Which accountancy package should you use in your business?

Author: Russell Smith
July 5, 2012

One of the most common questions I get asked is which accountancy package is most appropriate to use in a business.

There’s basically 5 options:

1. Excel spreadsheets

Many people when they start a business will start on Excel spreadsheets.  Nothing wrong with this, it can track invoices, expenses and who has paid.  However, when you get to completing VAT returns it becomes much more difficult.  Also, year end accounts past £75,000 sales are too prone to error.

2. VT Transaction

Like most accountants, I love VT and only wish they had more of a marketing budget since it is for my money, the best package out there for businesses under £500,000 turnover.  It is easy to use, easy to correct mistakes and very quick.  The downside is that it is network based and cannot import bank statements – if only it was on the cloud and could import the bank statements it would be perfect.

3. Cloud accountancy packages – Lots such as xero, freeagent, liquid accounts

If you like cloud based software then these would be good for you.  They will import bank statements and produce some good reports.  However, I defy anybody to input transactions quicker on these packages then they can on VT and they are not as easy to correct mistakes.

4. Quickbooks / Microsoft Money

These are decent packages and definitely look better than VT.  They can produce good reports and import bank statements.  They can do quite a few things that you probably won’t need but good for transaction heavy businesses.  However, I can teach ANYONE on VT, not so much these packages.

5. Sage

If your business is less than £500,000 sales, don’t go near.  Market leader for bigger businesses, for smaller business it is not user friendly and even accountants struggle with it.  Correct mistakes can be a nightmare and I have untangled my fair share of Sage files over the years that have been tangled up by clients.

I’m definitely interested in hearing any comments on what’s good/bad about the accountancy packages…

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