Updated 28.03.2022

Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses in South Africa

Choosing the best free accounting software in South Africa can be a challenge. There’s so much to take into consideration, especially if you own a small business. The best way to choose accounting software for your business is to determine what you need. Not only will this help narrow down the search but it will simplify your finances too. Making a decision on the right product can reduce the resources needed from your accountant.

Here’s what to consider when looking for online accounting software

The most important thing to look out for is the actual capabilities of the software. Accounting software should always be straightforward and simple to use.

top accounting software

Accounting software should be user-friendly

The last thing anyone wants is to spend hours on end trying to figure out how the software works. Choose a free accounting software program that is easy to use and user-friendly. This will make things easier and will save plenty of time. Opt for uncluttered interfaces that are easy to navigate.

Prioritize features

Every business has its priorities when it comes to their ideal accounting solution. This could be inventory management, expense tracking, recording sales (accounts receivable) or paying bills (accounts payable). Always ensure that the accounting software has all the built-in accounting features that are needed.

Data storage security

Another key factor to consider is data storage and security. All accounting information should be secure at all times. Choose a reputable free accounting software so that all information is protected. Data breaches can easily lead to losses incurred by businesses.

Reporting and performance

Many online accounting software’s offer a wide range of financial reporting. This allows business owners to track and monitor the progress of the business. The software must be able to generate financial reports such as income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets.

Record transactions

Small and large businesses always need an accurate record of the transaction history. Accounting software should be able to effortlessly keep a record of all transactions. If a business buys and sells on credit the software should be able to track all funds that go in and out of the business. The invoicing software can be important to businesses that are sending large numbers of customer invoices. 

Tax friendly

Having all taxes in order should be a top priority for every business. Business accounting software should be able to instantly calculate all taxes.

Bank reconciliation

Keeping track of all bank transactions is a key aspect of running a successful business. Ensure that the online accounting software that you use can fetch this data via an automatic bank reconciliation with all major banks. It should be able to download bank statements and reconcile accounts quickly using an automatic bank feed import. All transactions should link up to your bank statements.

Mobile access

Some free accounting software allows users to download mobile versions. This is an absolute bonus feature- especially if something needs to be quickly updated. Mobile access gives a great amount of freedom and flexibility to business owners.

Top 7 Accounting Software Services

Finding the top accounting software is a lot easier once you know what to look for. After you’ve determined what features are important to your business you can easily choose.

Best accounting software

Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a great accounting software option for businesses in South Africa. They offer their software for free to businesses with revenue of less than a million rand per annum. The software allows businesses to create a thousand invoices a year and also helps manage clients. Payments can easily be made online and offline. All transactions are secure through SSL encryption and two-factor authentication method.


ZipBooks has a slight advantage over Zoho books; it can send out unlimited invoices. It also allows businesses to manage vendors and customers. This accounting software accepts digital payments, which is a major advantage. Lastly, you can connect your bank account to the software and also view basic reports.

GnuCash Free Accounting Software

GnuCash is a great option for small businesses that require balanced books and accurate reports. Their software is always free to use as it is licensed under the GNU GPL. The software helps track bank accounts, income, expenses and stock. Businesses can effortlessly check financial calculations with a click of a mouse. It allows for double-entry accounting.

FNB Instant Accounting

FNB offers their accounting software for free to all their business banking clients. This software was designed to simplify bookkeeping for those with little to no accounting knowledge. FNB Instant accounting automatically generates income statements, balance sheets and VAT.

The key features of FNB Instant Accounting include the following:

  • Run and download reports onto excel
  • Revise budgets
  • Generates debtors aging analysis reports
  • Allows users to manually assign transactions
  • Creates rules for all assignments
  • Imports data from bank statements to the general ledger
  • Basic ability to generate customer and supplier invoices

A massive pro to using this software is that all data is automated. This means that all finances will be accurate at any given moment. The downside to FNB Instant accounting is that it does have a few limitations. The accounting software does not manage sales items and stock management. It also has a very basic invoicing feature, which might not be ideal.

To register for FNB Instant accounting, log on to Under the “accounts” tab click on the left side of the screen and select “instant accounting”. Click on the tab “Log off and Access Instant Accounting”. Next, complete the registration and get started.

Sage Accounting

The Sage Accounting bookkeeping software is one of the most reputable on the market. Unfortunately, they do not have any free trials. The cheapest ‘Start’ pricing starts from R1887 per year and the Full Bundle pricing starts at R3510 per year.

Sage Cloud Accounting allows users to run their businesses wherever they are at any time. The software also runs on the mobile app, which is a huge advantage.

Some of the features of business accounting include:

  • Payroll/Payments Integration
  • Cloud Document Storage
  • Sage Capture and Invoicing
  • Direct Bank Feeds
  • Business reporting- use the standard report templates or create your own
  • Accept payments using reliable payment solutions
  • Includes a general ledger
  • Send out quotations
  • Invoice clients
  • Purchase orders

For more information visit the website on Sage Accounting Online

Xero accounting software

Xero accounting software offers businesses a 30-day free trial to try out all their features. Thereafter, users have the option to choose from three packages; Starter, Standard and Premium. The Starter package is around R3500 per annum, Standard is R5300 and the Premium package costs R7100.

This accounting software interface is based online, with everything in one place. Users can sync bank information on the software for easy access to financials. Daily transactions flow directly in Xero so that funds reflect the same day. Xero also offers project tracking functionality with an open API and project management software integrations. 

Xero offers a wide range of features that is essential for every small business. Here are the key features it offers:

  • The software can send invoices from mobiles and desktops
  • Keep track of all orders and deliveries through the purchase order software
  • Create and send quotes instantly
  • Inventory tracking software allows users to keep track of all items that are bought and sold
  • Accept online payments through a number of payment gateways
  • Reporting
  • Calculate VAT returns in requirement with SARS

Wave accounting South Africa

Wave is a fully web-based free service that allows businesses to do everyday accounting online. It also offers users the option to download the mobile invoicing app.  Another great feature that Wave offers is running multiple businesses in one account.

Businesses have the option to either separate bookkeeping and banking tools or integrate them. This free accounting service has no hidden costs and is relatively simple to set up. To start up all that’s required is a quick signup.

Wave accounting has a wide range of features that is extremely useful. It’s user-friendly and easy to navigate, which saves lots of time. You can do the following things on this free accounting software:

  • Add additional users from your team to the system
  • Track unlimited income and expenses
  • Generate annual financial statements
  • Create tax categories for income and expenses
  • Unlimited bank and credit card connections
  • Run reports on overdue invoices, bills, cash flow, profit and losses
  • Track performance on the dashboard
  • Payroll management

Security is maximized to ensure that all data is safe and secure. Wave is PCI Level-1 certified and all data connections are encrypted.

Payroll software South Africa

Getting payroll done correctly is essential to running a successful business. One of the best free payroll services software’s in South Africa has got to be FreeRoll.

FreeRoll is built for South Africans and is fully in compliance with SARS. It allows businesses to add unlimited employees and users. The software calculates UIF and has all the current SARS tax tables, making it rather simple to use.

This software enables employees to log on and gain access to all their information. Furthermore, employees can also ask questions and make suggestions online.

Free Accounting Software Trials

Most of the cloud accounting software providers above offer a free trial where users can first test out the service to see if it meets their small business requirements. This is a great way to preview the accounting platforms functionality before having to spend any money on the software.

What accounting software should you choose for your business?

free accounting software

There is a lot to take into consideration when finalizing and choosing accounting software. The most important question to ask is what works best for you.

If you don’t have a great accounting knowledge then you may be better off looking at more basic accounting products at a lower price. Using comprehensive accounting software might often lead over engineering your business finance requirements and ultimately lead to inaccuracy. It’s always best to try out a few different options and see what suits you best.

In order to run a successful business all finances and reports have to be completely accurate. All this starts with choosing the right accounting software.

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