Which First Accounting System ?

There is no doubt that many of the largest companies started of with their accounts on the ” back of a fag packet” along with their business plans and cash flow forecasts.

Whilst this is not something to be recommended there is a great deal to be said for keeping it simple in the early days. I started my first business with precious little knowledge of accounting let alone the software that was considered necessary. I wasted hour upon hours trying to understand the accounts software and what it was doing to my figures.

Keep it Simple

The humble spreadsheet is probably the simplest of accounting systems and no doubt the one to bring your current financial situation clearly into view. Unless your business has a lot of itemisation i.e. you have many parts to purchase, operations to conduct or sales to make, then a simple spreadsheet is probably the best accounts package you could chose.

Set Up and Grow members will find a straight forward spreadsheet available in their privileged members area. This can be used for budget an Cash Flow forecasts as well as actual on going performance measurement.

It is so simple that the conclusions and implications leap out at you without you  going on a course to learn to interpret them. Also ITS FREE. A very important consideration when funds are tight.

When the Sheet won’t Spread Far Enough

There comes a time when the humble but ever so useful spreadsheet won’t quite cut it. Your business will have grow somewhat and the complexity will have increased. Complex stock calculations, costings, and salaries may have covered an ever increasing product range and it’s time to look at a “proper” accounts software. A few years ago it was a choice of which software do I buy but now there are two very different types of offering in the equation.

Conventional Software versus The Cloud.

Conventional software is what we are used to. You buy it, it arrives on a disc, you load it up and you enter you figures,then, away you go. There is also the option of a support package at a monthly fee. When I say option if you lack a PHD in accounting then the support package is pretty much obligatory in order to avoid hours of hard graft  trying to sort out even the simplest mistake.

Well not a lot has changed there although there are a range of entry level software available that are much better suited to a Start up Business. We will look at those i more detail. They include packages such as:

Tass –  First Books ( from Sage),      £97.02 + VAT currently on offer for      £ 67.99.

Basics Free version for Small & Startup Businesses

Quick Books – Simple Start (from Intuit)  £ 99.00 + VAT

Free copy of  Simple Start Available.

Mamut – Start ( formerly MYOB ( Mind Your Own Business )the Australian Software company).      £ 79.00 + VAT

Plus some not so well known but nevertheless capable offerings from other producers. There is, however, a new kid on the block.

Note !

A The above Accounting packages have an optional Support package which can be purchased on an annual or monthly basis. It is unlikely that a new user will be able to manage without this assistance and the upgrades that come with it.

The cost can be as much or more than they purchase price of the software over the first year. This is a considerable additional cost and must be taken into account.

Accounts in the Cloud

Internet based or Cloud accounts packages are now readily available and worth considering. With a cloud based system you do not actually own a piece of accounting software. You simply Log on to an Internet site and do all your accounting in the cloud ( Cloud refers to the Internet itself ).

This concept takes a bit of getting used to if you haven’t gone down this route before. It’s quite a change to entrust all your accounting records to an on line service provider but this is becoming an increasingly popular way of doing things. The immediate advantages are:

  • No need for software purchase
  • No requirement for installation and maintenance
  • Systems support already available
  • Portable – access form anywhere
  • State of the art security and encryption
  • Regular reliable backups of your Data

So who are the people offering this type of accountancy service:

  • Liquid Accounts           £ 20.00 / month
  • Cash Bus –                 £ 17.99 / month
  • Kash Flow                 £ 15.99 / month

Although this gives a general indication there is considerable difference between products and the full buyers guide, which is included in the privileged membership, provides a detailed analysis and costing of all Cloud and conventional services and of course includes the free Spreadsheet.

Detailed Reports on Accounting Software Packages and Cloud Accounting are available to Privileged Members. These reports include performance and cost appraisals.

Tags: , ,