Best Accounting Software in Australia for Small Businesses in 2023

Small businesses in Australia have a lot of choices when it comes to accounting software. So which one is the best for your business? This blog post will compare the top accounting software programs and help you decide which is best for you.

Are you looking for the best accounting software in Australia for your small business? If so, you’re in luck. This blog post will discuss the top five accounting software options that are perfect for small businesses in Australia. 

We’ll also provide a brief overview of each option, so you can decide which one is the best fit for your needs. By the end of this blog post, you’ll be able to decide which accounting software is right for your business.

If you’re a small business owner in Australia, then you know that bookkeeping and accounting can be a real hassle. There are so many different software options available, each with its own unique set of features, that it can be tough to know which one to choose. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at the best accounting software for small businesses in Australia for 2023. We’ll outline the pros and cons of each option and help you decide which one is right for you. So whether you’re looking for an affordable solution that is easy to use or a more sophisticated program with lots of features, we’ve got you covered!

There are a lot of different accounting software programs on the market these days, and it can be tough to figure out which one is the best fit for your small business. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular options and weigh the pros and cons of each. You should have a good idea of which program is right for you by the end.

Thanks for reading!

What Is Accounting Software?

Calculating, recording, and reporting monetary transactions are often the primary functions served by accounting software.

It provides assistance with the many facets of managing an organization’s finances, including the tracking of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, and other data.

Accounting software has the capability to generate reports in a variety of forms, which may then be used for management decision-making.

Generally speaking, accounting software can be divided into three categories: general-purpose, industry-specific, and particular purpose.

Accounting software with a general purpose is developed to cater to the requirements of a wide range of businesses and organisations.

Accounting software that is tailored to the requirements of a particular industry or organisation is referred to as “industry-specific.”

Accounting software designed for a certain purpose offers specialised features that the majority of businesses do not require. In this piece on free accounting software, we cover solutions that can be used for a variety of purposes.

What Issues Does Accounting Software Address?

There is no disputing the fact that your company will profit from using accounting software, regardless of whether you go with a free solution or pay for one that offers a greater breadth of capabilities.

Following is a more in-depth discussion of some of the three most typical applications; however, there are many others.

1. Bank reconciliation

A bank reconciliation is a process that is performed using accounting software. This process entails matching recorded entries in an account to the transactions that correspond to those entries on the bank statement. It is made up of two distinct components:

1) Aligning the entries in the journal with the related deposits, checks, electronic transfers, and other types of payments.

2) Comparing the cash withdrawals and other transactions with the entries that are made in the journal that relate to them.

This process ensures that all deposits have been put into the accounting records of the company, as well as all withdrawals, to verify that there are no unrecorded transactions and that all transactions have been properly accounted for.

In order to ensure that a bank statement is accurate, it is necessary to reconcile both sides of the document.

thoughtful-businessman-sitting-with-open-laptop-computer-looking-worried-while-thinking-about-planning-top-view

2. Sending Quotes

Providing customers with price estimates and invoices, as well as the option to pay with a credit card, electronic funds transfer, or through a merchant account.

The accounting software that you use can also keep track of these payments and assign them to the information about your customers.

3. Tracking Expenses

You’ll be able to keep tabs on all of your expenditures and compile a report for your accountant whenever it’s necessary if you choose a platform that’s up to the task.

You might even have the option within your accounting software to snap a picture of your receipts and have the software automatically record the information for you if you pick that particular feature.

How to Pick an Accounting Program

Below, we will walk you through the greatest accounting software packages, but keep in mind that these are the best options currently available; the question is, how can you choose which one would be the most beneficial for your company? We recommend judging the effectiveness of each piece of software based on the following criteria:

  • Price. The expense of using accounting software might range anywhere from zero dollars to several hundred dollars each month.

Because free software typically has fewer functionality than premium software, we generally only recommend it to sole proprietors, freelancers, and small organisations with a couple of people working for them. Larger companies ought to pay quite a deal more each month, or even consider contracting their accounting work out to a virtual accountant.

  • Accounting and bookkeeping features. At the very least, accounting software should be able to sync with the bank accounts associated with your company in order to assist you in keeping track of each financial transaction. Invoicing, tracking of expenses and income, bank reconciliation, and mileage tracking are all capabilities that should be included in even the most basic financial software.
  • Automation. When you accept a payment or pay a bill, the majority of paid accounting solutions will automatically generate journal entries for your chart of accounts. This happens every time you use the solution.

To maintain order in your financial records, certain ones can automatically reconcile your bank accounts, while others can automatically sync with the payroll software you use. Of course, the greater the amount of automation, the more time that may be saved (at least in theory), but the higher the price of the programme will be as well.

  • User-friendly interface. No matter how many bookkeeping features your software has, they are of no value to you if you are unable to figure out how to use it. Signing up for a demo or a free trial of the software before committing to a plan will allow you to get the hang of the software and determine whether or not the interface makes your financial life easier or more difficult.
  • Number of users. You generally won’t need to worry about finding software that allows you to add numerous users if you run your business on your own as a sole proprietor. (Even the most affordable basic plans should, as a matter of standard, include free access for both you and an accountant.)

But if you aren’t the only person responsible for the financial aspects of your company, you should look at software that allows you to add many users, possibly with varying permission levels for each of those people.

The Best Accounting Programs, According to Us

1. Wave Accounting

Wave is an excellent option to consider if you are seeking for free accounting software that does not cater to firms situated in Australia.

Small businesses can simply manage their recurring spending and keep track of their invoices and payments with the assistance of Wave, a highly regarded accounting solution that is also available for free.

Send out invoices in a professional manner and keep track of how far along the payments are. Wave also allows you to link your bank accounts; when you’re just getting started, it contains everything you could possibly need.

Wave also makes it possible for you to take payments by credit card. In addition, it can assist firms in the generation of sales and tax records, balance sheets, and reports on accounts due and receivable.

Wave functions similarly to a tool for personal budgeting, making use of a dashboard for the routine administration of financial matters.

Wave gives you a clean, user-friendly dashboard with capabilities that are on par with those found in paid accounting systems. The best part? It won’t cost you a dime. For instance, the basic business accounting plan of Wave Accounting includes support for multiple currencies, tracking of expenses, unlimited invoicing, connections to bank accounts, and double-entry accounting. Double-entry accounting is a more accurate method of accounting, but FreshBooks’ basic business accounting plan does not include it.

Wave also gives its users the ability to manage several businesses from a single account. Therefore, if you are a seller on Amazon or eBay and also manage a small team of independent contractors, you are able to track both sets of finances without having to pay anything extra.

Even though Wave’s payroll feature is helpful, the company’s accounting software isn’t necessarily a good fit for companies that have a large number of employees. In addition, because Wave only provides one accounting plan, firms are unable to scale up to higher-tier plans that cover additional accounting activities suitable for expanding businesses because Wave only provides one accounting plan.

In addition, because Wave does not include an inventory tracking feature, it is a better fit for service-based solopreneurs and freelancers who do not require accounting and inventory software.

The programme also gives you the ability to take a picture of a receipt and send it to your accounting system in a matter of seconds.

Wave’s commercial memberships provide users with access to more in-depth features and fewer restrictions, but the free version of the software still manages to amaze.

In addition, if you don’t already have a group of individuals working for you, upgrading to the commercial version is usually unnecessary.

2. Zipbooks Accounting

Zipbooks is another fantastic piece of accounting software that is completely free of charge for small businesses in Australia. Again, this can be set up for free, but if you want more in-depth capabilities and flexibility, there are paid versions available, just like many other similar products.

Bookkeeping, keeping track of clients and vendors, and creating invoices are all within the scope of the free edition, which also gives users the option to connect directly to their bank accounts.

With its user-friendly color-coding, automatic classification, and comprehensive report library, Zipbooks makes reporting and bookkeeping a snap for small businesses.

In addition to this, it helps you stay on top of your day-to-day money by providing automated payment reminders and billing options.

Zipbooks will even give you a financial “health score” so that you are always aware of how well you are doing with your money.

Zip books Popular Features

  • Vendor Creation & Management
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Billable Expenses
  • Credit Card Processing
  • Estimates & Invoices
  • Manage & Create Customers
  • Save Receipts
  • Multi-Currency Support
  • Recurring Billing
  • Reminders & Time Tracking
  • Auto-Categorization
  • Chart Of Accounts

3. Sage Business Cloud Accounting

The most basic version of Sage Business Cloud Accounting enables you to generate invoices, keep tabs on amounts that are owed to you, and automatically reconcile your bank accounts. If you are ready to spend a little bit extra each month, Sage Accounting will provide unlimited users, quotes, estimations, cash flow forecasting, and administration for purchase invoices. The additional cost is $25 per month.

Regrettably, Sage requires an additional fee for receipt scanning, although other competitors like Wave, FreshBooks, Xero, and QuickBooks provide this feature at no additional cost. And Sage’s more expensive plan includes more built-in functionality than, for example, Xero’s most basic plan does. (On the other hand, the accounting system used by Sage does not place a cap on the total amount of your monthly invoices.)

Sage Accounting is generally priced at $25 per month; however, beginning in April 2022, Sage Business Cloud is providing new clients with a discount of 70% for the first six months of Sage Accounting service. Because of the promotion, the cost of the subscription for the next six months is only $7.50.

If you are thinking about using Sage, you should definitely sign up to take advantage of this fantastic discount. Keep in mind that if you sign up for the six-month discount, you will lose access to the free trial version of the service.

4. Slickpie Accounting

The next piece of free accounting software on our list is called Slickpie. SlickPie is an accounting platform that, like many others, offers free as well as paid editions, with the subscription version offering more comprehensive features and capabilities.

This programme was developed specifically for the owner of a small business by other owners of small businesses.

This accounting programme is worth looking into if you are seeking for something that is fundamental, easy to use, and convenient.

With the use of this application, proprietors of businesses are afforded the opportunity to easily monitor day-to-day costs, produce comprehensive reports, and draught invoices.

In a manner analogous to Wave, you may scan receipts, and the app will automatically pull the data, which will make keeping your books a breeze.

SlickPie is a relatively new player on the block; it has only been operating for a couple of years, but it has a very clean and user-friendly layout, so you should definitely check it out.

Slickpie Popular Features

  • Automated Receipt Data Capture
  • Create & Send Invoices
  • Multi-Currency
  • PayPal, Stripe, & Credit Card Processing
  • Quotes & Estimates
  • Expenses & Bills
  • Track Sales Tax
  • API
  • Bank Reconciliation 
  • Recurring Invoices & Payments
  • Late Payment Reminders
  • Upload & Attach Files

5. Akaunting

The open-source and free accounting software known as Akaunting was developed specifically with the needs of small businesses in mind, giving them the ability to better manage their finances and keep track of their cash flow.

Someone who has never used accounting software before but wants an option that has a great-looking user interface is the ideal candidate for this solution.

This programme contains important functionality such as invoicing, accepting online payments, and maintaining an expense record.

This piece of software can hold its own against many of the paid solutions now available on the market.

We think that this is another reliable free accounting tool for Australian small businesses, as it has over 180 thousand users, dedicated support, and free updates for the rest of the user’s life.

You have the option of utilising this software in the cloud, much like many of its competitors, or you can choose to download the software locally to your computer, in which case you would not be using the cloud.

Akaunting Popular Features

  • Free Software – Open source
  • Customer Creation & Management
  • Invoice Creation
  • Vendor Creation & Management
  • Credit Card Processing
  • Billable Expenses
  • Accept Online Payments 
  • In-depth Reporting
  • Recurring Payments
  • Tax Rates
  • Discount Functionality

6. FreshBooks

If you are searching for a premium alternative that offers a more robust feature set for the accounting of your small business, then you absolutely need to look into Freshbooks.

This platform is beautifully built and polished; the mobile apps are outstanding, and they compete favourably with some of the most prominent market participants.

At this time, they are providing a discount of 60% for the first six months, in addition to a discount of 10% for the entire year. They also provide a free trial, allowing you to determine whether or not the platform is suitable for the needs of your company.

FreshBooks Popular Features

  • Customisable Invoices
  • Payment Reminders
  • Accept Credit Cards
  • Automatic Late Fees
  • Recurring Invoices
  • Discounts
  • Multi-Currency Billing
  • Profit & Loss
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Automatic Tax Calculations
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Receipt Attachments
  • E-Signatures
  • Review and Accept Estimates Online
  • Bill For Tracked Hours
  • Automatic Expense Recording
  • PayPal Integration
  • Mobile Apps

Because of its outstanding features, fully configurable invoicing, and highly rated mobile apps, FreshBooks is an ideal solution, particularly for freelancers who work independently. FreshBooks, in contrast to Xero, grants you the ability to send an unlimited amount of invoices and estimates with each of its plans.

Time monitoring is also included in each of the plans, making it easier and more accurate to bill customers. In addition, the built-in small business expenditure tracking that is included in FreshBooks makes it easier for you to keep your budget in check. In addition, just like QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks has an integrated mileage monitoring feature, which is an absolute necessity for freelancers who want to deduct travel expenses from their yearly tax returns.

FreshBooks has a starting price of $15 per month, but the company regularly offers discounts that bring the price of its accounting software down even further. For instance, beginning in April 2023, FreshBooks is providing new clients with a discount of sixty percent for a period of six months. This brings the initial price down to six dollars per month.

In addition, you can save 10% off your monthly pricing by making an annual payment. (You will lock in an additional 10% off your total purchase price if you sign up for a new annual subscription while this promotion is active.)

FreshBooks doesn’t put a cap on the amount of invoices you can send out, but it does restrict the number of clients you can charge on a monthly basis. You are able to send an infinite amount of invoices to your customers, however the cheapest plan restricts the number of clients to only five.

In addition, the most basic package offered by FreshBooks does not contain bank reconciliation functionality. Due to the fact that bank reconciliation is a fundamental aspect of accounting, we are only able to propose the most basic package offered by FreshBooks to sole proprietors, freelancers, or startups who have less than five transactions each month.

7. Xero

Xero is a cloud-based accounting software that caters primarily to the needs of small businesses. What exactly does that entail?

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This indicates that Xero makes an effort to include all of the essential functionality without making the software overly hard to operate. There are some accounting programmes that are an absolute misery to get your head around; hence, if you operate a small business and are not an accountant, Xero is an option that you should consider using because it is straightforward.

You can keep track of sales, monitor cash flow, and stay on top of your accounts with Xero throughout the whole year, which is especially helpful when it comes to tax time. The following are important features:

  • Easy to use
  • Starter plan available – cost-effective for small businesses
  • Real-time cash flow monitoring
  • Generate reports any time of the month
  • Send invoices
  • Accept online payments
  • Use multiple currencies
  • Strong security protocols
  • Automated invoice reminders
  • Unlimited tech support

Xero is an excellent option because it doesn’t require much time or effort to install and get started using right away.

We adore Xero because of its extensive feature set and affordable base pricing. Xero is a cloud-based accounting software that enables users to generate customised invoices, maintain inventory, reconcile bank transactions, and photograph receipts for simpler record keeping for a low monthly fee of just $12.

But when it comes to teamwork, Xero stands head and shoulders above the competition as an accounting solution for small businesses. All of Xero’s accounting and inventory software options, in contrast to practically every other accounting solution (including QuickBooks and FreshBooks), include an unlimited number of user licences.

Because time-saving collaboration is already factored into the pricing, you will not be charged any additional fees if you choose to assign chores to another member of your team, such as managing your bank reconciliation or tracking your expenses.

However, the Xero plan that costs $12 a month restricts you to entering five bills and sending 20 invoices within that time period. Only the Growing and Established plans, which start at $34 and $65 per month, respectively, allow you to submit an unlimited number of invoices and quotes.

In addition, you are only able to track expenses if you subscribe to the most expensive plan; whereas, both QuickBooks and FreshBooks allow small-business expense tracking right off the bat.

8. MYOB

MYOB is yet another major participant in the area of accounting software, and similar to Xero, it may be used entirely online. In addition to that, the fact that it is an Australian firm is a plus, since this means that any changes to the laws governing taxes and accounting are picked up immediately. Compared to Xero, it is somewhat more complicated; however, with increased complexity comes increased control and flexibility, which is why many accountants use it themselves.

Featured prominently here are::

  • Quotes, invoicing and statements
  • Accept payment online
  • Track and pay expenses
  • Payroll
  • SuperStream compliant
  • Inventory management
  • Calculate and track GST
  • Multiple plans to suit your business

Therefore, if you are looking for accounting software that is a little bit more comprehensive, MYOB is the right choice for you.

9. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks is without a doubt one of the most well-known options available worldwide for financial, tax, and accounting software. And although QuickBooks Desktop is still an option for people who like desktops, Intuit’s cloud accounting software alternative is QuickBooks Online (particularly the extremely comprehensive, relatively affordable QuickBooks Pro Plus), which can be used from anywhere with an internet connection.

Standard functions including as invoicing, billing, and receipt scanning are included in the basic Intuit QuickBooks Online plan. Additionally, this plan offers more thorough tracking than many of its competitors, including:

  • Mileage tracking
  • Sales tax tracking
  • Automatic tax deduction categorization
  • Contractor payment tracking
  • Thorough reporting, including accounts receivable

In addition, QuickBooks provides the superior mobile accounting app that you won’t find anywhere else. The application is capable of doing anything that the programme is (a rarity for any software provider, no matter the industry). Consequently, if you work on the go, you might find that the QuickBooks app, which includes mobile mileage tracking, is a suitable fit for you.

The online reporting and tracking services offered by Intuit QuickBooks come at a cost: the company’s most affordable plan for small businesses starts at $25 per month and allows for a maximum of one user in addition to an accountant. The most expensive package, which covers 25 users and costs $180 per month, is available.

QuickBooks Self-Employed is a more affordable choice for financial management, with a monthly fee of only $15. On the other hand, QuickBooks Self-Employed is designed for freelancers who have only a few clients and have very little expenses. As a result, the plan is focused mostly on invoicing, calculating mileage, and keeping track of taxes.

This indicates that it assists sole proprietors who file forms in maximising their tax returns; but, it is not a fully-featured bookkeeping or accounting programme for other types of business owners.

10. Zoho Books

Because the majority of the most typical (and, let’s be honest, dull) bookkeeping activities are automated by Zoho Books, you will have more time to devote to your company and its clients, and less time to spend on the laborious process of data entry. You will also have the ability to manage contractors, create recurring spending profiles, and set up automatic payment reminders for customers.

The Zoho suite of products includes a number of different software applications; Zoho Books is just one of them. You can use Zoho for a variety of tasks, including accounting, project management, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM), to name a few, due to the ease with which one Zoho product interfaces with the others.

In addition, if your annual income is less than $50,000, you are eligible for the free plan offered by Zoho Books. Aside from that, the cheapest plan for Zoho Books is $15 per month if you pay annually or $20 per month if you pay on a month-to-month basis.

There are three users included in the most affordable plan, but if you need more than that, you can pay an additional $2.50 per month for each additional user. When compared to FreshBooks’ additional $10 charge per user each month, this is a remarkable deal to say the least. In addition, Zoho provides discounts to charitable organisations, which is one of the reasons we recommend this financial management software to charitable organisations that require accurate fund accounting.

Additionally, it does not interact with independent payroll service providers. Therefore, you are required to manually update the components of your books that are relevant to payroll, which significantly reduces the value of Zoho’s principal benefit, which is automation.

In a similar vein, the most affordable plan offered by Zoho Books does not feature the production of automatic journal entries. Instead, you will have to manually generate an entry every time you make a transaction involving a debit or credit to an account. If you track more than a few transactions each month, the lack of automation adds a significant amount of time and bother; therefore, you should consider upgrading to the Professional plan, which costs $40 per month (or $50 when billed monthly).