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Take the pain out of bookkeeping: two small businesses try out accounting apps

Bookkeeping can be a real chore for small business owners. Your focus will naturally be on running your company – sorting out everyday logistics, attending meetings and answering emails. Keeping on top of the accounts often feels like something that can wait another day, but delaying the task will only make it more laborious when you do finally get round to it. With that in mind, we asked two small businesses to try out a couple of different accounting apps to see if they can help make it easier to stay on top of the books when you’re out and about.

Boxman: ClearBooks

Paul Stricker, MD of London storage company Boxman, tried out the ClearBooks app for size. Here’s what he found:

‘The Clearbooks app really lives up to its name. If there’s one feature that stands out, it’s just how clear and simple every process is. The package is obviously aimed at small businesses – accounting jargon is out the window, and every question is asked without any assumed knowledge. For example, when entering a sale, most packages ask the user to select a VAT rate; with Clearbooks, it asks you what you’re selling: ‘goods/services to UK customer’, ‘goods to EU customer’ etc.

Experienced accountants might feel advanced features are lacking or dumbed down. There’s a dashboard, but it’s not detailed enough for a proper look at the company’s financial position. The app isn’t designed for accountants, so it would have been better if Clearbooks had avoided the overview entirely. This app is for the likes of a mobile salesforce, entering invoices and expenses on the fly – and for that it’s brilliant.’

Liquiproof: Kashflow

Caner Veli, founder of eco-friendly footwear protector spray Liquiproof, played around with the Kashflow app. This is what he thought:

‘The Kashflow app is a great idea for small businesses managing their account activities. The layout is very clean and uncongested, making it easy to navigate, while the customisable view allows quick access to your data – ideal when you’re on the go.

The idea of integrating PayPal within the software is a good feature, as many other apps of this kind don’t offer this – the thing about accounting software is that you want to be able to stick with one, so you don’t have data crossover problems. I could definitely see myself migrating from the software I currently use.’

Other accounting apps

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to bookkeeping apps for your business. Here are three more you might want to look into:

QuickBooks

 

QuickBooks is online accounting software for businesses that allows you to work from anywhere – on the train, at a client’s office, in a cafe – wherever’s convenient for you. What’s even better is that there’s a mobile feature that adds one-touch access from iPhones, Blackberries and Android devices, allowing you to check in with payables, receivables and bank balances from your smartphone

Easy Books (iPad and iPhone)

A firm favourite with small businesses, Easy Books allows you to track your accounts, statements, invoices and VAT, as well as generate invoices as PDFs and send them via email. You can even complete your tax return straight from the app – convenient or what?

FreeAgent

We like FreeAgent because the app automatically backs up your data on a regular basis, so you don’t have to worry about losing all your accounting information. It’s super intuitive, too, making it really easy to invoice customers, track expenses and synchronise your bank accounts

For more business tech advice, check out the O2 Business Gurus online or on the phone. Not on Windows Phone? Check out our guides to backing up your iPhone or Android phone.



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