Apr 26, 2019
Successful startups need accountancy help. Income and expenditure need to be recorded, annotated, calculated and an accurate set of accounts produced.
Many small businesses go under, not because their owners were bad at trading, but because they were bad record-keepers. An unexpected tax bill in Year 4 can mean the difference between profit and bankruptcy.
With that in mind, here is a review of the three top accounting software packages and a new one from RegisteredAddress.co.uk.
QuickBooks Online caters to individual accountants and small businesses.
It covers basic functions like payroll, inventory and reporting and meets the needs of complex small businesses and simple freelancers.
Bank reconciliation, drafting invoices tracking expenses and monitoring financial reports are some of its features. Also billing and invoicing services and expense tracking.
Users can download and reconcile credit card transactions, organise weekly timesheets, track bank deposits.
It can track projects and inventory, offering a range of service tiers and is scalable. Hundreds of apps integrate with it. It’s updated monthly.
Data is hosted in the cloud, so the software can be accessed by multiple users on different devices. It can synchronise with your bank accounts for live feeds.
Entrepreneurs can grant their accountant access and share files with them. Invoices can be customised and one can schedule automatic payment reminders. Profit and loss reports, cash flow, expenses and budgeting are other useful features.
QuickBooks provides customisable templates which can be branded with the business logo and then used to create invoices, bills and reports. Different staff can operate it at different permission levels to create a more secure operating environment.
It can also import data from third party services like Paypal.
Sage operates in a similar way, in that it offers different package prices and feature pack to suit small, medium and larger businesses.
Fees are monthly and the cheapest one offers simple income and expenses, invoicing, reporting, integration with your bank account and VAT processing.
Sage One handles statements, price quotes, estimates and invoices. Payment transactions from third parties can be imported. Accounting information is displayed on a single dashboard, for ease of viewing.
It can calculate applicable taxes using transaction data and users can forecast cash requirements in the future based on previous historical transactions.
Dashboards, transaction drill-downs and graphs provide your accountant with a clear overview of your accounts at any time. It works with Macs, PCs, iOS and Android as well as tablets, smartphones and desktops. It’s fully mobile and collaborative and its online nature means it can be updated on the fly, to keep up to date with changes to accounting rules and regulations.
Its creators make a bold claim for it: that it doesn’t require any accounting knowledge or previous experience.
It comes with free 24/7 email and telephone support, so new entrepreneurs can have some backup while they are learning how to use it.
One criticism is that it is more aimed at accountants than at amateurs.
However, we would say that there is no way that anything more than very simple income and expenditure can be simplified in accounting, without losing useful features.
Sage One offers a free trial so you don’t have to pay before you play with it. After the trial is over you can set up the account with your business details e.g. its name and type.
Xero Accounting Software is now giving QuickBooks and Sage some serious competition.
At the time of writing, it has over 1.2 million subscribers worldwide. Xero Early is aimed at new businesses.
Xero offers complex accounting features, reports and hundreds of integrations. As is common nowadays, it’s a cloud-based software. It is reportedly the primary accounting software used by over 16,000 accounting companies and now offers project management.
However, users have complained about recent price increases and that it no longer bundles built-in payroll with its plans. Customer support, limited expense claims, projects and multi-currency support are other points of contention.
On the plus side it has a lot of automations like group invoicing and default email templates. One nice feature is that it offers unlimited users.
However, there is limited tax support, limited invoice templates and the learning curve is steep.
Xero has the advantage for Mac users in that it’s cloud-based so there is no loss of features; anyone with normal internet access can use it.
Xero is a good solution for medium to large-sized businesses in need of strong accounting and the option to have multiple users without paying proportionately.
Users have access to their cash flow in real time from any device so they can work from anywhere they can get a wifi connection.
Sometimes, you need a human being to help you. Accounting terms can be opaque. If you do your own accounts, you may make errors which invite the wrath of HMRC.
Solution: Get in touch with us and speak to a qualified accountant!
1. Small monthly payments for a complete accountancy service
Perfect for startups which range from dormant status, to a gross income of less than the VAT threshold of £85K (as at tax year 2019).
Let us take care of the essentials while you take care of building your business!
2. Simple and secure method of transferring data
We’ve simplified the entire process. You give us everything in a couple of simple ways (custom-developed by Registered Address limited) and we’ll take care of the rest!
3. Accounts checked by a qualified accountant
Software has its limits. It can’t highlight areas where you could save money on tax or the numbers don’t make sense for the industry you’re operating in.
We have live accountants who check all your data before sending them to you for your approval, to be then submitted to HMRC and Companies House.