To determine what the best small business accounting software is, you need to look at a few different things.
Price is important, of course, usability too. But above all else, you need to decide what accounting software for small businesses is right for your small business.
There’s no use in following advice blindly, because we know that small UK businesses are not like each other. You’ll all have different finance management needs.
But what we can do is present you with a few of the very best accounting software for small business owners, so you can decide for yourselves which is best.
Ready to get started? Then let’s get to it!
Accounting software features to look out for
Before you start deciding which cloud based software is right for you and arguing over the best online accounting software for small businesses, you need to know the features you’re going to need.
Of the list below, decide which is important for you, so when you do additional research (and additional research is imperative as plans change), you can make sure the accounting software has your list of ‘must-haves’.
Here’s a list we gathered from Auditox Accountancy of important features and things accounting software can help with:
- Expense tracking
- Multi currency support (if your business deals with multiple currencies)
- Inventory management/stock management
- Financial tools to make using your business bank account easier
- Unlimited invoices (including invoicing and credit notes, recurring invoices, etc)
- Access to financial data presented in clear ways
- Project tracking and time tracking for efficiency
- Business banking customers can connect software to the bank account for real time cash flow management
- Bank reconciliation
- Links with multiple bank accounts
- Help with navigating the UK tax system (including support with Self Assessment and Making Tax Digital with HMRC)
- Unlimited bank transactions
- Cash flow forecasting
- Payroll software
There are other features that accounting software can help you with, but we couldn’t possibly list them all today.
The key to success is knowing what you need support with and finding the best accounting software for small business owners that can meet your needs.
There are so many accountancy software options and accounting platforms out there covering everything from basic payroll accounting to those with more advanced features. But finding the best accounting software for you is the important thing.
To help, though, we’ll cover some of our favourite small business accounting websites and software for small businesses below, so you can take a look at what they offer and decide if it’s right for you.
FreshBooks isn’t free accounting software, so if you’re looking for that we’d advise heading to the section below.
But what FreshBooks is, is a cloud based accounting solution specifically for you, a small business owner.
As such, it’s easily the most user friendly thanks to its quick to understand user interface. And it has everything you could need too – expense tracking, time tracking, credit card payment options, invoicing – and pretty much any accounting solution you can imagine.
Billing is possible in any currency thanks to its multiple currency support, and it’s so smart it can do a bunch of different things automatically too, such as automate recurring invoices, and purchase orders that are required regularly.
So long as you have an internet connection, you can connect to FreshBooks from anywhere – android, iOS, your desktop, tablet – you name it, you can get to FreshBooks and manage your business anytime.
The accounting tools and bookkeeping software on offer here are great for UK small businesses.
It has everything you could need, and it’s great for sole traders, small businesses, and even medium sized businesses since it’s so intuitive.
If you’re interested, then there are, at the time of writing this, a few subscription options available:
- Lite: £132 per year
- Plus (there most popular plan for small businesses): £228 per year
- Premium: £360 per year
- And a custom option that lets you pick
So, if this sounds right for you, do a little more research and pick a plan that works for your small business.
2. Zoho Books
Zoho Books is the best free accounting software for small businesses out there, no question in our minds.
Free accounting software isn’t always easy to find, and when you do, it doesn’t always offer a lot, but Zoho Books is an exception.
But there’s a catch.
This is great for very small businesses, freelancers, and sole traders, but if you’re small or medium sized businesses, then this isn’t the best option.
Sure, small and medium businesses will still find things to like about this, but really micro businesses will benefit the most.
Still, Zoho Books can help with all your accounting software needs with their basic package: bank reconciliation, custom invoices, timesheets, receipt scanning, online payments, workflow automation and much more besides are all included here.
It doesn’t need to connect to third party apps either, since this cloud based software for small businesses connects with over 40 companion apps completely free.
There’s even a customer relationship management tool for project tracking that means you can keep your business in your business users’ good books!
Larger businesses and limited companies might struggle to get a use out of Zoho Books, but if you’re just starting out, this is one of the best small business accounting software options out there.
We couldn’t cover them all in depth, so we chose our favourite paid-for and favourite free accounting software for small businesses to look at closer.
To finish, here are some other great alternatives!
UK businesses will love QuickBooks. Their name is synonymous with accounting software for small businesses, and here’s a quick list of what their many product options may feature (check your specific plan on their website before purchasing, though):
- Stock management
- Unlimited invoices (with specific plans only)
- Cash flow management
- Enterprise resource planning
- Accounts payable
- Accounts receivable
Sage is another great option, despite there being lots to learn. This is the sort of accounting software that’s perfect for small businesses and larger businesses too. Here’s what to expect, but don’t forget to do additional research:
- Cloud based
- Advanced features for more advanced plans
- Support for multiple currencies
- Unlimited invoices
- Support with self assessment and Making Tax Digital
- Corporation tax support
And finally, Xero! Check them out on their website too, but here are some of our favourite things:
- Business reporting features are excellent
- Very customisable
- Support with inventory management
- Great for sole traders and any small business just starting out
- Income tax support
- Cash flow forecasts (but may cost more)