(866) 949-2848 support@autovitalsinc.com

The Digital Shop® Blog

4 Best Accounting Software For Auto Repair Shops

As the owner of a small to mid-size auto repair shop, it’s your responsibility to keep your bookkeeping under control. When you don’t take accounting seriously, you can struggle to track whether or not projects are successful, lose track of billable hours, and make it difficult to handle taxes correctly.

Many auto repair shops have turned to accounting software to make this vital job more manageable. By choosing a reliable program for your accounting needs, you can:

  • Easily forecast your financial future
  • Make it simple to handle billing and collections
  • Effortlessly track hours, parts, and more
  • Focus on running your business — not bookkeeping

Of course, these perks will only apply if you take the time to choose a program that fits your situation. To kick off your research, here’s a rundown of four popular accounting software programs for independent auto repair shops.


A cloud-based accounting program from Intuit, QuickBooks is made to help small business owners increase their productivity and efficiency. 

With QuickBooks, you can generate financial statements, manage supplier payments and fixed costs, create profit and loss records, and handle payroll. QuickBooks offers both mobile and desktop apps, making it a highly versatile choice for auto shop accounting.


  • Simple expense tracking
  • Helps auto shops analyze profits and taxes
  • Offers multiple connections with third-party apps
  • Built-in inventory management through QuickBooks Online Plus/Advanced


  • At $15-$100/month, it’s somewhat expensive compared to competing programs
  • Limited number of users per plan
  • Steep learning curve for first-time users

Why It’s Great for Auto Shops

While QuickBooks is not designed specifically for auto shops, businesses in this category can benefit from adding the program to their workflow. Since it allows shop owners to track income and expenses automatically, it can effectively eliminate one of the most time-consuming parts of the accounting process. If you need help, Intuit offers a sales hotline and an online support hub.



When you bring FreshBooks into your auto shop, you’ll appreciate this software’s ease of use right away — adding it to your existing infrastructure is a cinch! 

Perhaps the most notable feature FreshBooks offers is its ability to create invoices and estimates. With this capability, you’ll be able to provide customers with personalized cost estimates on the spot.


  • Affordable pricing, especially at low tiers
  • Simple billing
  • Great for tracking time
  • Automation of repetitive accounting tasks
  • Seamlessly connects your team


  • Meant primarily for small businesses
  • Offers fewer personalization options compared to competitors
  • Adding more team members comes with increased monthly costs

Why It’s Great for Auto Shops

FreshBooks focuses on providing software for time tracking, reporting, invoicing, and other accounting tasks to service-based businesses — and auto repair shops certainly fit that bill. With FreshBooks, you’ll be able to easily keep track of accounting even if you have little to no experience with other accounting programs. Best of all, you can see if FreshBooks works for your business without making a commitment, thanks to its free trial.


Auto Repair Invoice

Unlike the other programs included in this list, Auto Repair Invoice (ARI) is designed specifically for businesses in the auto repair industry. Because of that, it offers auto shop-centric features like spare parts inventory tracking, vehicle lookup, and license plate scanning. It also handles “traditional” accounting tasks like invoicing, payment tracking, and financial reports.


  • An auto repair-centric accounting solution
  • Makes it easy to generate repair orders and reports
  • Easy to navigate on mobile devices


  • Manual vehicle lookup can be hard to use
  • Limited access to desktop apps

Why It’s Great for Auto Shops

If you’re okay with handling most of your shop’s accounting work on phones and tablets, it’s hard to go wrong with Auto Repair Invoice. The program combines industry-leading accounting features with those created especially for this line of work. It also features full integration with well-known auto repair databases like Carfax and CarMD.



For an affordable auto shop accounting program, it’s tough to beat Xero. Pricing for this service starts at just $12/month! At the same time, Xero doesn’t skimp when it comes to accounting features. With Xero, you’ll benefit from automatic billing and invoicing, bank reconciliation, short-term cash flow/business snapshots, and much more.


  • Infinite users across all plans
  • Basic inventory management at every tier
  • Automated bill/receipt capture with Hubdoc


  • No official desktop app offered
  • Entry-level plan limits billing and invoices
  • Live phone assistance is not an option

Why It’s Great for Auto Shops

Xero offers robust accounting software at a highly affordable price point, making it an appealing proposition for small auto repair shops. While it isn’t designed just for auto shops, it can help you keep up on the accounting basics while saving some cash. Plus, if you’re unsure whether you want to start using Xero or not, the service provides a 30-day free trial.


Covering All Your Bases

When you first start researching the best accounting software for your auto repair shop, looking into Quickbooks, Freshbooks, ARI, and Xero is a good place to start. But they’re not the only options out there, and we’re not necessarily promoting them as our recommended choices. You may find the best software for you is something else entirely!

The best accounting software will vary based on your shop’s specific size, setup, and needs – along with your own preferences. We encourage you to do your own research, utilize free trials if they’re available, and weigh the pros and cons of each option. 

No matter which accounting software works best for you, your auto shop will enjoy simplified bookkeeping that lets you focus on what really matters around your garage. However, these accounting programs can’t do it all on their own. You’ll also want to find software that can simplify other aspects of running an auto repair shop.

AutoVitals is a complete Shop Success Solution designed to help independent auto shops run as smoothly as possible. The solutions offered by AutoVitals include Digital Vehicle Inspections, digital marketing, workflow automation, and more. Find out what AutoVitals can do for your auto repair shop by scheduling a demo today!

Posts by Topic

see all

Subscribe to our blog