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Choosing An Accounts Package For Your Business

There are many options available ...

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POSTED BY ALISON MEAD ON 24/12/2018 @ 8:00AM

A very common question on business forums is from new business owners and sole traders just starting out asking if they need an accounts package, and if so which would be the best for them ...

If you're wondering what accounts package to use, maybe we can help?

If you're wondering what accounts package to use, maybe we can help?

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The best advice I can give you if you are starting out on your own is to keep good records. If you are not accounts-savvy yourself then keep all those fiddly bits of paper and ask for help from someone who is.

"If you keep good records then you have won the first battle!"

The other tip which will help simplify your business finances is to track your personal and business transactions separately. If you can start up a new bank account especially for your business or, like me, you have in the past had credit card companies falling over themselves to offer you a card, try and keep one for the business separate from your day to day household expenses. It will make your life (and that of your bookkeeper) much easier in the long run.

Make sure you get your invoicing right from the start, as even if you have the best business idea in the world, if you don't produce accurate and effective invoices it will be very hard to get paid. Certain information must appear on an invoice, take a look at What needs to go on an Invoice? for details.

"So, a spreadsheet or an accounts package?"

Many people just starting out don't think they are big enough to warrant the purchase of an accounts package and start out using excel spreadsheets to record their business finances.

My personal view is that you are never too small to start using an entry-level package, like Sage One or Sage 50 Accounts Essentials. It's always best to start by using the correct tools for the job,

In my experience, using a spreadsheet is fraught with potential problems. There is no real way of checking easily for errors, omissions and duplication on a spreadsheet, and even trying to check that everything from your bank statement has been accounted for can take hours with even the best-designed sheets.

In my years as a bookkeeper, I have seen invoices raised in word processing packages with incorrect VAT calculations, missing invoice numbers or duplicated numbers, and no system for keeping track of who has paid and who still owes you money.

Even the entry-level packages offer this kind of control as standard depending on the package you choose.

If you are busy doing the work, but not being paid for it, then you will be working harder and harder just to stand still. Start as you mean to go on with a package designed for the job, after all I am sure you plan to be successful in your business and you will soon grow.

You need to think carefully about which is the right package for you. Many have a free trial option so you can 'try before you buy', or you can ask for a demonstration of the different packages too.

The latest buzzword is 'cloud accounting' with packages like Xero and Sage One becoming very popular:

  • Do you have a good reliable internet connection?

  • Do you need to be able to view your accounts when you are out of the office on multiple machines?

  • Do you need your accountant or bookkeeper to have access to your live accounts in order to support you in your business?

Cloud really just means your data is stored on a third party machine and you access your software via a browser window. Data is encrypted and has passwords for security, but I would recommend caution in logging onto your financial data on 'public' machines.

There are too many accounting packages to list here in this blog post, but we'd be happy to spend an hour with you finding out about your business and helping you make your decision free of charge. The systems we recommend can grow with your business, adding more features as you need them and helping you run a successful business.

"Would you like to know more?"

If you'd like to discover which accounts package is right for your business then do give me a call on 01604 420057 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


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More about Alison Mead ...

Alison loves bookkeeping and supporting bookkeepers. She has been helping clients to be better bookkeepers in Sage 50 for over 24 years and has been Xero Accredited in accounts and payroll for a number of years too.

She specialises in a very unique hand-holding method of training, helping bookkeepers and business owners to use their accounts software as and when they need support in setting up and producing their invoices, reports and financial information.

Alison combines her role at Silicon Bullet with her Forever Living network marketing businesses and is often to be seen at business networking meetings as she likes to keep busy.

You know what they say: if you want something done well ask a busy person!


01604 420057