Best Free Accounting Software for 2020

Compare top brands offering free accounting software, including ZipBooks, Expesify, Harvest and more. Includes info on free offers, user reviews, and features.

Updated on March 31st, 2020

The SMB Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Free accounting software for small business helps companies to organize their finances better and more quickly. It is typically either cloud-based or available as an open-source download.

Updates:

Updated 17th of January 2020

We have updated the pricing in our table to the latest amounts available on the company websites.

Updated 11th of March 2020

We have added a comparison between free and paid accounting software.

Why We Chose ZipBooks, Expensify, and Harvest:

ZipBooks is a great accounting and payment processing software used by businesses around the world. The platform has a wide range of useful features, including invoicing and billing, automated expense tracking, time tracking, and intelligent reports and insights.

ZipBooks' reports are easy-to-use and include industry best-practices and smart recommendations. ZipBooks also offers an excellent user experience and displays a fantastic collection of your business's financial data on your dashboard. It also provides brief explanations for each section of the site.

ZipBooks has a wide range of price plans, ranging from free to customizable pricing, and is suitable for use in a number of different industries. With the free plan, users have access to unlimited invoices, unlimited vendor and customer management, digital payments, basic reports, and can connect to one bank account.

Expensify is our second option as they offer basic functionality for free, which includes expense tracking and pre-accounting features. Expensify is a great platform that is easy to use.

Our third pick is Harvest because they offer great invoicing and expense, payment, and time tracking features. However, their free plan is limited to one user with 2 projects.

Free Trial

ZipBooks

Simple, beautiful accounting software.

Get Started

Insights to help improve your business.

Invoicing and billing.

Accounting.

Things to Consider When Evaluating Free Accounting Software:

  1. If you require a comprehensive accounting platform that offers extra functionality such as payroll management, check whether these features are offered by the software.
  2. Consult your accountant. They are best positioned to determine whether new accounting software is the right fit for your business. It should be intuitively designed with a rich feature range.
  3. As with any free software, you need to determine your unique business needs and find out whether the free version of the software caters to all those needs. If not, you might have to upgrade to a paid account.

Best Free Accounting Software:

Rank

Name

Offer

Review

Learn More

1.

ZipBooks

Free.

A good cloud-based option that includes invoice and billing features.

Learn More

2.

Expensify

Free for 5 SmartScans /mo.

A highly recommended software with a rich feature range and a gentle learning curve.

Learn More

3.

Harvest

Free for 1 user, 2 projects.

Primarily a time-tracking tool, it offers various other accounting functions including project management, invoicing, and scheduling.

Learn More

4.

Odoo

Trial

An all-in-one business management platform, Odoo offers useful accounting features like invoicing and bill and expense management.

Learn More

5.

XTuple PostBooks

30 day free trial.

An excellent platform that offers accurate, in-depth analysis-based financial reports.

Learn More

6.

Zoho Invoice

Free.

A comprehensive accounting platform that is very easy to use.

Learn More

7.

GnuCash

Free.

Reliable accounting software with useful features. Steep learning curve.

Learn More

8.

Wave Accounting

Free.

A great cloud-based option that provides additional functions like running payroll and generating financial reports.

Learn More

9.

OnCloudERP

30 day free trial.

An excellent platform that is intuitively designed with excellent customer support.

Learn More

10.

Money Manager Ex

Free.

An open-source option that has a rich feature range and plenty of customization options.

Learn More

11.

Turbo Cash

Free for TurboCash 4.

An open-source platform that is easy to use and comes with a host of useful features.

Learn More

12.

Express Accounts

Free for up to 5 employees.

A reliable platform with a comprehensive feature range and a gentle learning curve.

Learn More

ZipBooks vs Expensify vs Harvest:

ZipBooks' free package is quite limited but still offers users basic accounting tools such as custom quotes and invoices, payment acceptance, customer and vendor details tracking, expense and receipt tracking, and bookkeeping. In comparison, Expensify also offers basic functionality for free. However, Expensify is an expense tracking platform and does not accept payments or offer invoicing functions.

Expensify is still an accounting software as they offer pre-accounting features. They gather the financial data that enables accounting to occur. On the other hand, Harvest is a time tracking and invoicing platform that performs basic expense and payment tracking. Harvest does not track taxes, which ZipBooks does but ZipBooks does not offer time-tracking with their free plan.

ZipBooks is our top pick as it offers accounting, invoicing, payment, and bookkeeping features with its free platform.

ZipBooks vs Expensify vs Harvest Comparison:

Offer

ZipBooks

Expensify

Harvest

Pricing

Free Starter Package.

Free for 5 SmartScans /mo.

Free.

Invoicing

Unlimited.

No.

Unlimited.

Accept Payments

Yes, through Square or PayPal.

No.

Yes, through Stripe and PayPal.

Accounting

Basic reports and bookkeeping.

Preaccounting.

Basic expense and payments tracking.

Time tracking

No.

GPS mileage tracking.

Yes.

Tax Tracking

Adding VAT and taxes to invoices.

Yes.

No.

Free vs. Paid Accounting Software:

If you are considering getting a free accounting platform, it is very important to carefully evaluate your business needs and consider your company's future growth. It is a mistake to think that your needs won't change or that your marketing strategies won't evolve beyond the limits of free accounting software.

However, for a small business free accounting software may be more than enough. If all you need is the core accounting tasks of account management, expense tracking, invoicing, and sales, then free accounting software is perfect for your company. On the other hand, if your company has more complex needs, such as payroll or billing for time, or even just multiple departments, you may need to invest in a paid platform.

Accounting software needs to be flexible enough to meet your company's specific needs, which is usually accomplished with paid platforms. However, free platforms can offer multiple third-party integrations that provide this flexibility, such as CRM and e-commerce add-ons. You should carefully examine your free platform options for the third-party integrations you will need.

Another important consideration for accounting software is the security available. You get what you pay for, so you can't really expect very strong security on a free plan. You will need to decide whether you can trust your financial data to the security offered by a free platform, which may require you to store this data in the cloud.

Free vs. Paid Accounting Software Comparison:

Free Accounting Software

Paid Accounting Software

Most free platforms cover the basic four tasks of account management, expense tracking, invoicing, and sales.

Paid platforms handle more complex needs, such as billing for time, inventory tracking, sales data by department, and payroll.

Free platforms are generally limited in their customization options, unless they offer a lot of third-party integrations.

Paid platforms usually offer limitless customization options, giving the software a greater degree of flexibility.

Users of free platforms will need to carefully study the security options, particularly if you'll be trusting your financial data to the cloud.

Paid platforms usually provide greater security options.

Customer service for free plans isn't always available and don't always answer quickly. The service team may also be outsourced and so won't speak your language well.

Customer service for paid plans, especially enterprise-level plans, are generally available 24/7.

FAQs:

Is there really free online accounting software?

Yes, there are several companies that offer small business accounting software that is truly free. Some are on a trial basis, others limit the number of users you can have, and a few of the open source ones, like GnuCash, are free downloads for unlimited use.

Where can I find a free small business accounting software download?

Best Free Accounting Software

What are the best free accounting software?

Is there any free accounting software for non-profits?

What free accounting software is available for Mac?

GnuCash and Money Manager Ex are available as downloadable open source accounting software for Mac. You can also try free accounting software online, such as Wave Accounting or Roboeyelabs, which work in your browser, so it doesn't matter what type of device you use.

How can I decide which is the best free accounting software for small business?

Start by thinking about whether or not you want customer support. The totally free, downloadable accounting software won't come with much support, apart from internet forums. If you're willing to go with a freemium or free trial software, you'll be able to get support when you need it.

What is the easiest accounting software for small business?

What is the best accounting software for small businesses?

We recommend Wave Accounting for your small business. The cloud-based solution offers a mobile app, payroll features, financial reports, and records your expenses.