Accounting software should now be considered an essential tool to run your business and comply with upcoming Making Tax Digital (MTD) rules. It certainly makes life easier!
But which package should you use? In our view, you should go with one of the three major players: QuickBooks, Sage or Xero.
The smaller providers might not be as reliable as the larger ones, and may not offer you the innovation and versatility you need.
Which package is right for you will depend on the requirements of your business. At a high level, we think QuickBooks tends to represent the best value for money. We’ll have a look at the reasons why.
Why you need accounting software
HMRC’s MTD rules continue to be rolled out, affecting ever more people. They do simplify things, as long as you are set up with accounting software.
If you’re a VAT registered business, you will have done this since 2019. Now it’s the turn of smaller businesses to get to grips with accounting software.
How to choose your accounting software
Which software provider should you go for? Google “accounting software for small businesses” and you’ll get a long list to choose from.
The last thing you want to do is to go to the effort of setting up a system, only to have to change it at a later date. This is a decision you want to get right first time and save yourself the hassle of transferring to another provider.
As we have said, you’re in safe hands with one of the three major players: Xero, Sage or QuickBooks. These providers are well established, and have grown and innovated over time. They’ve got the resources and expertise to iron out software issues and improve their platforms to meet evolving user needs.
There’s a risk with the smaller providers that they might not last and perhaps won’t adapt as quickly and effectively as the bigger hitters.
QuickBooks is our first choice
In our view, QuickBooks is the best value for money. Their plans start at a monthly price of £12 for the “Simple Start”, £20 for the “Essentials” package, or £30 for the Plus software. They usually offer 50% off for the first four months.
Sage and Xero’s pricing isn’t wildly different from QuickBooks. Sage’s packages cost £12, £24, or £30 per month for their three levels; while Xero prices theirs at £12, £26, and £33 per month.
With QuickBooks you’ll get online training resources and forums for support. It’s highly user-friendly and efficient. You’ll get your account up and running with the least amount of stress and confusion.
If you’re in the early days of your business and you’re looking at starter packages, QuickBooks offers the most versatile features. With Xero, the Early plan limits usage, only allowing entry per month for 20 invoices, five bills and manual reconciliations.
You’ll also find that QuickBooks is highly scalable, allowing it to continue meeting your needs as your business grows (or if you need to downsize, for that matter).
Further benefits include the number of third-party integrations available, the familiarity within the wider accounting community that comes from it being the number one software in the sector, and its mobile app.
One drawback is that QuickBooks lacks any sophisticated inventory management. Sage is better suited to businesses that require a robust inventory management system.
Help getting started
If you’d like us to advise you on the right package for your business needs, please get in touch.
We’re experts in setting businesses up with accounting software and using it to work seamlessly with them.