Accounting software to make running a business simpler

Finance and legal

18 April 2019

  

Running a business is often a numbers game. From working against the clock to tick off as many tasks as you can, to keeping a close eye on expenses and all-important profits, making sure your business’ sums add up as they should can be a hard slog.

But keeping your business ticking over nicely can pull you in so many different directions at once, which turns the prospect of managing your accounts into an even scarier burden.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of accounting software out there than can take the fear out of tracking your business’ finances and balancing those all-important books. Here, AXA rounds up some accounting software that can help make your life simpler and keep you on the money when it comes to counting the cash entering and leaving your business.

How do I know what accounting software is right for my business?

Ease of use, customisation, record keeping, scalability, inventory listings, the ability to produce financial projections, and subscription fees are all important things to bear in mind when you’re window shopping for accounting software. Here’s what to consider when you’re weighing things up.

Cost

Costs will vary depending on the number of features you want and how many people you want to have access to your software. Most accounting software is available via monthly subscription fees, which can be a more cost-effective approach than opting for pricey one-off license charge.

Usability

There’s no point tying yourself up in knots with overcomplicated accounting software – especially when crunching numbers can be convoluted enough. Ease of use should be at the top of your wish list when you’re hunting for the right software for you.

Customisation

You want to be able to see the information that matters most to you, so software that offers plenty of customisation can be a real plus. So, if you’re puzzled by an accounting software’s dodgy dashboard, it may be a sign to ditch it for something simpler.

Features

Looking for functions like income and expense tracking, invoicing and financial report generators? Then the basic versions of accounting software might be for you. However, if you’re looking for more bang for your buck to suit your business’ complex needs – for example, you might need an inventory system to keep track of the goods you sell – it’s likely that you’ll need to fork out more for the pleasure.  

Be future forward

If you need to file a Self-Assessment tax return at the end of each tax year, it could be worth your while finding accounting software that’s compatible with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital systems. Bear in mind that the Making Tax Digital system is still in its infancy, so don’t worry too much if you can’t find a compatible software.

Currency exchange

If you provide goods or services to clients and customers overseas, opting for an accountancy software that automatically converts home currency to the relevant country could keep your books balanced and save you from sweating over whether your maths skills are up to scratch.

Try before you buy

When you’re deciding on the right accounting software for your business, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the free trials offered so that you can get a feel if it’s the right fit for your needs before you take the plunge and purchase it.

 

What accounting software should I consider?

QuickBooks

The Self-Employed plan lets you create and send as many invoices as you like, the option to snap and store receipts and lets you track your business vehicle’s mileage while the Essentials plans allows you to calculate VAT and manage bills and payments. Importantly, the software’s dashboard puts crucial data, such as income, expenses and profit and loss, front and centre as soon as you log in and other paid-for variations offers features including inventory listings, payroll support and currency convertors.

XERO

This cloud-based accountancy software can be accessed from a variety of devices with an internet connection. Customisable dashboards, inventory management, bank account integration and unlimited users come as standard, while the Starter plan provides additional services including the option to view cash flow, transactions and account details from any location.

KashFlow

Kashflow links directly to HMRC and can be used alongside online payment processors including Worldpay and GoCardless. This software is available on Android and iOS, meaning you can prepare and send invoices when you’re on the go.

FreeAgent

FreeAgent is available in three packages: sole trader, limited company and partnership. Each plan provides access for unlimited numbers of users, the option to customise invoices, expense management and the capacity to track the time spent of projects. The Sole Trader plan also includes Self-Assessment filing, while the Partnership plan provides profit share calculations.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage’s Accounting Start Plan includes features like bank account integration and a cashflow statement service and lets you submit HMRC VAT returns. In addition to this, the Accounting Package offers services including inventory management, cash flow management and multi-currency invoicing.

Zoho Books

Zoho’s Basic Plan provides five automated workflows, access for two users, expense tracking and the ability to create custom invoices. The Standard plan gives users greater control over sales and purchases, inventory management and project and time management.

Wave

Wave’s free features include expense tracking, invoicing, lending reports and personal accounting. It’s available via Android and iPhone apps, meaning you can keep track of your business’s account while you’re on the move.

 

As the old saying goes: look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. And whether your business is in the red, green or black, investing in accounting software can help make keeping on track of your business’s financial health that bit simpler and more stress-free. 

Different approaches suit different people, so only opt for accounting software if you feel comfortable managing your business’s accounts. If you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of figures, get professional advice to help your business work that little bit harder.

Work hard, insure simple

Running a business is hard work. That’s why we’re doing all we can to make your insurance a bit simpler. From working to pay claims more quickly to taking the guesswork out of getting business insurance, find out what we’re doing to help.

* AXA is not affiliated with any resources mentioned in this article and takes no responsibility for the information provided by third party resources.