Our independent research shows that QuickBooks is the best hospitality accounting software, offering an unbeatable range of features, good price, and a sturdy support team. Second place is snapped up by Xero as it's a few features shy of what's offered by QuickBooks, but it does come in at a slightly lower cost.
Hospitality services sell a broad range of experiences, ranging from room reservations to tableside ordering, and the accounting software needed must have features and integrations that are flexible enough to log every transaction with ease. At the same time, the software must be priced fairly and may need to come without limitations so that it can scale up alongside with your business.
These various requirements all add up to the need for a particularly powerful piece of accounting software, and our research team has tested the cream of the crop. Below is our guide to QuickBooks, Xero, and the other top accounting options for your hospitality needs. Read on to learn more, or use our free comparison tool to get the best deals immediately.
Usability, inexpensive plans
Best for small businesses
Best for micro businesses, invoicing
Best for automation features
Best free option
Best hotelier-created accounting services
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Available on request
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It's free, no trial needed
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Best for hotels and larger businesses
Pricing: from $15 per user, per month
Even outside of the hospitality business, QuickBooks stands out as one of the top accounting systems with an overall research score of 4.7/5. This is due to its large amount of useful features, fair pricing, and a highly-rated support team.
- Granular, customizable reports
- Mobile app lets you track miles driven
- 30-day free trial
- Customer support isn't the best
- A little pricey for small operations
When it comes to running a hotel, though, QuickBooks is at the top of our list for several core reasons: QuickBooks offers the best accounts payable and receivable functionality out of every top accounting solution – Xero is the only other provider to score a perfect 5/5 in these two categories. Since tracking costs and funds is a complex process at a hotel, where reservations may be sold months in advance, this is a big benefit.
The second reason hoteliers should choose QuickBooks is its cash-flow forecasting tools, which are available on all plans (while some top solutions, like FreshBooks, Xero, and Wave, don't offer this tool at all).
QuickBooks also lets users scan and track receipts and bills easily, and it has plenty of integrations with services that hotels may need and may already be using.
QuickBooks offers five plans for its cloud-based accounting software: Self-Employed for $15 per month, Simple Start for $30 per month, Essentials for $55 per month, Plus for $85 per month, and the Advanced plan for $200 per month.
You'll need the Essentials plan or higher to benefit from the service's strong accounts payable and receivable tools. In addition, the inventory and budget management features are restricted to the two pricier plans. You can check out our QuickBooks online pricing guide for more on each plan's features.
2. Xero – Great for Scaling Businesses
Great for scaling businesses
Pricing: $13 per user, per month
Our researchers found that Xero's accounting solution (overall score of 4.5/5) offers some of the best hotel-specific features around. A top feature it that it's one of the only platforms to includes a tool that records fixed assets on all of its tiers, which is perfect for tracking hotel room furnishings. Another plus is that it also includes great hotel-specific integrations, teaming up with leading hospitality POS brands, including Square, EPOS Now, Nobly, and Revel.
- Works effortlessly with platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, and Square Online
- Integrates with Amazon, Etsy, and other ecommerce sites
- Impressive mobile apps
- Doesn't track expenses as standard
Xero also stands out for the simple, easy-to-use budgeting tool it offers across all plans. Most other great accounting software doesn't support budgeting at all (like FreshBooks), or its saved for pricier plans (like QuickBooks). While QuickBooks may have a higher overall score (4.7/5), its Xero that stands out for its extensive hotel features that are available at a good price.
Xero's three plans are: Early, for $13 per month; Growing, for $37 per month; and Established, for $70 per month. Early comes with a few big restrictions, limiting bills to just five per month, and Established is the only plan to offer project accounting tools. No plans include cash flow projections. Xero offers an invoicing-specific accounting tool as well, and you can learn more about it with our Xero Invoice pricing guide.
Compare QuickBooks vs Xero with our guide to the differences.
Best for multi-location businesses
Pricing: from $10 per user, per month
A lack of limitations makes Sage a good choice for businesses that are scaling up as there are no client or invoice limits on any of its plans. It also has the tools to manage multiple restaurants or hotel locations within the same interface, making it a natural fit for a franchising operation.
- Easy to use
- Integrates with Microsoft 365
- 30-day free trial
- App selection is limited
- Expensive and clunky per-user pricing
Sage also stands out for its accounts receivable functionality and, like QuickBooks, it offers a rare cash flow projection tool. Our researchers noted that Sage does not offer project accounting functionality, and the lowest tier plan also doesn't allow third-party accountants to log into the software.
Sage Intacct Pricing
Sage's main accounting service comes in two plans: Sage Accounting Start, for $10 per month; and Sage Accounting, for $25 per month. The customizable Sage Intacct software can be optimised for the hospitality industry, but it does come with an entirely different subscription. For pricing on this offering, you will need to contact the company for a custom quote.
Easiest accounting software for hotels
Pricing: from $17 per user, per month
FreshBooks, with an overall score of 3.8/5 in our research, makes plenty of core business features available, even on its cheapest plans. Users on all plans will be able to track and invoice billable hours, handle a full business inventory (a useful perk for hotel gift shops), and enjoy integrations with top ecommerce services, including Squarespace and Shopify.
- Great profit and loss comparisons
- Easy import and export for data
- Automated invoicing
- 30-day free trial
- The $10/user upcharge adds up fast
- No native support for payroll processing
The brand has a hotel-specific accounting solution, so you'll be able to ensure your invoices support the extra fees a hotel will typically handle. Its mobile app can accept payments on the go and then sync these with the a desktop's software. Expenses can be automatically imported and categorized, so you'll be prepared for tax filings, but its worth noting that the service does not offer budgeting or a cash flow projection.
FreshBooks offers four plans, starting at $17 per month for FreshBooks Lite. FreshBooks Plus costs $30 per month, Premium is $55 per month, and Select has a custom price. However, Lite does come with a maximum of five clients, which will be limiting. The Plus plan has a client cap of 50, but the Premium plan will remove all caps. Check out our guide to FreshBooks pricing to find out what features are on each plan.
Compare QuickBooks vs FreshBooks with our guide to the differences.
Best for smaller hospitality businesses
With an overall score of 4/5, Zoho Books offers the same low-cost billing functionality that FreshBooks boasts without the cap on clients, which makes it a great pick for small hotels or hospitality businesses.
- Large invoice limit on lowest tier
- Provides project accounting functionality at a cheaper rate than competitors
- Extensive accounts receivable functionality
- Accounts payable functionality unavailable on lowest tier
- Limited integrations
- Charges an extra fee per month for document scanning
With Zoho, users can send up to 5,000 invoices to an unlimited number of clients across all plans, while also being able to integrate with many top payment processing services.
Zoho also has project accounting features at a lower cost than competitors, and it has great account receivable tools, including invoicing and managing outstanding payments. However, its users will need to pay an extra per-month fee for document scanning, unlike QuickBooks' or Wave Invoicing's users. Due to this fee (and the tool's limited integrations), Zoho only earned a 3.13/5 for its advanced features, putting it below Quickbooks' 4.5/5 and Xero's 4.13/5 scores for the same research category, but above Wave's 0/5 score.
Zoho Books' Pricing
Zoho Books has six plans, starting with Free, which comes at no cost but it is restricted to businesses with annual revenues of $50,000 or less. it is worth noting that this plan doesn't include inventory or analytics. The other plans are: Standard, for $15 per month; Professional, for $40 per month; Premium, for $60 per month; Elite, for $120 per month; and Ultimate, for $240 per month. Our Zoho Books pricing guide and review has the details on what each plan offers.
Best for businesses on a budget
When it comes to pricing, it's hard to beat Wave's free accounting software as it come along with some pretty impressive features. It offers just one completely free plan, which delivers unlimited income and expense tracking and no limit on the number of users you can invite to collaborate. So, if your hotel is on a tight budget, this means you will be able to invite as many third-party accountants to view your financial history.
- Completely free to use
- Offers affordable add-ons
- Lacks features
- Struggles to scale with growing businesses
However, there are certain features that users will not have access to: budgeting, cash flow projection, project accounting, and inventory management.
While most of these may not be an issue for a small hotel, the lack of inventory management, in particular, may give reason for pause. Wave offers integrations that can compensate for most of these missing features (Google Forms and HoneyBook are among the most popular Wave integrations), but you'll need to pay for many of them.
Wave comes with one accounting plan, and it's free. Additional business apps from Wave include its free Invoicing and Banking apps, as well as its paid-for payroll service. Wave Payroll starts at $40 per month, plus $6 per employee or contractor and can automatically pay and file your state and federal payroll across many US states.
Compare FreshBooks vs Wave with our guide to the differences.
Best accounting software built by hoteliers
Pricing: Provided on request
M3 does offer accounting software, but it goes one step further as well. It advertises itself as the complete package a hotel might need, offering hands-on live support services, ongoing training, and one-time data export from other systems.
- Designed by hoteliers
- Covers multiple properties
- Strong support
- No purchase order management
- No accounts receivable functions
Labor management software and analytics software are also included. M3's big selling point is the fact that the company is operated by those with experience as hoteliers. While our researchers haven't tested M3's flagship accounting software yet, the team can confirm its high customer satisfaction.
M3 competition comes in the form of FreshBooks, which offers software that is designed specifically for hoteliers. However, having actual hoteliers making software design choices behind the scenes does make M3 stand out. The system's support hours are truly impressive: you'll receive phone support from 8am to 11pm on weekdays, and from 8am to 6pm on weekends.
M3's pricing is available upon request, so we can't provide insight into how far your dollar will stretch. The service offers a free demo (although a full trial is not available), so we recommend any interested parties sign up for the demo to get a feel for the software's pros and cons.
The hospitality industry has unique needs when it comes to business software, like an accounting system. While many other businesses just sell products, the hospitality industry sells an experience, which makes ensuring a painless, streamlined service even more important.
You'll need to consider what unusual or rare software features you'll need to log every expense associated with your hotel, bed and breakfast, or even convention center. Here are a few considerations to start with:
- Software that can handle room pricing changes – The same room will go for more money as the weekend or a holiday nears, but you'll need to have software that handles surge pricing to take full advantage.
- Managing income for special events – Hosting large events can be a major source of income for many hotels or restaurants, but it requires a budget for cleaning, catering, and potential overtime. Does your software allow you to budget accordingly? An integration with your POS solution can be useful.
- Integrations – POS isn't the only integration you may need. From CRM to marketing and hospitality-specific needs, including catering and dry cleaning, the right integrations will help your entire tech stack remain easy to use.
- Scalable – If your hotel or restaurant expands or franchises out, you'll want an accounting service that is cost-effective and be able to handle the additional terminals or locations that you'll be adding. It will also need to allow funds to flow to where they are needed most.
The best accounting software for a hotel or other hospitality businesses must address the three core needs that our research shows small business require: A flexible interface, a fair price, and a strong support team. But that's not all you'll get. Hotel-specific accounting software include the ability to:
- Track reservations: Hotels will need a system that handles a calendar for reserving rooms a year or farther in advance. Any accounting system that tracks this future income while logging any cancellations can save managers endless hours of tracking these details by hand.
- Handle room service: When guests call for room service, your accounting service should be able to record the sale for the guest's final checkout.
- Check the financial status of your hotel at a glance: Good data reporting tools will mean you can auto-generate profit-and-loss reports for each day, week, or quarter.
- Manage all staff: A hotel comes with many different types of workers, and the right system can track each one in turn, including management, maintenance, housekeeping, kitchen, front desk, and wait staff. Payroll may be available, either through the service or with an integration.
An accounting system can automate many of the above functions, ultimately saving a hotel dozens of hours of work each day.
Want to upgrade how you communicate with guests? Check out our guide to hotel phone systems.
How We Research and Compare Accounting Systems
After conducting an initial exploration to identify the most relevant, popular, and established tools in the market, we put them through their paces with hands-on testing to see their real strengths and weaknesses. In this case, we put eight accounting software products to the test across 111 areas of investigation.
Based on years of market and user needs research, we've established an accounting software testing methodology that scores each product in four main categories of investigation and 24 subcategories; this covers everything from the features and functionality to pricing, and much more.
Our main testing categories for accounting software are:
Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using the accounting software. This can include documentation, tutorials, knowledge bases, email or chat support, phone assistance, and training resources.
Pricing: the cost associated with using the accounting software. It includes factors such as licensing fees, subscription plans, any additional charges, account limits, and payment fees.
Main Functions: the key areas of accounting that the software focuses on. This includes functionalities such as financial statements preparation, income and expense tracking, managing vendor and customer accounts, generating invoices and receipts, handling payroll and tax calculations, and providing reports for financial analysis.
Software Functionality: the software capabilities such as integrations, mobile capability, as well as any additional features outside of accounting-focused ones.
When it comes to calculating a product's final score, not all testing areas are weighted evenly, as we know some aspects matter more to our readers than others, which are merely "nice to have." After hundreds of hours, our process is complete, and the results should ensure you can find the best solution for your needs.
At Tech.co, we have a number of full time in-house researchers, who re-run this testing process regularly, to ensure our results remain reflective of the present day.
Verdict: QuickBooks has the tools for hospitality
Xero (4.5/5) is another top pick, due to great features and pricing, even if it's missing cash-flow projection, a useful tool that QuickBooks includes on all plan tiers.
Every accounting software in this guide is worth considering, as they all earned an overall score of 4/5 or higher, and offer a good selection of key features in relation to their cost. Once you've decided on which trials or demos to check out, try finding the best deals with our link page:
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