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Accounting software

Accounting software features a range of tools designed to help you run your business finances more effectively. This type of software allows you to create, manage and automate payment processes, accounts payable, accounts receivable and your general ledger. Many tools also integrate functionality such as billing and invoicing, running payroll and financial reporting.

Whether you need a simple tool to help you create and manage invoices or software that powers every payment process, there’s an accounting software product out there for you.

If you need to invest in accounting software for your business, view our guide and search the most popular products available today.

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More about accounting software

We all know how important cash flow is to any business. Balancing the money that’s coming in with invoices that need to be paid is a time-consuming task for your finance team. And it’s just one of many accounting tasks.

Imagine if you could automate your invoicing process from beginning to end. Invoices are sent based on a schedule, with online payment options and automatic deadline reminders. You could also automate elements of your payroll, bookkeeping and more.

Accounting is such a critical area of your business that it makes sense to invest in software that helps you save time and manage your finances more effectively.

Accounting software

Is accounting software right for your business?

As accounting is an essential element of any business, unless you outsource to a third-party provider, it’s well worth using accounting software to automate as many processes as possible.

A freelancer or small business owner is likely to have different needs to a leading brand that operates in multiple countries, but the basics of accounting are the same.

Every business needs to record transactions, process payments, bill customers and manage payroll. If you currently manage all or even some of these tasks manually, accounting software can help you to save time and gain a greater view of your finances.

What difference can accounting software make?

Investing in the right accounting software can bring you a range of benefits, including:

Improved efficiency

Processing paperwork and transactions manually takes a lot of time and it’s easy to misplace an invoice or enter the incorrect number when sending a payment. Accounting software can be used to automate these processes and greatly reduce workload as well as the chances of any errors.

Better reporting

If you create regular reports to share with teams or investors, you’ll find this much easier to do with accounting software. Instead of creating reports with data from several spreadsheets or databases, you can quickly and easily run visual, easy to understand reports from a dashboard.

Straightforward compliance

The financial side of business often places a lot of demands on you from statutory bodies and government departments, like HMRC. Many software providers make it easier to submit tax returns and stay compliant with built-in tools and guidance.

Cost savings

If you currently outsource areas of your business like payroll, accounting or debt collection, you could bring this all back in-house with the right accounting software. While you’ll be paying a monthly subscription for the tools, it’ll be considerably less than working with multiple professionals to handle it for you.

Features of accounting software

Common features of accounting software

It’s never been easier to manage your business finances in-house, thanks to demand for affordable cloud-based accounting tools for businesses. Here are some of the main features you should expect from your accounting software.

Accounts payable

It’s essential to stay on top of incoming invoices and payments that are due to suppliers and partners. The accounts payable module often includes features designed to upload invoices, create purchase orders, manage approvals and automate payments.

Accounts receivable

Automating your accounts receivable processes can help to ease your cash flow, especially if your accounting software can automatically send reminders for outstanding payments. You’ll also be able to create invoice templates and automatically pull in customer data to speed up the process.

General ledger

Your general ledger module will allow you to see at a glance how healthy your financial position is. Most accounting software products come with an intuitive dashboard which displays your accounts payable, accounts receivable and other information like expenses and journal entries.

Project accounting

Monitor the progress of projects and how the budget is being spent with your software’s project accounting feature. Here you’ll be able to identify any potential overspend, track expenses and make sure that your customers are being billed according to schedule.

Expenses

With a built-in expenses function, you and your employees will be able to submit project or travel expenses to be authorised. This is much more efficient than managing expenses manually, plus you’ll also be able to easily analyse expenses data from across your teams.

Financial reporting

Save hours that would normally be spent on building bespoke financial reports by using your accounting software’s built-in reporting dashboard. Most tools allow you to create report templates that can be re-run regularly, including cash flow analysis, sales figures and custom reports based on your own preferences.

Cost of accounting software

How much does accounting software cost?

While it’s not always the biggest influence, the cost of software can have a considerable impact on which product you choose. With hundreds of accounting software products available, there’s something for every budget, from free or inexpensive tools for small businesses to more expensive enterprise-level software.

For instance, Wave is free accounting software that includes everything you need to track income and expenses, manage invoices, capture receipts and connect to your bank accounts. If you’d like to integrate online payment processing too, it’s available for a small charge per transaction but isn’t necessary to use their accounting software.

Businesses that are looking for a more in-depth accounting software may be interested in Xero, which offers plans that start at £10 per month. All of Xero’s plans allow you to submit VAT to HMRC for Making Tax Digital, which will become increasingly important for businesses above the VAT threshold.

Choosing accounting software

Choosing the best accounting software

Now that you have a better idea of the features, benefits and costs, it’s time to compare products to choose the best accounting software for your business. The good news is that you’re in the perfect place to do just that, as free software comparisons are our speciality.

We know how important it is to research software before you invest in it, which is why at EXPERTcomparison.com, we’ve pulled together information on what’s available in the market to make it easy for you to compare. Alongside key data like pricing and main features, you’ll also find reviews straight from current and previous customers that offer you an inside look at what each accounting software is like to use.