Your choice of accounting software app is governed by many things – not least what apps are available at the time. Twenty or even 10 years ago your choice was limited, and Quick Books Desktop would have been a good choice for many businesses. Times, however, move on. In October 2021, Intuit announced that they are stopping support for QuickBooks Desktop. Yep, it’s the end of a great software that was first available in 1992 in the US, and 1998 in the UK. It was the dominant US market leader by 2013 and had a significant proportion of the UK market. They are not going to update the software after 2021, and online and telephone help and support would only continue until January 2023. This change is essentially a reaction to the latest Making Tax Digital rules and that QuickBooks Online has been promoted instead for the last decade. So, what’s the best app to replace QuickBooks Desktop?
QuickBooks Desktop was and is a very good software – but changes to the tax regime have brought about its demise. If you are a QuickBooks user then the question is: what next? You might be tempted to think that QuickBooks Online is the obvious answer – however the online app is very different to the desktop app. In fact, about the only thing they share is the name and colour scheme. Which means now is your chance to review and choose the most appropriate app for you.
Which accounting software app should you use?
The end of Quickbooks Desktop means you can look at which accounting software you are going to use with fresh eyes. To answer the question of what is the best accounting app in 2021 or 2022, or what app is best to keep you compliant with Making Tax Digital, you can look at it in the light of the current crop of accounting apps. Choose one that fits your needs and budget – and you have a year and a bit in which to do this – but as ever, don’t wait until the last minute to make your change.
Here are our top 6 accounting apps for your business, recommended by us as accountants. Our top recommendation is to use Xero as your accounting app – it’s the market leader for a reason! But this list comes to you free of any bias, other than making sure you get a good result – and you have choice.
So what are the very best accounting apps in the UK in 2021?
1) Xero (www.xero.com). With around 720,000 UK users it is comfortably the market leader in cloud based apps. it delivers a full all-round package with lots of integrations with other useful apps. The standard price is £26/m+VAT. Our opinion: this is always our first choice when recommending apps.
2) QuickBooks Online (https://quickbooks.intuit.com/uk ). At the time of writing QBO hadn’t published a current number of users but the estimate is that this is the second most popular app in the UK. It has a full all-round package and has developed integrations with other useful apps. The standard price is £20/m + VAT – which is going up in January 2022. Our opinion: this is a marmite product, you either love it or hate it!
3) Freeagent (www.freeagent.com) is a smaller player, it has around 100,000 UK subscribers, but is a good software, albeit with some lower functionality than the bigger players. The standard price varies from is £19 to £29/m+VAT depending on your business structure or free (!) if your business banks with NatWest, Mettle, Ulster Bank or RBS. Our opinion: if you can get it free, then great! Otherwise Xero is probably cheaper and definitely better.
4) Kashflow (www.kashflow.com ). According to their website they have tens of thousands of users – but it’s not hundreds of thousands. Kashflow was an early entrant to the cloud accounting market, but has not been taken up or developed as much as its rivals … which should enourage you to look elsewhere too!
5) Freshbooks (www.freshbooks.com ). Freshbooks is a late entrant to the UK market having started in North America and they haven’t published their number of UK subscribers. Its pricing increases as you add more users, which is different to the other apps. The standard price is £30/m+VAT. This makes it more expensive, however its entry level pricing is much cheaper at £4.40/m, making it attractive to smaller businesses.
6) Sage Business Cloud (www.sage.com) is a smaller player. Not to be confused with the rest of the Sage stable of products, Sage Business Cloud is its small business package. Sage haven’t published details, but feedback from the accountancy community is that takeup is very very low. The standard monthly cost is £24/m+VAT. The package needs more development. My recommendation is look elsewhere and you will get a much better bang for your buck.
Hopefully this article is helpful to those looking for recommendations of which accounting software to use for their business as the best app to replace QuickBooks Desktop – and if you want some bespoke advice, well, get in touch!