to attach your records (your proof) to each transaction you enter into your software. It should be as easy and effortless as dragging and dropping a file to attach to an email in Gmail (get picture).
  8. Data export: Your records should be your records. If I don't like the software, I should be able to easily get my data. If your company goes out of business, I should get my data. If I no longer need the service, I should get my data. Get it, I should get MY DATA. My data should also be in an common format that can be read on any computer. Proprietary databases suck.
  9. Integration: It's nice to have all the features you could want built into your online accounting software, but it's an impossibility and unnecessary to get everything. Therefore, the better integration with complimentary services, the better.
  10. Auto enter my data: Why am I manually inputting all my bookkeeping transactions when there's digital records of all of them?

Reader requests

I've added this section to add features that readers have suggested they would like to see that's important to them.

  1. Multi-currency: many modern businesses now sell and buy in more than one currency.
  2. Import of existing bookkeeping / accounting data: Any existing business has legacy data that would be nice to import into their new software (for QuickBooks users, LessAccounting does this).
  3. Customer support: is there help available when you need it?

The reality of post-2010 online accounting software:

  1. Access from anywhere, by anyone, regardless of device, platform, operating system: this is mostly a reality. Different online accounting software services are better than others. As long as you have a web browser, the software should work. There are some native applications for mobile devices (whether iPad, iPhone, or Android) that make it easier to use on those devices, but you still have access through those device's web browser. The native app makes it easier.
  2. No more file version problems: this really has been solved. There is only one online file.
  3. No more software version problems: this also has been solved for web browsers. The up-to-date software is the one you are working on in your web browser. This may not be so true for native apps on mobile devices.
  4. Syncing with banks: this kind of works, sometimes. How well it works depends on the online accounting software provider and the bank. The best case is that your bank and online accounting software love each other and once set-up, you don't do a thing. The worst-case, your online accounting software have not even been on a blind date and there's no getting the two together. You can't even use the online accounting software because to function, it needs to talk to your bank.
  5. Document attachment: I have seen no good solution for this I have seen it work, it's in It must be a difficult engineering feat, since no one can do this or do it fully within it's software. I've found out that kashflow integrates with dropbox.
  6. Data export: there are two types of data you'd want. 1. The actual software database file (in case of some server meltdown). I don't think this is possible to get from any service. 2. The exported copies of the data. You can't recreate your books easily from this file, but it has all the information that can be read in any spreadsheet or text editor. This export file is available in varying degrees of goodness from the different online accounting software provider.
  7. Integration: There is some good integration out there, but there can always be more. The most important one is with banks and merchant service providers (PayPal for example). This should be essential integration. The next set would be to integrate well with e-commerce stores, since more and more sales are going online. Lastly, with complimentary services such as an invoicing specific program (like FreshBooks which kind of is an e-commerce store in a way) and payroll.
  8. Auto enter my data: This is the main touted benefit of some the online accounting software out there. As long as your bank and your online accounting software talk to each other, this can work quite well.

The downsides of post-2010 online accounting software:

  1. No internet connection: if you don't have an internet connection, you can't get access to your data. Yes, you can download your data from the good services, but still, you can't do any work on your files until you get your internet connection back.
  2. Always paying: some services are free, but as your business gets bigger, you'll probably find yourself subscribing and paying for some things. This is fine, but this also means that to keep your data up-to-date, you always need to be paying. Although, at the end of the day, if you decide to stop using the service, the good services light you export all your data to a common digital format (like CSV) that will let you keep all your digital records, even if you don't have the software.
  3. Document attachments: your accounting needs to be backed up by proof. Attaching your proof to your bookkeeping records in your online accounting software is an absolutely necessary feature that no one is really doing as well as I'd like (although some do ok at this). This needs to be native feature, something that's not an add-on or plugin, but lives within the software itself. These files need to be accessible, downloadable, and named in smart manner (date, transaction id, name-whether vendor customer, etc..., amount). Names like 0358626342.pdf are no good.
  4. Syncing with banks: this is spotty, since not all banks works with all versions of software. It's kind of like Betamax vs. VHS. You can only use online accounting software that your bank works with. This is not entirely true for all software, and there are work-arounds, but there is definitely not a standard of banking information transfer amongst all banks and accounting software providers.
  5. Auto enter my data: sometimes this works well, sometimes not so well. It really depends on your online accounting software and it's workflow / user interface. The good ones let you find and easily delete duplicate entries, split transactions into different accounts, and recognize previous entries and record new ones in the same fashion.
  6. Double entry accounting: if you're not a bookkeeper / accountant, you may not know what this is. Essentially, it's the method by which all bookkeepers and accountants are taught to work with financial transactions. If the online accounting software doesn't do this, your bookkeeper / accountant will not like it and if you grow, you'll need to switch to software that does this. It should be noted that even though the software does this, it usually does this in the background, meaning you can still have a good user interface and work flow for those not familiar with bookkeeping and accounting.
  7. Are you picking the winner?: how long will your online accounting software provider last? With so many options out there, there's bound to be a thinning out of services where only a company or two emerge as the leader and go-to solution. Think Google for search or Facebook for social networks. Yes, there definitely are competitors, but they truly are the leaders and the standard. This is why data portability is so crucial. You don't want, and can't have, your data gone. You are required to keep your records by law.

What are some different online accounting software providers out there that are good for small and micro businesses?

It's important to define the target market of users. I didn't do this when I first wrote the article. Here's the rough demographic of the target user:

  • small or micro business
  • 1-100 employees (although more in the 1-10 employees range)
  • 1-5 people touching the books (the more people that need to touch the books, the more requirements for limited access for certain users, which requires more robust (read: expensive and complex) software
  1. Kashoo
  2. LessAccounting
  3. Xero
  4. Wave Accounting
  5. Outright
  6. Quickbooks Online US, Quickbooks Online Canadian, QuickBooks Online UK
  7. KashFlow
  8. Mint (not intended for business)
  9. FreshBooks (more invoicing than accounting, but in August 2012 started calling its services cloud accounting)
  10. ClearBooks
  11. FreeAgent
  12. Sage One US, Sage One UK, Sage One Ireland
  13. Intacct (suited for large small businesses and medium sized businesses - starting at a few hundred dollars a month, it's not designed / practical for micro and small businesses)

Topics I'll cover in my reviews

I've done up a full article on the evaluation criteria I'll use for the accounting software comparisons I'll be making.

The actual online accounting software reviews

I've realized the scope of this article is definitely bigger than a single post, so I'm going to break this up into different parts as I continue to collect information. Below is the list of what I plan to write on. As I get the articles posted, you will be able to click on them below.

  1. Kashoo review
  2. Wave Accounting review
  3. LessAccounting review
  4. Quickbooks Online review
  5. Xero review
  6. FreshBooks review
  7. FreeAgent review
  8. Mint review
  9. Outright review
  10. KashFlow review
  11. Indinero review
  12. ClearBooks review
  13. Why I'm really not digging QuickBooks Desktop, but QuickBooks Online US is cool... and what happened to QuickBooks Online UK and Canada?
  14. Why can't we easily digitally attach documents?
  15. When and why importing bank statements into your accounting software fails

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Nadia Ballard
April 11, 2012, 6:04 am

You should be looking at KashFlow too. UK based and by far the leader here. But also customer all over the world

    April 11, 2012, 6:12 am

    Ok, I'll add it. The dropbox integration looks like what I want for attaching digital attachments. I'll have to see how the implementation is. Thanks!

Peter Olson
April 11, 2012, 8:03 am

Greg… I would recommend adding Intacct <a href="http:// (” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(” target=”_blank”>( to your list. While it is targeted at mid-size companies (especially those that are outgrowing the capabilities of QuickBooks), it certainly works well for fast-growing smaller companies and seems to fit what you are looking for. And, with regards to attaching documents… Intacct allows you to attach supporting documents digitally to each transaction.

In addition to looking more closely at what Intacct has to offer, you might find this whitepaper useful for the broader article – "Evaluating and Contracting for Cloud Financials: Best Practices Considerations" –

I'd be happy to get you additional useful information on Intacct if that would be helpful.

    April 11, 2012, 9:12 am

    Thanks Peter, I'm going to check out intacct and the white paper!

Eric T. Wagner
April 16, 2012, 7:17 am

Howdy Greg.

Great post here with a ton of information. Is your current list above in order of preference? Or is it just random?

Awesome to have you share this wisdom. Really appreciate it… :-) Eric
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    April 16, 2012, 7:43 am

    Hi Eric,

    Glad you liked it. No, the list wasn't in order of preference, completely random. That being said, I'm personally leaning on Kashoo for my own needs and the needs of a few clients. I'm working on the full reviews (am almost done the complete Kashoo one). When I do that, I'll do in-depth reviews of each software and lay out the pros and cons of each.

    I personally like Kashoo since I found their user interface quite intuitive and easy to use, yet the behind-the-scenes accounting is solid and easily accessible (change log, general ledger, etc…). There are a few things they are missing, like inventory and budgeting, so if those are huge needs of yours, you might be better off with other software. If you're an existing QuickBooks user and are located in the US, QuickBooks Online can import your data, which is nice.

Marlene Hielema
April 16, 2012, 1:30 pm

Looking forward to seeing what you think of Kashoo. My accountant checked it out, said it looked good, and it's reasonably priced, at least it was when I last checked. I like that she can access my books without me having to give her a file, and that we are always working on the same version of the software – as you mentioned in your post.
My recent post Picnik is closing. What will you use now?

    April 17, 2012, 12:34 pm

    Here's what I think of Kashoo….

    Yeah, working on the same version is HUGE. I've gotten sick and tired of having to redo and recheck work because of version issues. Something that I've seen in Kashoo (and hope other software has) is the ability to track who did what and when.

May 1, 2012, 12:34 am

Hey Greg – I'm the non-accountant "guest" who posted on your Wave Acctg review. One other solution I wanted to ask about was InDinero <a href="http://(” target=”_blank”>( – when I first started exploring options, I signed up with them, but at the time they didn't have good reporting and even lacked a P&L statement. I think they have that now, but even so, it's not an accounting system per se. Do you have any experience with them? Would love to know your thoughts on this one.

    May 1, 2012, 8:45 am


    I haven't tried inDinero, but it's one that I was looking to review once I get the other reviews finished up. Sorry I can't further regarding InDinero at this time.

May 2, 2012, 9:09 pm

Appreciate all this thoughtful, hard work. I could not find any comparable reviews out there. More importantly, you solved my dilemma of having tried QB online simple start (at $12/mo), only to find that I would have to type manually every transaction because one can only import (forget about automatically connecting to a bank or credit card company) if one upgraded to $29.99 a month. In other words, spend $360 a year forever to duplicate function a $180 QB desktop version could accomplish. That's non-sensical for a small business. After reading your reviews, and knowing the importance of reconciliation, I signed up for Kashoo. 1.5 years of data already uploaded. Yes, I have to manually review the transactions, but thats 1/3 the time of typing them too. And, as you say, the interface is very straight-forward to work through. Between the time saving, the cost saving, and the time you saved me from figuring out other options, the process has been a benefit. Thanks again for all your work.

    May 2, 2012, 11:02 pm

    Glad I could help. I've been using Kashoo for one set of books and so far have been quite happy with it. I don't mind manually reviewing the transactions, since I think that's something that should be done in any case. I think and hope that they'll be able to add some pre-fill / memorization capability, in that if it's a purchase from the same place, Kashoo would remember it and suggest the appropriate expense account (and tax code if applicable). However, as it is now, it's not a big deal, but a would be nice to have.

Inger Lilja
May 7, 2012, 8:36 pm

Now that it looks like you are not limiting your online accounting review and comparison to strictly US solutions, I would love to hear your review of E-conomic as well. It is the biggest online accounting software in Europe with nearly 50,000 companies, localized in 9 different languages with users in 50+ countries. Free trial + online training – free api with the option to connect with a great variety of apps (with a Dropbox app just around the corner). As you may have guessed, I work for E-conomic myself, so let me know if I you need more info :)
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    May 9, 2012, 12:40 am

    Hi Inger,

    Ok, I'll add E-conomic to my list of potential software to review. As you probably have seen, it does take me some time to review software, and I'm not compensated in any way for my reviews, so it will take a while to get through to check out all the software out there.

May 10, 2012, 3:36 am

I'm sure you have plenty to review, but I'd like to add another offering. This is a new program called the Perfect Accounting Tool. PAT just launched and it is unlike anything you've probably seen before. It was created specifically for small business owners to do their own accounting. It's multi-user (3 users in base account), browser based and all online.

Please take a few moments to look it over. We're interested in your opinions.

June 20, 2012, 11:05 pm

Hi there,

I'm sure you've already got a lot to review, but you may also want to look at FreeAgent – <a href="” target=”_blank”> We're UK-based but also have customers across the world, including many users in the U.S.

We're also specifically designed to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers, so please feel free to check us out. We'd love to hear what you think.

    June 20, 2012, 11:30 pm

    Yes, a lot to review! I'm behind on all the items I want to review, but do plan on trying out all the services out there.

June 28, 2012, 11:36 pm

Hi Greg:

Awesome summary of what a small business owner wants for an accounting system.

In your opinion, how does QuickBooks do with respect to the 20+ categories you are plannign to write about? I'm just wondering if the online tools have "enough" to run a business or if there are things that only desktop software can do at this point

    June 28, 2012, 11:42 pm

    Hi Jacqueline, it depends where you are and which version you are using. QuickBooks Online US (not the UK or Canadian versions) does all right. If you're used to desktop versions of QuickBooks, might be the way to go.

    I'm actually going to be launching a complete review next week.

      June 29, 2012, 1:04 am

      Thanks for the quick reply Greg!

      I actually use Simply Accounting (in Canada), desktop version. I am looking at the online accounting solutions but people keep telling me there are limitations to what you can do online and desktop is still much richer in functionality…

      I know you have more experienced with the desktop QuickBooks (which I was told is similar to Simply Accounting) so I was wondering how you felt about the online software overall compared to the desktop products.

      Maybe I should ask – will there be clients of yours that you won't switch over online? And if so why not?

      June 29, 2012, 4:05 am

      Hi Jacqueline,

      That's a whole post in itself, Desktop vs. Online.

      The quick summary is that for pure accounting functions, desktop is more feature-rich and functional than online.

      At the same time, online has certain features that desktop is lacking, such as not needing to install and update software, easier collaboration, work from anywhere, and automatic backup of data.

      I've been slowly switching over all my client to online, and keep in mind, my clients are 10 employees or less type of businesses. For larger businesses, that have a lot of systems and integration built around their accounting software, it'll be a slower switch.

      For learning curve, I'd say online wins over desktop solutions such as QuickBooks or Simply Accounting.

      In the end, the future is online. It may take a few years to switch over, but that's the trend. Think about applications like email. Sure, people still use desktop email programs, but I believe the majority of people now use email via their web browser or mobile app, and even desktop solutions provided syncing with cloud based solutions.

      June 29, 2012, 5:54 am

      Yaps, totally agree. Thanks again for replying!

July 3, 2012, 7:38 pm

Just…thank you. I need online, PC and Mac, Use Quickbooks now, but can't always be at the location of the desktop as I am a "one woman company". I sell, I produce, I deliver. Rely heavily on my iphone for emails (orders, shipment updates) when away from the office, but can't access my Quickbooks away from the office to verify orders/payments, etc.. Technology allows me to take my business with me when I vacation…except for accounting! I look forward to your reviews to make an online decision. Right now, a monthly access payment for Quickbooks is not something I'm willing to pay. Thanks for sharing your research with all of us.

August 22, 2012, 5:08 am

This post could not be more awesome. Accounting softward changes so rapidly it's difficult to find up to date info. Thanks for taking the time to do this and share what you learn. Can't wait for your reviews of outright, indinero and freshbooks (which just rebranded itself as cloud accounting, not just invoicing).

Thanks Greg.

    August 22, 2012, 8:15 am

    Thanks Marc. I have the xero review coming out shorty. Freshbooks is going to be after that (and yes, interesting about their rebranding).

August 22, 2012, 4:51 pm

Hi Greg, your review timing could be perfect for us. We are just researching new software to use from the start of our next financial year (Nov 1st 2012). we are a small business in the UK.

A real key criteria for us would be a good import functionality for OFX files. Do you have an opinion on which software offers the best functionality for this? – would be great if you could highlight any of the unreviewed tools which you know offer a good solution.

I've bookmarked this page and currently reading through all your reviews so far!

Many thanks for the information, its at exactly the level of detail I need.

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Stephen Vardy
August 27, 2012, 9:27 pm

My difficulty is that I have about 1000 inventory items – I am mostly trapped in QB offline. I would be a Kashoo user in a heart beat if they had inventory at the level of QB.

I have just stumbled across Levion which provides online access to QB desktop.
Seems like an interesting concept.
80% of these startups will be gone in 5yrs.
Tax records are 7yrs
Levion manipulates QB desktop without affecting the longevity of data etc – QB desktop continues as normal.
The Levion blog says the fee will be $10 monthly (+ your annual QB software fee)

I have yet to try it
Next month I will have a go
Mac> Parallels> QB> Levion>online – interesting data flow.


August 28, 2012, 11:18 am

Hmmm…. never heard of Levion before. I'd be interested to hear how it goes Stephen.

September 1, 2012, 5:25 am

There's one more big name you missed : Sage One

    September 2, 2012, 12:47 am

    That's funny, because in all my searching around, I've never seen Sage mentioned for online accounting software (although I know them well in the desktop accounting side of things). I'll add them to my list (although they don't have a version for me in Canada, so I might need to try the US version).

September 2, 2012, 6:34 am

Have you heard of Avanquest Bookkeeper software? I've been looking into that and wondered if you'd heard about it.

    September 2, 2012, 1:01 pm

    Sorry LeeAnne, I've never heard of Avanquest.

September 3, 2012, 2:08 pm

Have you considered adding to your review? I know there are too many apps out there to review them all, but this one looks very promising.

    September 4, 2012, 11:54 am

    Never heard of skyclerk. The integration with shoeboxed looks interesting. It's starting to seem that there are more online accounting software companies to review than I have days in a year :)

Stephen Vardy
September 3, 2012, 4:47 pm

Skyclerk is early alpha when you look inside
Kashoo is 1000% more developed
Try Skyclerk in 6-12 months
No invoices nor taxes at this point
Just a balance between income and expenses.


September 5, 2012, 12:54 am

What application do you rate the highest so far for under $20 per month ?

    September 5, 2012, 3:39 am

    @FLM, it really depends on your needs. I want to put together a more comparison of all the accounting software I've reviewed so that people can see which software is better at what.

    For $20 or under, Kashoo would be my choice.

September 5, 2012, 9:39 am

I appreciate what you are doing. I tried to do my own evaluation and decided on Outright. I regret my choice now and I am going with Kashoo. Outright turned out to be to bare bones for me and I would expect that to be true for others. I heard that Outright was by Go Daddy, but they still have a long way to go.
The deal breaker was that Outright cannot help me calculate my taxes. I make sales without invoices, so I need to compute the tax after the fact. Kashoo at least helps me with that.
Kashoo needs better tools for importing data.

    September 5, 2012, 9:58 am

    @FLM, why I say Kashoo is it can handle most anything you need accounting-wise. I found that a lot of the "easy" or "cheap" options are good until they break, because they don't let you do something that you need to do, like taxes, or modify chart of accounts.

    Kashoo doesn't have all the bells and whistles like some companies, but I find you're always able to do what you want to do. The interface is simple and things are easy enough to find.

    If you're a bigger business and there are some features that could really save you time that Kashoo doesn't have, than maybe that's the way you'd want to go.

    Good luck with everything!

September 5, 2012, 10:10 am

You might want to evaluate other services ahead of Outright at this point. Outright is just to limited.

September 7, 2012, 1:50 pm

I know this is a review for business accounting applications, but do you see that any of the apps that you've reviewed so far would work well for the sole proprietor that wants to use one app for business and personal?

    September 8, 2012, 1:15 am

    Hi Will, I do know there are some apps that do this, like Wave Accounting, but I personally wouldn't think it the best idea to use one app for both. I'd rather go with one app for personal (maybe something like and then another for business.

    Best practice is to keep personal separate from business, so using two different pieces of software for each side shouldn't be an issue (besides having to learn two different pieces of software!)

    Personal finance apps handle money different than business finance apps, so using one for both you'd most likely be compromising something.

September 9, 2012, 10:30 pm

Hi Greg,

Nice job! I am looking at a simple application for many of my coaching clients and do not need payroll. However, they must build a chart of accounts and be able to run P&L statements. Ideally, the program should compare year over year.

Which of the applications do you feel could handle this other than QB?


    September 10, 2012, 12:39 am

    Hi Ron, many of the accounting software can handle this. Kashoo and Wave would be my top alternatives to QuickBooks. Kashoo is simpler and less expensive. Xero is more complex, can do more, and is more expensive.

    I would choose based on which one you and your clients can understand and use. I'll be doing a full comparison between the accounting software within a month or two.

September 10, 2012, 4:46 am

Sage One is the "replacement" for Sage Billing Boss. Glad I ran across your site so I could find a replacement as they (Sage) have done away with their free option, which was Billing Boss. Sage One, as of Dec. 14th, charges ~$12 a month for services. Granted they are offering more with Sage One, but all I do is invoices. Prior to Billing Boss, I was using Billing Manager from Intuit/Quickbooks. They too, discontinued their simple, free option in favor of a fee-based subscription services which offered much more than what I needed.

I'm trying Kashoo, hopefully it's not too overly complex for my simple requirements.

Thanks for compiling a list and attempting to review them all!

    September 10, 2012, 11:54 am

    Hi cmacrun, thanks for the comment and the bit of history behind Sage One and Billing Manager!

    Kashoo is fairly straight-forward, and if all you are doing is invoicing, then it is free. The only thing you may want to pay for is different invoice templates ($10 a month).

September 14, 2012, 2:04 am

I am retired from my 'real' profession and now I dabble with lots of projects that interest me. I would like to find some method to have an integrated accounting approach for personal, family limited partnership, consulting partnership, and small family foundation.

By integrated I mean:

one accounting program style for all entities. (Quickbooks for one and MoneyDance for another just confuses me).

Ease of recording transfers from one entity to another such as my personal accounting… partnership withdrawals and loans, gifts to the foundation, etc.

Of course as you add entities the costs for online accounting climbs.

Having totally separate systems requires a lot of pencil work. Maybe there are other people who have this issue?

    September 14, 2012, 2:13 am

    Xero seems to be the closest to what I am looking for.

      September 14, 2012, 2:16 am

      Hmm… It appears you may be in luck Xero can link both the personal and business parts of its software together. So, there's two choices, Wave and Xero. I like Xero on the business side of things, but haven't tried personal, so can't comment on it.

    September 14, 2012, 2:14 am

    Hi DonM,

    I had a similar question 6 days ago. Wave Accounting can do both. I think there may be another piece of software that does this as well, but the name(s) escape me. If you look through the list of accounting software above, you can see if there are others who do this.

    I don't know if I would recommend using one solution for all, as the way you handle personal finances is a bit different than business finances. Then again, if you're finances aren't too complicated, maybe it'll work out nicely using one system. If you do try one system for both personal and business, please do write back and let me know how it goes.

      September 15, 2012, 12:58 am

      I actually run my life finances something like a business.
      I think of my personal life as the master company with any of my business entities as divisions of my life. But to be truthful I have never applied the rigidity of true business accounting to my personal life.
      However, most personal accounting tools won’t do what I want them to. I am always comparing to business software. So far my experimenting with Xero personal has not made me excited. Wave even less. The Xero reimbursement tool looks good, although there may be something about not being able to link to more than one business entity. Apparently it is unusual to have more than one?

      I seem to find Xero and Kashoo’s designs the most interesting and when I do this work I need a pleasing presentation.

      Also, I use tags/subcategories/divisions and I can’t remember who allows for that, but not everyone. Especially not everyone with personal accounting software.

      I am enjoying your reviews and found your work interesting enough to read some of your pages. Very nice.

September 17, 2012, 12:11 am

I do think you should treat your personal finances like your business finances. You should know what's going on in both areas. So I like your mind set!

I've found using personal software for my home finances and business software for my company's finances works out ok. When there is cross-over, like for items paid with personal cash or credit card, or for money taken out of the company, they are straight-forward to enter into both the personal and business software.

This gives me more flexibility in choosing the best software for my needs for each task (personal finances and business finances).

September 17, 2012, 2:03 am

Point well taken and I agree. Now,if I can just keep the different approaches straight.

September 19, 2012, 5:06 am

As others have stated, thank you for all the in-depth analysis. Very helpful in the accounting research for my one-person business. Want to start using real accounting but at a loss for where to start.

I wonder if you have come across one program that does time keeping, invoicing and accounting – all well. I have found that the few sites that do this don't do all adequately. Or I have to use 2 sites to get it all done. I appreciate any recommendations you have.

    September 20, 2012, 7:39 am

    Hi Terry,

    For those 3 things, time keeping, invoicing, and accounting, there are a few options for you. It depends on how robust you need each of the 3 features to be, and whether you want native vs. add-on capability.

    If you don't know what native vs. add-on is, I'll quickly explain. Native means a feature is built into the software or that it's a part of it. Native features in general work better. An add-on is a second piece of software that is integrated into the main piece of software (the accounting software in this case). Sometimes the integration between the two pieces of software is seamless and it works just as well as a native software feature. Sometimes the integration is not done so well or the user needs to login to that second piece of software in order to use it.

    So, for software that has the native capability to do all 3 features, you're looking at FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online. Although, FreshBooks doesn't really do accounting, but it's time tracking looks pretty good. For QuickBooks Online, it does accounting well, but it's time tracking is fairly basic, but maybe good enough for your needs.

    For add-on capability, Xero has it's own software, called Work Flow Max (I haven't reviewed it, so don't know how good it is) that can be added-on to it's accounting software. You can see all of Xero's add-ons that can do time tracking here QuickBooks Online may also have some add-ons that can do time tracking as well.

Dennis Gunnarson
November 9, 2012, 7:07 am

Do you recommend Wave Accounting for a small non-profit? Does it allow you to track in-kind donations? If not, is there another product that does?

    November 10, 2012, 7:30 am

    I'm generally not a huge fan of Wave for accounting at the moment. You can read my review at… to find out why. Any accounting software should be able to track in-kind donations provided you have the right chart of accounts set up.

Ed Bernd Jr.
November 15, 2012, 3:10 pm

Fabulous reviews, thank you. And thank you for explaining the difference between an Invoice and a Sales Receipt. I have been creating Invoices in QuickBooks for a decade, when I could have saved several steps by using Sales Receipts. Better late than never.
I was also very impressed with Kashoo, and am very happy that you have done such a detailed review.
Somebody left a comment and suggested Levion, so I checked it out. It looks too good to be true. But they are certified by QuickBooks. We can log on to their web site, work online from any computer, then load the data back to our QB desktop software. I don't know how they can do that, but it sure sounds good. I hope you have an opportunity to review it sometime soon.
There is one other program that I like a lot: Front Accounting. It is an open source (free) php/mysqul scrip that you can host on your own server. Easiest script I ever installed. The only thing is that the program was designed for business-to-business sales. They have adapted a lot through the years to work better for retail sales, but still takes longer to create an Invoice or Sales Order than in QB. There are 2 pages for every customer: The customer name, and then the branch that placed the order. I guess that is great if you are selling to Walmart and need to ship to different stores (branches). I love the price though: Free. And it seems to have everything you could want, not too difficult to set up.
Thanks again for the fabulous reviews, and the great instruction and tips. It will save me a lot of time to use Sales Receipts, almost all of our sales are paid for at the time of purchase.

Havard Sorli
December 8, 2012, 6:57 pm

A note about “Data export”

” 1. The actual software database file (in case of some server meltdown). I don’t think this is possible to get from any service. ”

That’s not true. If you use an opensource alternaive you get that. An example: look at LedgerSMB

( )

Or some of the other OpenSource alternatives

“2. The exported copies of the data. ”

OpenSource alternatives gives you a complete database backup that you can install on your own computer or at another service provider.

OpenSource –> No vendor lock-in (SAS provider lock-in)

December 14, 2012, 3:10 am

Hi, just wondering what you think of I'm also in the process of trying out different online accounting apps. Trying to nail down one or two as recommendations for my customers and really apreciate the time you spent on these reviews. Great work!

    December 17, 2012, 10:51 am

    I haven't tried, so can't comment unfortunately.

December 15, 2012, 8:10 am

Thank you for these reviews and your response to the comments. I am curious though if you have run across other online/desktop accounting programs like LessAccounting? I found that they offer Accountants and Bookkeepers the option to have multiple clients. I would like to find more so that I can compare, but I can't seem to find them.

I know that for QB I can create multiple accounts/businesses. What I am wanting to do though is create an account with my info, and work on different client files in my account.

Thank you.

    December 17, 2012, 7:00 pm

    Hi Christine,

    I think I understand your question, but am not 100% sure. I think you want to be able to manage clients through one login, as opposed to logging in with a different username for each client. There are several accounting software options that let you do this. I know that Xero and Kashoo have a type of accounting partner program where you can do this. Here is the link for Xero and here is the link for Kashoo I'm not sure about other providers (I quickly checked Wave and FreeAgent, but didn't see any sign that they offered something similar in terms of having a single login from which to manage client files).

December 17, 2012, 11:48 am

found this
Canadian based

Know nothing
Has inventory
BUT it looks interesting
Browser based
BUT only works in Internet Explorer – confirmed by CEO

I am Mac

    December 18, 2012, 2:55 am

    Thanks for all the info Stephen.

December 17, 2012, 7:44 pm

Versaccounts looks interesting if you are above the 49th
Their data server is in Canada which suits tax laws.

I have watched them for several years as to their viability.
They are not a trad start-up.
These are distinctly suit/ business types.
Their focus is more like an accountant with bricks and mortar inclination.

They appear to suit a more traditional business model as opposed to Kashoo whose inclination is rapidly more inclined towards mobile.

Several years ago they were mostly hooked into Ontario accountants.
Old boys network for promotion.
Their online presence is much improved as of late.
BUT you find little online promotion verification.

Track the CEO Jim Welch thru linkedin etc and you will see a web of small trading companies with China.

As to the actual software – it looks good on paper.
Given that the primary delivery has been thru accountants in the past that is a good sign.

I can exist in QB desktop a little longer so I will watch and wait.
I have been hoping for a decent inventory capability in Kashoo but their initial direction has shifted.

December 26, 2012, 1:20 am

Does anyone have a comment on using a cloub based accounting system for South America? I am setting up a heavy equipment rental business (bulldozers, Excavators etc.) in South America and would love anyones input or comments?

December 28, 2012, 9:10 pm

Outstanding reviews, Greg! I really appreciate the breakdown…especially for a non-accounting guy such as myself. I paid particular attention to the Quickbooks Online and Kashoo reviews. Being a U.S. based business, is Kashoo an option for our business? How difficult is it to integrate with U.S. banks…(Well Fargo for example)? Finally, my President's biggest concern is security. How secure are these online offerings as opposed to Quick Books for the desktop? That's one question I never really saw answered…I think sometimes people just assume they are all secure as a vault. Anyway, we are in the enviable position of blowing this thing up from the ground up…completely new and nearly zero accounting entries…for now. Hopefully that help our decision. Oh, and before I forget…integration is a huge thing for me. This package needs to integrate with order management, CRM's etc… Your opinion would be greatly appreciated! Regards, Kirk.

    January 4, 2013, 8:02 am

    Hi Kirk,

    Being that you're in the US, you're most likely going to have better luck in terms of bank integration with QuickBooks Online. That's not to say that Kashoo won't do well, but from my experience QuickBooks is the most solid when it comes to getting feeds from banks. If you're keen on Kashoo, you can always try it out and see if it works with your bank. Would only take a few minutes to find out.

    For security, I'll let QuickBooks Online and Kashoo speak for themselves….

    Basically, they use the same type of security that banks do. So, if you do online banking, you should be comfortable doing online accounting. The biggest think you'll want to make sure is secure is your password. Make it unique and long (over 10 digits). Don't re-use your passwords. I'm sure you can google about online security to find out more, there's a lot of detailed info on this topic.

December 30, 2012, 12:27 pm

Greg, I manage 3 small businesses in the US. Xero, Kashoo and Quickbooks all look like viable options for me. Thanks so much for sharing your research.

Question: Given the pricing with multiple companies, would that change your recommendation for a situation like mine?
Do any of the products have good pricing for multiple entities?

    January 4, 2013, 8:07 am

    Hi Jim,

    I think those three pieces of software are viable. Xero has a 15% discount for using multiple companies, QuickBooks Online and Kashoo charge the same rate (meaning full price) for each additional company.

    My recommendation would be based on what you're trying to do. Kashoo is the cheapest, but also the most basic. Xero and QuickBooks will generally cost you double. I'd check out the pricing page for each company to see.

    Kashoo Pricing –
    QuickBooks Online Pricing –
    Xero Pricing –

January 7, 2013, 10:41 am

Hello Greg, Thanks in advance, your post has been really helpful. I have been doing research about accounting softwares and micro finance institutions. I am with a group that wants to develop softwares for this sector. During our research, there has been some realization about how little financial analytics are presented in most softwares and so we are planning to capitalize on that. I would really like your opinion about analytics and how relevant they are for sme's. Do you think its a worth while niche to intrude?.

    January 11, 2013, 12:43 am

    Hi DiRattler,

    My research is mainly geared towards small business with under 10 people in them. At that size, analytics isn't so important. They need their Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, A/R, A/P (all basic reports), which are generally things that can be found in all true accounting software. I guess it really depends on what kind of analytics you're talking about.

January 16, 2013, 5:06 am

HI Greg,
Ive been using Quickbooks pro for contractors for awhile, but would like to transition to a cloud based accounting system. We are a small company who subcontracts but only has 3 permanent employees. What do you suggest as a replacement?

    January 17, 2013, 1:35 am

    Hi Ileana, it depends a bit on where you are located. I'd say that QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Kashoo are all good choices, depending on the exact needs of your business.

January 19, 2013, 3:31 am

Hi Greg,
Thank you for your quick response. I'm in Florida. I have a need for a comprehensive accounting system for non-accounting professionals that is able to integrate with other software such as Workflowmax.

    January 21, 2013, 1:55 am

    Well, if you're already using Workflowmax, it's owned by Xero, so you'd probably have the best success using Xero.

January 25, 2013, 2:25 am

We are a SaaS provider that has reached the limits of where QuickBooks can take us, primarily due to the need to track revenue transactions on multiple dimensions (by sales rep, by new vs. renewal business, by referral partner, by customer industry). Intaact is great, but at $20k per year far too expensive for us. Anything out there that fits the software industry and falls between QuickBooks and Intaact from a pricing perspective?

    January 26, 2013, 1:35 am

    You know what, I haven't seen any good solution that bridges the gap between QuickBooks and Intacct. In fact, I believe that Intacct is recommend by QuickBooks for those who grow out of it (I can' t remember exactly where I heard that though…)

    I had a client with the exact same issue though, they were using QuickBooks, but doing a lot of work arounds to work with it. They wanted to get something better, but that would have been Intacct, which was just too much (in terms of price and probably complexity).

    If you end up finding something, please do come back and let us know!

February 11, 2013, 5:51 pm

Thanks mate, my cousin's girlfriend provides freelance accounting services and she's in great need of a software like this. I already sent her your review and guide links. She would appreciate it. Thanks.

Jack Couch
February 13, 2013, 6:20 pm

Really nice job with the review. I'd love for you to check out I think you will be impressed with the integrated payroll and future cshflow features. Drop me a mine if you'd like me to set you up with an account and walk through.


Michael Polsinelli
March 8, 2013, 1:13 am

I tried Kashoo last night, and I found writing checks cumbersome (I write a lot). I still haven't figured out how to write a check to myself. I'll probably try xero tonight to see if it is easier.

    March 11, 2013, 8:07 am

    Hi Michael,

    Do you mind expanding further upon how you found printing checks cumbersome? Here's the Kashoo help page on check printing….

    Essentially what you do is create an unpaid expense and then go to check printing and print a check for that unpaid expense. If you have many unpaid expenses, you can print all your checks at once.

    To pay yourself you just pay yourself using the expense window. For the terms or payment account choose an "unpaid accounts payable" account and for the expense account, choose whichever account you use for owner draws.

March 8, 2013, 7:50 am

Hi Michael,

If you really want to donate, you could sign up for my course at… :)

Anyways, here's a quick answer. If you want to print checks, Kashoo does this. Xero does this as well, but only in the US (so if you live there, you're in luck, otherwise, sorry). No payroll, no worries then. Reconciliation, my opinion is that Xero is the best out there. Not to say Kashoo is bad, but Xero's is more feature rich.

Generally, I find Kashoo to be simpler and it's my favourite piece of software to work with. I find I can navigate around really fast. Xero I recommend for users who need more than what Kashoo can do. By the sounds of it, you should be able to get along nicely with Kashoo, but if you find yourself reconciling a lot of transactions or a lot of recurring transactions, it may be the better choice.

Tom Noon
June 22, 2013, 2:40 am

i have some unique desires-
ability to set up multiple companies on same chart of accounts and combine companies
ability to set locations up as different set of books -even if in same companyand see each location and combined
ability to set up lines of business in one company but get seperate income stmts for each line or together:-0

    June 26, 2013, 8:23 am

    Hi Tom,

    1. The ability to set up multiple companies on the same chart of accounts is not possible in any of the software that i've reviewed so far.

    2. I think what you're wanting when you say "ability to set locations up as different set of books" is the ability to separate out income and expenses on a location basis, which QuickBooks Online does fairly well through class tracking. Xero can also do this as well.

    3. Again, when you say "ability to set up lines of business…", it seems to me that you want to track which parts of your business is making what, which can be done through class tracking.

Victor Cheung
July 24, 2013, 2:11 am

Hello Greg! I'd love to know what you think of <a href="” target=”_blank”> – a collaborative/social Accounting software with CRM capabilities. We got some positive feedback from our beta testers and have just recently launched, but we would love to hear from you!

From your experience, how are small businesses in USA adopting to "online" accounting software? Are we still in the early adoption phase? Thanks!

Victor Cheung

    September 11, 2013, 9:33 am

    Hi Victor,

    I honestly don't have the time right now to check it out. I think we still are in the early adoption phase.

November 2, 2013, 2:56 pm

Hi Greg,

What a great resource! Thank you for your time and energy on it.

As someone starting out, in a micro business, have you come across any online accounting tools that would work well in Australia?


June 25, 2014, 2:16 am

Have you had a chance to look into Versaccounts yet. they seem to making a big push to the Cloud.