Should I get accounting and payroll software?
As a one person business I am keen not to spend all my time doing admin - should I invest in some accounting software and a payroll programme or just use a spreadsheet and the HMRC free tools?
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Tony, with several good accounting software in the market today, there is no need to keep transactions in Excel. Some of them are free with limits on number of transactions. If you go through an accountant you can get significant discount offered by providers. Outsourcing payroll function is advised because of requirements for related taxes and other withholdings.
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I get this via an excellent value package from Maslins Accounting in Tunbridge Wells. They do it all remotely. I spend the bare minimum of time doing what I have in any case to do and the software and Maslins sort out the rest.
Excellent value and no problems at all.
It may be worth your while finding out what it would cost to outsource those functions. A competent small firm of accountants (or even a one man band) may be able to provide you with all you need at an acceptable cost, saving you the time and need to work with software and functions which are not part of your core skills. There are excellent firms outside of London who do not charge London rates, and you do not need to spend a lot of time face to face with them.
Do you intend to grow your business from a sole trader? If you do - take advice from your accountant - I assume you have one. If you intend to remain a sole trader take a look at (free) solutions such as quickfile.co.uk - online solution that is simple, takes little time and provides the features a sole trader needs. (I've looked at many paid and unpaid solutions, over the years - this one, meets most requirements). I would suggest that you only need look at payroll, if you intend to, surprise surprise, employ people! The other thing to consider is what software platform you use (Microsoft or Mac) - this will open up the different solutions (other than online) that are available to you. Hope that helps.
Richard Stern-Suggest you check with your Accountant so see which version of Quick Books to get.
The Accountant will help with the set up.
First, I'd suggest talking with your accountant, he may have a suggestion that he works with and will make tax season easier.
Since its just you for now, I'd keep it simple. QuickBooks Pro would be my recommendation. I've been using it for over 15 years. The software provides all that you need from estimating to invoicing, tracking bills to tracking invoices and everything in-between.
A poster below recommended Xero and I have to agree with him. It is an economic way to have your books up to date and take care of that important aspect of business that most of us don't deal with correctly. I hired a friend who is an accountant and pay him by the hour. I pay him his regular wage, this way he knows this is not a favor, it's a job and I know that the more efficient I make my business and the less clutter and paperwork, the less hours he will spend there.
Don't take the shortcut, it will cost you more on the long run, spend now, but spend wisely and the advantage of this software is that there are no licenses, there are unlimited users and you can access anywhere, it is fairly simple to use. Hope this helps
You didn"t mention you business size - No of your workers , I assume to go for it only in case you are going to expand your business in near future , or you worker no will gradually will increase , as a matter of fact payroll software is nessarry to maintain your records more accurate & easier , wiss you all the best .
Hi TOny, if you are too busy for accounts, tka e alook at Xero.com - either use it yourself without purchasing costly software or talk to an accountant that uses it., much cheaper. I love it.
Or try www.carpenterbox.com
I would try out free options like Wave Accounting and see how it works for you.
There are multiple options available to you, but yes, you should do the accounting in a program. If you start from now using accounting software, you'll have all of your history in one place and can generate reports to compare time periods. And many import your transactions, so if you know what they are for, it won't take long to post.
That doesn't mean you have to do the work yourself. If it's a fairly simple business, you can have a teenager or intern assist you as long as you understand the process yourself. You'll have to show them at first how to do the steps, and you should write written instructions for anyone assisting you to follow. Keep in mind if you have anything difficult, you should have someone who understands accounting assist you. It's worth it to pay for the work to be done right the first time.
You may think you don't need it now, but you'll be thankful down the road you used software. And your CPA will thank you too!
I would invest in Quickbooks or Zoho for accounting.
The average small business owner spends 6.8 hours a week on financial stuff, like bookkeeping and payroll. If you're a one-man show, you could likely spend your time doing more productive tasks to service and grow your business.
Kashoo offers a great cloud solution for bookkeeping. For those in Canada, http://www.easyrecordbooks.com is based on the Kashoo platform and provides a personal bookkeeper and payroll specialist to handle the paperwork so you can focus on your business.
It all depends on the size of your business. If you spend a good part of your day doing the books then it is worth the investment. I just finished a short-term engagement at local company and all the bookkeeping functions are done via spreadsheet and paper. It was nuts. When I see $100K in A/R from an established client and the business owners says to me oh I need someone to go through and update the file there is something wrong.
Hello Tony, I am part of the Trainer/Writer Network of Intuit's QuickBooks Online product and I see great advantages in using a cloud based Accounting system such as QBO which already has Payroll (KeyPay) built in for up to 10 employees. The advantages of using an Accounting program (Database) rather than a Spreadsheet is that the key information such as Customers, Sales, Suppliers, Bills, Banking and Taxation are integrated so that changing one piece of information, such as paying a Bill will adjust other information automatically, QBO now has automatic bank feeds which allow you to create rules to detect information flows into your bank statements and automatically assign the appropriate tax code and ledger posting, cutting down the data entry required. You can also attach scanned or photos of receipts to transactions in the field using the mobile QBO App.
I would suggest you contract with someone to do those important functions and focus on what you do best.
If you have time & are numerate, managing your own books is a good way to stay close to your business performance/cashflow. However if your focussed on delivering the best experience for your customers & not good at numbers - you can also outsource the book-keeping to a Virtual Service for a fixed fee per month...its that easy !
Hi Tony, yes you should definitely invest in accounting software and online payroll. This will save you 50% of the money and time in the long run. Plus it will save you the stress if you're not keen to spend all your time doing admin.
If you'd like some guidance on the best accounting software feel free to get in touch with me.
Most tax accountants prefer to work with a counting software at year-end. In addition, it allows you to view reports that can keep you abreast of where your money is being spent, what income you have, etc. I recommend QuickBooks desktop as the online version is subscriber and very expensive to maintain. Payroll, especially if it is just for 1-2 people, can easily be handled, and tracked, in Quickbooks desktop - the caveat being that you should add reminders to deposit necessary taxes on a timely basis.
Search Amazon.com for my book that walks you through setting up and maintaining a basic service business. "How To Do Your Own Small Business Bookkeeping."