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Jamie Jones

What accounts package are you using?

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29 minutes ago, Bunzena said:

We use QuickBooks and have done for nearly 20 years.  The learning curve was pretty steep to start with - but now we're 'comfortable' with it.  Accountancy - like all professions - has a 'wall of jargon' that you have to get through before anything makes sense. 

 

Now I even know what double-entry really means.B|

 

We've tried Sage and Xero - neither of which we could get on with.  But it will come down to personal preference.  Most packages come as a trial version.  Just set aside a fair few hours and get out the swear box.  All have versions that run on some version of Windows and Mac.

 

Like you Scraggs, we didn't want to use a cloud service - and QuickBooks does has a desktop version that doesn't rely on t'internet.

 

We also didn't want to use 'subscription software' - which virtually all accounts packages now are.  Pay £x per month this year then £x+10 next year.  QuickBooks 2016 is the last version that you could buy outright.  Occasionally new-old copies come up on Amazon - so if that matters - it's worth looking out for one of these.

 

Customer support from QuickBooks has always been pretty good too.  All this matters.

 

If you do have a package that's not entirely up-to-date [and those will all be subscription based] and therefore won't file VAT via MTD - simply use bridging software to file VAT.  We use a very simple package by NJT [Google 'Neilson James Technology' - other software packages are available] - and that works pretty well.  People say that bridging software is just 'temporary' - but HMRC will almost certainly accept it as a means of submission for many years to come.  I think they have 'other fish to fry'.

 

Overall, my best advice would be - that if you have an accountant - ask them what they use.  Then put that package to the top of your list.  If you get stuck - they will probably be able to help you.  You can also send them a 'copy' of your accounts and they can run 'year end' and send it back to you 'complete and adjusted'.  That makes life a whole lot simpler. 

 

Most of these packages are very capable.  Certainly QuickBooks does have stock control and many other features.  Automatically issues invoices from quotes, can reconcile banking, file VAT, highlight ageing debt, etc. etc.  It even reminds me when I need to order a new cheque book. I don't ever enjoy 'doing the accounts' - but at least I stay on top of things.

 

It also looks a whole lot more professional to clients - and - heaven forbid - if we ever get a VAT inspection - it should make that slightly less painless as everything is ordered and correct.

 

 

Thank you for your quick reply and considered response..

- Re: VAT inspection... I have had a number to date and I have been fairly chilled about it because I knew everything was straight.... The Last inspection lasted over two and a half years... They did 4x quarterly mini inspections instigated by different tax offices that proved pointless. Then came in for a full 6x year inspection...  The guy who did the Full 6x Year inspection was very good and fair. But his bosses seem dead keen on keeping hold of money they owed me. Every argument through at me was discussed and I managed to knock it down. In the end they walked away with nothing had had to pay me money they owed me. I think the biggest problem was different offices not talking to each other a pursuing different agendas.

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2 hours ago, daveindales said:

I use sage one. Does the job fine, but takes a bit of getting used to.
 

Sage is one of the packages that I am looking at... What problems have you had?

Does it do the following:
- Create Invoices
- Create client statements of account
- Mark off payments on account (Possibly with use of electronic bank statements)
- Track overdue accounts
- Monitor what the balance is of gross earn money outstanding
- VAT Accounts
- Stock control
- Asset / Equipment depreciation.
- Hold and Manage Customer Details (For accounting purposes)
- Manage everything required for HMRC Self Assessment 
- Profit and Lose Forecasts - Business Planning
- With the ability to potentially do payroll (I don't employ anyone yet)

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Sage is one of the packages that I am looking at... What problems have you had?

Does it do the following:
- Create Invoices
- Create client statements of account
- Mark off payments on account (Possibly with use of electronic bank statements)
- Track overdue accounts
- Monitor what the balance is of gross earn money outstanding
- VAT Accounts
- Stock control
- Asset / Equipment depreciation.
- Hold and Manage Customer Details (For accounting purposes)
- Manage everything required for HMRC Self Assessment 
- Profit and Lose Forecasts - Business Planning
- With the ability to potentially do payroll (I don't employ anyone yet)
Blimey,

Lots of questions. I will do my best to answer!

I do all my invoicing with sage one. It creates them, and I try to email as many as possible.

It allows you to view profit and loss. Monthly and yearly etc

It connects with my bank and brings statements over which I then match.

Yes, it tells you what's overdue.

Works out vat. And connects with HMRC

Works out what's owed by invoices and gives percentages etc

Not sure about payroll. Accountant does that.

Not sure about self assessment. Again, accountant sorts it.

Stock control. I don't hold much much stock, so does not effect me really.

It's cloud based and both me and the accountant can access it anytime.

I was going to go for QuickBooks, but the accountants use sage, and they are familiar with it, so ended up with sage one. Costs round about a tenner a month, including vat. I would not go back to writing up everything now, and working out vat with a calculator.

But, the first few months really did my head in till I got used to it

Hope that helps.
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12 minutes ago, daveindales said:

Blimey,

Lots of questions. I will do my best to answer!

I do all my invoicing with sage one. It creates them, and I try to email as many as possible.

It allows you to view profit and loss. Monthly and yearly etc

It connects with my bank and brings statements over which I then match.

Yes, it tells you what's overdue.

Works out vat. And connects with HMRC

Works out what's owed by invoices and gives percentages etc

Not sure about payroll. Accountant does that.

Not sure about self assessment. Again, accountant sorts it.

Stock control. I don't hold much much stock, so does not effect me really.

It's cloud based and both me and the accountant can access it anytime.

I was going to go for QuickBooks, but the accountants use sage, and they are familiar with it, so ended up with sage one. Costs round about a tenner a month, including vat. I would not go back to writing up everything now, and working out vat with a calculator.

But, the first few months really did my head in till I got used to it

Hope that helps.

Thank you for your comprehensive reply and for taking the time....

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1 hour ago, daveindales said:

Like someone else said, I would go for one which your
accountants use, if possible.

Exactly the key point here. Mine uses Xero and we can both access it any time. 

 

Think Xero is like 22.00 pcm though! 

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One other package which hasn't been mentioned is FreeAgent. I found that as a NatWest customer I can use it free, (because RBS bought the business) that saves me £19+vat per month. It is a company based in the UK, cloud based as the others but more focused on small business.

I was using QuickBooks self employed which is cheapish and very good if you're a contractor but too limited for stock, capital etc. Moving over involved a bit more of the accountant speak than I was used to but it's been ok.

One other benefit of being cloud based is I can create invoices on my phone which are just the same as ones created on the computer, of course you can see everything from anywhere you log in.

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I do like being able to create, edit and get signatures on invoices on my phone. Prefer to do the creating and editing on desktop but very useful to be able to do it on phone if needed.

 

ps. had a look and QB does do stock. Haven't played with it much but have done VAT returns with it.

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We used QB offline version for quite a few years a long time ago, I was going to use the latest offline version this time, but heard they were stopping it and were not going to support it any longer.

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