Compare Accounting Software For Startups

In the dynamic landscape of startup businesses, managing finances efficiently is not just a necessity—it’s a cornerstone for success. For entrepreneurs steering the ship of a startup, the choice of accounting software can significantly impact the ease of financial management, compliance, and strategic decision-making. With a plethora of options available, it’s crucial to compare accounting software and find a solution that aligns perfectly with your startup’s unique needs.

Table 1: QuickBooks Online, Zoho Books, Xero

FeaturesQuickBooks OnlineZoho BooksXero
PricingModerate (Starts at $30/month, offers various plans)Low (Starts at $20/month, affordable for startups)Low (Starts at $13/month, budget-friendly)
Ease of UseHigh (User-friendly with intuitive design)High (Simple and easy to navigate)High (Known for its ease of use and clean interface)
Mobile AppYes (Robust app with extensive features)Yes (Convenient for on-the-go accounting)Yes (Strong mobile functionality)
Automation FeaturesHigh (Strong automation for various tasks)Moderate (Good automation but not as extensive)Moderate (Automates key tasks effectively)
Tax FeaturesYes (Comprehensive tax support)Yes (Handles tax calculations well)Yes (Strong in tax compliance and reporting)
Project ManagementYes (Includes project tracking and billing)Yes (Good for small project-based businesses)Yes (Effective project accounting features)
Customization & ScalabilityHigh (Highly adaptable to business growth)Moderate (Customizable but with some limits)High (Easily scales with business needs)
User-Friendly InterfaceYes (Intuitive and easy to navigate)Yes (Clean and straightforward interface)Yes (User-friendly and visually appealing)
Integration CapabilitiesHigh (Extensive range of integrations)Moderate (Good integration options)Moderate (Solid integration capabilities)
SupportHigh (Responsive support with multiple channels)Moderate (Good support but not as extensive)Moderate (Reliable support with online resources)

Note: The information in this table is based on general features and may vary based on specific plan details or updates from the software providers.

Table 2: Wave, FreshBooks, Sage Business Cloud Accounting

FeaturesWaveFreshBooksSage Business Cloud Accounting
PricingLow (Free basic services, pay-per-transaction)Moderate (Starts at $15/month, mid-range pricing)Low (Starts at $10/month, affordable for small businesses)
Ease of UseHigh (Very user-friendly, great for beginners)High (Easy to use, especially for invoicing)Moderate (Straightforward but less intuitive than others)
Mobile AppYes (Functional but less comprehensive)Yes (Strong app with good features)Yes (Available but not as robust as competitors)
Automation FeaturesLow (Basic automation, suitable for simple needs)Moderate (Good automation for invoicing and expenses)Moderate (Automates key accounting tasks effectively)
Tax FeaturesYes (Handles basic tax functions)Yes (Good for tax preparation and tracking)Yes (Strong in tax compliance for small businesses)
Project ManagementNo (Lacks project management features)Yes (Excellent for project-based billing)No (Not focused on project management)
Customization & ScalabilityLow (Limited customization and scalability)Moderate (Customizable but better for smaller operations)Moderate (Scalable but with some feature limitations)
User-Friendly InterfaceYes (Simple and straightforward design)Yes (Intuitive interface, easy to navigate)Yes (User-friendly but less modern)
Integration CapabilitiesLow (Limited integrations available)Moderate (Good integrations, especially for freelancers)Moderate (Integrates well with other Sage products)
SupportModerate (Support available but more limited)High (Excellent customer support)High (24/7 support with extensive resources)

Note: The information in this table is based on general features and may vary based on specific plan details or updates from the software providers.

Table 3: NetSuite ERP, Tipalti Approve, AvidXchange

FeatureNetSuite ERPTipalti ApproveAvidXchange
PricingHigh (Custom pricing, more suitable for larger businesses)Not Specified (Quote-based, likely varies based on features)Not Specified (Quote-based, tailored to business needs)
Ease of UseModerate (Comprehensive but with a steeper learning curve)High (User-friendly, especially for payment processes)Moderate (Efficient but may require some initial learning)
Mobile AppYes (Available, but functionality may vary)Not Specified (No clear information available)Not Specified (No clear information available)
Automation FeaturesHigh (Advanced automation for a wide range of processes)High (Strong in automating financial operations)Moderate (Focused on payment automation)
Tax FeaturesHigh (Comprehensive tax management for various regions)Not Specified (No clear information available)Not Specified (No clear information available)
Project ManagementHigh (Extensive features suitable for complex projects)Not Specified (No clear information available)No (Not a focus of this software)
Customization & ScalabilityHigh (Highly customizable and scalable for growing businesses)High (Flexible and adaptable to business needs)Moderate (Customizable to some extent)
User-Friendly InterfaceModerate (Functional but can be complex due to extensive features)Yes (Designed for ease of use in financial management)Moderate (Efficient but interface may be less intuitive)
Integration CapabilitiesHigh (Extensive integration options with various systems)Moderate (Integrates well with certain business tools)Moderate (Good integration with other financial systems)
SupportHigh (Comprehensive support but may vary by plan)Not Specified (No clear information available)Not Specified (No clear information available)

Table 4: A2X, Trolley, DocuPhase

FeatureA2XTrolleyDocuPhase
PricingModerate (Starts at $19/month, reasonable for its niche)Moderate (Starts at $49/month, pricing based on services)Not Specified (Quote-based, tailored to specific needs)
Ease of UseHigh (User-friendly, especially for e-commerce integration)High (Simple and straightforward for payment processing)Moderate (Powerful but may require some initial learning)
Mobile AppNot Specified (No clear information available)Not Specified (No clear information available)Yes (Available, enhances accessibility)
Automation FeaturesHigh (Excellent for e-commerce transaction automation)Moderate (Focused on payment automation)High (Advanced automation in document management and accounting)
Tax FeaturesYes (Good for e-commerce tax calculations)Not Specified (No clear information available)Not Specified (No clear information available)
Project ManagementNo (Not a primary feature of this software)No (Not focused on project management)Yes (Includes features for managing projects)
Customization & ScalabilityModerate (Good for e-commerce scalability)Moderate (Scalable for payment processing needs)High (Highly customizable for different business processes)
User-Friendly InterfaceYes (Designed for ease of use in e-commerce settings)Yes (Straightforward interface for payment management)Moderate (Functional but with a range of complex features)
Integration CapabilitiesHigh (Excellent integration with e-commerce platforms)Moderate (Integrates with financial and business tools)High (Strong integration capabilities with various systems)
SupportNot Specified (No clear information available)Not Specified (No clear information available)Not Specified (No clear information available)

Table 5: Melio, Sage 50 Accounting, Rossum

FeatureMelioSage 50 AccountingRossum
PricingLow (Free for ACH payments, charges for credit card use)Not Specified (Pricing details not provided)Not Specified (No clear information available)
Ease of UseHigh (Simple and intuitive for payment processing)Moderate (Comprehensive but may require some familiarity)Not Specified (No clear information available)
Mobile AppYes (Mobile optimized for convenient use)Yes (Available, but functionality may vary)Not Specified (
Automation FeaturesModerate (Efficient for payment processes, but limited beyond that)Moderate (Automates standard accounting tasks, but not highly advanced)High (Specializes in AI-driven document capture and data extraction)
Tax FeaturesNot Specified (No clear information on tax-specific features)Yes (Handles tax calculations and compliance effectively)Not Specified (Lacks detailed information on tax features)
Project ManagementNo (Not focused on project management features)Yes (Includes project tracking and billing capabilities)Not Specified (No clear information on project management functionality)
Customization & ScalabilityLow (Limited customization options, more suitable for straightforward payment tasks)High (Highly customizable and scalable for various business sizes)Not Specified (No clear information on customization and scalability)
User-Friendly InterfaceYes (Simple and intuitive interface for users)Moderate (Functional but may require some time to navigate efficiently)Not Specified (No clear information on the user interface)
Integration CapabilitiesModerate (Integrates well with QuickBooks, but limited beyond that)Moderate (Good integration with other Sage products and some external tools)Not Specified (No clear information on integration capabilities)
SupportNot Specified (No detailed information on support options)Moderate (Support available, but the extent varies)Not Specified (No clear information on customer support)

What This Table Means For You:

  • Best for Pricing: Wave (offers free basic accounting and invoicing services with transaction charges).
  • Pricing Definition: Pricing refers to the cost of using the software. It includes the initial cost, any recurring subscription fees, and additional costs for extra features or services.
  • Best for Ease of Use + User Interface: FreshBooks (known for its user-friendly interface and straightforward navigation) and Xero (offers a clean, intuitive interface that is easy for beginners to navigate).
  • Ease/User Interface Definition: Ease of use refers to how user-friendly and intuitive the software is. It assesses how easy the interface is to navigate, including the clarity of menus, ease of finding features, and the visual appeal of the software.
  • Best Mobile App: QuickBooks Online (provides a robust mobile app with comprehensive features).
  • Mobile App Definition: The Mobile App column (above) indicates the availability of a mobile application for the software.
  • Best for Automation Features: NetSuite ERP (offers advanced automation capabilities for various accounting tasks).
  • Automation Definition: This evaluates the software’s ability to automate repetitive tasks such as invoicing, data entry, transaction categorization, and financial reporting.
  • Best for Tax Features: Xero (strong in handling tax calculations and compliance, suitable for various regions).
  • Tax Definition: Tax features refer to the software’s capabilities in handling tax-related tasks, including automating tax calculations.
  • Best for Project Management: FreshBooks (excellent for project-based businesses with time tracking and project billing).
  • Project Mgmt. Definition: Project management refers to the ability to manage projects, including tracking project expenses and budget management for individual projects.
  • Customization & Scalability: NetSuite ERP (highly customizable and scalable, suitable for growing startups).
  • Customization Definition: Customization and scalability refer to how customizable the software is to a business’s specific needs and how well it can scale as the business grows.
  • Best for Integration: QuickBooks Online (extensive integration capabilities with various business apps).
  • Integration Definition: Integration refers to the software’s ability to integrate with other tools and systems, such as CRM software, e-commerce platforms, payroll systems, and banking services.
  • Best for Support: Sage Business Cloud Accounting (offers 24/7 customer support and a wide range of online resources).
  • Support Definition: Support refers to the quality and availability of customer support provided by the software company.

Selecting the Right Software & Still Can’t Decide?

Selecting the right accounting software is a strategic decision that can influence a startup’s efficiency and financial health. It’s about finding a balance between affordability, functionality, and scalability. Startups should consider their current needs and future growth, ensuring the chosen software can evolve with their business. If you still cannot decide, consider the table below:

Consider What Is Most Important to You:
Affordability:Affordable options like Wave, which provides free services with transaction charges, and Xero, with plans starting at $13/month, cater to startups conscious of their spending. However, it’s crucial to weigh the cost against the features offered. Although starting at a higher price point ($30/month), software like QuickBooks Online offers comprehensive features that might justify the investment.
Ease of Use and Accessibility:Tools like FreshBooks and Zoho Books score high on ease of use, with intuitive interfaces and straightforward navigation. The availability of mobile apps, as offered by Xero and Sage Business Cloud, adds a layer of convenience, allowing entrepreneurs to manage finances on the go.
Mobile App Functionality:Accounting software like QuickBooks and FreshBooks offer robust mobile apps, enabling startups to handle invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting from anywhere. This feature is particularly beneficial for startups with remote or on-the-move teams.
Automation and Integration:NetSuite ERP and DocuPhase offer advanced automation for various accounting tasks. QuickBooks is known for its seamless integration into apps like HubSpot and Bill.
Tax Preparation and Compliance Features:Software solutions like Xero and A2X, which offer robust tax features, can simplify tax preparation and ensure compliance. This saves time and helps avoid costly penalties associated with tax errors.
Project and Client Management Capabilities:Tools like Xero and FreshBooks offer project management capabilities, enabling startups to track project profitability and manage finances efficiently.
Customization and Scalability:NetSuite ERP and Sage 50 Cloud accounting excel in adapting to changing business needs. This flexibility ensures that startups don’t outgrow their accounting software.

Finally, What You Need to Know About Each Software Product

  • QuickBooks Online: offers comprehensive features, including invoicing, payroll, and reporting. It best suits startups looking for an all-in-one solution with extensive app integrations.
  • Zoho Books: is user-friendly and excels in strong invoicing and expense management. Ideal for startups that need an affordable, scalable solution with good automation capabilities.
  • Xero: is strong in financial reporting and supports multiple currencies. It is particularly suitable for startups seeking easy-to-use software with robust mobile capabilities.
  • Wave: offers free basic accounting and invoicing services, charging only for transactions. This software fits small startups and entrepreneurs who need a free, simple accounting tool.
  • FreshBooks: excels in invoicing, time tracking, and project management. It is best for service-based startups and freelancers who prioritize invoicing and time tracking.
  • Sage Business Cloud: provides automated invoicing, real-time reporting, and inventory tracking. Sage Business Cloud is ideal for very small startups needing straightforward accounting software.
  • NetSuite ERP: offers advanced features for end-to-end business management, including ERP and CRM functionalities. It is best suited for fast-growing startups or small businesses that require comprehensive enterprise-level solutions.
  • Tipalti Approve: specializes in procurement management and automated financial processes. The software is ideal for startups seeking efficient payment processing and financial operations management.
  • AvidXchange: focuses on payment automation and invoice management. It is suitable for SMEs transitioning from paper-based processes to digital automation.
  • A2X: is e-commerce focused and integrates seamlessly with platforms like Shopify and Amazon. This software is perfect for e-commerce startups that need seamless integration with online sales platforms.
  • Trolley: is a global payments platform known for its automated payouts. It is an excellent choice for startups with international transactions and payout needs.
  • DocuPhase: combines document management with bookkeeping functionalities. This software is well-suited for startups requiring document management and accounting automation.
  • Melio: offers free ACH payments, a simple interface, and integrates well with QuickBooks. It is ideal for startups looking for a straightforward, cost-effective way to manage payables.
  • Sage 50 Accounting: a comprehensive tool with inventory management and job management features. This software is best for small businesses with in-house bookkeeping and need detailed financial management.
  • Rossum: Although not detailed in the summary, Rossum is generally known for its AI-driven document capture and data extraction capabilities. It is suitable for businesses looking to automate data entry and document processing.

What To Do Next

We encourage startups to explore these software options, evaluate their business needs, and choose a solution that aligns with their financial management style. The right accounting software is not just a tool—it’s a partner in your startup’s journey towards success.