I am well aware that there are few places for you to go and ask questions about the different accounting packages that are available. Not many of you have an accountant in the early days of business so where do you go for unbiased and expert advice on the choice of bookkeeping package?
Do you ask friends and colleagues? Do you wait for months until you find a review in a magazine of 2 or 3 packages and use that? Or do you go to one of the large computer stores and look at what packages they sell and pick one of those?
My company runs an information website at http://expertbookkeeping.co.uk which was established to deal with such questions and provide a forum for people to visit and ask for free, expert advice on any bookkeeping package you are using, rather than pay the expensive support fees that most suppliers of accounting software require before they answer even the most simple question.
As a bookkeeping bureau, we constantly come across most of the main software accounting packages available, and more recently, some of the new on-line offerings that are popping up. This puts me in an excellent position to see how the packages are changing month by month.
Some of the newer offerings are quite good, and the on-line ones can be cheap, or even free.
So, what package do I recommend at the moment, taking into account features that I deem important for small businesses? taking into account ease of use, cost (both to buy and to support annually).. even down to computing power needed to run them!
If you are looking for a program to run on your own machine then…at the moment – there is still nothing else that comes close to the VT Software offering VT Transaction Plus. But if you are looking for an online solution, then I recommend Xero at http://xero.com and we offer a 20% reduction on the official monthly rates for Xero to our clients.
In both packages, if you do something wrong, you just edit it. Whatever you need to enter in the way of payments, cheques, purchase invoices, sales invoices, credit notes, VAT… they each have their own button – just click and enter. Just about everything you enter can be changed or deleted so you need never fear about making mistakes.
I am writing help videos for both packages so have a look in the video section and see if the help you need is there, if not, let me know and I will sort one out asap.
The future of bookkeeping will be in online (cloud) applications such as Xero. With the direct bank feeds, the large number of additional, brilliant, features you can add to Xero or have a deep link with are amazing. The multi-user aspect allows all employees to have access to various parts of Xero, including your accountant, so you are all looking at the same data. No more different versions of a database floating around and no need to “hack” the program to allow more than one user at a time. The multi-currency features within Xero are simplicity itself. Exchange rates are automatically updated daily and the gain/loss on exchange is worked out for you when invoices are paid – even the bank fee bit which causes so many issues with the likes of Quickbooks!
Anyway, enough from me. Go and try one of them out – and let me know how you get on!