5 Apps for Bookkeeping on a Budget

bookkeeping apps

When I started my own freelance business, the most common advice I received was, “Hire a bookkeeper.” My formal education included exactly zero accounting training, and managing the money side of my business was initially out of my comfort zone. But since I was just starting out, I couldn’t afford to pay another person. That was when I found my greatest ally in small-business ownership: accounting software.

If you don’t want to shell out for a bookkeeper, these affordable apps are great alternatives.

Money Management

Money Management

When I started my own freelance business, the most common advice I received was, “Hire a bookkeeper.” My formal education included exactly zero accounting training, and managing the money side of my business was initially out of my comfort zone. But since I was just starting out, I couldn’t afford to pay another person. That was when I found my greatest ally in small-business ownership: accounting software.

If you don’t want to shell out for a bookkeeper, these affordable apps are great alternatives.

Wave

Wave

Price: Free
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android

Wave offers a variety of tools, including unlimited invoicing, accounting, and receipt management tools for FREE. There are, of course, paid upgrades, including payroll options and the ability to process credit card payments. Users report that it’s convenient and easy to use, although the app has few bugs. Not bad for a free program.

Freshbooks

Freshbooks

Price: $10-$40/month
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android

I use Freshbooks in my own freelance business, and I love how much I can customize it. It’s easy to track payments and what’s owed to me each month, but I do wish it offered more options for processing payments, instead of just PayPal.

Xero

Xero

Price: $9-$70/month
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android

Customers praise Xero’s simplicity, clarity, and the ability to reconcile accounts, balance checks, manage payroll, and invoice clients remotely. The mobile app is well-designed and clear, although the service lacks a reports functioning.

Sage50

Sage50

Price: $299-$1,699
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry

Sage50 goes beyond the invoicing/expense monitoring options of some of its competitors — for a price. Premium users can expect auto creation of purchase orders, a customer management center, advanced budgeting, and archive company data, to name just a few features. But Sage50 users say that it can be a bit cumbersome to operate.

Bookkeeper

Bookkeeper

Price: $35-$55/year
Mobile platforms: Works offline, iOS, Android, Windows

This app offers something new and exciting: You can use it offline. So should you find yourself wanting to balance the books on an interminable subway ride, Bookkeeper is the app for you. Among Bookkeeper’s features are automatic calculations of profit and loss, creating sales transactions, making and tracking invoices, managing inventory, and generating reports. The main drawback is that users say the app is a bit confusing to navigate at first.

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