Compare Accounting Software

Trying to choose the best accounting software for your business is a difficult decision. We have therefore put together the best packages to compare accounting software in the UK.

Compare Accounting Software

Best Accounting Software for Small Business

From our guide for the best accounting software for small businesses, these are our top recommendations:

  • QuickBooks Online – Great all round for freelancers and small business
  • Zoho Books – Free version and lots of integrated apps
  • FreshBooks – Best for service businesses
  • Xero – One of the most popular online accounting packages
  • QuickFile – Free for all users

How to Compare Accounting Software UK

There are so many different accounting software packages available in the UK, and every business is different. We look at both cloud accounting and packages to download.

All packages include standard features like banking, sales invoices, bill processing and reports. For more significant companies, you may need additional features like bank feeds, CIS, expense tracking, project accounting, payroll, stock, VAT, and multi-currency.

Below is an extensive list of accounting software available in the UK. Choose the software you wish to compare and click the compare button. At a glance, you can compare the prices, reviews, features and support.

 

Accounting Software Buyers Guide

To help you make the best choice for your business below is a short buyers guide.

Business owners can spend time evaluating the best accounting software, only to later find out that a feature needed is not included in the package. They then have to look to upgrade and transfer all the figures to new software.

Most packages available are cloud-based, but a few do offer a download to instal on a computer.

All offer a double entry system, ensuring that your books will balance.

Cloud-Based Accounting Software

The most popular accounting software is cloud-based. A user logs onto the software remotely, and all the data is held on a server.

There are lots of advantages of cloud accounting software, including:

  • Real-time data – Data is always up to date, and more than one person can work at a time.
  • Invite Users – Invite additional users from both the company and accountants.
  • Software Updates – The software is updated regularly with no interruption.
  • Mobile App – Most have a mobile app for Android and ios, allowing you to work from anywhere.
  • Bank Feeds – Save time by using automated bank feeds importing all the bank transactions.
  • Support – Online support is available, including by email, chat, messenger and telephone.
  • Making Tax Digital – HMRC is introducing completing tax returns using 3rd party software. VAT started in 2019, and they are also planning for Corporation tax and self-assessment.
  • Cancel at any time – If you close the company or upgrade to new software, you can cancel at any time if on a monthly agreement.
  • Cost Savings – By completing most of the accounts in-house, you can save on bookkeeper or accountant fees.

There are also a few disadvantages:

  • Slow Internet Speed – It can be very frustrating trying to complete your accounts with slow internet and waiting for a page to refresh.
  • Sharing Data – You need to ensure that data is only shared with the right people, so users roles need setting up.
  • Expensive – Although you do not have a large initial outlay, some packages are expensive monthly if you require additional features.

Desktop Downloads

Another option, if you prefer not to use online accounting software, is to purchase software and instal it onto a computer.

A few companies still offer desktop packages, but they do not provide as many features as cloud-based software.

Accounting Software Discount

Most providers offer an incentive discount to get your business. When signing up, check how long the deal is for and, most importantly, check the total price once the initial discount has finished.

The most recent discounts are:

Free Trial

Most will offer a free trial; use them as this helps to compare accounting software packages.

When taking a trial, check which version you are on; some will start on the most expensive, hoping that you will continue to use all the features. Other providers may restrict the use, not allowing you to see all the features you may need.

Compare Accounting Software Reviews

When looking at double entry bookkeeping software, it is hard to know which one is the best fit for your business needs.

We have written lots of software reviews, here are some of the main ones:

  • Zoho Books – Has a free version and lots of features for small business
  • FreshBooks – Easy to use, great for self-employed.
  • QuickBooks – One of the top packages for both freelancers and limited companies.
  • Xero – Good all rounder used by accountants and bookkeepers.
  • Ember – Great features with backup accountants support.
  • Pandle – Free version and easy to use.
  • Manager – Both cloud and desktop versions available, as well as a free licence.

Setting up the Accounting Software

Getting the bookkeeping software set up correctly can take some time. Before you start, get all the information together that you will need. It might include company registration number, VAT number, accounting periods, VAT dates, company address, telephone number and services you wish to use.

Each package will walk you through step by step, asking for details. If you are transferring from a previous package, you will also need to post the opening balances. There is also a service called ‘move my books’, which will work for accounting software transfers.

Accounting Software Package Features

When completing small business accounting, you must have all the accounting features that you require.

Here is a quick list of the different features:

User-Friendly Interface

FreeAgent Accounting Software Dashboard
Free Agent Dashboard

When you first look at any software, check out how it looks and if it is easy to find how to add new transactions.

Most will include a dashboard with an overview of the companies financial position. It is a quick snap-shot of the finances and will show income and expenses.

It helps to keep track of cash flow by showing what you owe and how much you owe.

Invoicing

Zoho Books sales invoice
Accounting Software Invoice

One of the essential tasks is to send sales invoices. Check out the invoicing template; some only have one template, while others allow you to upload your own. Adding a logo and colour will help brand the invoice.

Another option on invoicing is to use a mobile app for invoicing on the go and accepting online payments.

Accounts Receivable

If you spend lots of time chasing payments from customers, some accounting software will complete the task for you. You can set for automatic reminders and statements, saving time.

It will also track outstanding invoices, so you know exactly how much you are owed.

Accounts Payable

If your suppliers offer credit, they will send a bill with payment terms.

The accounts payable will keep track of when payments are due.

Automatic Bank Feeds

One of the best features is linking the bank accounts using open banking; it connects to your bank account to download the transactions. It can save vast amounts of time in data entry for bank transactions.

Check on the software you want to use if your bank is listed; most are included.

Inventory Management

If the business keeps stock, an inventory management feature is an advantage.

It will keep track of stock levels and value.

Payroll

To save outsourcing payroll, see if it is a feature included. Some have it as an additional addon per employee per month.

Financial Reports

QuickBooks accounting software reports
QuickBooks Accounting Reports

Check to see the number of financial reports available; they will all have the most used, including balance sheet and profit and loss. As a business, you might need more detailed reports for decision making.

Customer Support

Small business accounting software support is essential, especially if you are starting.

Different providers offer different levels of support, including email, online chat, telephone and messaging.

One web-based supplier, Ember, is now offering online support with an accountant. You do pay for their services at £39 per month.

Tax

Making Tax Digital

Tax is an essential part of all accounting software.

With HMRC starting the making tax digital in time, all tax reports will be filed through third-party software. It includes VAT returns, Self-assessment, CIS, Payroll and corporation tax.

Time Tracking

If you work on lots of small projects or invoice by the hour, finding something that tracks time will help to ensure that the invoicing is correct.

Some apps include real-time tracking.

Conclusion to Compare Accounting Software

As a business owner, finding the best accounting solution is essential in getting the financial reporting to make business decisions.

A self-employed business might find that different software is more suitable than for a limited company.

Use our comparison table above to find the best software and take out a free trial.