There are many advertised free accounting software packages when completing a search on the Internet. Most of these companies are only offering a free trial of anything between 30 and 90 days. You have started using the software and then feel that you need to start paying a monthly fee.
Some packages are entirely free and typically have a paid-for version for extra features. The advantage of some of them is that your software can grow with your business.
What are the options for Free Accounting Software?
The products that I have tried and tested are Bokio, Pandle, QuickFile and Wave apps. Some are completely free, while others have a paid upgrade version. There are a few different reasons they offer it for free, including advertising, paid support and upgrades.
Bokio is completely free accounting software and has the advantage that it is linked to accountants. It means if you have a problem, there are people available to help at a price.
Advantages of Bokio
- Record as many transactions as you want free of charge
- VAT returns are MTD compliant
- Automatic banks feed with most banks.
- Easy to use dashboard
- Will do most simple accounting tasks.
- You can invite your, bookkeeper or accountant.
Disadvantages of Bokio
- Not much choice for invoice layout
- Not many reports available
Advantages of Wave Apps
- It is an online software (cloud-based) package, so there is no need to download the software and access it from anywhere.
- The dashboard shows a snapshot of your business, including bank balance, income and expenses over a year, sales invoices that you are owed and purchase invoices which you owe and a Pie chart showing a breakdown of payments for a year or month.
- There are several different invoice designs which will make your business look professional.
- It is simple to use and can be set up in minutes.
- There are many reports available to view or print off including, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Invoices owing and VAT report.
- Can accept Credit Card payments, for a fee.
- A photograph of receipts can be taken on the app while out and about, making the recording of transactions easier.
- You can invite other users to access the accounts, including someone else in the business, bookkeeper or accountant.
Disadvantages of Wave Apps
- You need to have online access to use it.
- There is some advertising on the software.
- If you need support, you may need to pay for it, although there is a free online community.
- It will not keep track of stock; a paid-for package is best for this.
- Wave is not GDPR compliant.
- Due to open banking, bank feeds are not available.
Pandle Accounting Software
Pandle is free to use, but you will require the paid-for version if you want bank feeds.
I recently set up an account for a small charity in the UK; after a couple of hours of training, they were up and running the software themselves.
Advantages of Pandle
- Easy to use dashboard
- Issue Customer Invoices
- Keep track of outstanding invoices.
- Reports are available, and they are adding more.
- Videos on how to complete transactions
- Developed by Accountants
Disadvantages of Pandle free accounting software
- Bank feeds a paid-for version.
- Not as many reports as some of the more popular packages
Read our Pandle Review to see if the software is suitable for your business.
Visit the Pandle website to sign up for free accounting software.
QuickFile Free Accounting Software UK
A lot of work has gone into QuickFile over the last few years. When I first looked at it, I didn’t include it as I struggled with the layout. It now has a clear dashboard and easy to set up. It also has some features as standard, which are paid for in other apps.
QuickFile is free until you reach 1000 nominal transactions per year. An example of a nominal transaction is a sales invoice that will record in the customer account and a sales account and therefore has 2 nominal transactions. Once you reach 1000, the price is £45 + VAT.
Advantages of QuickFile
- Easy to set up
- Choice of invoice design
- Upload documents
- Can handle estimates, purchase orders and delivery notes
- Clear layout of the dashboard
- At a fee, they can send out invoices by post.
- VAT Returns completed directly with HMRC
- Lots of reports to download or view on screen
- Bank feeds an annual fee.
- If your business expands you will need to pay for the software, but still cheaper than other packages
Manager Accounting Software
Manager is a free accounting software package that is downloaded directly to your PC. There are paid-for versions if you require more users.
Advantages of Manager
- Quick to set up
- No internet connection required.
- Easy to use
- Send invoices directly to customers.
- Most reports are available.
- Lots of on-page support topics
Disadvantages of Manager
- Full version expensive
- Not compatible with Making Tax Digital but they are planning to add this in future editions
Read the Manager Accounting Software review.
Are there any other free accounting software options?
If you are just a small business and do not need all the accounting package features, then there are free Excel bookkeeping templates available. We offer a couple which is found on the page. Our templates include a Cashbook for recording simple income and expenses and a combined budget and cashbook, enabling you to compare the budget and actual figures during the year.
In the past, we did offer a free accounting software called Account-It, but due to having to keep it up to date and better software packages available, we withdrew it from the website. If you already have it downloaded, you can continue to use it, but no support is available.
Paid for Accounting Software
Although a free version might be suitable to start, if you are planning to expand the business, it might be better to use a paid version with more features from the start. In the long term, it might save time and money to transfer the accounts.
Below are a few Accounting packages that offer a free trial.
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