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5 Freemium Accounting Software Products and What They Lack Compared to the Paid Version

Category: B2B News

Accounting software is an efficient investment for any business, regardless of its industry or scale. Finance apps, nevertheless, happen to break the bank for companies still finding their way among customers, and which would prefer to get grasp on such functionality at a lower price. Luckily for them (and all businesses looking to save), many popular vendors offer freemium packages designed for low-tier application.

This article analyzes 5 of the most popular free accounting apps on the market, and lists what they have to offer for free in comparison to paid and premium packages. In most cases, you will get to use them for as long as they meet your needs, and without even inserting credit card information.

1. Wave

Intended use: Small-biz invoicing

Wave is often referred to as the smartest accounting alternative for small businesses, and for a good reason. The powerful platform will also meet the needs of self-employed professionals including entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants, giving them the possibility to create and distribute professional looking invoices, estimates, and receipts. Wave also simplifies incoming and expense tracking, scans bank connectors, and handles taxation issues with accuracy and in time. The system is cloud hosted and requires no maintaining and what is best – it is 100% free. In short, Wave will impose no hidden costs or recurrent fees, and will require no maintenance or upgrade on the user’s side.

Another reason to consider Wave for your accounting needs is the friendly and hassle-free interface, where even inexperienced teams find their way within minutes. This system is also one of the most innovative accounting solutions that continuously introduced new features and capabilities, and doesn’t restrict the number of users or invoices to be distributed.

This is what Wave offers for free:

  • Accounting
  • Invoicing
  • Payroll
  • Receipts
  • Tax Calculations and Deductions
  • Yearly Record Keeping
  • Direct Deposit
  • Direct CreditCard Payments

2. Zoho Invoice

Intended Use: Creation and management of personalized invoices

Zoho Invoice is part of a popular business productivity suite, developed to streamline invoicing in startup and small biz environments. It is also ideal for sole proprietors looking to make service more professional, as well as creative teams that would benefit from the system’s customizable and business-oriented templates.

With Zoho Invoice, the user can record local and foreign currency invoices and expenses with decimal precision, and receive direct payments from customers using several popular payment gateways (including PayPal). The platform then records all transactions and transaction-related tasks, allowing the user to distinguish bestsellers and payment processing trends. The unique feature offered by Zoho Invoice is Review, which not only categorizes payments but also helps estimate the time needed to receive and process them. You can also use this system to track your expenses and record finances in graphs, while its open API architecture allows you to connect it to virtually any third-party system.

This is what Zoho Invoice offers for free:

Zoho Invoice’s free plan is available for single users managing no more than 5 customers per month. This is what it does:

  • Time Tracking and Timesheets
  • Expense Tracking
  • Customizable Invoice Templates
  • Multi-currency Support
  • Customer Portal
  • Recurring Invoices
  • SSL Encryption
  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Snail Mail

What You’re Missing

The feature suite looks the same in all four plans offered by the vendor (Free plan; Basic – $7/month; Standard – $15/month; and Professional – $30/month). What makes the difference is the number of users and customers for each plan, namely:

  • 1 user, 50 customers in the Basic Plan
  • 3 users, 500 customers in the Standard Plan
  • Unlimited users and customers in the Professional Plan

3. Online Invoices

Intended Use: Invoicing & reporting for sales businesses

Online Invoices is a straightforward invoicing & reporting app designed to give small and medium businesses top class finance management. The app consists of three different modules, each with unique capabilities designed to tackle specific workflows. You will get the Sales & Invoice Management system which tracks sales, creates and distributes invoices, and collects  payments; the Client Follow-Up Module used to optimize communication with clients and control your full transaction history; and the Invoice Management and Control module applied for inventory control on all devices and operating systems.

The same as Wave, Online Invoices operates in cloud, and involves no maintenance and updating efforts. Next to the free plan offered to teams up to 15 users, the vendor offers three enterprise packages priced between $9.95 and $39.95. Here are the details:

This is what Online Invoices offers for free:

  • 15 Clients
  • 15 Invoices per month
  • 7 Subscriptions per month
  • 30 Estimates per month
  • 2 Invoice layouts
  • Pre-filled Invoice Templates
  • Saved Items & Products
  • Email Templates
  • Invoice Preview
  • Multiple payment options
  • Client statements
  • Profit & Loss Reports

What You’re Missing

Online Invoices’ features are the same in all available plans, and what makes the difference is the gradually increasing number of clients, invoices, subscriptions. Depending on the plan you’ve chosen, you may get to involve 300 users and 120 estimates with the Silver Plan, or even unlimited ones with the Platinum one.

4. Express Accounts

Intended Use: Accounts payable & Cash flow reporting for Windows and Mac users

Express Accounts is a browser-based accounting add-on for small teams and micro-enterprises used for basic accounting and statement analysis. It is popular by the hassle-free interface and no brainer navigation, as well as the array of integrations which make it suitable for any software setting.

What the system brings on the table are several important reports, including classic statement analysis, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and customer invoices. Within your package, you will find over 20 preconfigured reports you can easily customize, and then fax or direct to an email address as PDF and CSV files. Express Accounts also features general ledger and journal and balance sheets, and allows you to print checks and basic inventory services, and to monitor payments and email quotes. The same as other alternatives discussed in this article, Express Accounts comes with a no-expiry free version, and several paid plans.

This is what Express Accounts offers for free:

  • 5 users
  • Track sales and accounts receivable
  • Automatically record recurring orders and invoices
  • Accounts receivable & reports update as invoices are paid
  • Generate professional quotes, sales orders, and invoices
  • 20+ financial reports
  • Accounts payable

What You’re Missing

Express Accounts’ paid version is priced $79.99, with additional tech support fees (Silver, Gold, or Platinum). The main features are the same as the ones available in the Free plan, and the difference is the number of users and access to dedicated support.

5. Mango Billing

Intended Use: Time & Expense management

Mango Billing is a top alternative for easy and accurate billing whose main feature is due date management. Available on all devices and operating systems, Mango Billing makes it easy to track time and expenses, monitor bills, create and distribute invoices, and manage complex schedules. Small businesses use it to schedule work in neat, Outlook-styled calendars, delegate assignments more accurately, and improve delivery based on real-time prioritizing.

With Mango Billing, you can retain full control of your billing operations, as it makes it easy to set up recurring tasks and assign due dates in an automated manner. The tool is also suitable for reporting, and allows you to accept and track credit card payments. The pricing scheme is very flexible – single users can explore Mango Billing for free, or migrate painlessly to any of the 4 premium plans.

This is what Mango Billing offers for free:

  • 1 user, 2 clients
  • Time & Expense Tracking
  • Retainer Management
  • Accept Credit Cards
  • Quickbooks Integration
  • To-Do Lists
  • Dashboards
  • Firm-wide Centralized Scheduling
  • Outlook-Style Calendars
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Multiple Staff Views

What You’re Missing

Next to the Free Plan, Mango Billing offers the Solo Plan ($19/month); Basic Plan ($59/month); Pro Plan ($99/month); and the Enterprise Plan ($159/month). The features remain the same for all plans, and what makes the difference is the number of users and served customers:

  • 1 user, unlimited clients for the Solo Plan
  • 4 users, unlimited clients for the Basic Plan
  • 8 users, unlimited clients for the Pro Plan
  • 15 users, unlimited clients for the Enterprise Plan

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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Alex says:

No, Express Accounts is a complete accounting suite that lets you track incoming/outgoing cash flow, while Invoice is only for, well, invoicing. They're both by NCH though. If you only need to invoice then Express Invoice works fine. But note that Invoice doesn't integrate with Express Accounts, which has its own invoicing module. So if you plan to use Accounts, might as well NOT use Invoice. Otherwise, you have to import .csv files to Express Accounts, a tedious process if you ask me.

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Shawn says:

I have an Express Invoice freemium in my PC and it works okay. The only annoying part is it asks you to confirm that you have less than five employees every program launch. But, hey, it's free so I'm not complaining. I can put invoice, quote, and orders in one place and track them easily. Is this similar to the Express Accounts you mentioned above? I noticed it's also by NCH.

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