Investing in accounting and bookkeeping software can reap great rewards as it can help you streamline and automate some of your financial processes which can save you time to focus on your core work.
Many software packages can help you to manage invoices, payments, expenses and even track time for billing purposes. There is a range of accounting and bookkeeping software providers who offer varying products which we have explored below.
The table below gives a quick price comparison of the top UK providers for accounting and bookkeeping software.
Company Free plan Cheapest monthly plan
Xero Yes £10
Tide Yes £9.99
FreshBooks No £11
QuickBooks No £12
Sage Cloud Accounting No £12
Kashoo No $16.65
Wave Yes Not stated
FreeAgent No £9.50
Zoho Books No £6
Clear Books No £8
Pandle Yes £5
Bokio Yes £10
Osome No £120
* The facts and figures included here come from each company’s website and were accurate at the time of writing but may have since changed. Also, please keep in mind these may not be apples to apples comparisons as each provider offers different solutions. This guide should be used as a starting off point for more research on your part.
Below we profile each of the companies’ services and features in a bit more detail.
Note companies are ranked in no particular order and this no way indicates one solution is better than another.
Some of the features and benefits of Xero’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers accounting software designed for small businesses
- Cloud-based software
- Helps automate everyday business tasks
- Provides up-to-date financials
- Access your accounts from anywhere
- Automatic reminders
- Make online payments
- Import bank transactions
- Send invoices
- Offers a mobile app
Xero is an accountancy software provider that caters for smaller businesses. They provide smart online accounting solutions that are cloud-based and they deliver reliable and secure data protection. Their software is designed to help make tax and VAT returns simpler, including digital returns.
Xero’s accountancy software will assist you in automating everyday business tasks and provide you with up-to-date financial information. You can access your accounts from anywhere on a laptop or mobile using their mobile app. Their software enables you to reconcile your accounts through importing bank transactions, send invoices, making payments and setting reminders.
- Offers accounting software for SME’s that connects directly into HMRC
- Create, send and track unlimited invoices in-app with their free template
- Match incoming payments to invoices so you know who’s paid
- Add payment links to your invoices, so your customers can pay you on the spot.
- Prioritise payments by seeing what, when and who you owe at a glance
- Plan future payments to keep cash flow healthy and suppliers happy
- Categorise your transactions, upload receipts and add VAT rates on the go
- Claim your allowable expenses and remove the guesswork with our simple expense categories
- Review and copy the necessary information to your Self Assessment form when you’re ready to submit to HMRC
- Get automated, real-time estimates of how much VAT you’ll need to pay
- Easily assign VAT rates and add receipts to your transactions
- Manage your VAT returns, invoicing and bookkeeping with our Making Tax Digital compliant software
Some of the features and benefits of FreshBooks’ accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers small business accounting solutions
- Provides fast and secure software
- Enables you to free up time through automation like invoice reminders
- HMRC compliant software
- Produces insightful reports
- Offers online payments
- Easy invoicing
- Allows you to track time spent on each client/project
- Log and organise expenses
- Offers a free trial
FreshBooks is a cloud accountancy software provider that offers solutions to the self-employed and small business owners all over the world. They designed their software to aid small businesses to simplify and automate their financial processes to release more time for the work they do.
FreshBooks’ accountancy software is HMRC compliant for making tax and VAT returns, and it provides fast and secure software that can be trusted. They will help improve your processes through simplifying invoicing, allowing online payments, automation of invoice reminders, the ability to easily log and track expenses. They even offer the facility to track staff hours to make client invoicing easier with pre-population options.
Some of the features and benefits of QuickBooks’ accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers quick and simple accounting software
- Run payroll
- Self-assessment including digital returns
- Manage VAT
- Send invoices
- Time tracking facilities
- Connects with your bank account
- Pay bills
- Manage expenses
- Mileage tracking
QuickBooks is an accountancy software provider that is designed to meet the needs of the self-employed, smaller businesses and accountants/bookkeepers with their quick and simple software solution that encompasses all financial monitoring solutions. They offer several plans which include a single self-employed plan and three complete plans offering VAT, payroll and more functions.
QuickBooks’ offers a variety of accountancy and bookkeeping solutions that include managing self-assessment and VAT including making digital returns, allows you to run payroll, send invoices and pay bills. They also offer solutions to manage your expenses, time and mileage tracking as well as connecting with your bank account.
5. Sage Cloud Accounting
Some of the features and benefits of Sage Cloud Accounting’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers cloud-based accountancy software
- Easy to set-up and use
- Access the software from anywhere on any device
- Real-time financial data
- Helps aid collaboration
- Compliant software for making tax digital
- Offers smart automation
- Offers bank-level security
- 24/7 online support
- Offers a free trial
Sage Cloud Accounting is one of Sage’s accountancy tools which is cloud-based and is designed for small and medium-sized businesses. They offer two plans for their cloud accounting package which are an entry-level for sole traders and micro-businesses, and a standard plan for established businesses that require invoicing and cash flow management.
Sage Cloud Accounting plans all offer the ability to create invoices, track payments, produce real-time reports and submit VAT returns. Their software also allows you to access your accounts through their mobile app and it connects to your bank. Additional features include quotes and estimates, record purchase invoices and view cash flow statements.
Some of the features and benefits of Kashoo’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers simple cloud accounting software
- Designed for small businesses
- Speeds up your accounting processes
- Manage expenses
- Automate reports
- Fast invoicing
- Connects to your bank account
- Automatic backups
- Mobile app
- Offers unlimited help by phone, in-app chat and email
Kashoo is an accounting software provider that offers a single plan designed to cater for small businesses to help them automate and speed up their accounting processes. They offer a free 14-day trial of their software.
Kashoo’s accounting software is packed with premium features which include premium support that has no limits and is available by phone, in-app chat and email. Their software integrates with other software, connects with over 5,000 banks and they offer a mobile app. Other features include managing expenses, automating reporting, fast invoicing, automatic backups and notifications, allows bulk editing and one-click reviews.
Some of the features and benefits of Wave’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers financial software for entrepreneurs
- They offer free software and pay per use for payments
- Assists with accounting
- Designed to assist those with no accountancy skills
- Automated processes
- Manages invoicing
- Helps to track receipts with scanning
- Payment processing
- Run financial reports
Wave is a financial processing and accountancy software provider that offers solutions for invoicing, payment processing, receipt management and general accountancy. They offer their software for free with no setup costs or hidden fees and charge only for online payment processing as a percentage and a small transaction fee.
Wave’s accountancy software offers unlimited tracking, allows access by third parties, connects with bank accounts and credit cards and has a performance dashboard. It offers powerful reporting on cash flow, profit and loss, financial statements and overdue invoices and bills. Their invoice functionality is available in many currencies, send estimates that can be converted into invoices, and personalisation of invoices.
Some of the features and benefits of FreeAgent’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Provides accounting software designed for small businesses
- Easy to use software
- Helps manage project finances
- Produces invoices
- Can create estimates
- Track time on clients/projects
- Manage expenses
- Incorporate payroll
- Connect to your bank
- Offers a free trial
FreeAgent is an accountancy software provider that has created its software to support small businesses in managing their finances. They offer three plans that are designed for different business setups – Sole Trader which includes self-assessment filing, Partnership/LLP which includes profit share calculation, and Limited Company which includes self-assessment filing, dividend vouchers and corporate tax forecasting.
FreeAgent’s accounting software is designed to manage their finances through support for managing project finances, producing invoices, creating estimates, tracking time spent on projects/clients, managing expenses, payroll activities and connecting to your bank. They offer a free trial to allow you to sample their software capabilities.
9. Zoho Books
Some of the features and benefits of Zoho Books’ accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers online accounting software
- Helps automate business workflows
- Provides end-to-end accounting
- Raising sales orders
- Produces invoices
- Helps prepare VAT
- Import bank transactions
- Time tracking
- Offers a variety of apps that can be integrated into their platform
- Provides a 14-day trial
Zoho is a software provider for businesses to assist them in managing a variety of online resources including CRM, sales and marketing tools, remote working tools, email and finance tools which includes Books for accounting. Zoho Books is an end-to-end accounting software which helps automate business workflows.
Zoho Books helps to manage receivables through sending estimates and converting them into invoices and assisting with payment reminders. Manage payables through the creation of purchase orders and uploading receipts. You can also import your bank account transactions, track time spent on projects, manage contacts and run a wide variety of reports.
10. Clear Books
Some of the features and benefits of Clear Books’ accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Provides small business bookkeeping and accounting software
- Simple to use tool
- Create and send invoices
- Purchase tracking
- Financial reporting
- Track business bills
- Employee expenses
- Match bank transactions with invoices and bills
- Offers search capabilities
- Produce reports and tax returns
Clear Books offers business accountancy software that is designed for small businesses and is easy to use. Their software allows businesses to take control of their invoicing, purchase tracking and financial reporting. They offer two plans which are Small and Large.
Clear Books’ Small plan provides invoice and quote creator, bill and receipt tracking, bank feeds and uploads, reports, dividend tool and project accounting. The Large plan offers all the Small plan capabilities plus advanced features including HMRC recognised software, making tax digital VAT reporting, CIS and multi-currency. Their software allows you to also track business bills and employee expenses, search by customer/supplier and match bank account transactions.
Some of the features and benefits of Pandle’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Provides simple bookkeeping software
- Intuitively designed to help save you time
- Offers a free plan
- Automatically pulls out bank accounts transactions
- Helps automate payment reminders
- Create quotes and invoices
- Upload receipts
- Submit compliant VAT returns directly to HMRC
- Control access
- Offers an intuitive mobile app
Pandle is an accountancy software developer who has created simple and easy software that has been designed to support small businesses with their bookkeeping. They offer two plans which are a free plan and a Pro plan. You can try out the Pro plan on their free trial.
Pandle’s free plan includes creating quotes and invoices, payment reminders, accept payments with Pandle Pay, import bank transactions, VAT submissions, run reports and export data. In addition, the Pro plan offers receipt uploads, manage projects, cash flow forecasting, manage user permissions, unlimited users, premium invoice templates and multi-company management.
Some of the features and benefits of Bokio’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Simple accounting software
- Offers a free account
- Record transactions from your bank
- Automated software reports
- Send and track invoices
- Manage your accounts on the go with mobile-friendly software
- Assists in submitting your VAT return
- HMRC compliant
- Manage expenses
- Cloud-based and secure backups
Bokio is a financial software provider that offers bookkeeping and invoicing software as well as service add-ons. They cater for smaller businesses and the self-employed. They offer three plans which are a Free plan, Priority Support and Hire an Accountant.
Bokio offers cloud-based financial software that is automatically backed up and secure. Their free plan includes recording transactions, templates, unlimited invoicing, automated reports, HMRC compliant VAT returns, automatic bank feeds, management of expenses and support. Priority Support incorporates all the free features but has support to set-up the account and 24-hour support response time on business days.
Some of the features and benefits of Osome’s accounting and bookkeeping software.
- Offers accounting software for entrepreneurs and e-comm sellers
- Manage taxes, VAT and reports
- Automated software
- Reconciles payments
- Track payments
- Prepare sales analytics
- Optimised for Amazon, eBay and Shopify
- Integrates with apps
- Provides a dedicated human accountant
- Offers a demo of the software
Osome is an accountancy software provider that caters for entrepreneurs and e-comm sellers with over 9,500 clients around the world. They claim that their software can help free up 40 hours of admin per month and can save 400 trees per year of paper by digitising paperwork.
Osome offers its customers a dedicated bookkeeper and accountant that will get to know your business and support you. They will help you get set up, handle your books and accounts, prepare reports and chat via live chat. Their software helps reduce admin by automating your software, reconciling and tracking payments and integrates with apps.
Why should my business use accounting software?
Small business accounting software can help small business owners with streamlining their books.
Accounting software offers a lot of benefits to business owners, including:
– Improved efficiency as the owner can focus on running their business.
– Automated accounting and keeping track of cash flow.
– Simplified tax compliance and income tax filing.
– Can protect you if your business gets audited.
– Provides you with a history of your business transactions.
– Simplifies invoicing customers.
– Helps with inventory management.
What is the most popular software for accounting?
Here are some of the best online accounting software and/or basic accounting software that you can purchase.
FreeAgent is aimed at small business owners and freelancers, and takes over administrative tasks like managing expense receipts, submitting invoices, and tracking time. It is cloud-based, which means you can access it from anywhere.
It starts at £19 a month (for sole traders) with a 50% discount for the first six months.
QuickBooks accounting software makes it easy to track your income, manage payroll, aids with payment processing and inventory tracking, and offers a myriad of other business solutions.
Quickbooks, like most accounting software, can help you have an overview of your business finances by generating reports.
Subscriptions to Quickbooks start at £8 a month for the Self Assessment package, which is ideal for freelancers. VAT registered companies can enjoy the Quickbook accounting features from £12 a month.
Xero is a big name in the cloud-based accounting industry. This accounting software helps with invoicing, expense tracking, and managing payroll and inventory.
What makes Xero different to other accounting programs is that you can import data from your bank accounts and PayPal.
It has an easy to use smartphone application for both Android and iPhones.
A subscription to Xero starts at £10 a month.
Zoho Books are incredibly easy to use and can connect with Zoho apps (like Zoho Invoice and Zoho Expense), as well as third-party apps. Unfortunately, it does not yet have a payroll feature in the UK, but if you are a freelancer then this should not be a requirement when choosing accounting software.
Zoho Books subscriptions start at £10 a month, but you can sign up for a free trial first.
FreshBooks is user-friendly and does not use fancy accounting language. It is designed for those with simple accounting needs, making it the right accounting software for a small business owner.
The “Lite” FreshBooks subscription starts at £11 a month. You can sign up for a free trial first before making the purchase.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is specifically aimed at small businesses and offers a range of services, such as helping with payroll, expense claims, invoicing and tracking cash flow.
Subscription to this cloud-based service begins at £12 a month.
Is Excel accounting software?
No, Excel is not accounting software. Excel is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and offers spreadsheets that can be used for a variety of things.
Excel can be used for calculations, forecasts and predictions, creating charts, tracking tasks and to-do lists, accounting, and project management.
Can I use Excel for bookkeeping?
Excel can be used to simplify bookkeeping, especially if you are a small company without a lot of moving parts. You can use Excel to record daily financial transactions.
You can either customize an Excel spreadsheet to help you with your bookkeeping, or you can purchase a one-of template from organisations like Excel Accounting Template to simplify your accounting by simply completing a table.
Is Excel better than accounting software?
Excel is not necessarily better than accounting software for small businesses – because it lacks the ability to generate reports, connect with banks, and assist with tax calculations – but it is affordable.
If your business is small, you can use Excel for your accounting until your business grows and you need to start tracking payroll and inventory and invoicing customers.
What is the easiest accounting software to use?
Most of the companies listed above have easy to use software. And many offer free trials so you can test them before you buy.
Is Xero or Quickbooks easier to use?
Both Xero and Quickbooks are excellent and used across the world. Deciding which of them is the best accounting software is easiest to use will be completely up to you and what you want out of your accounting software.
Here is a guide that breaks down the differences between, and pros and cons of Xero and Quickbooks, amongst other providers, to help you decide which software is best for you.
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