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360 Blog

Bookkeeping Software Advice.
July 6, 2015

When I practiced as an accountant I really only got exposed to Sage as most of the clients used that. As a whole accountants use a completely different software package which will do tax, do statutory accounts, write your letters, monitor staffs productivity etc, etc.

To be fair I knew how to run the reports and do the basics on Sage, but I did not really start to learn what it could do until I went out on my own and specialised in Bookkeeping. Now the cloud is slowly taking over with a new glut of software bombarding small businesses, Xero, Kashflow, Quickbooks, Sage line 50, Sage one, Sage instant, Big Red Cloud, Free Agent, Wave, Clear books, bright book, the list is really endless.

So how do you choose the right software for your business?

Ask a fellow business acquaintance? Ask your Accountant? Ask a Bookkeeper?

All of the above could give you completely different or the same answers.

Your accountant may suggest Sage, Xero or Kashflow as a cloud alternative. Does your accountant use it every day to process transactions?, I doubt it.

Your business acquaintance uses some good software, but is his business like yours?, do you have the same requirements or even financial habits?. I doubt it.

Your freelance Bookkeeper? (I’m discounting bookkeeping departments in accounts firms as they tend to be ruled by “if it’s not broken don’t fix it rule”) Even then there is no guarantee that we will get the choice right. We use bookkeeping software all the time, every day, every night even at weekends too, we tend to learn the software and try to figure out the most efficient way of doing things.

I do have my favourite software packages, these are:

Sage 50 or instant  Why? I was brought up with it as an accountant, the product is sound, it’s a great all-rounder, accountants love using it and it probably has 80% market share, if not more.

Xero. Why? It is a relative newcomer but the potential and the innovation behind this software is endless, it’s really easy to use, it has fantastic reporting capabilities (especially for people who want to look at seasonal trends/month to month profit and loss etc, etc. It can be fast at getting information processed, which I feel is unusual for a cloud based software. In fact it really gets 5 stars from me.

Kashflow. Why? Because quite a few accountants like to recommend this one and it’s always good to be in with the accountants in my line of business. Plus it was bought by Iris software which is extremely popular in accounting general practice.

  • Tip 1 Check out my diagram matrix to see if you could benefit from using bookkeeping software.
  • Tip 2 Do some research on your chosen software take as much advise as you can from everyone, then make your own mind up about it since you are the one who has to use it.
  • Tip 3 Take the free trial, process a months books and get a feeling for the software, sometimes software houses will extend the free trail for an extra month. Be warned it is possible that all the functions of the software will not be available to you on a trial.
  • Tip 4 visit Youtube, as there is an abundance of videos to watch that may help you make your mind up.
  • Tip 5 Software can be priced from £0 a month to £100+ vat a month.
  • Tip 6 A good set of books is key to getting an accurate set of account, why not call us and have a chat about it.