Solution Finder: Bookkeeping Systems

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Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A person sitting at a desk holds a cup of coffee and studies his bookkeeping systems

Every small business needs a bookkeeping system to record its financial data and transactions. These systems can help you manage bank reconciliations and accounts payable and receivable, and they can help you ensure your financials are in good order for tax filings, audits, or even selling your business.

Digital, automated, and software-based bookkeeping systems are easy to implement and use, but some factors make certain options more appealing than others. Before investing in any solution, be sure to look into the upfront and ongoing costs, functionalities, the integrations it offers with other tools you may use, and its security features.

Ready to dive in? Here are three options you might consider:


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  • 30-day free trial
  • Best user interface
  • Invoice and accept payments
  • Inventory management available for an additional fee
  • Live bookkeeping service available for an additional fee
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  • 30-day free trial
  • Best for service-based businesses
  • Robust invoicing and proposal generation
  • Bookkeeping available through Bench Accounting for an additional fee
  • Integrates with a wide range of third-party services
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Zoho Books

  • Free for businesses with less than $50k in annual revenue
  • Great for integrating with other Zoho offerings
  • Invoice and accept payments
  • Inventory management available for an additional fee
  • Included in Zoho One
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Zoho One

$37/month / employee
  • All Zoho Books features
  • Full CRM
  • Human resources tools
  • Marketing and social media management tools
  • Build your own applications
  • So much more



QuickBooks is the small business bookkeeping software you probably recognize by name. It’s trusted by retailers, restaurants, professional service providers, and lots of other businesses for its effortless transaction categorization, crystal clear dashboard, and functionalities.

With QuickBooks, you can take on invoicing, run payroll, manage your cash flow, track your expenses, manage your bills, and much more. It’s a great tool for managing and paying contractors, creating estimates, projecting profitability, and prepping for tax obligations.

Many owners ultimately choose QuickBooks to take advantage of QuickBooks Live, a service that pairs them up with a human bookkeeper who will manage their books, bring (and keep) them up to date, and guarantee their accuracy.

QuickBooks Live comes at an added cost, but the core QuickBooks service usually starts between $8 and $25 for a simple-start plan and scales upward for owners who want to add advanced features. If you choose to go with QuickBooks, consider purchasing their bookkeeping setup option, which will help you get up and running much more quickly.

Plans start at around $13/month for one user for basic accounting tasks and increase to $35/month for up to 5 users who want to include bill pay, inventory management, and other capabilities.

Ready to find the right plan for your business? Go to QuickBooks’ site and explore the options.



FreshBooks is a great bookkeeping solution for service-based businesses. Like many of its competitors, it can help you create professional-looking invoices, organize your expenses, accept client payments, reconcile your spending, and create accounting reports. FreshBooks can also help you track the time you spend on client projects and set up collaborations for those projects with your clients and fellow team members.

Many of FreshBooks’s millions of users like its mobile app, which allows them to handle their accounting needs from job sites, track mileage on the go, snap pictures of receipts, and stay on top of important project conversations. The app also provides updates on the status of your invoices, telling you when your customers view the invoice, when an invoice is paid, and when an invoice becomes overdue.

FreshBooks integrates with more than 100 apps you may already be using for your business. These include payroll services, tax apps, hiring platforms, CRMs, and much more.

FreshBooks starts at around $6/month for a slimmed-down plan with up to 5 billable clients and grows to $20/month for an unlimited number of clients (and many additional features).

Visit FreshBooks for a free demo—and a free trial.


Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a small business bookkeeping system that’s packed with features. With it, you can coordinate sales orders, client invoicing, and payments in one simple system. You can also sync up your bank account, upload receipts, and view bills you owe to your vendors.

Zoho Books has lots of other features, too. Need to track sales tax? Log Billable projects? Send purchase orders? Zoho Books makes all of these tasks easy to accomplish.

One of the best things about Zoho Books is that it coordinates well with other Zoho products, but the reporting functionalities and automation are also great features. We especially like the automated payment reminders, automatic bill payments, and auto-categorizations of transactions you can set up with this system.

Lots of business owners choose Zoho Books’ free plan, which is a robust solution, but it lacks a lot of the features we mention here. The paid plans introduce options to manage a greater number of invoices, connect to bank and credit card feeds, track sales tax, and much more. The paid plans start at around $15/month for organizations with up to three users.

Visit Zoho’s site to learn more about this solution.


Zoho One

We always like to mention Zoho One when we talk about almost any Zoho solution. Zoho One is an all-in-one tool that includes Zoho Books, a full CRM, human resources functionalities, marketing tools, social media management features, and about 40 other business apps. You can view the full list of programs Zoho One supports by visiting Zoho’s website.

Zoho One starts at around $37/month per employee.

Interested in learning more? Check out this powerhouse tool here.


How do I find a small business bookkeeping pro?

Bookkeeping software is a must, but it’s also a smart move to get expert help with your books.

Here are a few bookkeeping services that we really like for businesses like yours. Be sure to click the logos for a brief explainer video of each option.


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QuickBooks Live

Focus on Your Business, Not Your Books

Thousands of businesses use QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping for cleanup, setup, ongoing categorization and reconciliation, and reporting. By working one-on-one with a QuickBooks-certified bookkeeper, you can gain the confidence you need in knowing your books are always accurate, up-to-date, and ready for tax time. Would you like to learn more about this service? Follow the link below to get started.

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Be Tax Ready All Year Long

With Xendoo, you can access a dedicated team of expert CPAs and accountants who provide monthly bookkeeping, tax preparation and filing, and tax consulting, three services that will help you stay on top of all your financial needs. Their team can also help you with your personal tax returns, too. You can explore their plans with totally transparent pricing by following the link below, and for a limited time, you can try their online bookkeeping service free for one month. Restrictions may apply. See Xendoo’s site for details.

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Bookkeeper 360

Say Goodbye to Messy Books

Bookkeeper 360 is an outstanding program for new and growing businesses.  Their team of U.S.-based bookkeepers will help you set up your bookkeeping program, keep your books up to date, and understand what the numbers mean for your business today and in the future. Follow the link below to learn more about this service and schedule a call with the Bookkeeper 360 team.


What’s next?

Interested in other small business solutions? Let us help you find the right systems. Then, log into your owner’s portal for more articles and advice tailored to your business’s needs.

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