As a small business, the prospect of keeping your own accounts can seem quite daunting, especially if you have little or no experience in such things. Depending on the size of your business, it may be that your accounting requirements are fairly minimal and can be easily managed just with a spread sheet or two to keep track of cash flow.

However, as your business starts to grow you may well find yourself looking for something a little more sophisticated to help you stay on top of your business finances.   Accounting software allows you to manage anything from cash flow to invoicing and tax returns.  In some cases, it will also help you to manage investments or foreign currency transactions.

Perhaps the most well-known accounting software is Sage. Starting at just £6 per month for sole traders and freelancers, Sage offers different levels of software depending on the size and needs of your business.

Free Accounting Software

If your business is still getting started and money is tight then there are a number of free options out there.

Here are a few for you to take a look at;

VT Cash Book – this is downloadable software and allows you to manage your income and expenditure.  It supports multiple accounts and does simple reconciliation which can help with VAT returns.

GnuCash – this is another downloadable piece of software and comes with 40 ready-made financial reports which will cover the needs of most small businesses.

Online Accounting Software

If you prefer cloud-based software to the downloadable kind then take a look at these;

ClearBooks – starting at £7.50 per month, ClearBooks has a 30 day free trial (as of 16/12/2016) and includes help with invoicing, expenses, tax submissions and financial reports.  Online support is also available.

KashFlow – starting at £7 per month, KashFlow also includes a 30 day free trial (as of 16/12/2016).  As well as the normal accounting features, it includes letter templates to help with credit control.

Accounting Software for Macs

If you’re a Mac user, then it’s worth checking which companies provide software specific to Macs.  While not all will support Mac, certainly most of the larger and better known companies will.

Why not just hire an accountant?

If you’ve been reading this wondering why you can’t just hire and accountant to do the work for you then the main reason is cost.  An accountant will generally charge at least £40 per hour so it’s a good idea to do as much as you can yourself.

However, it is also a great plan to seek the advice of an accountant at times where you feel you need support.  Accounting software doesn’t necessarily replace the need for an accountant but rather adds another level of support.

How to manage your cash flow

View our latest infographic on how to manage cash flow.

View Infographic