Desktop accounting software has been around almost as long as desktop computers, but small businesses are increasingly looking to online solutions to manage their bookkeeping, payroll, statutory accounts and annual tax returns.
Many online accounting platforms also offer apps for smartphones and tablets, making it even easier for small business owners to manage payroll or analyse their balance sheet while on the move. There is a growing range of accounting platforms to choose from. Here at MMP Accounting Solutions we have the experience to assist clients in making the best software choices for their businesses.
Our deepest experience is with Quickbooks. Many of our clients use this software, and we now act as agents for Quickbooks. We also recommend packages from Xero, KashFlow and ReceiptBank. Here is a brief summary of the software.
QuickBooks is developed by Intuit, one of the most experienced providers of accounting software.
Freelancers can sign up for the basic package that helps track self-employed income, while small businesses can use it for things like VAT and payroll. There are lots of reporting and monitoring features. Most of our clients have subscribed to the ‘Pro’ or ‘Premier’ versions of Quickbooks, to gain access to a wide range of facilities, and to prepare for Making Tax Digital with HMRC. The software complies with the new requirements for reporting VAT online.
Quickbooks users can connect with our accountants securely online. The software can create estimates and invoices. And track more than just sales. Quickbooks pro will keep track of payments, inventory and even taxes. Users can manage payroll and export data to other software programs such as Excel. The premier edition of Quickbooks goes one step further by offering reporting that is tailored to specific industries. It also includes tools that help with business planning.
Launched in New Zealand in 2006, Xero was an early pioneer of cloud-based accounting software, and has become a popular solution for small businesses in the UK. Xero gives customers a range of service plans to choose from, with each plan costing incrementally more and offering slightly more functionality as the price increases.
Available on any computer or mobile device with an internet connection, each of Xero’s three plans offer small businesses the ability to generate quotes, invoices, purchase orders and bills, handle automatic bank reconciliation, import data from Excel, Google Sheets and CSV files, and process payroll for at least five employees. Data is accessible through a single ledger, allowing accountants and clients to collaborate on finances.
KashFlow, in existence since 2006, was acquired by IRIS in 2013. Like Xero, KashFlow includes three service plans to choose from, depending on the needs of the business.
The Xero packages offer small businesses the ability to create quotes, invoices, purchase orders and bills, perform automatic bank reconciliation, import data from Quickbooks, Sage and CSV files. There is also an additional application that provides a payroll management solution.
ReceiptBank is cloud software used for extraction and paperless storage of bills, invoices and receipts which can be published into a variety of cloud accounting software, including Xero and Quickbooks. It offers real time savings and is a significant advance in automated data entry.
ReceiptBank extracts key information from expenses, removing the need for manual data entry. They can be scanned from photocopiers, uploaded via the ReceiptBank app on a phone and tablet, or even emailed directly to ReceiptBank using a customised email address. The information is processed and stored on the ReceiptBank cloud and can be published directly to accounting software.
A recent addition to ReceiptBank is the extraction of sales invoices, for those businesses who produce their invoices manually or on a separate software to their accounts. The information extracted can be published directly to the accounting software in the same way as the expenses.
Another timesaving advantage of using ReceiptBank is the bank statement extraction. Paper copies of bank statements can be scanned to ReceiptBank and each line item can be extracted and converted into a format which can then be read by the accounting software.
ReceiptBank is not just for accountants or book-keepers. Many businesses use ReceiptBank on a daily basis to upload their receipts to create expense claims. ReceiptBank also has a ‘Fetch’ application where users can log in to online accounts and extract bills, eg. British Gas, BT and Amazon. ReceiptBank can also be linked to a DropBox account and extract statements from Paypal.
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