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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
If the business keeps stock, an inventory management feature is an advantage.
It will keep track of stock levels and value.
To save outsourcing payroll, see if it is a feature included. Some have it as an additional addon per employee per month.
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.
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 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.
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.