Managing your business accounting is one of the biggest challenges that come with running an SME. As your company base grows, your business finances can become more complicated and harder to keep track of.
Not only do you need accurate bookkeeping to account for your company’s income and expenditure, you need insights that clarify your business finances and inform agile and strategic decision-making.
Business accounting software helps companies take control by simplifying their finances, with tools for preparing documents like balance sheets for tax reporting. It can often also integrate seamlessly with POS and IT infrastructure. But with so many solutions on the market, how do you know which is the most suitable accounting software for your company?
Below, we look at how to choose the best business accounting software for your SME.
Choosing the right accounting software for your small business
Let’s take a look at some of the things business owners should consider when choosing their business accounting software.
Flexibility and customisability
Every business is unique, and accounting software for small businesses should have a suite of customisable functions to suit the specific needs of your operations. The best business accounting software platforms offer a variety of features and enable businesses to choose the level of capability that best suits their budget. Flexible tiered pricing enables users to scale their provision in accordance with their needs.
Small business accounting requires quick and easy access to the right data. This is the key to cash flow visibility. Accurate reporting with granular detail can provide you with the necessary data to drive spending and operational decision-making. Even if you want to keep things simple, you should be able to access accurate and up-to-date financial data in real time.
Ease of use
A powerful tool is worthless when you don’t know how to use it. Your business accounting software should have a simple and intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.
Small businesses need to utilise streamlined workflows to stay efficient and agile. As such, the best accounting software for small businesses integrates seamlessly with POS systems and the rest of the company’s digital architecture (e.g. e-commerce platforms, bookkeeping and payroll systems).
Hoping for the best but planning for the worst is a common facet of small business management. Technical problems can cause unwelcome disruption to operations and confound small teams. This is why the best accounting software often features tech support as well as self-help resources for business users.
6 of the best accounting software platforms
Having looked at what business owners should look for in their small business accounting software, let’s take a look at some of the best. We explore the features behind 6 top business accounting software solutions to help you choose the best one for your SME.
Xero: Best for scalability
Xero has much to recommend, with smart expense management and a superb mobile app that helps business leaders track their company finances on the go. However, it will strongly appeal to growth-hungry SMEs because of the highly scalable nature of its offering.
With a promotional starting price of £7.50 a month, there are sufficient capabilities to keep micro-businesses and freelancers satisfied. However, the platform has plans specifically designed for growing businesses with the option to enter unlimited bills, send unlimited quotes and invoices, and reconcile bulk transactions. It also features multiple currency support for businesses with their sights set on international growth.
Sage: Best for multiple users
Sage accounting software is an excellent all-rounder with highly customisable features, making it a good fit for SMEs of all shapes and sizes. And with accounts starting at £14 per month, it’s definitely budget-friendly.
It boasts a simple interface and award-winning support, and can be configured so that multiple users can access its suite of capabilities via a web browser or mobile app. Users can also add payroll capabilities free of charge for the first 3 months and an additional £7 per month after that.
Quickbooks: Best for freelancers
Quickbooks is arguably one of the most comprehensive business accounting software on the market with solutions for everyone, from self-employed freelancers to enterprise-level companies. However, if you’re a freelancer you’ll benefit greatly from the self-employed package that starts at just £5 per month for 6 months and £10 per month after that. This enables freelancers to prepare for self-assessment and get income tax estimates so that they can budget accordingly.
Zoho: Best for ease of use
Zoho offers a suite of end-to-end accounting solutions that cover everything from generating and sending estimates to invoicing. However, its simple and intuitive cloud-based interface makes it extremely popular with nascent business owners and freelancers, as well as owners of larger companies.
It is also very growth-friendly with solutions for multiple VAT schemes, international trade features and automated workflows. Small businesses can even sign up for the standard package for as little as £12 per month.
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Kashflow: Best for VAT-registered businesses
KashFlow by IRIS is another great option for those who want a simple and intuitive cloud accounting software platform. It can also make things easier for growing businesses that need to register for VAT as KashFlow facilitates direct VAT filing. Simply run a VAT report, enter your HMRC filing details and submit.
Its simple offering also features robust reporting including the ability to generate a ‘business health check’ score and get suggestions on how that score can be improved. All for £29 per month (plus VAT) including payroll and £22 per month without it.
Freshbooks: Best all-rounder
Businesses looking for a decent all-rounder should look no further than Freshbooks. Designed specifically for small business owners, this cloud-based business accounting software maintains a simple and user-friendly interface while offering powerful functionalities.
From invoicing in multiple currencies to expense tracking, time tracking, and report generating, Freshbooks will continue to meet your needs as your business grows. Automated features like recurring billing and automated payments make it a good fit for subscription-based businesses and help to simplify customer relationship management. While it has no free tier, its entry-level tier allows unlimited invoices and expense tracking for just £12 per month with an 80% discount over the first 4 months.
Connect your POS to your cloud accounting software with Square integrations
Square’s POS systems and ecommerce tools are designed to integrate seamlessly with all of the top business accounting software programmes listed above. So business users can get clear and accurate cash flow visibility in real time, even across multiple sites.
Visit our App Marketplace for more information.
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