Replace Quickbooks Payroll Best Small Business Options

Replace quickbooks payroll best small business options

Our top 8 picks for QuickBooks Online alternatives

Find the top alternatives to Quickbooks. Read this comparison of the best accounting software for your small business.

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Here are the best alternatives to Quickbooks:

Best Alternatives for QuickBooks

Accounting and QuickBooks just seem to go hand-in-hand. While QuickBooks does have the experience and many available programs, there are other options to consider.

QuickBooks Online is robust in its offerings, which we highlight below.

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But then keep reading to learn the features you may get from alternatives to the QuickBooks family. You can then make the decision that is right for your business.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a robust, cloud-based accounting program for small businesses.

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It offers a wide range of tools and has extensive flexibility. It can be slightly confusing for those not familiar with accounting jargon, but its many features make up for this downfall.

Business owners can create and send invoices, track expenses, invoice payments, and inventory, and create extensive financial reports.

Replace quickbooks payroll best small business options

It's easy to set up and reconcile your accounts. QuickBooks also provides a large number of online tutorials to help you understand the program.

You'll work from one main dashboard, which has many branches for you to get the detailed information about your company that you need. Because it's cloud-based, many employees can work on it at the same time, saving their changes in real-time. This may help eliminate mistakes and confusion throughout the company.

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The Advantages of QuickBooks Online

  • User-friendliness: From setup to using the program, it's easy to navigate your way through the program.

    If you get lost, you can search the knowledgebase, watch videos, or attend one of the weekly webinars offered by QuickBooks.

  • Invoicing options: You can easily customize your invoices and emails used to automatically send your invoices.

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    QuickBooks will track the status of each invoice and automatically send reminders when they are unpaid.

  • Automatic expense entry: Linking your bank accounts and credit cards provides automatic tracking of every expense.

    This could save you time and money spent on manual data entry and human mistakes.

  • Multiple users: You can add up to 5 authorized users to the QuickBooks Online account.

    If you have more than five employees needing access, you can add more, but with limited permissions.

  • Integrations: QuickBooks works with more than 500 third-party apps to seamlessly integrate with the program.

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    If there's a feature QuickBooks doesn't offer, you may find it with one of their partners, giving you the features you need within one program.

The Disadvantages of QuickBooks Online

  • Complexity: If your accounting needs are basic and you don't need the extensive invoicing options, QuickBooks Online could be overwhelming.

    It does have a decent learning curve to figure out the program, which is beneficial for those who need it. If you just need software to keep track of invoices and expenses for tax time, you may want to look at the options below.

  • No payroll capabilities: QuickBooks does offer payroll, but at an additional price.

    If you need a payroll program, utilizing a different program may be more cost effective. QB Online charges a monthly subscription plus an additional fee per employee each month.

  • No project or time management: QuickBooks Online doesn't offer project management, and the time tracking features are limited.

Alternatives to QuickBooks Online

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There are two reasons Xero stands out as an alternative to QuickBooks Online.

  • Unlimited users: There is no limit to the number of users who can use the program.

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    If you have a large company with many hands in accounting, this could be more helpful than the 5-person limit QuickBooks requires.

  • Payroll capabilities: Xero offers payroll services with each of its two top plans if you live in one of the 36 included states.

    The Standard plan includes payroll for up to five employees and the Premium plan offers payroll for up to 100 employees.

With a user-friendly dashboard and features similar to QuickBooks Online, Xero is a decent competitor for QB Online.

Xero doesn't offer the same invoice customization and automation that QuickBooks offers, though, which may be a downfall for busy businesses looking to streamline the invoicing process.

Xero works well with the popular payment services, such as PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay, giving your clients an easier and faster way to pay your invoices.

Replace quickbooks payroll best small business options

Zoho Books

Zoho Books also offers features that are similar to QuickBooks Online, but where it tends to shine is:

  • Project management capabilities: One of QuickBooks' downfalls is the lack of project management tools. This is where Zoho Books prevails, though. You can track time worked expenses and manage the overall project right in this program.
  • Invoice in multiple currencies: Zoho is also great for companies doing business worldwide.

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    You can send invoices in several different currencies and keep track of the gain/loss experienced as a result of the exchange.

Zoho Books does not offer payroll or budgeting tools. You'd have to use a separate program for those features.

Replace quickbooks payroll best small business options

Zoho Books does offer a more attractive client portal and has easier invoice customization tools, though.

Zoho Books doesn't offer as many partner integrations as QuickBooks.

Where QuickBooks offers 500, Zoho Books offers 28 integrations. You can get around that with third-party apps though.

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If you don't need payroll, operate globally, and are okay with using other apps for certain services, Zoho Books could be an affordable option.


FreshBooks is a top competitor to QuickBooks online, but it has features that aren't as robust as QB Online. What sets it apart the most are:

  • Track time: Time is money and FreshBooks makes sure you get paid for every minute spent working with their in-app timer, in both the PC app and the mobile app.

    If you don't want to use the FreshBooks app, you can use third-party apps you are already familiar with, such as Asana or Basecamp and let FreshBooks manage the data.

  • Project management: FreshBooks makes it easy to keep everyone on the same page while working on a project.

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    All files are stored in the cloud, so there's no need to chase emails or make phone calls.

In our opinion, FreshBooks is more of an invoicing/project management app than an accounting app. While it does allow you to automatically download expenses and accept payments, its reporting features are very slim.

Replace quickbooks payroll best small business options

You can create a handful of reports compared to QB's 65+ reports.

Other Alternatives to Consider

  • GoDaddy Bookkeeping: This program is a good alternative for sellers on third-party sites, such as Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. It works directly with those programs, making integration simple.

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    It has simple requirements, making it a good choice for the new entrepreneur. It doesn't offer bill pay or project management, but it does the job if you are a small online seller looking to keep track of sales and expenses.

  • QuickBooks Self Employed: Freelancers who don't need full-blown accounting services, but do need to stay organized for tax time, do well with QB Self-Employed.

    The streamlined version of QB Online helps you stay on track for estimated quarterly taxes. It also helps you keep track of invoices and even accepts payments. It does not offer extensive accounting reporting, though.

Free Alternatives You May Want to Consider

  • Wave: Businesses trying to save money will be pleasantly surprised with the free services provided by Wave.

    Best QuickBooks Alternative for Self-employed & Freelancers:

    They offer invoicing, accounts payable, reconciliation, reporting, and even time tracking. While it doesn't help you with tax reporting or project management, its accounting features are robust.

  • Zoho Invoice: If you have fewer than five clients and only one user, you can use Zoho Invoice for free.

    You can send invoices and estimates, track time and expenses, send automatic invoice reminders, and even accept payments in multiple currencies. If you get larger, you can "grow into" one of their larger plans as well.

Bottom Line

Handling your accounting needs doesn't mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on PC software.

Best Bookkeeping Software For Small Business

There are many cloud-based options that are robust in their offerings.

Prioritize the features that mean the most to your business and determine an affordable budget. You can then have a better idea of which of the many available programs will work just right for you.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone.

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