Choosing Accounting Software

Many businesses already use accounting software, but from April 2019 there will be an added pressure for many VAT registered businesses to also ensure that their software is MTD compliant.

Accounting software can make many business administrative tasks more simple and automated. Modern online links to banks can integrate into the accounting software to make reconciliations quicker and more transparent. The ability to produce real time reports enables businesses to manage their affairs in a more efficient manner.

Identifying your requirements

Not all accounting software is the same. There are significant differences in the types, the platforms, the ability to produce, and compliance issues of accounting software and their providers. Businesses are reliant on their accounting system being timely, relevant and reliable.

The demands on your accounting system need to take account of the business objectives, the business expansion and growth ambitions, the nature of the trade and services supplied.

How the business users and staff interact with the accounting function is a key decision. The remote working of staff may affect the way in which the accounting is provided. The manner in which information is extracted from the system and its interaction with other systems may be crucial to the choice of software. Many businesses have special requirements for the software such as their linkage to EPOS till systems, stock and delivery systems, E-Commerce, or currency conversions.

How we can help: Contact us now on 01646 698869 to see how we can help identify your business requirements and match an accounting software to those needs

Compliance & security issues

Surprisingly some software is not properly compliant. The simplest accounting software may be more attractive but often does not provide businesses with sufficient levels of compliance.

Check how the software manages the backup of the accounting system. Businesses need to ensure that they are able to backup their systems independently of the software supplier, otherwise there is a danger that the business may find it more difficult to switch suppliers at a later date, and is wholly dependent on that supplier when trying to restore data. The continuity of business can be reliant on its backup systems.

Check that the software provides a full printable audit trail. Businesses must be able to track all transactions and changes that occurred. Regretfully fraud is a real danger for businesses and a full trackable audit trail is a necessity for even the smallest company. All deletions and amendments need to be fully tracked by the accounting software.

Check that the software supplier itself is strong enough to continue to supply in the long-term future. The Q1 2018 insolvency statistics have reported that the highest number of insolvencies are in the administrative and support services sector.

How we can help: Contact us now on 01646698869 to see if the software is compliant.

Ease of use

Accounting software is more than just ledgers. Modern accounting systems provide platforms to import and export data into other systems. Many software packages provide interfaces that can be tailored to meet specific needs. Many systems enable direct scanning of raw data and documents into the software. The changes in HMRC making tax digital routines will however make some accounting software redundant.

Do you need your software to be used from anywhere? Some systems are based solely in the cloud, some on internal secure systems, and others are Hybrid with the benefits of both types. Cloud systems have both benefits and disadvantages which are more relevant to different types of businesses.

How we can help: Contact us now on 01646698869 to see if the cloud based solutions are better or worse for your business. See also our information sheet on Cloud v Desktop v Hyrbid systems.


There are significant variations in the manner in which different accounting software deals with data. It is important to match the data handling requirements of a business to the appropriate software. Variations often occur in the way in which software deals with sales and purchase transactions. Some software enables batch entries whilst other software does not. The flexibility of the structure of the nominal ledger is important as it brings together the way the profit and loss, and balance sheets are reported.

The flexibility for including budgets, departments, job costing and cost centres is relevant to match to the business requirements.

How we can help: Contact us now on 01646 698869 to see how the data requirements of your business are compatible to the software.

Plan for growth

If your business is going to remain at a small consistent level then your initial software choice may suit the long term for the business. However if the business is going to grow and expand then you need to ensure that the business has software which contains an upgrade path which grows with the business through its stages of start-up, to SME, to larger organisations. Businesses should seek such accounting software partners that have the ability to provide a range of software that is appropriate to that growth. Popular cloud based packages include Sage which grows businesses through their product range from Sage One, Sage 50, Sage Business Cloud, to Sage 200.