The Ultimate Guide to Financial Software

Personally, I can’t handle finances and accounting software.

I do words, not numbers. Numbers look like they’re a part of the matrix to me, I can’t fathom them, and I’d place my bets on if they were a person, they couldn’t fathom me.

I haven’t used three quarters of the mathematical knowledge I learnt in school in the time since I came out. I’m more likely to quote Pythagoras than use his theorem.

But, for some people: Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Business Owners, to name a few, numbers are a necessity; numbers are king.

For Accountants and Bookkeepers, traditional methods used to mean bringing out a pencil, a bit of paper, and more than likely an abacus, to calculate transactions for a business. Nowadays, we utilise software to carry out these functions for us, all we need to do is make sure the right data is in the right place for faster and more accurate accounts and books.

In this post, we will run through some of the most popular accountancy software products on the market today, and give you the pros and cons to help you come to a decision as to which you should be using. We also offer accounting training courses in the most popular ones to give you a good knowledge of how to utilise the functions and features of these products, helping you to get the most out of your finances.

Sage

We kick off with arguably the most popular entry on this list. Sage has become the UKs most popular accountancy software, and certainly one of the most popular with 6.2 million organisations in 170 countries worldwide using the programme.

Two versions of Sage currently stand out; Sage 50 and Sage One. Sage One is a cloud-based accounting solution that has been designed with small businesses in mind. Sage One has regular updates which continually add new features to the software, making it easier to use and keeping you and your business in line with UK regulations, laws and taxation.

The issue with Sage One being cloud-based is that due to the regular updates, it is likely that any course/qualification you have that uses Sage One can become outdated very quickly, which will cause a pain for passing examinations.

Sage 50 remains one of the most popular products that Sage offers. This is due to its simplicity and user friendly interface. Sage 50 is also available as a cloud-based solution, but it’s for medium-sized businesses who need more detailed functions of the software – so if you’re looking to understand more advanced features, it’s ideal to go for Sage 50 over Sage One.

Xero

Xero was created when the owner and his personal accountant decided that traditional desktop accounting software was outdated and needed a boost into the next stage of technology. Now, the Xero product range is used in over 180 countries worldwide.

Xero is compatible with Windows PC and Mac, also offering a mobile version for accounting and bookkeeping for “on-the-go” or on-site invoices. All financial data is stored in the cloud, allowing users to work in the same set of books regardless of their location, or operating system; a feature which Xero implemented back in 2011 – way ahead of their time. Over 275 third party software vendors have built Xero add-ons to provide extra features to the solution.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks came as a result of the success of Quicken, a finance management tool for individuals. Intuit developed QuickBooks, which was designed to be a similar service but for small business owners. It is now used by over 46 million people worldwide, with multiple solutions available for people in different industries, including specific QuickBooks solutions for small businesses and self-employed business owners.

QuickBooks helps users to track income and expenses, separating business and personal transactions, which is a useful feature for anyone who owns a business and needs to keep a definitive line between work and personal dealings.

QuickBooks will almost act as an Accountant, telling you how much to set aside for tax and calculating your mileage deduction – doing all the hard work for you, so all you need to do is pay… which is probably the hardest part!

Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a solution that is praised for its simplicity and consistency. Zoho will sync with your accounts and grow with your company, making it a truly scalable software that doesn’t provide features which are unnecessary depending on the size of your business. They offer competitive pricing, which again, is easily separated by the size of your business and the features you will need.

Zoho Books is a cloud accounting software for SMEs that offers multiple functions which make accounting easy. You can invoice clients, accept online payments, track expenses, connect to your bank account and payment gateways to make incoming and outgoing transactions easier, share transactions, and even migrate to Zoho Books from your existing system.

An issue with Zoho Books is that it doesn’t include payroll services, but, if you’re business is small enough that it doesn’t need a payroll then that issue is invalid.

Less Accounting

With Less Accounting, less really is more. Their slogan is “Accounting Software for Business Owners Who Dislike Bookkeeping” and it really is that simple. Almost like Ronseal, it does exactly what it says on the tin, striving for ease of use, simplicity and satisfaction for those who don’t understand, and don’t need to understand, accounting technicalities.

Less Accounting shows you how to see who owes you money and bill them, record and categorise expenses. Anything that is too technical can be done by someone who has that specialist knowledge, like tax etc.

If you are looking to start a career in accounting, or boost your career through a qualification or getting an understanding of a different accounting software, click here to find out more about how we can help or call one of our experts on 02031987700.