Zoho Books is a household name in the world of enterprise software as a trusted provider of payroll and accounting solutions. Its software comes equipped with an impressive range of accounting features, making it the optimal choice for many small to midsize businesses. But is Zoho Books’s solution the right tool for your organization’s accounting needs?

As so many software providers aim to gain the attention of potential clients, choosing the right accounting tool can be challenging. To aid you in your search for the perfect accounting product, this article looks at the alternative solutions offered by Zoho Books’ competitors. This includes a deep dive into the product’s stand-out features, pros, cons and other important considerations necessary to select the right software for your organization.

Top Zoho Books competitors and alternatives: Comparison table

PricingExpense trackingUser limitsFree trial
Zoho Books$0 for businesses with an annual revenue below $50K USDYesUnlimited14 daysTry Zoho
QuickBooks Online$30Yes2530 daysTry QuickBooks
Xero$15Limited to the highest-cost planUnlimited30 daysTry Xero
Wave Accounting$0YesUnlimitedN/ATry Wave
FreshBooks$19YesUnlimited30 daysTry FreshBooks
Sage IntacctCustomYesUnlimited30 daysTry Sage
NetSuiteCustomYesUnlimited14 daysTry NetSuite

Plan and pricing information up to date and verified as of 1/23/2024.

Top Zoho Books competitors

QuickBooks Online: Best overall Zoho Books alternative

Our star rating: 4.6 out of 5

Intuit QuickBooks is another trusted payroll software provider, and the QuickBooks Online solution is a top alternative to Zoho Books’ system. Its cloud-based software tool is designed with small businesses in mind and includes features that can help smaller organizations streamline their accounting workflows.

Still, Zoho Books and QuickBooks Online have significant differences. Zoho Books offers more comprehensive features than QuickBooks Online and many other competitors. And while QuickBooks Online’s lowest tier plan does provide more features than Zoho Books’s lower tier plans, their $30 starting price is significantly pricier.

Additionally, Zoho Books users can purchase more users for their plans, whereas QuickBooks Online limits user numbers, capping them at 25 on the highest plan. That said, shoppers should consider price, the size of their teams and their desired features when choosing between these systems.

Pricing

  • QuickBooks Simple Start: $30 per month with access for one user.
  • QuickBooks Essentials: $60 per month with access for up to three users.
  • QuickBooks Plus: $90 per month with access for up to five users.
  • QuickBooks Advanced: $200 per month with access for up to 25 users.

First-time QuickBooks customers receive the option of either signing up for a 30-day free trial or locking in 50% off for their initial three months.

Features

  • Income and expense tracking.
  • Customizable invoicing.
  • Time tracking capabilities built-in.
  • Mobile app.
  • Cash flow forecasting.
  • Bookkeeping and accounting reports.

Pros

  • Each plan includes free access to QuickBooks Payments, apart from industry-standard transaction fees.
  • Businesses are able to send an unlimited number of invoices to an unlimited number of clients.
  • QuickBooks Online gives new users a choice between a 30-day free trial or a three-month 50% discount.

Cons

  • Above-average prices starting at $30.
  • User limits on every plan.

For more information, read the full QuickBooks Online review.

Xero: Best for freelancers

Our star rating: 4.4 out of 5

Freelancers will appreciate Xero’s accounting features and capabilities to assist them in their business processes. The intuitive tools are easy to use and provide solopreneurs with the convenience of accepting payments online. A notable aspect of Xero’s software plans is the inventory tracking features, a beneficial accounting perk not commonly offered by its competitors.

The online solution and mobile apps sport a user-friendly design, so users can spend less time trying to understand their software and more time on business. With convenient tools like bulk reconciled transactions and paperless expense claiming, users can take care of their business accounting needs quickly and easily.

Pricing

  • Early: $15 per month and includes 20 invoices and five bills per month.
  • Growing: $42 per month and includes unlimited invoicing and bill entry.
  • Established: $78 per month and also includes unlimited invoicing and bill entry.

All plans allow the addition of unlimited users at no additional fee.

Features

  • Basic inventory management tools.
  • Automatic data capturing.
  • Project tracking.
  • Customized invoicing.
  • Multi-currency support.

Pros

  • No user limits.
  • Low starting price compared to some of its competitors.
  • Multi-currency support, so users can report in local or foreign currencies and have their international transactions converted for them.
  • Mobile app allows for simple on-the-go access from anywhere.

Cons

  • Lower-cost Xero plans place restrictions on the number of bills managed, estimates created and invoices sent per month.
  • Customer service is only accessible through email .

For more information, read the full Xero review.

Wave Accounting: Cheapest alternative

Our star rating: 4 out of 5

Wave Accounting offers one completely free income and expense tracking solution, which means it secures our vote for the cheapest Zoho Books alternative. Unlike other providers whose solutions place limits on invoices or billable clients, Wave’s solution is unlimited. The company also let users connect any number of credit cards or bank accounts. And don’t expect hidden fees for these features, as each is included at no additional cost.

Of course, users can choose to expand the functionality of their software by purchasing add-on services or upgrading to Wave’s paid plan. These services include mobile receipt features and cheaper payment transaction fees, to name a few. The add-on services require additional fees but are optional and not mandatory for users. That said, businesses on a budget can use Wave Accounting for free to manage their bookkeeping and business finances.

Pricing

Wave Accounting has one completely free solution, Wave Starter. Its paid plan, Wave Pro, costs $16 per month if you pay month to month, but you can save $22 a year by paying an annual fee of $170.

Wave Pro includes unlimited receipt scanning, complete with a mobile app. If you want to use Wave’s free plan, you can opt to add receipt scanning for $11 a month or $96 a year.

Other paid Wave features include Wave Payroll (starting at $20/month + $6/payee/month) and live bookkeeping support ($149/month).

Features

  • Multi-business management.
  • Expense and income tracking.
  • Crucial accounting reports.
  • Bank reconciliation with double-entry accounting.
  • Automated reminders (with paid plan only).
  • Mobile invoicing app.

Pros

  • Supports seamless integration with Wave Payroll, providing users of both systems with an in-depth look at their financial status.
  • Supports unlimited users (with paid plan only) and billable clients (with both plans).
  • Helpful dashboard provides at-a-glance insights on important matters, like client charging.
  • Automated notifications and reminders (some automations are limited to the paid plan only).

Cons

  • No built-in time tracking.
  • One free plan with unlimited invoicing.
  • No U.S.-based phone support and live chat is available only during Wave’s typical business hours.
  • No customer support with free plan.

For more information, read the full Wave Accounting review.

FreshBooks: Best invoice-specific alternative

Our star rating: 4.1 out of 5

FreshBooks provides another low-cost option that stands out for its impressive range of invoicing features and capabilities. The software offers customizable invoices and numerous invoicing automations to help users stay on track with their billing operations. These features for invoicing can be highly beneficial to freelancers and smaller businesses that provide services, as they can be easily tracked and managed within the system.

FreshBooks does not offer built-in payroll features, but it does have a native integration with Gusto’s payroll solution. Therefore, users can easily maintain updated and accurate data within the system and obtain helpful insights from its reports. While FreshBooks may not be free like Wave Accounting, it offers frequent sales and discounts for first-time users. For example, at the time of writing, shoppers can get 50% off a Lite, Plus or Premium Plan for five months.

Pricing

  • Lite: $19 per month billed monthly or $204 billed yearly. Allows users to bill five clients per month.
  • Plus: $33 per month billed monthly or $360 billed yearly. Allows users to bill 50 clients per month.
  • Premium: $60 per month billed monthly or $660 billed yearly. Includes unlimited billable clients.
  • Select: Custom quote pricing for enterprises.

Features

  • Sales tax tracking and reports.
  • Collaboration tools.
  • Client profiles and account statements.
  • Built-in time tracking.
  • Project-based budgeting and billing.
  • Client portals.

Pros

  • Native integrations with Gusto to ensure accuracy in syncing accounting and payroll data.
  • Low cost compared to other accounting software systems, starting at $17 per month after a 30-day free trial.
  • Client portal tool lets users communicate with customers, so they can easily handle matters like invoicing, providing estimates and administering payment reminders.

Cons

  • Cheapest plan limits users to invoicing only five clients a month, and true double-entry accounting is unavailable.
  • Being an invoice-centric solution, the software features can be less helpful to businesses that sell products, compared to those that provide services.

For more information, read the full Freshbooks review.

Sage Intacct: Best for growing businesses

Our star rating: 4.6 out of 5

Sage Intacct offers an excellent accounting software solution as a part of the Sage platform. Sage provides three accounting products, but for a more direct comparison with Zoho Books, we will be discussing the Sage Intacct accounting software. This cloud-based software product comes with financial management tools to support users in many areas of their accounting processes.

Sage’s solution is scalable as it requires new users to form personalized pricing plans to fit their unique needs. This is good news, especially for growing businesses, as they can work with Sage’s pricing department to maintain a software solution capable of keeping up with their expanding operations.

Pricing

Shoppers are encouraged to contact Sages sales team to request a personalized price quote.

Features

  • Accounts payable and accounts receivable modules.
  • Real-time data metrics.
  • Hundreds of integration options.
  • Automated invoicing and collection processes.
  • Inventory tracking tools
  • Financial reporting features.

Pros

  • Provides real-time visibility into cash management and working capital.
  • User-friendly and fully customizable.
  • Provides scalable accounting solutions to fit the needs of small, medium and large businesses.

Cons

  • Users can only integrate payroll through the QuickBooks Payroll integration.
  • Prices of the software can rise significantly when opting for multi-user mode.

NetSuite: Best for enterprises

Our star rating: 4 out of 5

Large businesses require solutions capable of handling their financial operations. A worthy enterprise solution is Oracle NetSuite ERP, as it has tools that are capable of supporting large-scale accounting processes. Its customizable plans come with basic accounting features and tools for inventory, tax, cash and order management.

Enterprises can even expand the Oracle Netsuite ERP’s capabilities with add-on options for marketing, CRM and other purposes. When used alongside NetSuite’s other products, businesses can increase their software functionality by seamlessly integrating each tool.

Connecting the solutions to become a unified, full-service business management suite makes it easier to sync data from each system into a single source of truth. In doing so, large organizations can fully visualize their financial data in real time and make informed business decisions.

Pricing

NetSuite charges an annual fee for its software based on the buyer’s unique needs. Shoppers are encouraged to contact Oracle NetSuites’ sales team to request a personalized price quote.

Features

  • Custom reporting tools.
  • Cash-flow visibility.
  • Fixed assets management.
  • Cash management tools.
  • Automated account reconciliation.

Pros

  • Offers customizable solutions with enterprise-level scalability.
  • Mobile capabilities support users who wish to access and manage the software on the go.
  • Users can choose to incorporate a selection of convenient non-accounting add-on features.
  • Provides automation scripts for added convenience.

Cons

  • More expensive product compared to others included in this list.
  • Can have a steep learning curve.

Is Zoho Books worth it?

Our star rating: 4.7 out of 5

Zoho Books may be the right tool for your organization, depending on what you require in an accounting solution. Zoho Books takes the hassle out of standard accounting processes with features to simplify expense tracking and management. Being a comprehensive accounting system, Zoho Books’ use of automation and customization options makes it stand out amongst the competition.

The software’s automation features enable users to streamline their workflows, and organizations can configure them to fit within their existing work operations. With customizable invoices, timesheets and project task tracking, any business can ensure that their procedures run smoothly and stay on top of their resources and expenditures.

With a free plan available to businesses with an annual revenue below $50K USD, Zoho Books can be an excellent lower-cost option for small to midsize companies. Additionally, it offers scalable pricing plans and a wide array of accounting features that can benefit growing organizations.

Zoho Books pros and cons

Zoho Books shines in many areas, but it also has its drawbacks. Consider the pros and cons for Zoho Books below to assess how they impact the product’s suitability for your organization.

ProsCons
  • Offers multilingual invoices and multi-currency support.
  • Scalable solution with six software price plans for users to choose from — five paid plans and one free plan.
  • Comes with a large range of comprehensive features.
  • Configuring the software automations can be tricky for first time users.
  • Integrates with fewer third-party apps than other small-business accounting solutions.
  • Free solution is exclusive to businesses with an annual revenue below $50K USD.

Zoho Books pricing

Zoho Books offers a free version of their software for businesses with an annual revenue below $50,000 USD. Alternatively customers can choose from the paid plans, which are billed either month to month or yearly at a discounted rate.

  • Standard: $20 billed monthly or $15 per month billed yearly.
  • Professional: $50 billed monthly or $40 per month billed yearly.
  • Premium: $70 billed monthly or $60 per month billed yearly.
  • Elite: $150 billed monthly or $120 per month billed yearly.
  • Ultimate: $275 billed monthly or $240 per month billed yearly.

Plans include a specific number of users within the base price, but additional users can be purchased at $3 per user billed monthly or $8 per user per month billed annually.

Do you need an alternative to Zoho Books?

No one software solution can be recommended for all businesses across the board. Whether an accounting solution is right for your organization depends on its needs, size, budget and other unique requirements.

To determine whether you should choose Zoho Books or an alternative, consider how the above products would fit into your current business processes. For example, an invoice-centric solution like Freshbooks can be an excellent resource for freelancers and small businesses that provide services. Xero is another solution that gears its offerings toward freelancers and solopreneurs, making it worthy of consideration for managing the finances of single-person companies.

Size is another essential factor to consider, as some services are designed to meet the needs of smaller businesses, like Quickbooks Online. A growing business may benefit from a scalable solution that can expand alongside them and keep up with their accounting needs, like Sage Intacct. On the other hand, Oracle Netsuite is optimized with features for large companies and requires a larger budget. But if a low-cost option is important for your organization, Wave Accounting’s free software may be the superb choice.

Methodology

This is a technical review using compiled literature researched from relevant databases. The information provided within this article is gathered from vendor websites or based on an aggregate of user feedback to ensure a high-quality review. Read our software review methodology article to learn more about how we derive star ratings and evaluate our brands.

Featured Accounting Software

QuickBooks

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Acumatica Cloud ERP

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Acumatica Cloud ERP offers powerful finance and business intelligence tools to streamline company-wide accounting processes. Track costs, control billing, and manage time/expenses with multi-currency support and powerful financial reports. Acumatica makes real-time financial data available anytime, anywhere, on any device. Harness this data to make informed accounting decisions, reduce workloads, close the books faster, accelerate growth, and transform how you do business in the digital economy.

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Oracle NetSuite

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays