Best accounting software for businesses in the UK

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Whatever type of business you run, success depends on numbers. Revenue, expenses, overheads, inventory, sales figures, profit — all of these numbers are important. But sometimes it can be hard to put them into context. After all, if you don't keep a close eye on your business every day, it won't perform at its best. Yet there are times when you need to step back for a clearer view. If you're thinking of applying for extra financing, or moving into a new market, or even selling your business, you'll need more than just the daily figures.

In fact the bigger financial picture can be helpful whenever software options for small business free business is ready for the next stage of growth. That's when you might ask yourself, "What are the steps I need to take today in order to be successful tomorrow? Financial management software can help here. In this guide we'll take a look at what it could do for your business. When your business is at a transition point — for example, when you're applying for funding or raising equity — some figures are more important than others.

Anyone thinking about lending you money or investing in your business will want to know that their money is safe. That means they'll want to take a good look at the financial details, such as:.

Gathering this information can take weeks or even months for a busy small business. And even software options for small business free you have it all, it still has to be presented in the right way. That's where financial management software comes in. Financial data can give you useful insights into the way a business is being software options for small business free. That's why large organizations use financial analysis to help them decide when, where and how to expand.

It's complicated work for big businesses, requiring detailed spreadsheets and powerful software. It's time software options for small business free, too. But the results can be very useful. When you analyze your financial data, you learn much more about the way your business is operating now. This can tell you where there's room for growth and improvement, and where you should cut back or redeploy some resources.

Many big businesses became that way because they made good decisions on how to manage their growth. And those decisions were based on the right financial information. But how can smaller businesses hope to compete? How do you find the right financial management software for your business? There are several points to consider here:.

It's not software options for small business free to import your accounting data into a financial management package and look at the results. You also need to act on those results. Computer software can't tell you exactly how to software options for small business free your business but it can provide a useful overview and suggest areas for improvement — that's all.

At the end of the day, you still have to sit down and review the data. The right software will help you make informed choices, but the only person qualified to make strategic decisions about your business is you.

Plenty of small businesses lack the insight and understanding they need in order to grow. That's not their software options for small business free — it's a consequence of the time pressures of running a small business. But thanks to cloud-based accounting and financial management software, there are ways to see the bigger picture. With the right tools you'll be able to clearly understand where your business was, where it is now and where it might be in the future.

Like a virtual CFO, this can help you make the right decisions to help your business grow and flourish. You're on the site. A brief description of your business. You'll hear from soon. Oops… something went wrong. There was an issue contacting. Why use financial management software? Small Business Guides 7 min read. Accurate financial data is vital for planning the growth of your business.

We asked BodeTree, a financial management software company, how small businesses can use accounting data to help them grow and improve. Crunching the numbers can help your business grow Whatever type of business you run, success depends on numbers.

The figures that count When your business is at a transition point — for example, when you're applying for funding or raising equity — some figures are more important than others. That means they'll want to take a good look at the financial details, such as: Historical financial statements year business forecasts Personal financial statements Tax returns Business plan Commercial collateral including real estate Guarantor information FICO score Gathering this information can take weeks or even months for a busy small business.

Learn from big businesses Financial data can give you useful insights into the way a business is being run. Four financial management options for small businesses Hire a CFO A Chief Financial Officer should have the skills and tools necessary to analyze your business and extract the information you need.

But hiring someone new involves time, hassle and ongoing expense. Pay for one-off financial analysis If you don't think you'll need a CFO on an ongoing basis, you could hire one temporarily or use an agency. This might be a good choice if you're applying for a loan, because banks will want to see the detailed numbers for your company.

It might also be a sensible option when you come to sell your business. Do it in-house If you have a head for numbers, you could try to do financial analysis yourself. It's a complex topic, though, and you'll need to get to grips with the finer details of spreadsheet manipulation.

Be prepared to put aside plenty of time to learn, and even more time to do the actual work. Let software do it for you There are software programs available today that can analyze the financial information in your accounting package and give you a clear, useful overview of your business — and a lot more besides. Financial management software that connects directly to your accounting software will save you entering your accounting data twice. The cost of their skills and knowledge might be more than your business software options for small business free afford.

Software works when you want it to You might want to review your financials during a quiet evening or at the weekend. It turns numbers into something more useful Good financial management software will help you visualise your business software options for small business free as it was, as it is and as it could be.

This makes much more sense than reading through endless tables of figures. Strengths, weaknesses and the performance of different parts of your business can all be clearly seen. It contains condensed business knowledge Instead of hiring just one CFO, the best software will give you the accumulated knowledge of many. That kind of analysis could be worth its weight in gold. It can help you learn Nobody can pick up the details of financial analysis in just a few minutes.

It takes time, but good software will help you learn by explaining the terms and output in a way that anyone can understand. Finding the right software How do you find the right financial management software for your business? There are several points to consider here: Powerful features The ideal package will work for you just like a CFO would. That means it will have powerful analytical features that can explain your business choices in simple terms.

Actionable output If you put numbers in and get numbers out, that won't be very helpful on its own. You'll want software that can give you options that you can actually carry out. You'll need ideas and goals that you can incorporate into a freshly updated business plan that will help your business succeed. Strategic goals Business goals should be aligned with your overall strategy, so you can proceed from one goal to the next in a clear direction.

Good software will help with that. Integration with your accounting software Nobody wants to type in the figures more than once. Ease of use All software has a learning curve, and that's especially true of financial software. But the best tools will have you up and running within a few hours, software options for small business free making the learning process easy.

Read online user forums to see what customers say about different products. Customised insights Generic messages and reports might not be of much help to you. Detailed reports that are custom-made for your business are likely to be more useful. The best software will take your type and size of company into account, suggesting actions that can really work for you.

Links to useful services Software options for small business free say the software detects that you will need funding to achieve certain business goals. Wouldn't it be great if you could then apply for a loan with the click of a button? Good software will do this for you. Only you can make it work It's not enough to import your accounting data into a financial management package and look at the results. Take the guesswork out of growth Plenty of small businesses lack the insight and understanding they need in order to grow.

Xero is easy-to-use online accounting software. Make small business accounting fun 3 mins read. Why cloud accounting is good for business 3 mins read. What makes a good cloud accounting provider? Retail case study 1:

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Currently, there are many accounting services targeted at both small proprietors and large businesses. Here is a guide to a number of accounting software options available in the UK. If a business has access to a web browser and login details, it can easily raise an invoice, process a payment and even reconcile a bank statement. Businesses are also not required to worry about updating their software to comply with new accounting rules as software automatically updates to accommodate these changes.

Founded in , New Zealand based Xero is a cloud-based accounting software designed for small and growing businesses. As of February , Xero has a total of , users in the UK. As a cloud-based solution, Xero can easily be accessed from all types of devices with an active internet connection. It is built on a double entry accounting framework and its robust accounting features enables small businesses to view their cash flow, transactions and account details from any location.

Bank transactions are all automatically imported and coded. Online bill payments help keep track of spending and stay on top of bills due, improving relationships with the suppliers that provide critical business services. It also allows businesses to manage personal expenses with a mobile review and approval process of each receipt.

Xero offers unlimited user support and integration with over systems through its add-on marketplace, including Curve, Receipt Bank, and Vend. It also updates its software on a regular basis. For this software, business users pay a subscription amount for the most basic version.

In order to access functions such as expanded time tracking and inventory tracking, businesses need to purchase add-ons on top of the subscription. Importing data is free, but using payment services like Paypal or Stripe carries a cost. The solution comes with a day free trial period for product testing and feature evaluation. It provides three pricing levels that kick in after a day free trial. QuickBooks is another veteran of the accounting software business.

Similar to other accounting tools, Quickbooks comes with an attractive dashboard that puts key data such as income split into open, overdue and paid in the last 30 days , expenses and profit and loss in front of you as soon as you log in. It offers true double-entry accounting with ample reports and strong accounts charts, as well as customisable invoices, inventory capabilities, payroll support, multiple currencies, and over integrations. One of the best aspects about QuickBooks is that the software continues to be updated on a regular basis.

One of the most recent updates the software received was the project management feature. The software also provides users with many features that other traditional locally installed software do not provide. These features include automatic sales receipts, split transactions, scheduled invoices, and location and class categories.

Quickbooks currently has three versions for small and medium business owners, all of which offer a day free trial. The simple start allows businesses to track income and expenses, create and send invoices and estimates, and connect to bank accounts and add-on applications. The prices of all three versions do not include payroll, which makes QuickBooks Online less affordable than Xero.

Wave is one of the most successful free online accounting services. The tool is completely free for accounting, invoicing and receipts; however, businesses are required to pay for payroll and additional personal technical support. The free features that Wave provides are unlimited invoicing, unlimited estimates, contact management, expense tracking, personal accounting, lending and reports. The accounting software is one of the easiest accounting software programs to set up.

Navigation is simple, and overall organisation is intuitive. Although the software and all its standard features are free, it has additional costs for its payroll and credit card processing features. Also, these two features are only available for users in US and Canada. Wave is a free for life software.

The software also does not limit users to the number of invoices, customers or transactions, like other accounting software. Zoho Books provides a variety of financial tools for small business owners. The accounting tool has usability, flexibility, and depth in standard bookkeeping areas, such as sales and purchases, time and project-tracking, and inventory management. Zoho also comes with help tutorials and guides on phone, email, chat, and online documentation, which are crucial for accounting solutions.

The software allows businesses to streamline their back-office functions and also manage all financial activities from a single hub. This also allows businesses to access unrestricted payments from all locations, receiving timely payment requests and reminders on recurrent bills, and even auto-charge options. On Zoho Books, businesses can also adjust the finance management to their project structure and manage all tasks and projects from any device.

One of the best aspects about the software is that Zoho Books guarantees that all work and projects are completed and monitored during and after office hours as well. User-access permissions cannot be established down to the screen and activity level. The accounting tool currently offers a day free trial, following which users can subscribe to the tool. The available plans are the basic plan, standard plan and professional plan.

The plan also limits users to 50 contacts, one user plus an accountant, and five automated workflows. The supported features include invoices, expense-tracking, projects, and timesheets. It also additionally adds bills, vendor credits, and reporting tags features. The professional plan offers unlimited contacts and users, and 10 automated workflows per module, in addition to purchase orders, sales orders, and inventory tracking.

Sage 50c is a large small business accounting application that has been primarily designed for desktop use. One of the most significant elements of the software is that it is cloud-based. Businesses can share their financial data with their accountant and other users by storing it on the web-based Sage Drive.

Although Sage has adopted the cloud, it still lacks integrated browser-based remote access for transaction entry and data retrieval. For small businesses looking for an accounting tool that will provide a solution with a strong feature set and exceptional customisability, especially in terms of inventory management, Sage 50c is a good option.

The software is known to have the most thorough documentation and provides online and phone-based support, as well as professional advisers. Businesses can easily view their financial reports from their laptop, tablet, or smartphone without having to go into Sage Being cloud-based, the software comes with automated offsite back-ups.

Businesses can also undo data entry errors by restoring data from the cloud as of a particular date. Sage has only released an iOS version of its app and has not released any app specifically for Android users. The Sage 50c premium accounting software comes in three different packages. The most basic package, the Sage 50c Essential is targeted towards micro businesses and provides licence for a single user. Sage 50c premium provides a day free trial period only for its advanced packages — standard and professional.

In this plan, businesses can manage an unlimited number of companies and receive in-depth stock reporting. Both the standard and the professional provide support for Microsoft office Business Premium. Currently, there are 57, businesses using KashFlow in the UK. KashFlow now has its own app called the KashFlow Go.

The app is targeted towards traders and small business owners. It is available on both Android and iOS and has been designed to provide a financial overview of the business while on the go, create and send quotes and invoices. A unique aspect about the KashFlow accounting software is that the software directly links to HMRC enabling users to access all data in a single place, easing compliance burdens.

It also integrates with industry leading online payment processors like Worldpay and GoCardless. Although the accounting software has addressed some user requests, it has still downgraded features in many aspects.

The software has dropped the number of integrations on offer and has removed their customisable dashboard feature. KashFlow also faces issues with navigation on the website. The software comes with a free day trial that requires no credit card. Following the free trial, the company offers three pricing plans. There is no annual contract, and users have the right to cancel at any time. SAP Business One is often described as an enterprise management tool designed to streamline the flow and storing of information across businesses of all scales.

The accounting tool is often used to address the needs of many industry verticals including manufacturing, retail, service, and distribution industries. It features a remote support platform that can perform automatic system health checks, scheduled database maintenance operations, upgrade eligibility checks, and automatic fixes for detected issues. It is deployed on-site and runs on Windows operating systems. Businesses can deploy the tool between one and 30 users. It primarily provides businesses with access to applications for general ledger, journal entries, project cost accounting, budget management, financial reporting, multi-currency support, and other functions.

Business One is often defined as a single system that requires only a single installation. It is known for its multi-currency support and extensive documentation. Installing and running SAP Business One is sometimes not as quick and easy as other cloud-based mid-range accounting software. Businesses need to plan for implementation, configuration and testing of the software, which could take several weeks, as compared to the quick installation of cloud-based software.

These services also incur and additional charge by partners and resellers. The software comes with a free trial for interested customers, and quote-tailored enterprise pricing license for those who decide to purchase it.

NetSuite, which is now known as Oracle Netsuite, is another cloud-based on-demand platform that enables businesses to address real-time global business management and financial consolidation requirements and deliver them to mid-sized companies with multinational and multi-subsidiary operations. It was one of the of the first enterprise resource planning ERP systems designed and written exclusively for the cloud.

NetSuite effectively enables companies with several subsidiaries, entities and business units to function using a single account, dealing with different currencies, taxation and governance requirements. The tool is often preferred by businesses as it features role-based dashboards and real-time metrics that help improve business performance, encourage and improve accountability and compliance through comprehensive, auditable accounting and speed up settlement of outstanding sales via automated billing management.

One of the best features about the tool is that users will not need to wait and purchase different versions as they are released as there is only one codebase fully controlled by the vendor. The user will also not need to wait for updates and bug fixes to be built and tested, as they are automatically updated by NetSuite. The one disadvantage that the software has is that businesses often find it difficult to configure the software for a specific role. Currently, the software is solely available as a subscription-based service.

Small and medium businesses need to contact NetSuite or its resellers to receive a quote for purchasing the software.