10 Accounting Software UK for 2021

Whether you’re a freelancer or a business owner, maintaining your books is important to get a grasp on your finances and for complying with HMRC on Tax Day. There is a range of accounting software UK businesses can use and we found the leading 10! 

Take a quick look at the table below and read the in-depth reviews to find the best accounting software in the UK

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Top 10 Accounting Software UK 2021

1. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is a well-respected all-rounder when it comes to web-based accounting software in the UK for 2021. It handles everything from invoices and expenses, to team collaboration and inventory tracking. It’s available from £79.20 per year, starting with sole traders and freelancers. Full Review

  • Full double-entry accounting
  • Provide estimates and quotes
  • User-friendly interface

FreshBooks is a well-respected all-rounder when it comes to web-based accounting software in the UK for 2021. It handles everything from invoices and expenses, to team collaboration and inventory tracking. It’s available from £79.20 per year, starting with sole traders and freelancers. Full Review

2. Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Some of the best cloud accounting software UK businesses can adopt comes from accountancy veteran Sage. You can fully manage your cash flow and never chase down an invoice again. You’re also able to sync with your bank account to reconcile transactions. Even paper receipts are easily recorded thanks to some excellent mobile apps. Full Review

  • Good free trial
  • Functional mobile apps
  • Endless features

Some of the best cloud accounting software UK businesses can adopt comes from accountancy veteran Sage. You can fully manage your cash flow and never chase down an invoice again. You’re also able to sync with your bank account to reconcile transactions. Even paper receipts are easily recorded thanks to some excellent mobile apps. Full Review

3. QuickBooks

With automation and great visual data, QuickBooks lets you easily manage and assess your accounts. Getting your Self-Assessment, VAT and CIS returns compliant and submitted with HMRC is also straightforward. The features are endless, including all the essentials like invoicing and cash flow. Most online accounting software reviews by UK users agree that QuickBooks is a top choice for 2021. Full Review

  • Generous 30-day free trial
  • Lots of flexible plans
  • Good mobile apps

With automation and great visual data, QuickBooks lets you easily manage and assess your accounts. Getting your Self-Assessment, VAT and CIS returns compliant and submitted with HMRC is also straightforward. The features are endless, including all the essentials like invoicing and cash flow. Most online accounting software reviews by UK users agree that QuickBooks is a top choice for 2021. Full Review

4. Zoho Books

Joining the ranks of best accounting software in the UK is ZohoBooks. It offers a comprehensive range of features, including double-entry accounting, VAT compliance, projects and workflows, and team collaboration. Dig in to find robust invoicing, expenses, and payment features. Plus, functionality is further expanded with over 40 integrations, including top payment gateways. Full Review

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Great mobile apps
  • Good customer support

Joining the ranks of best accounting software in the UK is ZohoBooks. It offers a comprehensive range of features, including double-entry accounting, VAT compliance, projects and workflows, and team collaboration. Dig in to find robust invoicing, expenses, and payment features. Plus, functionality is further expanded with over 40 integrations, including top payment gateways. Full Review

5. Kashflow

Some of the best accounting software for UK small businesses is currently Kashflow. The modern online platform is fully prepped for your UK VAT and TAX compliant returns, so when you’re ready to submit to HMRC there are zero headaches. You get invoicing, payments, and tons of useful reports. The payroll add-on is the icing on this financial cake. Full Review

  • Making Tax Digital compliant
  • Good VAT system
  • Connect your banks

Some of the best accounting software for UK small businesses is currently Kashflow. The modern online platform is fully prepped for your UK VAT and TAX compliant returns, so when you’re ready to submit to HMRC there are zero headaches. You get invoicing, payments, and tons of useful reports. The payroll add-on is the icing on this financial cake. Full Review

6. Xero

Pay bills, create VAT returns and manage expenses. You can also access your accounts from anywhere with some great mobile apps. All of these options and more are available from the Xero platform, which also specialises in non-profit tools. Thanks to this and its slick interface, we rate it as some of the best accounting software UK organisations can purchase. Full Review

  • Excellent interface
  • Scalable for all businesses
  • Good mobile apps

Pay bills, create VAT returns and manage expenses. You can also access your accounts from anywhere with some great mobile apps. All of these options and more are available from the Xero platform, which also specialises in non-profit tools. Thanks to this and its slick interface, we rate it as some of the best accounting software UK organisations can purchase. Full Review

7. FreeAgent

This is a powerful, yet simple accounting software UK users can pick up for free. You just have to hold certain bank accounts. It’s also some of the best small business accounting software in the UK. Users can easily manage and file their taxes, send off professional invoices, and stay on top of cash flow. Receipts are also easily snapped and stored on the system with a quick smartphone photo. Full Review

  • Free year deal
  • 30-day free trial
  • Unlimited clients

This is a powerful, yet simple accounting software UK users can pick up for free. You just have to hold certain bank accounts. It’s also some of the best small business accounting software in the UK. Users can easily manage and file their taxes, send off professional invoices, and stay on top of cash flow. Receipts are also easily snapped and stored on the system with a quick smartphone photo. Full Review

8. GnuCash

GnuCash is automatically one of our favourites because it is absolutely free. An option not usually available in accounting software for small businesses in the UK. It works on all the major desktop operating systems and is packed with a broad range of features you need to stay in control of your business accounts. Full Review

  • Accounting software free within the UK
  • Tons of desktop-based features
  • Windows, macOS, and Linux compatible

GnuCash is automatically one of our favourites because it is absolutely free. An option not usually available in accounting software for small businesses in the UK. It works on all the major desktop operating systems and is packed with a broad range of features you need to stay in control of your business accounts. Full Review

9. Wave Accounting

As some of the rare free business accounting software UK users can adopt, Wave has just as many features as most of the leading premium solutions. It’s also web-based for easy access and has supporting mobile apps as well. If you want to accept payments, you can do so in an affordable pay-as-you-go model. Full Review

  • Full double-entry accounting
  • Free modern online software
  • Great interface

As some of the rare free business accounting software UK users can adopt, Wave has just as many features as most of the leading premium solutions. It’s also web-based for easy access and has supporting mobile apps as well. If you want to accept payments, you can do so in an affordable pay-as-you-go model. Full Review

10. Clearbooks

With a customizable dashboard and great overall interface, Clearbooks is arguably the best accounting software for small UK business customers. It manages everything from invoicing and banking, to tax compliance and advanced reporting. Plus, the supporting mobile apps help you stay up to date while you’re out of the office. Full Review

  • No obligation 30-day trial
  • Comprehensive range of features
  • Great visual reports

With a customizable dashboard and great overall interface, Clearbooks is arguably the best accounting software for small UK business customers. It manages everything from invoicing and banking, to tax compliance and advanced reporting. Plus, the supporting mobile apps help you stay up to date while you’re out of the office. Full Review

The Best Accounting Software UK 2021

Here’s how the best accounting software in the UK for 2021 stacks up, side by side.

  • FreshBooks – Best for Freelancers and Sole Trader.
  • Sage Business Cloud Accounting – Best for small to medium businesses.
  • QuickBooks – Best for a variety of features.
  • Zoho Books – Best value for small businesses.
  • Kashflow – Best for experienced growing businesses.
  • Xero – Best accounting software for UK charities.
  • FreeAgent – Best for special one-year free discount offer.
  • GnuCash – Best free downloadable desktop software.
  • Wave Accounting – Best online free business and free personal accounting software in the UK.
  • Clearbooks – Best for small businesses.

Detailed Reviews

FreshBooks
FreshBooks

BEST FOR

Freelancers and Sole Traders

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  • Full double-entry accounting
  • Provide estimates and quotes
  • User-friendly interface
  • Manage individual projects

Some of the best accounting software UK businesses and freelancers can adopt, FreshBooks offers a comprehensive solution. This includes everything from double-entry accounting to invoicing and expenses. It has one of the better overall user interfaces and easily allows for collaboration, detailed client records, and inventory tracking.

Originally just an invoicing platform, it has grown into a stellar web-based accounting system that favours small to medium businesses. It’s particularly beneficial to individuals that need powerful yet affordable bookkeeping software that is intuitive to use.

FreshBooks Features

Accounting

  • Make double-entry credit/debit easy with powerful accountancy features. You get accurate reports, automated bank reconciliation, and an accounts payable section. You can also easily invite your accountant/bookkeeper or other team members to collaborate.

Projects

  • Create entire projects accessible between your team, clients, vendors, and other partners. Store all the important files, monitor progress, and assign permissions.

Invoicing

  • Generate invoices with ease thanks to a selection of professional templates you can customise with your own branding and billing elements. There are also several advanced options, like estimates, proposals, scheduling, and applicable tax rates.

Payments

  • Accepting payments is easy with integrations for Stripe and PayPal. You can therefore accept most cards and bank transfers.

Expense Accounts

  • No additional spreadsheets or receipts are required for you to effectively track your business’s expenses. You can record them individually and on the fly. There are also automatic and fixed expenses based on your requirements.

Time Tracking

  • Time is money and FreshBooks lets you track how much of it you are spending on your various projects and accounts. Is some delegation in order?

Reports

  • View detailed visual reports of all types and get ready for Tax Day at the click of a button when the time comes. 

Ease of Use

FreshBooks accounting software for the UK excels at being user-friendly. From the beginning, you will be met with a wizard that walks you through the setup process based on the type of business you’re running. This is done via a series of basic questions, like ‘what is your billing method?’. The onboarding process is sufficient for most users and you can tweak things later.

You’ll be prompted to fill out all your contact details and invite any team members to create their accounts via an email blast. Then you’ll be able to customise your invoices and access all the other features.

The software features a brilliant dashboard that graphically displays your current financial status on the homepage. Everything else is found via tabs down the left-hand side.  

Customer Support

There are plenty of customer support options. Your first port of call is the extensive knowledge base. Here you can search out and solve your problem with pre-written guidance. If you need to speak to the support team, they are just an email or phone call away and will walk you through any problem promptly and politely.

If you are completely new to this type of UK accounting software, the initial setup can seem a bit overwhelming and it would be beneficial to get some extra support in this area. Nonetheless, compared to others, it has a very intuitive user interface

Our only qualm is that FreshBooks tend to send out a lot of marketing-related emails even when you’re already a paying customer. 

Pricing

  • Free Trial: 30-days, no obligation
  • Lite: £79.20/year, aimed at individual professionals.
  • Plus: £136.80/year, aimed at smaller businesses. 
  • Premium: £2160/year, for larger and expanding businesses.
  • Select: A custom plan based on your own requirements.

After your free trial, you are still entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Verdict

FreshBooks is some of the best-designed accounting software UK users can buy and most people won’t have any trouble picking it up and getting started. It’s best to use it with a computer or mobile browser as the dedicated mobile apps lack every feature. There’s not much to dislike about the platform.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting
Sage Business Cloud Accounting

BEST FOR

Small to medium businesses

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  • Good free trial
  • Functional mobile apps
  • Endless features
  • Cost-effective

Formerly Sage One, Sage Business Cloud Accounting is one of the most popular online accounting software in the UK. Officially endorsed by HMRC, the suite of tools gives you a complete visual overview of your accounts and the ability to manage invoices and pay your own people. Being web-based makes accessibility easy.  

Sage Features

Accounting and Payroll

  • Whether you use straight accounting or the add-on payroll feature, everything is easily synced, and you can collaborate with your team with different permissions.

Auto-Entry

  • With auto-entry, you can save lots of time. Use the mobile app to scan receipts and other paper docs, or forward emails and digital information for automatic record-keeping.

Accounts Payable

  • Bring your own bills and credit lines together with your bank, so you know exactly what you owe. You can even automate the payment process.

Billing and Invoicing

  • Generate customizable and automated invoices, quotes, and estimates. Easily handle advanced functions like recurring bills, refunds, and currency conversions. Sage also integrates with the leading payment processors like Stripe so clients can pay instantly and via multiple methods. 

Tax and VAT

  • Easily prepare for your tax return and audits and invite your accountant to collaborate. Sage is compliant and even endorsed by HMRC. Handling VAT is also simple, allowing you to select the right scheme and have everything Brexit compliant. 

Inventory

  • The Plus plan adds a powerful stock/inventory management system so you know your stock levels and can easily manage them, along with pricing.   

Mobile App

  • Ditch your desktop and check-in with Sage via iOS and Android. These apps let you manage your business finances from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Ease of Use

While there are a lot of features within the Sage accounting interface, they are logically organised with tabs at the top and lists below. Visually it’s all quite bland but functionally it works and won’t take long to get to grips with.

The mobile apps have a more modern feel but not every feature is present. Together they make a good pairing.

Customer Support

Sage account software is a long-running and respected organisation and customer support is its strong point. All paying users have access to email, phone, and live web chats. There is also a support ticket system. The help pages are comprehensive and because the community of users is so large there’s no shortage of third-party online advice as well.

Pricing

  • Free Trial: 30-days, no obligation
  • Start: £12/mo for the baseline features and one user.
  • Standard: £24/mo for unlimited users and advanced reporting.
  • Plus: £30/mo adds invoicing in multiple currencies and inventory management.

All plans allow you to add payroll functionality for an extra £3.50 per month.

Verdict

Sage is one of the most well-known names in accounting software for UK businesses and sole traders. Its move to the cloud has made everything even easier, even if its main web interface is a little bland. It would be good if payroll was a standard feature but the fact it’s even an option is a plus. The software cannot be faulted once you skip the bottom tier plan, which is quite restrictive and only really beneficial for individuals. It’s one of the most cost-effective solutions for medium to large businesses. 

QuickBooks
QuickBooks

BEST FOR

Variety of features

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  • Generous 30-day free trial
  • Lots of flexible plans
  • Good mobile apps
  • Point of Sale available

Cloud accounting software in the UK is made easy with QuickBooks, thanks to a great dashboard and mobile apps. You’ll find all the core accountancy features available, with some premium add-ons. Higher-priced add-ons include payroll and stock management. For old school users, they also provide desktop software.

QuickBooks Features

Invoices

  • QuickBooks has all you need for invoicing, including professional and customisable templates and open and paid tracking. You can even send out reminders if a client is slow.

Payroll

  • Whether it’s handling employee rotas, timesheets, annual leave, or expenses, the comprehensive payroll system helps you simplify the process. Reports also let you easily view the big data points. One downside is this is a premium add-on and not part of regular plans.

Tax and VAT

  • Organise your accounts for the end of the tax year, including the Construction Industry Tax Scheme. Submit your return and VAT to HMRC from within the software.

Cashflow

  • Getting an overview of your business finances is simple and effective with the QuickBooks 90-day cash flow reports. You can even view them in real-time. 

Connect Banks

  • Automation is the name of the game, that’s why you can connect your bank accounts directly to reconcile transactions and save time.

Bills and Accounts Receivable

  • Keep on top of and pay what you owe your creditors and suppliers with this Essential plan feature.

Stock Management

  • Link your inventory and streamline your business sales. Set things up to run automatically or dig in and change prices and stock levels manually at any time.

Point of Sale

  • Not only can you accept and track payments, but the Point of Sale feature also helps retail businesses accept card payments to be automatically included within your accounts. Oddly this is one of the few UK accounting software 2021 packages to do POS. However, the main downside is there are quite high payment processing fees.

Ease of Use

The QuickBooks accounting software in the UK is a modern web-based solution with great supporting apps. That means you can easily access the dashboard from your desktop web browser and fully manage everything. Alternatively, you can take your business finances on the go with Android and iOS

Setting up is straightforward even for beginners. The wizard will guide you through each necessary step, including regions and languages, branding, and importing existing data. You can even play with a ‘demo account’ to get to grips with the software. Every plan comes with a free trial before committing to payment as well. 

Customer Support

QuickBooks customer support is top-notch. You get extensive help pages on the website, which include FAQs and text and video tutorials. The community of users itself is also active and helpful.

Of course, it’s also easy to reach support staff themselves via your dashboard, direct email, or phone. You’ll get a bit of a faster and more in-depth response on the higher-priced plans because you get a dedicated account manager. Even the bottom tier plan has enough support to keep you satisfied, however. 

Pricing

  • Free Trial: 30-days
  • Simple Start: £12/mo or £1.20/mo + VAT if billed 4 months in advance. Includes 1 user and all base-level features.
  • Essentials: £20/mo or £2/mo + VAT if billed 4 months in advance. Includes 3 users, bills payable, and multiple currencies.
  • Plus: £30/mo or £3/mo + VAT if billed 4 months in advance. Includes 5 users, stock management, and employee time tracking. 

Verdict

QuickBooks UK bookkeeping software offers online accessibility to suit sole traders and businesses of all sizes. There is a comprehensive range of features and things can get pretty advanced. The pricing model is clearly set up to keep you long-term, as it does not make sense to pay the rolling monthly prices. Yet, those prices are still competitive. Just take note that they don’t list them with the VAT included.

Zoho Books
Zoho Books

BEST FOR

Small businesses

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  • Beginner-friendly
  • Great mobile apps
  • Good customer support
  • Tons of features

One of the best UK accounting software suites, Zoho Books is a great-looking modern platform that’s accessed online. It provides a 14-day free trial and gives you full end-to-end accounting, sales tracking, VAT, and filing. Plus, there’s linkable banking! It also integrates with over 40 apps for expansive functionality. Zoho uses a pay-as-you-go scalable model that can accommodate everyone from individuals to large enterprises.

Zoho Books Features

Invoicing

  • Send professional invoices, quotes and estimates. These come with multiple payment options, currencies, and auto follow-up emails. You can also secure your invoices with a digital signature feature.

Expenses

  • Track your bills payable and view everything via visual graphs and charts. Recurring expenses can be easily automated like most of the best accounting software.

Inventory and Billing 

  • Handle your inventory, sales, and customer billing all from the dashboard. Change selling prices on the fly, recurring bills, and send them for approval first.

Banking

  • Understand your cash flow with instant data and accurate predictions. See what’s coming in and out and tweak accordingly. 

Projects

  • Manage team projects, setting goals, time scales, and billable hours. Monitor completion percentages and easily collaborate with your team.

Integrations

  • Zoho stands out with the inclusion of over 40 integrations to expand its use. This includes everything from payment processors like Stripe and PayPal to ESIGN for encrypted digital signatures. Then there’s Zoho CRM to sync your contacts, accounts, products, and transactions.

Value-Added Taxation

  • Choose the right VAT/Taxes before selling, with multiple rules. Easily find your VAT liability, keep track of payments, and file your VAT returns directly with HMRC.

Ease of Use

Setting up this UK accounting software is very simple, thanks to the online nature of the platform. You just need to log in and you’ll be walked through the process of entering your details, branding, and appropriate VAT, etc. Invoicing, bills, and expenses, are all also just a click away and can be handled via a ‘get started’ wizard when you first hit the dashboard.

All of the main features are intuitively laid out down the left-hand side. When it comes to invoices, statements, emails, and other documents, you can use professional templates. They have enough options to make them your own. It’s one of the more beginner-friendly solutions out there.

As for the Android and iOS mobile apps, although they have separate ones for different functions. I.e. one for invoicing and another for emailing. These work flawlessly and allow you to accomplish much more on the go than some others.

Customer Support

Getting support is an easy process with Zoho and can be accessed 24/7 during the working week. This comes in the form of email, live web chat, or phone calls. There is also a multitude of help pages, guides, and FAQs on the website. Plus, if you want something more direct you can always ask the wider community in the official forum. 

Pricing

  • Free Trial: 14-days
  • Standard: £12/mo or £120/yr for 3 users and all the standard features.
  • Professional: £24/mo or £240/yr for 5 users, plus billing, inventory, time tracking and more.
  • Premium: £30/mo or £300/yr for 10 users, plus a custom domain, budgeting tool, workflow rules, and more.
  • Addons: £2/mo per extra user, and £6.50/mo for 50 additional auto-scans (receipts, etc)

Zoho encourages you to contact them directly for a quote if your requirements fall outside of these plans.

Verdict

Zoho Books is not the most well-known name in accounting software for UK businesses, but it certainly holds its own. The downside is that the pay-as-you-go model when it comes to adding more users or using the auto-scans feature is not very cost-effective for those expanding quickly. However, it’s great value for money for small businesses

Furthermore, we had trouble importing accounts from other platforms. Nonetheless, it has all the cloud-based tools you need to stay on top of your business finances and its growing range of integrations make for a promising future. We also found their mobile apps to be clean and capable of keeping us busy while we were on the go.   

Kashflow
Kashflow

BEST FOR

Experienced growing businesses

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  • Making Tax Digital compliant
  • Good VAT system
  • Connect your banks
  • Automated invoice reminders

Kashflow is an online UK business accounting software that can manage VAT and is Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliant in the UK. It also has a payroll option and, overall, is a powerful suite of tools. Launched back in 2005, it has now been refined as one of the better solutions out there if you want to access accountancy from anywhere with an internet connection.

Kashflow Features

Invoicing

  • The fully-fledged invoicing system begins with professional base templates that you can populate and customise. They can be on the fly or automated and you can also send out reminders to later payers. The whole payment process can be managed by Kashflow, allowing clients to pay online by card, transfer, mobile, or even over the phone.

Purchases and Expenses

  • Easily create invoices for recurring clients and one-off purchases that can be emailed. You can also capture your day-to-day receipts and expenses by phone.

VAT

  • VAT has become all the more important in the UK with the MTD initiative, and Kashflow is compliant. The VAT dashboard colour codes different VAT returns and you can directly link up with HMRC to submit self-assessment returns.

Payroll

  • The payroll feature is separately charged but has an impressive number of features. These include employee record management, automated approval, and self-service payslips.

Banking

  • Connect multiple bank accounts for real-time cash flow reports and easily reconcile payments.

Ease of Use

Kashflow does have a bit of a learning curve and may be initially overwhelming to users who are new to web-based accounting software in the UK. The knowledge base, however, has everything you need to guide you through the process if you take some time. 

The layout itself is clean, with a good set of financial overview graphs. All the main features are listed down the left-hand side and clicking any of these will reveal more options that will soon become familiar. 

The mobile version is quite impressive in its simplicity, which is really what one hopes for.

Customer Support

Compared to other cloud-based accounting software UK users can buy, Kashflow’s customer support can be a bit hit or miss. Unfortunately, it does the annoying knowledgebase before direct contact method, where you must dig through before you can contact a human. Nonetheless, there is eventually an email address and we couldn’t fault the speed of their responsiveness.

While there are some pretty good video tutorials, Kashflow has locked these behind a paywall, which knocks off half a star from us. 

Pricing

  • Free Trial: 14-days
  • Starter: £8/mo + VAT or £56/yr + VAT, for sole traders, small business, and contractors.
  • Business: £16.50/mo + VAT or £121/yr + VAT, for small to medium businesses. Adds multi-currency support and unlimited invoices and bank transactions.
  • Business + Payroll: £22.50/mo + VAT or £160/yr + VAT, including all bookkeeping features and the added benefit of payroll management.

Verdict

If you are familiar with other accounting software UK businesses can use, then Kashflow is familiar and shouldn’t be much trouble setting up. Beginners will find it more challenging, however, and customer support is not the best. Nonetheless, there’s no denying its comprehensive range of features that can get the job done well.

The VAT system is a big plus and is seamlessly compliant with HMRC. The payroll feature is also a great addition, though the extra cost won’t appeal to everyone.

Xero
Xero

BEST FOR

Nonprofits and charities

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  • Excellent interface
  • Scalable for all businesses
  • Good mobile apps
  • Endless features

Xero is a brilliantly designed cloud-based accounting platform that is ideal for small businesses and even non-profits. It can be accessed anywhere at any time via a web browser. There are now also some robust mobile apps that can help you keep tabs on things while on the go. Although it is based in New Zealand it is also popular bookkeeping software in the UK.

Xero Features

Billy Payable

  • Track your bills, schedule payments, and get a clear overview of your cash flow. It’s particularly beneficial that bills can be both entered manually and via the forwarding of email attachments.

VAT Filing

  • As this is accounting software for UK users, during setup or on an individual basis you can choose the applicable VAT. Xero ensures it is HMRC compliant and automatically calculates everything for easy filing with HMRC. This literally takes minutes.

Expenses

  • Manage employee expense claims, capture business receipts with your smartphone, and visually view your spending. Employee spending monitoring is an impressive feature, allowing you to plan and budget for next month.

Bank Connections

  • Connect multiple bank accounts to your Xero account so all of your transactions are accurately captured automatically. This gives you a clear picture of what’s coming in and out. You can also reconcile existing or manual transactions with the appropriate banks, so you don’t miss anything.

Payments

  • As well as all the usual invoicing features, you can also accept payments directly via Stripe, GoCardless, and others. You can easily track transactions while automatically having them entered into your accounts.

Payroll

  • Xero has an HMRC-endorsed payroll management tool so you can pay employees and automate tax and pension calculations. The payslip email feature is especially useful.

Non-Profit Features

You’ll struggle to find free accounting software for charities in the UK, but Zero leads the way in tools for nonprofits. Besides the unique tax status of charities, some of the features include sharing important donation information and syncing with fundraising integrations. These include marketing, donor management, and donor payments. 

Ease of Use

Xero is modern and slickly built and you can even try out a demo version for free to get to grips with its features, though you’ll still have to register first. Nonetheless, the fact that it’s packed full of features can be daunting to those newcomers. You will need to spend some time looking at the guides and familiarising yourself with everything before onboarding.

Everything is done via the dashboard or mobile app equivalent. The key feature categories are displayed along the top and then you can dig in from there. Most of the features simply require forms being filled, data being entered, and options being checked on or off. 

You can even customise your dashboard with a simple + button and choose what you want to include in that section.

Customer Support

Xero customer support doesn’t feature live web chat, which tends to be the preferred method these days. You can fire off an email from within your online dashboard, however, and it won’t take all day for a response. 

Fortunately, there are a lot of support pages for you to brush up on accountancy in general but also to solve specific problems and learn the software. This comes in the form of written guides, videos, and you can even take a course. These are free and the first one, for example, is about how to use the dashboard and takes just 9 minutes.

Pricing

  • Free Trial: 30-days no obligation
  • Starter: £10/mo for freelancers and sole traders. Create 20 invoices and 5 bills in total.
  • Standard: £24/mo for small businesses. Unlimited invoices and bills.
  • Premium: £30/mo for larger businesses. Includes multiple currencies.
  • Extras: Payroll from £5/mo, Expenses £2.50 per user, Project Tracking from £5/mo, CIS Returns £5/mo, Wise Gateway from £3/mo.

Verdict

Xero stands out with its modern user interface and ranks among the best for its core accounting features. It is also quite well-priced when compared with similar services. Its functionality can be expanded further thanks to integrations and the supporting apps are the icing on the cake.

It doesn’t quite reach 5 stars, however, due to its confusing premium add-on model and lack of live customer support. 

But.

It’s not impossible to reach a member of staff if you really need help and there is a wealth of support pages that don’t make this aspect a dealbreaker. 

Ultimately, Xero accounting software in the UK gives you a comprehensive overview of your business financials and can only improve your performance. Its non-profit features are also worth considering for those running such organisations.

FreeAgent
FreeAgent

BEST FOR

Special one-year free discount offer

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  • Free year deal
  • 30-day free trial
  • Unlimited clients
  • Payroll included

Not just a name, FreeAgent is one of the few providers of bookkeeping software 2021 has to offer users for free. You just need a bank account under the RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank umbrella. The online platform is ideal for small businesses and also provides a free trial to make sure it’s the right accounting software in UK compliance for your company. 

FreeAgent Features

Invoices

  • Get those invoices and reminders out in seconds with top-quality templates ready to go.

Expenses

  • Record, track and get a real-time overview of your business expenses wherever you are with your phone.

Payroll

  • Keep your payroll management under one roof so you have a full picture of your business outgoings. It also lets you manage other areas of your employee data, thanks to HR style features.

Cashflow

  • Get a complete overview of your business finances with visual graphs and see the trends over the longer term. This helps you understand and revise your business strategy.

Time Tracking

  • Make sure your project is on schedule and all the related invoices and finances are taken care of.

To-Do Lists

  • Simpler than a project – create a list of things to accomplish and work your way through them.

Tax

  • Get ready for your HMRC-compliant VAT, corporation tax, and self-assessment tax return. You can even automatically have this sent to HMRC.

Ease of Use

Our accounting software reviews for UK users confirm – FreeAgent was one of the easiest to get up and running. The software uses a question-based process to emphasize the features you need and then everything is easily accessible from a modern web-based dashboard. Select the options or enter the details relevant to you (local sales tax, linking your bank account for cash flow, etc). You’re almost on autopilot.

Creating professional invoices can take just a few minutes and includes estimates and proposals that you can then upgrade to a full invoice when the time is right.

All you have to do to keep track of stray expenses is take a photo of your receipt with a smartphone.

Customer Support

All support agents are UK-based and can easily be reached by email or by booking a 20-minute support phone call. This may sound a bit laborious, but the turnaround time is fast and at least you know exactly when you’ll get the call and can prepare accordingly.   

There are also free online webinars you can attend, as well as a series of ‘getting started’ video tutorials, which are very helpful.

Pricing

If you’re looking for free accounting software in the UK, we have good news. FreeAgent will give you a free year of the full version if you have a NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, or Ulster Bank account. For everyone else, the following plans apply:

  • Free Trial: 30-days
  • Sole Traders: £19/mo + VAT with the first 6 months £9.50 + VAT for new customers. Or, £95/year + VAT For your first 12 months and £190/year + VAT After your first 12 months.
  • Partnerships & LLPs: £24/mo + VAT with the first 6 months £12 + VAT for new customers. Or, £120/year + VAT For your first 12 months and £240/year + VAT After your first 12 months.
  • Limited Companies £29/mo + VAT with the first 6 months £14.50 + VAT for new customers. Or, £145/year + VAT For your first 12 months and £290/year + VAT After your first 12 months.

Verdict

It faces a lot of competition but FreeAgent holds its own in the best bookkeeping software 2021 rankings. What makes it particularly stand out is its straightforward pricing plans that include unlimited scalability for each business classification. That said, the monthly cost is a little too high for the average sole trader or freelancer, so it is best used as UK small business accounting software.

GnuCash
GnuCash

BEST FOR

Free small business accounting software in the UK on Desktop

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  • Accounting software free within the UK
  • Tons of desktop-based features
  • Windows, macOS, and Linux compatible
  • Active support community

If you’re looking for the no strings attached best free accounting software UK users can snap up right now, then GnuCash should be highly considered. While it doesn’t provide the modern cloud/web-based access that is all the rage, it is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. It gets the job done well with no extra jazz. 

The software operates on the open-source principle, so has an active online community that helps move the platform forward. It’s the ideal solution if you have been looking for open source accounting software in the UK.

GnuCash Features

Double-entry accounting

  • Know your credit and debut as the back of your hand with full double-entry accounting and visual reporting.

Invoicing

  • All the invoicing, billing tax and even payroll features you need for small business accounting can be found under one tab. Templates are simple but look just as professional as any other.

Stock/Bond/Mutual Fund Accounts

  • Include as many different accounts as are relevant to your business, including investments.

Advanced Reports

  • View the big picture and individual transactions with endless reports and graphs that you can customise or focus on.

Data Importing

  • Import accounts data from previous software in QIF/OFX/HBCI formats, so you don’t run into trouble over a long-term audit.

Statement Reconciliation

  • Avert errors by comparing transactions with your linked bank accounts and automate the entire transaction recording process without having to manually enter data.

Multiple Currencies

  • Work with accounts in any currency you choose and switch between them to ensure your books are balanced correctly with the exchange rate. 

Ease of Use

Like a traditional desktop accounting software, UK users will think GnuCash looks a little dated. It certainly doesn’t have the modern visual appeal of the many web-based solutions out there. However, like free business accounting software for UK businesses, it’s not particularly difficult to use and we can overlook its visual appeal. It is still clean and capable, allowing you to maintain years of financial data without any glitches or slowdowns.

When starting up it comes with a built-in assistant feature to guide you through the process, regardless of your operating system. 

Customer Support

Because GnuCash is open source software it’s a bit more difficult and fruitless to contact the original developers but there are still countless options if you need help. For example, there’s a very thorough online manual covering all of its features. This is useful when just starting out. 

On top of that, there’s a Wiki of information and guides and you’ll also find YouTube tutorials and a lot of user-generated help content from the wider community. If you’re familiar with accounts and software, or better, accountancy software, the support is more than sufficient. 

Pricing

Free: GnuCash is open-source and arguably the best free accounting software available right now.

Verdict

GnuCash is a well-developed and feature-rich piece of software that works flawlessly on all the major operating systems. While it lacks the functionality of its premium online counterparts, it’s clean, stable, and scales with ease. 

If you’re always looking to cut business costs or are a sole trader, small business, or start-up that’s not ready to go premium, this is the best accounting software you’ll find for free.

Wave Accounting
Wave Accounting

BEST FOR

Free online accounting solution

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  • Full double-entry accounting
  • Free modern online software
  • Great interface
  • Multi-currency support

Wave Accounting is free online accounting software UK freelancers and small businesses alike can benefit from. You only have to pay extra if you are a larger business that requires payroll and customer payment features. However, on its own, you get everything from double-entry accounting and invoice management to multi-currency features and good support.  

Wave Features

Accounting

  • Link your bank, manage expenses, make sure everything is balanced, and be compliant for Tax Day. 

Invoicing

  • Customise an unlimited number of invoices from professional-looking templates. This includes recurring billing, tracking, and reminders. Accept payments with pay-as-you-go fees.

Payments

  • Accept payments and manage Payroll with straightforward card fees, all while monitoring your cash flow and profit/loss.

Receipts

  • Keep your receipts and expense orderly with modern mobile scanning of paper receipts that are scanned like OCR software.

Ease of Use

Setting up the GnuCash free UK accounting software is straightforward thanks to their multi-screen wizard with dropdown menus. You simply provide your business information and choose the relevant options for accounting, invoicing tax, and payroll. The latter if that’s part of your plan. You can then opt to link your bank account for managing transactions or choose to enter everything manually (not that practical). You can then launch and tweak the settings from the dashboard at any time.

Wave provides a clean and modern interface. You have the main work area, showing you graphs, invoices, or whatever section you’ve chosen from the left-hand pane. The first thing to see is overall Cash Flow, followed by your Profit/Loss account. Then you can get into invoicing and associated transactions.

While their templates for customers, vendors, products, and invoices are perhaps less detailed and customisable than some competitors, they still look professional. All the necessary fields are there to make it work effectively.

Customer Support

Although we’re never particularly enthused by knowledge bots, Wave has done a pretty good job of implementing one. It will help you narrow down your query amongst their extensive help pages. Plus, if you really can’t find an appropriate answer it is no trouble to email support staff directly. That’s rare for a free software.

Pricing

  • Free: As some of the best free online accounting software UK businesses can use, Wave offers an entirely free setup. This, as well as full accounting, invoicing, and receipt features.
  • Pay-Per-Use: Card Payment Processing, including payroll features are 1.4% + 20p (EU) or 2.9% + 20p (Non-EU cards).

Verdict

Wave UK accounting software stands out as a solution for freelancers and sole traders as it lacks some features that larger businesses may require. This especially if you’re looking at it from a ‘free’ perspective. You cannot track inventory and there’s no time tracking or full project management. Payments and payroll come on a pay-per-use basis. 

It also has limited mobile functionality. While you can accomplish invoicing, everything else is more about checking in than doing the workload. 

As free cloud accounting software UK users can benefit from, it doesn’t get much better.

Clearbooks
Clearbooks

BEST FOR

Small business accounting software in the UK

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  • No obligation 30-day trial
  • Comprehensive range of features
  • Great visual reports
  • HMRC compliant VAT returns

Clear Books is a well-known and award-winning accounting solution that is now accessible online. It has an impressive beginner-friendly interface and all the essentials at a reasonable price. Over 13,000 companies now use the platform including Global Corporate LTD and Marble Construction. It’s also known for its stellar customer support. Let’s take a closer look at our pick for the best small business accounting software in the UK in this review.

Clearbooks Features

Invoicing

  • Customise professional invoice templates for your branding and billing requirements. This includes auto-calculated tax and email reminders. Unfortunately, with invoicing and other aspects of the software there’s no autosave function, so unless you save things yourself you could lose any inputted data

Expenses

  • Keep track of both your business bills and expenses with manual data entry and receipt scanning.

Bank Feeds

  • Link multiple banks to aid transaction tracking, reconciliation, and to save the manual entry.

Payments

  • Get paid easily via integrations with Stripe, PayPal, and GoCardless.

VAT

  • Bookkeeping software for the 2021 Tax year. Submit HMRC-compliant VAT returns almost automatically.

Currencies

  • Set your base currency and then handle multiple other currencies on the ‘Large’ plan. This includes automatic currency exchange. 

Project Management

  • Do your accounts on a project-by-project basis, tracking time and milestones, and view dedicated reports.

Payroll

  • Pay extra for the Payroll platform and fully manage your employee pay and payslips, absences, and relevant HMRC reporting.

Ease of Use

Clearbooks has one of the better user interfaces. It keeps things simple and doesn’t overuse accounting jargon. You also have access to a Demo account before properly onboarding your business to play around with the various options.

To help you set up there is also a ‘getting started’ wizard to fill out your information and fine-tune the various features of your specific business.

The dashboard is intuitive from the get-go, but you can also customize the home page and various other aspects by dragging widgets to where you’d like them.

Customer Support

All paying customers are entitled to free training and support, including a one-on-one session with a qualified bookkeeper, which is ideal if you have started a business for the first time. 

General support is available by phone, direct email, and via s support ticket system from within your online account.

Pricing

  • 30-day Free Trial: Test out the software with no obligation for up to 30 days before being billed.
  • Small: £12/mo, £10.80/mo (12 months in advance), £4.80/mo (2 years in advance): Access to all core features.
  • Large: £24/mo, £21.60/mo (12 months in advance), £19.20/mo (2 years in advance): Access to all core features, plus CIS, multiple currencies, and MTD VAT reporting.
  • Payroll Add-on: From £6.48/mo, with a 30-day free trial.

Verdict

Overall, Clearbooks is an ideal solution for small businesses and those just starting out that need a user-friendly platform. It has all the core features you need, and while Payroll is a premium add-on, it still remains a competitively priced option. 

What Are the Benefits of Using Accounting Software?

When we compare accounting software UK businesses have available, there are some clear benefits over old fashioned methods or relying solely on an accountant: 

Simple and Easy Data Entry

Entering the data is easy even for those that aren’t necessarily trained. Fields are there ready to be populated.

Making Tax Digital

The UK Government and HMRC have launched an initiative to Make Tax Digital (MTD). The best online accounting software for UK small business owners can get you compliant and ready for tax returns almost automatically. 

Automation

Whether it’s setting up recurring invoices, doing calculations, or getting a visual overview of your accounts, good software will do the hard work for you. 

Graphs and Reports

You can only tweak and expand your business if you truly understand its financial position. The reports and graphs offered by a sole trader, large business and SME accounting software in the UK give you quick and often real-time insights.

Time and Cost Saving 

Accounting software in the UK saves both time and money. With simple features like being able to snap a photo of a receipt into the system or the fact that you don’t need an outside accounting team (at least until Tax Day), it’s a no brainer. 

Collaboration

Your accounts are usually associated with a lot of people. These may be your employees and team, vendors and suppliers, customers, and bookkeepers and accountants. With modern software everyone can collaborate. Individual projects can also be tracked. 

Scalability and Accessibility 

Modern bookkeeping software is a lot more scalable and functional, than if say, you’re just trying to use some spreadsheets. It’s also far more accessible. With online options, you don’t need, for example, Mac accounting software in the UK. Just access to a web browser or mobile app. 

What To Consider When Choosing Accounting Software

Not all of the top accounting software in the UK have the same features or pricing structure, so it’s important to consider your needs before choosing an option.

Budget

What can you realistically afford each month on the best accounting software? The cost itself can be viewed as an expense. Likewise, using such software might actually save you time and money in the long run. Like anything, it’s important to consider the pricing plans and how they relate to your business budget before committing. Thankfully, most accounting solutions come with free trials.

Type and Size of Business

What is the type and size of your business? Do you need the overall best accounting software for medium-sized business in the UK? Or, something more specific? 

Can you get by with a plan that accommodates a few users, or do you need lots of collaboration?

Accessibility 

What kind of accessibility do you need? If you do everything on-site and use only macOS then finding the best accounting software for Mac in the UK might be a good idea. However, if you have a remote team or want access on the go, a more modern cloud-based solution is the better option. These can be accessed anywhere with a web browser and internet connection. Plus, supporting mobile applications for Android and iOS add to the platform’s versatility. 

If you have a lot of paper receipts, especially for expenses, mobile apps can scan these. The software will recognise them and file them accordingly. 

Collaboration 

If you are a sole freelancer, collaboration might not be that important. Even the smallest businesses, however, can benefit from such a feature. Then, of course, once Tax Day rolls around it’s also helpful to bring on a professional accountant to help with proper filing.

Payroll

Having an efficiently running business means having as few software suites and systems as possible. That’s why it’s always good to look out for a payroll feature. When we compare accounting software in the UK, we find some that have this feature as default. Others require you to pay extra, and some don’t feature it all.  

Built-in Returns to HMRC

You should only choose a solution that is VAT and HMRC compliant. Even better, some of the top UK accounting software can let you send compliant VAT and self-assessment returns directly to HMRC. 

Importability

Chances are if you’re a business owner, you already have accounts on another platform. In that case, your new software needs an adequate import function so you can get everything on the same system. GnuCash is a particularly good example as you can import data in QIF, OFX, and HBCI.

Wrap Up

The best UK accounting software is designed to make it simple to manage your profits and losses, taxes and expenses, and the invoicing process. Whether it’s the option for businesses or web-based accounting software for self-employed UK freelancers, our reviews and guides have options for all.

FAQ

Which accounting software is used in the UK?

The best accounting software in the UK can be found in our list. Each platform is used by thousands of individuals, companies, and other organisations. Traditionally, software installed on a computer has been the primary method to manage accounts. However, the UK is now much more in favour of so-called ‘cloud’ web-based software. This usually comes with supporting mobile apps with varying degrees of functionality. 

Sage is the most popular accounting software in the UK because it is the longest-running and trusted company, but it’s closely followed by others that have taken the cloud access route.

Which accounting software is best in the UK?

Our large and small business accounting software reviews for UK users show that, overall, QuickBooks offers the best all-around experience. The web-based solution is packed with features and has something for every business at a reasonable price.

Which is the easiest accounting software?

Software can be daunting, even if you’ve used it in the past. When carrying out our accounting software comparison for UK customers, we found the most user-friendly to be a toss-up between QuickBooks and Clearbooks. This is down to their great setup support and initiative user interfaces.

What is the most widely used accounting software?

Having been around for over 40 years in some form or another, Sage remains the most used accounting software in the UK. This is followed by long-time rival QuickBooks and a handful of powerful platforms like FreshBooks and Xero. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily make them the best, though QuickBooks still takes our crown.

What software do bookkeepers use?

While straight bookkeepers don’t necessarily need all of the features found in the leading accounting software in the UK, there’s a lot of overlap. Bookkeepers handle the day-to-day data recording while accountants may do deeper analysis and ready accounts for filing. Our UK accounting software comparison reveals no one piece of software excels over the other. In fact, the best allow collaboration between businesses and their accountants.