The accounting landscape has shifted massively in the past few years. Gone are the days of spreadsheets, stacks of receipts and manually logging transactions in ledgers. With the shift to online systems, we’ve seen a revolution in the way we do business. Business owners now have the freedom to work from anywhere on any device, instead of being tied down to a single computer.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boom in online accounting software, with hundreds of tools available for forward-thinking and growth-focused businesses, all boasting to be the best in the industry. But with so many options, it can be tricky to decide which system is actually right for you.
Here we’re weighing up the main features and benefits of some of the main accounting systems to help you choose which is best for you.
Why should I use online accounting software?
There’s no doubt that technology makes our lives easier in so many ways. And when it comes to finances, automation really is the way forward. Modern day technology is making accounting quicker, more accurate and easier for businesses to keep on top of. Data is secured in the cloud, with no need to do backups or archive paper files. And the automation built into these systems saves you time and streamlines your processes, taking away manual error. Accounting software can also handle financial reporting for you in real-time, giving you more financial freedom and helping you grow your business. Plus, this technology is improving by the day, arming you with deeper and more valuable insights about your business.
More common sense, less paperwork.
It’s no secret that businesses who use accounting software are more ambitious and growth-focused. With the right technology in place, they can streamline what they do and spend more time where it should be– doing what they love and growing an amazing business.
Sounds good, right?
Read on to find out which accounting software is best for you.
Xero is easy-to-use online accounting software that helps you automate everyday tasks. Starting at £10/month, Xero helps you manage just about any aspect of your business, from bills and expenses, to payments and payroll.
Xero’s online accounting software is designed to make small business easier, giving you a clear snapshot of your current finances, cash flow, revenue and expenses. These insights make it a great option for growing businesses.
The accounting technology is rapidly improving and there are now over 800 apps that plug into Xero alone, including leading apps for your industry. Xero’s App Marketplace makes them the most flexible accounting software out there and the customisation options available give you the freedom to automate just about any aspect of your business.
Xero is more than just accounting software, it’s a whole suite of tools for supercharging what you do and streamlining your business.
Designed to be easy for non-accountants to use, FreeAgent is ideal for freelancers, sole traders, and small businesses up to five people. FreeAgent has all the features you need to keep your business on the right track such as invoicing, expenses management, self assessment and cash flow reporting. Automatic tax forecasts and reminders also make FreeAgent a great choice for staying in HMRC’s good books. See a forecast of how much tax you owe and keep track of when payment is due.
FreeAgent also has an at-a-glance business dashboard that shows you how your business is doing with drag and drop customisation, so you can track the things that matter most to you.
The software also integrates with a range of apps to help you optimise your business, such as payment solutions, time-tracking apps, forecasting and funding.
Starting at £9.50/month for sole traders, FreeAgent is one of the easiest systems to use, and it’s popular with creative businesses alike.
QuickBooks is smart, simple accounting software that makes it easy to manage your business finances from anywhere. Connect your bank accounts to access instant, accurate data from seamless bank connections. There’s no need to juggle different financial apps– everything you need is in QuickBooks.
Save around 8 hours a month managing your accounts by sending invoices, creating expenses and tracking payments anytime, anywhere. QuickBooks also boasts a range of features such as income and expense management, a cash flow planner, mileage tracking and reporting. CIS calculations also make it a good choice for construction businesses.
QuickBooks also integrates with a range of popular apps to help you manage projects, perform analytics, run payroll and get funding.
Starting at £6/month, QuickBooks is easy to use, well designed and suited to a range of businesses.
Talk to your accountant.
Still unsure which system is right for you? Talk to your accountant! They will be able to advise on which piece of software is best for your business and your own personal preferences. Every business is unique and there’s no one size fits all approach. Some software will be better suited to others based on the nature of their business, such as sole traders and limited companies. All of these systems come with free trial periods, so you can sign up and get a feel for which one is right for you.
Setting yourself up for success.
Whilst we have some amazing tools at our fingertips, they can only work for us when used correctly. Unfortunately, many small businesses have an online accounting system that they haven’t been shown how to use properly. They connect their bank account, then start coding transactions where they think they should go. Sadly, they often make mistakes, which means the financial information they’re using to make decisions is wrong. When left unfixed, this can end up causing big problems for businesses and their accountants alike. Lots of little mistakes quickly snowball into bigger issues that cause problems further down the line.
That’s why we recommend getting a good accountant to get you set up on your accounting software properly. A proactive accountant can advise on the best software for you, set it up for you, and show you how to use it. They’ll also be just a quick call or a message away if you encounter any problems.
With the right accountant and some great technology at your side, you’re setting yourself and your business up for success.
Want to find out more about online accounting software and how it can work for you? We love a chat and our inbox is always open. Just ping us a message and we’ll get back to you asap.