In this article you'll find the 13 best accounting software for self-employed earners, fully ranked and reviewed plus recommendations to find out which one is best suited to your needs.
But first, here are our editor's top 7 accounting software tools for self-employed earners:
Top 7 Accounting Software Tools of 2023
This article will help you choose the best accounting software for self-employed earners that's available on the market.
Now, as a self-employed person, you have unique tax needs that must be met in order to be compliant with tax authorities. You also need to be able to stay on top of your cash flow at all times.
The right accounting software will help you track your revenue and expenses, capturing receipts, tracking miles and managing other expenditures that may be tax-deductible later.
In short, you'll be able to see your P&L statement in real time and stay compliant with tax authorities to avoid penalties. As a bonus, top programs will even take care of your federal and state tax filings at the push of a button.
Disclosure: Although I receive affiliate compensation at no additional cost to you to support this site that compensation in no way influences my recommendations, which are strictly informed by my 10+ years of online business experience consulting for clients large and small. My aim is to always recommend tools that offer the best return for your investment (for more details, read my Affiliate Disclosure).
What is the Best Accounting Software for Self-Employed Earners?
QuickBooks is an accounting software program that helps you get a clear view of your finances in real time without the need for manual input.
It syncs with your bank account and categorizes your transactions, connects to your credit card accounts, and provides insights into your cash flow.
QuickBooks tracks inventory, creates invoices and tracks payments plus it integrates with popular ecommerce platforms.
Quickbooks Features that Stand Out
- Snap and store receipts and track mileage from the mobile app to maximize deductions and stay compliant
- Connect your bank and credit card accounts and get cash flow insights in real time
- View Profit & Loss or Balance Sheet reports with the click of a button to simplify your bookkeeping
- Customize Quickbooks with a variety of add-on features, including time tracking, inventory management, cloud accounting, and payment processing
Best for Flexibility:
2. Zoho Books
Zoho Books is an online accounting software that helps you manage your finances, automate your business workflows and work collectively across departments.
It's easy to use and comes with features like online invoicing and billing, expense tracking and inventory management to help you get real-time insights into your business finances
Zoho Books is QuickBooks compatible and it's automatically integrated with Zoho Checkout for easy payments.
Zoho Books Features that Stand Out
- Send professional invoices to clients and accept online payments
- Track, categorize, and bill invoices to your clients from one place
- Connect Zoho Books to your bank account and get a real-time update on your cash flow. Monitor transactions and categorize them in real time
- Share recent transactions, expedite estimate approvals, accept bulk payments and capture customer feedback
- Enable inventory tracking and manage goods as they come in and go out
Best for Mobile:
Xero is an online accounting software that helps self-employed earners, accountants, and bookkeepers manage their finances.
It makes it easy to pay bills, accept payments, track projects, and more. With over 3 million subscribers, Xero is a popular solution for anyone who needs help managing their finances.
Xero has an intuitive user interface, it can be used interchangeably on mobile and desktop devices and it offers a free trial.
Xero Features that Stand Out
- Track and pay bills on time. Get a clear overview of accounts payable and cash flow
- Capture costs, submit, approve and reimburse expense claims, and view spending using the expense tracker
- Connect your bank to Xero and set up bank feeds. Transactions flow securely straight into Xero every business day
- Accept payments online and get paid up to twice as fast by connecting to Stripe, GoCardless and other payment gateways
- Quote, invoice and get paid for jobs. Plus keep track of costs and profitability with project and job tracker software
- Keep your financials up to date. Categorize and reconcile bank account transactions each day using suggested matches
Best Accounting Software for Small Business
Self-employed earners are always looking for ways to make their lives easier. Neat is a cloud-based accounting software tool that helps you manage your finances without taking out a lot of your time.
With Neat, you can organize all your financial information in one central location, including invoices, receipts, bills, and other documents.
You can create custom invoices to send to your clients, accept online payments, and track all your expenses, plus Neat is optimized for mobile use so it's a great tool if you conduct business on your customers' premises.
Neat Features that Stand Out
- Visualize how to operate your business with trending data about your cash balance, top expense categories, total sales, etc.
- Use the mobile app on your phone or tablet to upload and match receipts to expenses as they occur
- Inform your business decisions with automatic, real-time accounting reports such as profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets and transaction reports
- Find out which tasks are open and closed using receipt-matching categories
Best Accounting Software for Designers
Kashoo is a cloud-based accounting software platform that's perfect for self-employed earners who want to keep track of their finances without having to learn complex accounting software.
This tool offers a variety of features that make it great for small businesses, such as the ability to track expenses, create invoices, and manage inventory.
Kashoo Features that Stand Out
- Organize your transactions by projects to go deeper with your reporting. Keep track of your cost of goods sold
- Get unlimited users so that you can share your data with your accountant, bookkeeper, and employees without incurring extra charges
- Connect to 5000+ banks and credit unions in real-time
Best Accounting Software for Workflow Automation
OneUp is a programmable accounting app that can automate 95% of all accounting entries.
It can save you human resources by dramatically reducing the amount of time you spend on manual bookkeeping and accounting activities.
OneUp comes with many features that can boost your efficiency, including dashboards, invoicing, CRM, purchasing, inventory management, project management, logistics and finance.
Oneup Features that Stand Out
- Syncs with your bank, retrieves your transactions and automates 95% of your manual accounting processes
- Automatically adjusts your inventory levels and tells you when to reorder
- Manages your leads and opportunities and sets reminders for follow-ups
- Can take care of your accounting, invoicing, inventory and CRM from your mobile or laptop device
Best Accounting Software for Owners
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software that was designed for small business owners and their accountants. It integrates with over 100 apps to streamline your business and make it easier to get work done.
With it, you can track time, send invoices, manage expenses, and generate customized reports to suit your business needs.
With its intuitive interface and features, FreshBooks makes it easy to manage your finances and track your performance so you can make data-driven decisions about your business.
Freshbooks Features that Stand Out
- Double-Entry Accounting identifies revenue items and their related
expenses, giving you an accurate calculation of profits and losses
- Automatic checks and balances ensure debit and credit amounts are equal, which greatly reduces the chance of errors year-round and when you file taxes
- Your accountant will get exclusive access to the financial information and reporting they need to support your business
- Approve automated matching suggestions or make changes and additions
- Scan and save paper and digital bills and receipts or forward them via email to your account to automatically capture the merchant, line items, totals, and taxes within the accounts payable ledger
- Run reports like Profit & Loss and Cash Flow Statement to know where you stand at tax time
- Track prepayments, overpayments and credits notes, so you can apply them to future invoices
Best Free Invoice Generator
Refrens is a free invoice generator that allows you to generate unlimited invoices for unlimited clients. You can use it to create payment receipts, debit notes, credit notes, and many other forms of billing with just one click.
The fields and columns of the invoices can be easily customized and the resulting billing documents can be saved as PDFs and sent out via email, messaging apps or any other means of file transfer.
Refrens Features that Stand Out
- Many invoice templates to choose from
- Free recurring invoices
- Customization of columns and fields
- Custom formulas
- Permission control
- Client management
- Excellent reporting
Best Free Accounting Software
Wave is a free online accounting platform that helps you manage your money and track earnings and spending. Connect to paid Wave products such as payroll and payments and you'll be able to get better insights into your overall financial picture.
You can also create professional invoices using customizable templates and take advantage of integrations with many third-party enterprise tools.
Wave Features that Stand Out
- Connect to your bank accounts in seconds. All transactions will appear in your bookkeeping automatically so you don't have to enter receipts manually
- Bank data connections are read-only and use 256-bit encryption. All servers are housed under physical and electronic protection
- Wave is PCI Level-1 certified for handling credit card and bank account information
- Unlimited customizable invoicing and receipt uploads per month
- Instant updates for your invoicing, payroll, and payments data
Best Accounting Software for Professional Services Firms
BigTime is a project management platform designed for professional service firms.
While it might offer features you may not need as a self-employed earner, they do offer collaboration, reporting and forecasting tools that might be useful to you, depending on your circumstances.
BigTime helps you manage end-to-end team-based projects more effectively, maximizing team productivity and ROI through their reporting tools and collaboration features.
And with BigTime's mobile app, you can stay connected to your projects while on the go.
BigTime Features that Stand Out
- Measure project performance and proactively adjust your resources using pre-built or specialized report templates to track common KPIs like realization, utilization, and billability.
- Bill by time and expenses, retainers, or a completely custom model. Once you have a branded template, generate your invoices one by one or in bulk
- Improve every stage of your engagement lifecycle with a central software for planning staff capacity, projects and due dates
- Connect BigTime with your current tech stack to work in QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, Salesforce, Slack, Zapier, Lacerte, Jira, and more
Best Accounting Software for Large Businesses
BlackLine is a software company that offers finance management for businesses of any size. Its unified platform for accounts receivable automation helps you free up working capital and collect cash faster.
With BlackLine, you can automate invoice management, credit & collections and payments. This will help you improve your cash flow, optimize your operations and get a better return on investment.
I've placed this product towards the bottom of the list, because it's meant for larger businesses. However, they may have some features that fit your needs.
Blackline Features that Stand Out
- Centralizes the management of all period-end close activity and streamlines accounting workflows, general ledger reconciliations, journal entry management and other period-end processes
- Covers the full reconciliation to adjustment process, allowing for transactional process automation through configurable matching rules with automated clearing of items
- Interfaces with your company’s core ERP systems and manages all of the global complexity inherent to inter company accounting
- Standardizes and automates your general ledger, bank, credit card, cash, and other operational reconciliations to streamline and control close cycles and ensure the integrity of your financial statements
Best Accounting Software for Freelancers
FreeAgent is an online accounting software that's made specifically for freelancers, small business owners and their accountants.
With FreeAgent, you can track your income and expenses, create invoices and estimates, track payments and manage your value added tax returns, where applicable.
Connect FreeAgent to your online bank account and it'll automatically import and categorize your transactions for you.
FreeAgent Features that Stand Out
- Set up recurring invoices that can send themselves automatically, and nudge late-paying clients with automated reminders
- Customize a comprehensive list of expense categories to build accurate accounts, which is invaluable at tax time
- Build up real-time accounts for your company with a live view of your business cash flow
- Keep tabs on your project income, expenses and profitability
Best Accounting Software for Individuals
Sunrise is free accounting software that makes it easy to match and categorize expenses. While it may not meet all your needs as a self-employed earner, it might cover the basics.
Now, while it's free to use, it does come with some features that are usually found on paid products, like allowing you to customize your invoices to fit your brand.
By using Sunrise Pay (fees apply) you can even accept credit cards payments and bank transfers from your clients, getting to your funds faster that using a third-party payment processor like Stripe of PayPal.
Sunrise Features that Stand Out
- Understand the financial health of your business with reports like profit and loss, balance sheet, tax summary, customer statements and accounts receivable
- Create personalized invoices and allow your customers to pay by credit card
- Link your bank account and credit cards and get your expenses and income categorized
- Create a quote or estimate to send to customers. Get it approved online and converted to an invoice with one click
Why do I need accounting software, isn't a spreadsheet good enough?
For self-employed earners, tax time can be a stressful and frustrating period.
Trying to keep track of all your income and expenses on a spreadsheet, figuring out which deductions you're eligible for, and ensuring that you pay the correct amount of taxes can be an overwhelming task.
Thankfully, there are accounting software programs specifically designed to help sole proprietors and other self-employed individuals meet their tax obligations with ease, peace of mind, and above all, penalty free!
By keeping track of your income and expenses throughout the year and helping you to maximize your deductions, these programs can help take some of the stress out of tax time.
As a bonus, many accounting tools will even integrate with your existing business systems, making your life even easier.
The right accounting software will not only help you run your business smoothly but also it'll make filing taxes on time quick and easy.
What to Do Next
The best accounting software for self-employed earners will help you not only track your revenue and expenses and calculate your tax liability but also automate federal and state filings.
Try the above tools to see which one best fits your needs. Most offer free trial plans of limited-time money back guarantees.