The UK accounting software market is saturated with possible solutions. How can you find the software that’s exactly right for your company? In this article, we’ll talk you through some of the best accounting solutions of 2019.
What is accounting software?
In a nutshell, accounting software aims to make managing your accounts much easier. Unless your business is only handling ten or fewer transactions a month, you’re probably going to benefit from accounting software. The solutions available today are relatively affordable, intuitive and easy to use – not to mention, they can save you both precious time and money along the way. If you’re questioning whether it will actually provide you with the right benefits, I recommend that you have a look at our article on how to calculate the ROI of accounting solutions.
A good accounting system can be a great asset to your finance team, and the right solution can help you drastically improve and simplify tasks, such as:
- VAT returns
- Real time management reports
- Balance sheets
- Profit and loss reports
Your software can also allow you to prepare for an unexpected audit or to do your annual accounts in the most cost-efficient way possible. To conclude, an accounting software is absolutely essential for most businesses.
What should I look out for when choosing accounting software?
Choosing software is full of compromises. The best accounting software for your project might be too expensive, or it might come from an inexperienced company. The challenge is to decide what aspects of the product are the most important to you, a goal that should align with improving your company’s productivity and success.
Before deciding on your new solution, you need to decide on what kind of buyer you are and what your requirements are. In fact, here at SAS we have noticed that most buyers fall into one of these three groups:
- The enterprise resource planning buyer
This buyer requires everything to fall under one system, and they insist that their chosen solution seamlessly integrate data across every department, thereby side-stepping the problems that often come with integrating various systems. This buyer prefers comprehensive and holistic solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics or SAP.
- The best-of-breed buyer
If this is you, chances are that you’re looking for software for a particular system component – such as HR systems or a CRM system as opposed to a more integrated ERP suite. And of course, your dream solution provides you with a deeper functionality than what most integrated systems can offer.
- The Small Business Buyer
Most SME buyers are looking for a basic and straightforward accounting software. Often, they are upgrading from a free version, and they need a system with better functionality to keep up with growth. Cloud-based solutions are often preferred due to their dynamic functionality, but there’s of course on-premise solutions that are still available for small businesses. You can find our guide to the real cost of OpEx here.
Once you have determined what kind of buyer you are – and what you need from your solution – we can start pinning down what type of software would be the best fit for you.
Don’t be fooled when deciding on accounting software
I think we can all agree that most things look extraordinarily nice when presented on glossy paper, but is that really how it works in real life? We at SAS highly recommend that you always read the small print before deciding on a new software solution. Additionally, you should also consider these two questions before settling on a vendor.
Will low cost soon become high cost?
Your software might initially work well, but will it soon become slow and harder to operate unless you empty your pockets to pay for the new, fancy upgrade? Make sure you understand the full financial burden of your software upgrades before signing up to a vendor.
Does it have the flexibility you need?
We often see that the lack of flexibility and adaptability may prove to be a struggle for businesses that need their software to grow with them. It’s imperative that you always ensure that your new software has the possibility to be what you need next year – not just today.
Read More: Our Complete Review of Xero.
Our top accounting software of 2018
Perhaps the standard accounting package on the market, QuickBooks is popular amongst small businesses and provides immediate access to customer, vendor and employee information. It’s available in both a licensed and online version. We recommend the online version as, unlike the desktop version, it allows you to work from anywhere at any time on PC, Mac, smartphones or tablets. Your books can be instantly accessed remotely by your accountant. There is also less data entry involved as QuickBooks online can automatically download and sort bank and credit card transactions.
A Cloud-based Accounting System that suits businesses of countless sectors and sizes. FinancialForce is built on the Salesforce platform and shares the same data, which eliminates the need for synchronizing financial transactions across separate systems. Common reporting tools, workflows and approval processes can be distributed across the system, and Billing, AR, AP, GL, Financial Reporting and CRM all being on the same platform prevents CRM and accounting information silos.
A project management software that helps businesses straightforwardly plan, track and manage people and projects. It also provides resource management, timesheets, expense reports and workforce collaboration in one system. Its functions are integrated which eradicates incongruent standalone systems, slashing expenses and mistakes and leading to better output. Unanet is favoured by project based organisations such as professional services, government contractors and internal IS, but can work for small businesses too.
Wave is perfect for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and freelancers as it’s a free program with a simple interface with solid accounting and invoicing tools and a large support network. Wave is Cloud-based, which lets its users work, add unlimited collaborators and access their data from any location.
Ideal for micro-businesses as its accounting platform is very minimalist and basic. Kashoo is a Cloud Accounting Software that allows users to manage accounts and bank transactions anywhere.
KashFlow’s most appealing feature is its direct VAT filling. The software lets you submit returns amazingly easily; all you do is run the VAT report, enter your HM Revenue & Customs online filing credentials, and then submit, all without having to leave the software. On top of this, KashFlow has a simple dashboard and a convenient form which generates a business health check score, and offers suggestions on how to improve.
This online accounts service prides itself on not requiring any previous accounting knowledge or experience. It’s another system that provides low-cost Accounting Software with basic functionality, including invoice, tax assistance, and profit and loss information. Sage One Account’s selling point is its free telephone and email support, which is perfect for start-ups, freelancers and small businesses who don’t have much experience with doing accounts. The software is web-based, meaning you can access it from anywhere at any time through the internet.