150 accounting applications compared. Freeware, cloud and licensed.

Mar 26

150 accounting applications compared. Freeware, cloud and licensed.

In 2012 Futurebooks researched over 200 different accounting applications. The research found 150 applications suitable for personal and commercial use.

Applications short listed were supported by online resources, chat facilities and at least one international number to call (freeware applications the exception).

When adopting an accounting application there are two criteria to consider.

  1. user type or purpose of the application;
  2. pricing model.

Four user types of accounting applications

The research divided accounting applications into four user types.

  1. personal;
  2. self-employed;
  3. small and medium sized enterprise (SME);
  4. enterprise.

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Personal Households. Personal accounts, income, expenses, budgets, personal tax. < 15 All
Self-employed Freelancers and contractors 1-2 persons. Time-based billing and invoicing. < 20 All
SME Managers of small businesses 1-20 persons. Full sets of accounts, inventory and POS. < 70 All
Enterprise Managers of large businesses 20+ personals. ERP, CRM, SCM, PM, BI. < 50 All

The research found a healthy spread of applications in the enterprise, SME, and self-employed user types. Only accounting applications designed for personal use were disappointing, with only 15 applications available.

Three kinds of pricing models

The four broad categories of accounting applications were further categorised into three types of pricing models.

  1. freeware;
  2. licensed;
  3. subscription.

Freeware applications were available free for commercial use. Licensed products required a one-time free to purchase a license, limited to a few users. Subscription was software-as-a-service that attracted a monthly subscription.

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Freeware Low-medium On-premises Low < 30
Licensed High On-premises Medium < 80
Subscription Zero upfront costs Cloud-based (SaaS) Infinite Add-ons < 30


The research identified 30 freeware accounting applications. These accounting applications are available for download from the sourceforge website.

In the majority of cases, freeware applications were both open source and on-premise. Being open source, a developer could customise the core application or build additional functions. On-premise means the application was required to be downloaded and installed on either a local or web-based server.

Freeware attracted no licensing fees. However there are a few hidden costs.

  1. installation;
  2. customisation;
  3. hosting;
  4. maintenance.

Installing freeware applications has inherent risk. Trial versions were not available, so testing cannot begin until a developer has installed the application on a server.
Post deployment, the developer may discover some customisation users require, may not be achievable or prove cost-prohibitive.

In addition, freeware applications were unsupported, with no FAQs, forums and videos available. On average these applications had been downloaded a total of 75 times each, suggesting limited application.

New releases were infrequent and deployment would require a developer.


The research found licensed accounting applications were the most numerous, tallying 80 different kinds across all four user types. Licensed accounting applications were also feature-rich compared to cloud solutions.

However license was the most expensive model. Both upfront and ongoing fees were high.

  1. license per user;
  2. installation (in some cases)
  3. customization (in some cases)
  4. hosting;
  5. maintenance.

As licensed products were on-premises, it gives the user better access in areas where internet connection to cloud is poor. However, user access may be restricted to the office LAN or a single machine only.

For low-to-SME applications, license fees ranged from US$200-$1,000 per user. Small upgrades / bug fixes were normally available free. However full upgrades were an additional cost, and often a technical person was required to do the installation.

It was not possible to gauge the cost of licensed enterprise, however estimations are US$20,000 and above.

To justify the large upfront costs of licensed products, the decision maker needs to amortise the purchase over a number of years. Some licensed vendors like Intuit and SAP have diversified and offered equivalent cloud solutions.


The fastest growing pricing model was subscriptions. This is no surprise, as the software industry as a whole is moving to cloud computing. The average fee for entry products ranged from US20-$50 per month.

While licensed products tended to target professional users, cloud accounting applications targeted a new users. Thus cloud applications were simpler, intuitive and portable to mobile devices.

The subscription model was the most scalable across all four user types (with ERP the exception). Cloud computing was characterised by an eco-system of ‘add-on’ applications which integrate and perform specific tasks.

Non-technical people can integrate different solutions by taking advantage of an application’s APIs. API or (Application Programming Interface) permit applications to talk to one another on-demand.

Short listed accounting applications

Personal finance applications

Most personal finance applications were similar in nature. YapBam, iBank and stood out as offering something different.

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Buddi Freeware Simple budgeting program targeted for users with little or no financial background. Set up accounts and categories, record transactions and check spending habits. n/a
Gnucash Freeware Check-book like register GUI to enter and track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. n/a
Grisbi Freeware Manage multiple accounts, currencies, users, expenditure and receipts, budgetary lines and financial years. n/a
jGnash Freeware Double entry system with support for multiple currencies. n/a
Money Manager Ex Freeware Easy to use, money management application. Track your net worth, income vs expenses etc. Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. n/a
Yapbam Freeware Personnal bank account manager. n/a
Fortora Fresh Finance License Tracks accounts, loans, bills, investments and budgets. UK
Accountz License Accounting software for home and business, budgeting and expense tracking UK
iBank License Track investments, maintain budgets and manage accounts. Global
Moneydance License Double-entry accounting, multi-currency. n/a
You Need a Budget License Personal spending management and budgeting. Global Subscription Bank account aggregator. Global

Accounting applications for self-employed

Accounting applications designed for the self-employed contractor or freelancer, tended to focus on time-billing and invoicing. They were divided 50 / 50 between cloud and licensed products.

MYOB was the choice licensed product, with excellent support globally and a full-featured application that can scale upwards into the SME user type.

Competition among subscription offers was fierce, with Freshbooks, Harvest, Kashoo and Zoho all proving worthy choices.

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EasyHotspot Freeware Billing system with a linux distro and other software dependencies. n/a
TurboCASH Accounting Freeware Delphi development in Windows / Lunix. Accomodates developer scripts, local plugins, multi language. n/a
EasyAs License Simple accounting software for small business, contractors and home businesses. AU
FirstOffice License Accounting, invoicing, calendar and to-do-list. Global
Hansaworld Books License Create invoices and receive payments. Control stock, job cost and track point of sale merchandise. Global
MYOB Just Invoices License Invoicing, tracking sales and GST. Global
Quicken License Personal cash management, investment management. AU
Ariett AP Invoice License Automate and streamline accounts payable approval. US, UK
Bizmo for iOS Subscription First accounting, time & billing suite designed for the iPad, iPhone & iPod touch. Global
Anybill Subscription Invoicing. US
Clear Books Subscription Invoices, expenses, reconcile bank statements, cash flow, financial reports, contacts, VAT, payroll. UK
Free Agent Subscription Online money management. UK
Freshbooks Subscription Billing, time, expenses and books. UK
Harvest Subscription Time tracking and billing. Global
inniAccounts Subscription Timesheets, expenses tracking, mileage tracking, payroll, double-entry accounting, management reporting. Global
Invoicera Subscription Time tracking and billing. Global
Kashoo Subscription Invoices, expenses, reconcile bank statements, cash flow, financial reports. Global
Outright Subscription Bookkeeping, taxes, ecommerce, reporting & business intelligence. Global
Zoho invoice Subscription Helps create, send and manage your invoices online. Track payments and accept online payments from customers. Global

Accounting applications for SME

QuickBooks OnlineAccounting applications designed for SMEs were dominated in number by freeware and licensed products.

Of the licensed products, Sage Peachtree and QuickBooks were the favourites. These applications were feature-rich, and built to a standard a professional from the accounting industry would expect.

QuickBooks Online, Xero, Wave Accounting and Zoho Books were the pick of the cloud bunch.

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]Project-open[ Freeware Resource management, time sheets, HR, CRM, ITSM, collaboration and financials. ]po[ is built on top of, an open-source web platform. n/a
Lazy8 ledger Freeware Professional double-entry accounting ledger with advanced reporting and analysis.  n/a
LedgerSMB Freeware LedgerSMB is a fork of SQL-Ledger. Provides better security and data integrity controls, community support, open documentation. n/a
Locbook Freeware Petroleum distribution and convenience store operators with the fuel management and retail sales . n/a
Microsoft Office Accounting Express Freeware Accounting solution for small and home businesses. n/a
Numia Freeware Free online accounting software for small business. n/a
OpenAccounting Freeware Free, open-source, easy-to-use, web-based accounting and inventory system. n/a
osFinancials Freeware Easy to install with Firebird database. Stock control and point of sales integrated. Integration with osCommerce. n/a
PhreeBooks Freeware Separate customer and vendor account information, inventory and tracking, general ledger, check writing, bank reconciliation, flexible import and export. n/a
Tryton Freeware ERP, GL, double-entry accounting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, SCM, WMS, multi-currency. n/a
Centage Budget Maestro License Financial forecasting & reporting software for smart decision making. US
Acclaim Cashbook Complete License Quick and easy to use Windows based

cashbook for small companies.

AME Accounting License Payroll, general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, double-entry accounting. US
Bizprac License Fully integrated business management system for construction industry AU
Bizz Wizz License Accounting software for small business, trades and retail. AU
Busy Basic License Multi-company, multi-currency, multi-location inventory, order processing, configurable invoicing / documents / letters, sales tax / vat, TDS, FBT, direct e-mail / SMS, MIS reports. India
Cash Plan XT2 License Budgeting, forecasting and cashflow analysis without using excel or formulas. US
Cashflow Manager GOLD License Cashflow manager and wages manager. AU
CGram Software License Financials, ERP, CRM, manufacturing, multicompany, multicurrency, payroll, inventory control, accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger. UK
Checkmark Multiledger License Payroll solution for employers, accountants, and payroll services. US
Express Accounts License Report on incoming and outgoing cash flow, sales, receipts, payments, purchases. Global
FinancePlus License Inventory, multi-warehouse / locations, foreign currency, Goldmine contact management API, e-commerce. AU
Happy Accounts License Multi-language, general ledger, budgeting, accounts receivable, invoicing, notes receivable manager, accounts payable, purchase orders, inventory control, foreign currency. Global
Interacct License Marketing for lead generation, sales management to convert those sales leads, estimating, quotations, and then win/loss analysis. AU
invoiceit License Single entry, accounts receivable, accounts payable, contact management system, inventory management, purchasing, quotations, invoices, scheduler. NZ
IRIS Exchequer License Payroll, general ledger, multi-currency, cashbook, sales and purchase ledgers, e-banking, MRP, stock forecasting, project costing, job costing, time costing, CRM, BI. UK
KiBiz Accounting License FileMaker-based application performing basic business operations. Global
Mamut Software Limited License ERP, CRM and e-commerce. UK
MyBusiness Accounting License Flexible, affordable, online accounting software for the small business. UK
MYOB AccountRight Plus License Integrated payroll, inventory and time billing. Global
NewViews License E-commerce, integrated, multi-user, payroll, general ledger, AR, AP, multi-currency, inventory, order entry, job costing. US
Nominal Accounting License AR, AP, GL, double-entry accounting, sales and contracts, inventory control, job costing, integrated, inter-company. Global
Open Systems Traverse License ERP, CRM, SCM, intercompany, multicurrency, manufacturing, distribution, ecommerce, mobile business solutions, reporting, BI. US
Openda QX License CRM, ERP. UK
Passport Software, Inc. License General ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, ERP. UK
Pegasus Opera II License Integrated business software to fully control your business. UK
PS Financials License Accounting, order processing, budgeting, billing, project control, consolidation, process automation UK
QuickBooks Pro/Premier License Financial management, inventory management, payroll. Global
Real Easy Books ezREB License Profit, cash flow, inventory control, invoicing, check writing. US
Red Wing Turningpoint License Payroll, general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, double-entry accounting, fund accounting, inventory, procurement, order entry/tracking. UK
Sage Peachtree Pro License Improve your productivity, accounting features to manage invoices/checks & payroll. Global
Sage Simply Accounting License Business accounting, retail, inventory control. Canada
SAP Business ByDesign License ERP, e-Commerce. Global
Softline Pastel License Accounting, ERP, CRM, financials, business intelligence, POS, small business accounting, mid-sized enterprise accounting, large enterprise accounting, payroll, HR. South Africa
Tally.ERP 9 License Business accounting, inventory management, payroll. India, Dubai
TASBooks License Easy accounting software for growing businesses. UK
Tencia License The easiest accounting and business software solution to deploy for small to medium sized businesses. AU
Turquaz Financial Accounting License Double entry, inventory, accounts recievable, accounts payable, general ledger, journal, multi currency, advanced report and analysis. US
Turtle Creek Goldseal License Integrated accounting software for Macintosh and Windows. US
Acumatica License or subscription ERP, Accounting software. US, Singapore, Indonesia
Interprise Suite Accounting License or subscription ERP/ Financials, CRM, eCommerce, POS. Global
NolaPro License Double-entry accounting, small business accounting, inventory control, order entry / tracking, payroll, ERP, ecommerce, POS. US
Mamut Accounting License or subscription ERP, CRM, e-commerce UK
Cougar Mountain Software License Business accounting, POS retail, nonprofit, inventory control. US
Jcurve Subscription Fully featured, single system tailored for small business in the region. AU
Less Accounting Subscription Connect to bank accounts and credit cards and import your daily transactions. Global
Aqilla Subscription Multi-currency web based accounting, expense, timesheet and project-costing solution. UK
Arithmo Subscription Quick, simple, scalable, & cost effective cloud based accounting. UK
BIG4books Subscription Double-entry accounting, small business accounting, inventory control, order entry/tracking, general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, ERP, ecommerce, POS. US
BrightPearl Subscription Ecommerce, point-of-sale, inventory, order management, CRM and accounting. UK and US
E-conomic Subscription e-conomic online accounting system, available anywhere, anytime. Global
Intacct Subscription Custom reporting, double-entry accounting, employee expenses, ERP, inventory control, order entry / tracking, payroll, ecommerce, POS, revenue recognition,VSOE. US
Moobiz Subscription Holiday management, calendar & company minutes. Global
Our Accounts Subscription Send, store and share financial files between you and your client. US, AU
OWL Software Basic Bookkeeping Subscription Invoicing & inventory, business accounting, bookkeeping, VAT. UK
Quickbooks Online Subscription Financial management, payroll. Global
Wave Accounting Subscription A full-featured, free online accounting application for SMBs and self-employed. Global
WorkingPoint Subscription Easy to use system to manage your whole business Global
Xero Subscription Accounts receivable, accounts payable, double-entry, small business accounting, multi-currency, automatic bank feeds, management reporting, payroll, inventory. Global
Zoho Books Subscription Manage your finances and stay on top of your business with Zoho small business online accounting software. Global

Accounting applications for Enterprise

SaaSuSage ERP Accpac, SAP ERP, Oracle E-Business Suite and Microsoft Dynamics were the most sophisticated, scalable and well-supported licensed products.

Saasu and Netsuite were the clear choices for ERP in the cloud space.

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Adempiere Freeware ERP, CRM, MFG, SCM, POS. Focus is on the community that includes subject matter specialists, implementors and end-users. n/a
BlueErp Freeware Double entry accounting application. Available as a stand alone application or modules for eGroupware. n/a
Dolibarr Freeware ERP, CRM n/a
FrontAccounting Freeware Written in PHP using MySQL. Multilingual and multicurrency. n/a
JFire Freeware Trading platform including ERP, CRM, accounting (full double-entry) and cross-organisation-trading written in Java based on J2EE, JDO and the Eclipse RCP. Global
OpenERP Freeware Sales, CRM, project management, warehouse management, manufacturing, accounting and human resources. n/a
Postbooks Freeware ERP, accounting, CRM package for small to midsized businesses. Runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows (built with open source Qt framework). n/a
SQL-Ledger Freeware ERP and double entry accounting system. Accounting data is stored in an SQL Database Server and a standard web browser can be used as its user interface. n/a
webERP Freeware Accounts payable and receivable, purchase and sales ordering, inventory, material resource planning, fixed asset register and petty cash. n/a
Open Taps Freeware and License Based on Apache Open for Business. Functions include eCommerce, POS, inventory, warehouse, order, customer management and general ledger. n/a
Openbravo ERP Freeware and License Web-based open source business management system written in Java. n/a
Account Mate Express License Over 20 modules to fulfill your accounting, payroll, inventory, manufacturing, RMA, CRM and other business requirements. US
Alight Planning Enterprise License File server system for executives, financial staff, and line managers who collaborate in developing financial plans and who review financial and operating results. Global
Apache OFBiz License ERP, CRM, POS, Business Intelligence, GL, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory control, Manufacturing, SCM, HR, ecommerce. Global
Attaché All-In-One License Accounting, Payroll, CRM and Business Intelligence. AU, NZ
Blue Link Elite License Integrated inventory management and accounting system. US
Cincom Priority License Contact centre, document automation, manufacturing, product configuration, database management and application development. Global
COA Solutions License Procurement software, HR and payroll systems, document management and business intelligence. UK
CODA License Real-time financial visibility and control across people, processes and systems. Global
Comarch Altum License ERP, GL, bookkeeping, multi-currency, multi-language, double-entry accounting,  ap, ar, analytics;  integration, CRM, BI, e-commerce, workflow, retail, POS. Global
DacEasy License Simply running accounting to choosing a combination with accounting, payroll, job costing, order entry, and/or point of sale. Global
e-Insight ERP License Order entry, production planning, full-featured accounting for manufacturing and distribution business. US
Epicor ERP License Manufacturing, distribution, retail, hospitality & services Global
Exact Globe Next License Structures your business processes on a single platform for greater efficiency. Europe
GMS Accounting License Non-profit and public organisations accounting for contracts and grants or by program activity. UK
Greentree License Financial management, supply chain, CRM, service & asset management, job cost, manufacturing, workflow, ebusiness, HR and payroll, retail point of sale, BI, information access & reporting, mobile solutions. AU, NZ, UK
Jiwa License A fully integrated, 100% Microsoft Windows and Microsoft SQL Server solution. AU, NZ
Jonas Software License Club, foodservice, construction, leisure fitness & sports, attractions, metal service centers, moving & storage and education industries. Global
Lawson Software License ERP, CRM, SCM, PM, e-Commerce, BI US
OpenPro License ERP, CRM, POS, business intelligence, general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, manufacturing, payroll & HR, ecommerce. n/a
Oracle E-Business Suite License ERP, CRM, SCM, PM, BI Global
Sage ERP Accpac License Accounting, distribution or warehouse, and manufacturing. Sales, marketing, customer service and business analytics. Global
SAP ERP License ERP, CRM, SCM, SRM, PLM,GTS, e-commerce, Business Intelligence, Mobile Business Global
SapphireOne License Human resources, supply chain management, customer relationship management, finances, manufacturing, warehouse management and logistics. AU
The Access Group License Financials, CRM, manufacturing, job costing, POS, inventory, ERP, business intelligence, CIS, payroll UK
Integral Accounting License Multi-language accounting & ERP with full source code and distribution rights. Implemented in ASP Dot Net with VB Dot Net Codebehind and using the free SQL Server Express. US
Sybiz Vision License or subscription Payroll, CRM and accounting programs, and third party developers add even more options to ensure that comprehensive solution. AU, NZ, Ireland
TimeTrex Time License or subscription Web-based payroll and time management suite which offers employee scheduling, time & attendance, job costing, invoicing and payroll in tightly integrated package. Global
Compiere License or subscription Distribution, retail, manufacturing and service industries. Compiere automates accounting, supply chain, inventory and sales orders. Global
Micronet Systems License or subscription Integrated financials, warehouse management, e-business, and CRM. AU
24SevenOffice Subscription ERP, CRM, e-mail, collaboration, project management, integrated VoIP. Global Subscription ERP, ordering & billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, cash management, general ledger, reporting & dashboarding, multi-currency, multi-company, global tax, analytics. Global
Microsoft Dynamics GP Subscription ERP, SCM, manufacturing, cost accounting, double-entry accounting, project accounting, payroll, general ledger, analytic, accounts receivable, accounts payable. Global
NetSuite Subscription ERP, financials, CRM, inventory & e-commerce. Global
Saasu Subscription Online accounting software for invoicing, purchasing, inventory and payroll. AU
Uniware AusVantage Subscription ERP, CRM, SCM, PM, BI. AU

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Category: Small business

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