Business writer, Zoe Efstathiou, takes a look at three financial products that will help any SME get their books in order.
Established in 1983, QuickBooks is one of the most well-known cloud accounting products for small or medium-sized businesses. It offers three packages, ranging in price from £5.60 to £15.00 per month. The cheapest package enables you to generate invoices, monitor sales and expenditure, and accept credit and debit card payments. The software offers the handy, time-saving feature of automatically syncing up with your online business or personal bank account, saving you the hassle of manual data entry. The most expensive QuickBooks package is targeted at bigger businesses, and includes the functionality to prepare budgets, create purchase orders and manage stock levels. If you have employees, you can also run payroll on all packages for an additional £1 per employee per month.
Its reasonable price coupled with free phone and online chat support has made QuickBooks one of the most popular cloud accounting solutions, with over one million online subscribers.
If you’re running a very lean business and don’t mind a few adverts thrown in with your accounting software, then Wave, a free cloud-based solution, might be right up your street. The software has similar features to paid alternatives like QuickBooks, such as expenses tracking, bank reconciliation, unlimited invoicing and integration with online banking, yet it also contains a few useful extras. For example, to ensure that you stay on top of your payments, Wave issues reminders about unpaid invoices and bills. You can even set your invoices to include a ‘Pay Now’ link to allow you to take credit card payments at the click of a button. If you require add-ons such as payroll, the functionality is available, but it does entail a small fee.
Wave is a popular choice for small businesses, but it supports itself by placing advertisements on the dashboard and emailing you special deals about other software packages, which could prove irritating to some people.
While decent accounting software is a must-have for any start-up business, having access to frank, honest and clear advice from an expert is also invaluable and it won’t necessarily break the bank. If you find an accountancy firm that caters specifically to small and medium-sized businesses, they will be more likely to appreciate your need to keep costs down while gaining value for money. Take London-based firm, The Accounting Crew. They offer a comprehensive yet reasonably-priced service which includes VAT completion, payroll administration, annual preparation of company accounts to Companies House and HMRC, filing of tax returns, support on tax issues and free face-to-face meetings, amongst other benefits.
The Accounting Crew basic package will set you back £85 (+ VAT) per month, which may seem like a lot of money when you’re growing your business, but it’s likely to work out a great deal lower than many other London firms which charge costly hourly rates for financial support. And if it can save you a headache and free up your time to focus on what you’re passionate about, then it could be a worthwhile investment.