7 Feb, 2024

How Much does An Accounting Software Cost?

This guide examines popular accounting software pricing for growing small businesses in 2024 so you can determine if the ROI justifies costs based on your needs and budget.

For small and midsize businesses, accounting software is essential for managing finances, invoicing, reporting, and more. However, pricing varies widely for accounting systems. How much does quality accounting software actually cost in 2024? What features are included with basic, moderate, and advanced software packages?

This comprehensive guide examines popular accounting software pricing for growing small businesses so you can determine if the ROI justifies the investment. Read on to better understand what pricing plans are available this year based on your accounting needs and budget.

Overview of Accounting Software Cost Considerations

Accounting software expenses range considerably based on several key factors:

  • Number of user licenses needed
  • Level of functionalities and integrations
  • Scalability as your small business expands
  • Implementation and ongoing support requirements

Pricing structures also differ among software vendors. Some charge monthly subscription rates per user. Others use banded pricing tied to transaction volumes or revenue size. Several offer discounted annual contracts too.

The bottom line is that small businesses can spend anywhere from $10 per month for basic personal finance tools up to $1500+ monthly for advanced systems with complete business management abilities. Most fall in the $50-$250 per user per month range for feature-rich platforms serving daily accounting needs.

As your small business grows, accounting tasks become more complex. However, the right software evolves with you to optimize financial visibility and reporting at each stage. So, what price points align with starter, intermediate, and sophisticated accounting capabilities?

Accounting Software Pricing Plan (Starter)

Starter accounting software satisfies the basic money management needs of very small businesses. This includes solopreneurs, microbusinesses, freelancers, and independent contractors focused on core financials.

Typical capabilities of basic accounting tools include:

  • Income/expense tracking
  • Generating invoices and receipts
  • Payable/receivable management
  • Financial report creation
  • Limited expense categorization
  • 1-2 user access

Entry-level accounting software pricing generally runs around $10-50 per user per month. Annual subscriptions can lower costs slightly to around $100-$500 yearly.

Popular picks for starter accounting software include:

  • Jaz: 100% free software for basic accounting
  • ZipBooks: $15 monthly smarter plan
  • FreshBooks: $13 monthly for core features
  • Zoho Books: $10 per organization monthly starter pricing

These solutions provide an affordable starting point for early-stage businesses to control finances with minimal accounting functionality.

Pros: Very easy to use, affordable, and suitable for basic money management tasks.

Cons: Very limited capabilities, lacks advanced features

Expect entry-level accounting software costs to run no more than $50 per month. This buys essential financial tracking and reporting suitable for most micro business needs.

Accounting Software Pricing Plan (Intermediate)

As small businesses progress beyond the startup stage, accounting needs to expand. Growing companies often outgrow very basic software yet don't need advanced systems.

That's where intermediate accounting software fits the bill with pricing to match moderate capabilities.

What does mid-market accounting software enable? Common features include:

  • Multi-user access with permission controls
  • Recurring invoicing and billing
  • Expense reporting automation
  • Inventory management
  • Sales tax handling
  • Dashboards and custom reports
  • Payroll processing abilities
  • Mobile optimization and apps
  • Light workflow customization

This caliber of accounting software handles day-to-day financials for most small business contexts. The sweet spot for investment centers around $50-$100 per user monthly.

Leading intermediate accounting platform options include:

  • Jaz: 100% free for basic accounting. For essential packages, it starts from 30$ per month.
  • Wave Premium: $40 per user per month (payroll)
  • Zoho Books: $10 per organization monthly for the standard plan; $30 per user monthly for the professional plan

Mid-market software strikes an effective balance of value and functionality for growing small businesses. Expanded capabilities automate more processes over basic tools while supporting flexibility needs.

Pros: Robust feature set, moderately priced, fits most common small business accounting needs.

Cons: Lacks advanced customization for larger businesses

Target spending $50-$150 per user monthly for comprehensive accounting software with broad integration abilities. This serves many modern small businesses beyond the early microbusiness stages.

How Much Does Accounting Software Cost? (Full Featured)

Once small businesses scale to midsize territory with more complex workflows, advanced accounting software becomes essential. Pricing reaches $150+ per user monthly for systems handling customizable financials, revenue optimization, global operations, and more.

Top capabilities offered by enterprise-grade financial management platforms include:

  • Custom fields/objects to match unique business needs
  • Automated reporting and inter-departmental workflows
  • Project costing and advanced budgeting
  • Custom integrations with other software
  • Warehouse/inventory optimization
  • Order management and billing
  • Sales pipeline visibility and forecasting
  • Robust analytics and intelligent insights
  • Extensive 3rd party app ecosystem
  • International taxation handling
  • Industry-specific features

Investing in advanced accounting software makes sense for midsize organizations needing customization for special requirements or niche verticals. For sophisticated small businesses, pricing reaches $150 per user monthly and up.

Leading high-capability accounting platform picks include:

  • NetSuite: Starts $999 monthly base fee plus $99 per user
  • Sage Intacct: Starts $400 per month base subscription
  • FinancialForce: Starts at $110 per user monthly
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP: Call for pricing details
  • Acumatica Cloud ERP: Scalable pricing model starts around $1500 monthly

For upper mid market clients, these full-featured accounting systems optimize financials with end-to-end business management tools. This enables scaling to enterprise territory for vastly increased GRC and revenue optimization.

Pros: Completely customizable, highly scalable, manages global complex accounting needs

Cons: Much more costly for most basic small business financial needs

If advanced accounting and financial visibility merit high investment, look to enterprise-grade systems like NetSuite, Intacct, or Acumatica. Expect pricing of $150+ per user monthly for robust platforms supporting growth.

What Impacts Accounting Software Pricing Models?

Accounting software costs vary significantly based on multiple business-specific factors:

Accounting Functionalities Needed

The first pinpoint required accounting capabilities based on the growth stage:

  • Early-stage businesses can start very small with basic software under $50 monthly.
  • Growing companies benefit over time from intermediate tools like Jaz, priced around $30-$50 per user..

Map software strengths to current and future accounting complexity needs.

Number of Users Needing Access

Factor in how many employees actively use the accounting software, not just admins. More user seats means higher pricing. Even entry-level accounting starts at $20+ monthly PER user above the free BASE plan for unlimited users. So, user numbers add up fast. Calculate pricing with a pad, allowing for some employee growth, too. Avoid paying overage fees by re-estimating seats annually.

Invoice and Transaction Volumes

Many accounting systems use banded pricing tied to invoice, transaction, or revenue volume tiers. The more customer touchpoints, the greater the accounting workload. If your startup sends 500+ customer invoices monthly, then an advanced system better supports higher-speed scaling. But simpler tools work fine for smaller volumes under $100k in annual sales. Match potential based on growth forecasts.

Desired Integrations

Do you use other tools for inventory, payments, analytics, or other functions? Integrated systems cost more but pay off in the long term by centralizing data flows across teams. Carefully evaluate which software interconnections matter most today vs in 12-24 months. Specialized apps tailor accounting power further but add costs.

Global Capabilities

For small businesses with international reach, ensure accounting software handles the following:

  • Multi-currency transactions
  • VAT compliance
  • Global payment processing
  • Local taxation requirements
  • Translated interfaces

Global needs demand higher price points that enterprise options like NetSuite or SAP Business One better deliver.

Ongoing Support & Upgrades

Some accounting software pricing includes ongoing customer support, training resources, and access to accountants. Others charge annually for version upgrades or support fees. To avoid surprise add-on costs, include these factors in long-term budgeting. Consider the total cost of ownership, not just monthly access.

Realistic Budget for Small Business Accounting Software

With so many variables impacting accounting software expenses, what prices align with realistic small business budgets?

Here are reasonable monthly investments that small to midsize companies actually pay based on common growth stages and planning needs:

Startup Stage:

If you are just launching your small business, bootstrap accounting needs to conserve cash. But don't neglect the importance of understanding your income and expenses.

Opt for free or freemium accounting software like Jaz if you just need basic invoices and reports. This keeps costs ultra-lean during fragile startup days.

Monthly budget: $0 to $30 per user

Growing Stage:

As your small business stabilizes, invest in solid accounting software to spot trends, maximize tax deductions, and improve cash flow management.

Prioritize automation, integration, and custom reporting capabilities. Expect prices around $50-$100 monthly for a few core users needing access to essential operational data.

Monthly budget: $30-$100 per user

Scaling Stage:

Ambitious small businesses ready to scale faster invest in advanced operational visibility and financial controls.

Look for customizable accounting systems with revenue optimization abilities like CPQ, inventory management, and sales forecasting.

Expect pricing from $150 to $300+ per user monthly for full-featured platforms.

Monthly budget: $100+ per user

The Breakdown:

  • Non-funded startups: $0 to $30 per user monthly
  • Growing small businesses: $30 to $100 per user monthly
  • Midsize businesses: $100 to $300+ per user monthly

Determine the current stage, then map accounting software to immediate and future complexities at each phase.

Warning Signs You've Outgrown Accounting Software

If you are struggling with financial visibility amid business growth, you may have outgrown existing accounting software.

Signs it's time to upgrade accounting systems include:

  • Data entry and reporting feel tedious and automated
  • Financial snapshot accuracy feels questionable
  • The month-end close process takes weeks, not days
  • Invoices rely on manual entry and tracking
  • Limited forecasts to guide decision-making
  • Revenue leakage from underbilling
  • Inventory and order management are disjointed

Continuing with basic accounting tools once a business scales backfires through productivity drags, revenue leaks, and lack of data insights.

The fix? Seek accounting software matching your new organizational complexity. Leverage capabilities like:

  • Workflow rule-based automation to eliminate tedious administrative tasks
  • Custom financial reports are automatically distributed to leadership
  • Dashboards centralizing business metrics across departments
  • Revenue optimization abilities like advanced billing rules to maximize cash
  • Sales forecasting for faster opportunity capturing
  • Integrated CRM empowering big picture customer views
  • Inventory and order syncing to fulfill demand swiftly
  • Multi-entity, project, and multi-currency handling

The right accounting software accelerates processes enterprise-wide rather than creating business drag. Evaluate if your current financial system still fits before scaling deficits restrict success.

Steps to Select the Best Accounting Software

With so many accounting software options at varied price points, selecting the ideal solution involves multiple considerations:

1. Define the Most Important Accounting Capabilities

Outline must-have financial management and reporting features based on pain points and growth goals. Common priority needs often include invoicing, budgeting, payroll, tax compliance, and dashboard creation.

2. Determine Necessary Integrations

Identify other business systems for connecting to the accounting platform, like e-commerce, CRM, inventory tools, etc. These expand visibility and minimize data silos.

3. Calculate the Number of Users Requiring Access

Factor the total employees needing visibility across billing, reporting, bank connections, and data entry. Consider if buyers, accountants, or IT staff need access, too.

4. Estimate Monthly Transaction Volumes

Calculate totals for monthly invoices, expenses, sales orders, and other transactions. High volumes demand more advanced software.

5. Research Software Matching Must-Haves

Shortlist vendor options that align with top functionality and integration needs at suitable pricing tiers.

6. Sign Up for Free Trials

Take advantage of free trials or demos to experience platform navigation and features firsthand. Verify suitability for internal teams.

7. Factor in Extras Like Payroll & Support

Some base subscription fees exclude charges for support, payroll, payments, tax filing, and other extras. Calculate the total cost of ownership.

8. Compare BUILT-In Capabilities vs Add-Ons

Some accounting platforms offer all-in-one solutions, while others require integrating third-party apps for missing features at added costs.

Evaluating accurate cross-platform pricing involves isolating base tiers and then comparing feature gaps. Watch for vendors leaning on add-on fees without transparency.

Key Takeaways on Accounting Software Investments

For modern businesses, scaling without quality accounting software is a high risk. But not all accounting software pricing fits slim startup budgets either.

Walk away understanding these key points when evaluating accounting system costs:

  • Starter software handles simple financials for under $50 monthly per user
  • Intermediate platforms satisfy most mainstream small business needs for $50-$150 monthly per user
  • Advanced systems enable custom financials and revenue growth supports for $150+ monthly per seat
  • Identify must-have capabilities before comparing vendor pricing
  • Calculate costs across both the number of user seats and functional needs
  • Expect mid-level investments of around $100 per user monthly for mainstream accounting software
  • Watch for add-on fees inflating initial price quotes
  • Map investments to current priorities and future scalability goals

The right accounting software guides smarter business decisions through accurate financial tracking, optimized processes, and expanded visibility. So, set realistic budgets but don't underinvest in the technology foundations needed for efficiency and manageability as operational complexity rises.

Streamline Your Business Finances With Jaz

Are you struggling with bookkeeping headaches? Are you tired of reactive financial decision-making? Meet Jaz - the accounting platform purpose-built to empower small businesses, solopreneurs, and accounting teams with comprehensive, scalable financial management tools tailored to your unique operational needs.

Jaz is the all-in-one accounting solution built to simplify and automate your most complex accounting tasks like invoices, bills, bank reconciliations, payments, and more so you can get back to growing your business or serving more clients.

Get Started for free and take control of your financial operations with Jaz.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the popular accounting software packages available in 2024?

In 2024, “Jaz” could be considered as one of the most popular accounting software. It has its own pricing and features tailored to different business needs.

2. How do I determine the ROI of accounting software?

To determine the return on investment (ROI) of accounting software, consider factors such as time saved, increased accuracy, improved financial reporting, and overall efficiency within the business. Calculate the costs and benefits to evaluate the ROI effectively.

3. What are the pricing models for accounting software in 2024?

The pricing models for accounting software in 2024 include subscription-based models, where you pay a monthly or annual fee for access, and one-time purchase models, where you pay upfront for the software. Some providers also offer usage-based pricing or tiered pricing based on features and usage levels.

4. How can businesses determine the ROI of accounting software?

Businesses can determine the ROI of accounting software by comparing the costs of implementing and using the software with the benefits it brings, such as time savings, improved accuracy, streamlined processes, and enhanced financial reporting. This evaluation helps in understanding the impact of the software on the business's bottom line.

5. What are the factors businesses should look for in the pricing of accounting software?

Businesses should consider factors such as the pricing model (subscription-based or one-time purchase), included features, scalability, add-on costs, support and training fees, and any potential hidden costs. It's important to thoroughly assess these factors to make an informed decision when choosing accounting software.