One of the top priorities as a small business owner is to keep your accounts organized. Whether you have just started your business or have been trading for a while, it is important to keep a close eye on the money you are bringing in and the money you are paying out. That’s why it’s essential to manage your finances, be it accounting, invoicing, purchase orders, inventory, or payroll, in the best possible way. You may find that doing it through a spreadsheet or manually is the easiest way, but with the time it takes, it might be worth considering accounting software. Using accounting software will help you reduce time spent on accounting tasks and allow you to focus more on other areas of your business. With so much accounting software available today, it is ideal that you take a detailed look at the most important ones to find out which one is the most beneficial for you.
What usability factors should you look for in accounting software?
When deciding which accounting software to use, focus on functionality that will make your life easier. For instance, easy integration is important as it prevents compatibility problems that could result in time-wasting errors. If they don’t integrate with your current solutions, like sales platforms, shipping systems, and payroll applications, even the most complete and reasonably priced accounting software will cause extra work for your business.
Multi-user access may be important to you if you run a small business with several people who need to see the accounts and finances, but less important if you are working by yourself. Some software companies will offer this for free while others will charge extra for additional users. It is therefore advisable to check each software carefully if this is an important factor for you.
As some software is more suited to one type of business than another, you must first consider the type of business you operate. If you want to hire more people, you should look for integrated payroll software that can generate payroll and file income taxes automatically. If your business manages a lot of inventory, look for accounting software that can be integrated with your system for tracking inventory. If your business is more sales-oriented, CRM tools are helpful in keeping track of customers and leads.
Customization is another thing to consider, the facility to customize invoices and other business communications, to be personalized to what your company needs and requires, as well as uploading your company logo and providing terms and conditions.
One of the most important characteristics to look for when choosing the best accounting software for your small business is the capability to generate reports quickly and automatically on your company’s financial health. Look at how many reports it can produce, including in Excel or PDF format. Ensure the company accounting software can, at the very least, create monthly and annual income statements with corporate tax projections.
How to choose between FreshBooks, Quickbooks, Xero and Sage
The following software tends to be the most widely used and complete package for small businesses. They do not require a great deal of accounting knowledge and are considered easy to set up and use. However, these are not the only ones out there and you shouldn’t restrict yourself to only considering the below. However, they are highly recommended by many users and are most user-friendly for businesses using cloud accounting software for the first time.
– Best overall
FreshBooks is a Canadian-based company founded in 2003 for the accounting needs of small businesses. It uses cloud accounting software and can be accessed via iPhone, Android or tablet apps.
It is considered the best overall accounting software for small businesses mainly because it is easy to use if you have little or no accounting experience. It also offers many valuable features at a relatively reasonable price, and you can use it anytime.
FreshBooks offers payment reminders, customizable recurring invoices, online credit card payments, international invoicing, tax-adjusted expense categories or the option to easily integrate with other products such as Gusto or Google Workspace.
Depending on what you are looking for, FreshBooks payments are staggered in three sections:
- Version lite £5.5 per month for self-employed entrepreneurs with five billable clients.
- Version Plus £9.5 per month for small businesses with 50 billable clients.
- Premium version £15 per month for growing companies with an unlimited number of billable customers.
– Best for self-employed and small businesses
QuickBooks is an accounting software developed by Intuit. It offers both desktop and cloud-based options. This software is geared towards small and medium-sized businesses.
It is considered the best software for self-employed and small businesses because like its competitor FreshBooks it offers easy usability for anyone with no accounting experience. It is quick to set up, reasonably priced and offers valuable tools and features for small businesses, these include better tools for tax planning than FreshBooks and better customer support.
Among other reasons, it is better for self-employed as they have a wholly dedicated plan and a better value-for-money plan for managing their bills (accounts payable) than competitors such as FreshBooks.
QuickBooks offers integration with financial institutions, such as PayPal, Square, Shopify and others. Tax filing aids with user guides and tax data export. Sort transactions, scan receipts and invoices, and create custom reports with cash flow tracking visible on your dashboard.
Depending on what you are looking for, QuickBooks payments are staggered in five sections:
- Self Employed: £2 per month for sole traders not registered for VAT who need to prepare the Self Assessment.
- Simple Start: £3 per month for businesses just starting and needing to handle VAT and Income Tax.
- Essentials: £5.5 per month for growing businesses.
- Plus: £8 per month for companies managing projects, stock, VAT and income tax.
- Advanced: £17.5 per month for companies needing in-depth reporting, more in-depth knowledge and dedicated support.
– Best extra features
Xero was founded in New Zealand in 2006 and is designed for small business owners, accountants and bookkeepers. Compatible with Android, it is known for its easy-to-use control panel.
Xero can be considered the best extra feature as it offers several useful features such as a Hubdoc where you can capture invoices and receipts and project tracking. It is also ideal for its two-step authentication to keep your data secure and its different plans for business needs.
Xero offers: the creation of expense claims, sending invoices, and integration with other apps like Square or HubSpot and other programs. Real-time cash position and the possibility of collaboration between users.
Depending on what you are looking for, Xero payments are staggered in three sections:
- Starter £7 per month, perfect for sole traders and start-ups.
- Standard £14 per month aimed at small and growing businesses.
- Premium £18 per month aimed at all business sizes.
– Best costs
Sage, founded in 1981 in Newcastle, was designed for small businesses. It allows you to choose your industry, business size and needs. It is the best value for money, among other things, due to offering a five-month free trial before you start paying monthly. Plus, you can use this software and access your bookkeeping documents without paying additional fees.
Sage offers Payroll management, integrates with financial institutions and other applications. Allows you to create and send invoices and accept and receive payments. It has add-ons such as human resources management and cash flow forecasting.
Depending on what you are looking for, Sage payments are staggered in three sections which you pay for after the free months:
- Start £12 per month
- Standard £26 per month
- Plus £33 per month
Where to find more information on how to use accounting software?
Choosing the best platform when looking for the right software for your business can be a time-consuming and difficult process. However, these four accounting software choices frequently provide the most in-depth assistance you require. Our accountants, nevertheless, can help you manage your accounting and direct you further toward what your business needs if you are still unsure about which software to choose or if you are still unsure about whether to choose accounting software.