Best cloud accounting software for small business

Best cloud accounting software for small business

The MB+M team discuss what we believe are the top 4 cloud-based accounting software most suited to small businesses in Australia

There are other products perhaps more suited to specific industries, however, we will be looking at the biggest and broadest software products available. MB+M is not paid to promote any of these products, the below is our professional opinion.

As accountants, we are often asked ‘what is the best accounting software for my business’?
Our answer to this is always ‘it depends’… It depends on a range of things, such as:

  • what industry you are in,
  • what you need your software to be able to do,
  • what your business goals are,
  • who is going to use the system (+ what skills/experience they have),
  • how big is your company (employees + $ turnover) and so on

There are so many cloud-based accounting applications available in Australia, and the best one for you and your business really depends on your needs. You want the product to allow room for you to grow and not be limiting in what it provides. You also don’t want to pay for top-tier features if you will never use them.

Let’s take a deeper look into what may be your determining factors:


  • User friendly
  • Allows for customisation
  • Easy integration with other programs and software (connects with 1000+ external apps)
  • Options to scale as your business grows


  • Offer email/message-based support
    (no phone support)
  • Limited inventory management – but can be integrated into external software
  • Add-ons come at an extra cost
  • May not be the best fit for larger businesses with more complex accounting needs


  • Easy to learn how to use
  • Customisable templates
  • Offers competitively priced payroll options
  • Allows for unlimited payroll on the top two tiers


  • Fewer add-ons
  • AccountRight packages require manual EOFY rollover 
  • AccountRight has a desktop element (not 100% cloud)
  • Software updates are manual


  • Customisable dashboard and interface
  • Affordable pricing if seeking basic applications
  • Good customer support – live chat, phone support


  • Limited third-party app integrations compared to other options
  • Limited automation features compared to other options
  • ATO reporting is outside the software and requires downloading and re-uploading of reports – for example for Single Touch Payroll reporting


  • User-friendly interface
  • Automation of data entry, reconciliation, and bank feeds saves time and reduces errors
  • Strong customer support


  • Limited customisation options for invoice templates
  • Inventory management only available at higher tiers
  • Cannot lodge ATO reports, such as BASs, direct from Software


Pricing in each of the software differs, but like most things, you get what you pay for. Again, the value for money will depend on what you need from the software, how many people need access and how many employees you have.

XeroFrom $32 per month
MYOBFrom $30 per month
ReckonFrom $12 per month
QuickbooksFrom $25 per month
Prices current as of September 2023.


Some important questions you need to ask yourself are:

  • Do you need your accounting software to be compatible with operational software specific to your industry?
  • Do you need it to be user-friendly on mobile?
  • Do you require automated reminders?
  • Do you require integrated Payroll?
  • Do you need external support or is the support you receive from your accountant sufficient?

Does it do all I require for small business?

You want to pay for something that does everything you require from a business and legal point of view. This may mean purchasing additional add-ons or moving up a tier on the plan, so you have access to other features. Canstar asked what Australian businesses are using their software for. They answered the following:

  • Invoicing: 58%
  • Payroll: 56%
  • Tax & GST: 55%
  • Budgets & Reporting: 42%
  • Cashflow Management: 40%
  • Inventory: 27%
  • Timesheets & Rostering: 27%
  • Job Tracking: 16%

It is important to talk to your accountant and/or thoroughly research what exactly you require from the software before making any costly decisions.

How about free software?

Nothing in life is totally free, the same goes for accounting software. Be aware – if you don’t pay for the product, YOU are the product. Think carefully before trying to save a few dollars.

“That’s ok, I will change to a paid service when I need it.”

We also advise you to think carefully before this is your plan of attack. If you need your accounting software to do more things, chances are your business is rapidly growing. Do you really want to be dealing with a software changeover and integration whilst trying to grow your business, as well as the other things fighting for your attention? It may be worth it to pay for the monthly subscription costs from the beginning rather than deal with the operational challenges later.

Our verdict

As early adopters (2013), our internal experience with Xero has been seamless, efficient, and simple. All things we value in accounting software in our professional firm. We wouldn’t recommend Xero so highly to our clients otherwise.

Cloud accounting is a no-brainer. We say ditch the desktop accounting software as soon as you can… being able to work anywhere, at any time has been a game-changer. Not only that, but being able to simultaneously work on your file, or assist with queries, with you, in your live file, at the same time saves a truckload of time.

Personally, my favourite Xero feature is the internal ‘filing cabinet’. Being able to store documents in a secure place, whether it be finance contracts, receipts, or invoices, is irrefutably amazing…. The pile of paper on my desk has reduced significantly. Drag and drop from your email or email it direct to your Xero file. And let’s not get me started on the ‘email to bills’ feature… where Xero will read the bill and prefill the information (name, date, GST etc) and attach the PDF copy to your Xero bill!

Of course, there are instances where we find that other products are a better fit for our clients in their business, but usually, our first choice and recommendation is Xero.

MB+M can review your current system and process and make a recommendation for your accounting software and related internal processes. We can complete conversions in-house, assist with third-party application recommendations and integration, and can train you to use Xero in your own office, over Zoom or at our office.

Please submit an enquiry form to see how we can help make your life easier and your business run smoothly using cloud accounting software.



Published 27 September 2023.
The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute financial advice.