Small business owners, what accounting package do you recommend ?

Associate
Joined
22 Feb 2014
Posts
2,343
[SHORT VERSION]

I have always used excel spreadsheets up to now, but business has grown over the last 12 months and things are getting a bit more complicated now,

So just wanting a more unbiased and real-world opinion from you good folks on what accounting package you use etc.


[SLIGHTLY LONGER VERSION]

New rules regarding VAT mean I need software that can submit the VAT info via MTD. (first VAT submission due shortly)
My business is a repair business fwiw. and not a Ltd company.

I have spoken to 3 accountants and they have all recommended different software (Sage/Quickbooks/Xero), however I am not 100% sure these are unbiased recommendations given that I know 2 of these accountants provide the software directly with a discount.

I have sat with 1 accountant for the best part of 10ish hours, trying to learn how quickbooks works and still don't fully have my head around it. I'm not sure if he made it sound more complicated than it needed to be so that I am more reliant on him or if it genuinely is that complicated. the accountant friend that I spoke to, made it all seem much simpler but didn't really point me in any real direction. She also made a couple of mistakes regarding advice she gave me about VAT, which I questioned (but she maintained she was right) and when I asked the other accountant, he confirmed that she was wrong.

I have never worked in accounts or had any bookkeeping training so a lot of the terminology used I have to google etc, my accounts up to now have been quite simple expenses on one sheet, income on another, then punch all of those figures into the HMRC self-assessment portal.
 
Soldato
Joined
17 Jul 2008
Posts
7,291
I have a tiny business wife used sage hated it way too complicated we moved to zero and she loves it
 
Soldato
Joined
29 Jul 2010
Posts
21,555
Location
Lincs
Having done SME accounts for 30yrs using various packages I'm quite a fan of QuickBooks and think it's easy to use.

The thing I find with non accounting people using accounting software is you still need to know the rudiments of accounting, else you end up with the classic GiGo scenario.
 
Soldato
Joined
20 Feb 2011
Posts
2,935
I’ve used QuickBooks Online for several years now though not for VAT. Apart from it not being able to automatically download my Amex statements, it does the job I want of it. My accountant runs through the final figures before my tax return is submitted but it’s rare if anything major (or minor!) is flagged up.
 
Caporegime
Joined
20 Jan 2005
Posts
43,208
Location
Co Durham
Quickbooks has always been good and easy to use but I have heard good things about Xero but have no experience of it.
 
Soldato
Joined
26 Feb 2007
Posts
8,172
I run a small business using QuickBooks, I like it, there's also lots of plugins for cashflow management and the like.
 
Associate
Joined
17 Sep 2007
Posts
553
Sage Professional for me because stock management, but quite expensive. Depends what you want from an accountancy package over and above the usual fillings.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
29 Jul 2010
Posts
21,555
Location
Lincs
OK, so I just signed up for "freshbooks" as it came up on google and was free lol seems... OK?

A friend of mine uses that just for his invoicing, he pays for it though. They have added income/expense tracking from what I've seen (I do his VAT returns) but he doesn't use that side of it.

It's very 'Americanised' and quite clunky, I wouldn't want to use it as a full accounts program tbh.
 
Associate
Joined
24 Nov 2013
Posts
460
Sage 50 Professional here

The other popular packages don't offer the flexibility I need in report design (mainly Invoicing) for the format my clients require (construction industry)

It is expensive though but you can barter a little sometimes
 
Soldato
Joined
27 Dec 2005
Posts
17,041
Location
Bristol
Xero for 3/4 years. Only occassional issues which are expected with any software that's growing and changing etc but otherwise it's bang on.

We're a team of 9 btw and we/I do all finance, reporting, payroll, invoicing, VAT, reconciliation etc etc through it ourselves and I don't have a financial background.
 
Soldato
Joined
8 Nov 2003
Posts
5,334
Location
Bedfordshire
If you use an accountant, talk with them to see if they can get a subscription at a cheaper rate for their preferred package.

Our admin team used to moan about how much a pain Quickbooks was to use so we sat down and audited every transaction as it was processed, most of the errors were user input rather than the package being too complicated. Now data is put in properly it's doing a decent job.
 
Top Bottom