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Book-keeping/accounts software for the numerically challenged self employed?

(9 Posts)
AdelesBeard Thu 05-May-16 12:39:12

Title says it all really. I'm a self-employed, VAT registered, sole trader with no employees.

I have difficulties with numbers (and financial organisation in general) and until recently have been happy to hand everything to an accountant to deal with. But recently he made a large error that I only spotted by chance, so I've realised that I need to keep on top of this side of the business myself. Can anyone recommend some idiot proof booking-keeping/accounting software?

I want to be able to input payments, expenses, keep a running estimate of tax/vat due. My tax affairs are very simple - the only unusual thing is that although I am self employed I'm part of a Union pension scheme that operates like a work-place pension (ie my clients/'employers' pay in and I also have contributions deducted at source) - so if the software could help me keep track of that then that would be brilliant.

I have tried keeping track of things on an ordinary spreadsheet but the numbers/calculations fry my mind so I'd love something a bit more user friendly! I had a look at Quikbooks (sp?) - is that the kind of thing I need?

IceMaiden73 Thu 05-May-16 13:14:21

Have a look at Xero

What a shame you lost faith in your accountant. Ideally I would try and find another one who can help you

2016namechangecomingalong Thu 05-May-16 13:17:23

Quickbooks is great and I would find a local accountant who can help you with it. At least initially.
Just because the accountant made an error this once doesn't mean you should distrust all accountants. How he dealt with it would tell me more, we are all human unfortunately and no one is infallible.

Doing it all by yourself does not strike me as sensible for someone who describes themselves as financially challenged.

AdelesBeard Thu 05-May-16 13:50:19

Thanks Ice and 2016 - you are probably right about the accountant but it gave me a real fright - he accidentally added an extra 20K to my income and I only noticed when I got a massive unexpected tax bill! Unfortunately he didn't handle it brilliantly and I'm still dealing with ramifications from HMRC.

It made me realise that sticking my fingers in my ears and going 'la la la' when it comes to money isn't the way forward . So yes, I will keep an accountant but want to feel like I know what is going on and to be on top of things. Will have another look at Quickbooks and also at Xero - I hadn't heard about that one.

Everything to do with money brings me out in a rash and I hate feeling so out of control with it all!

2016namechangecomingalong Thu 05-May-16 18:38:57

I have clients that use both xero and Quickbooks. Personally I recommend Quickbooks but I do usually set it up for people and then offer a free training session on it as it is not always immediately obvious. They do have loads of 3-5 min quick videos explaining how to do various things. Watch out though, if you take the free one month trial you are not able to get the cheap first 12 months.

Xero and Quickbooks have a very different look to them and you will find you like one more than the other.

With regard to your tax return, did the accountant not go through it with you before you signed it? I insist on doing that with every client and you have every right to that as after all they are your numbers, and you can't legally delegate responsibility for them. When you are looking for a new accountant make sure you get someone properly qualified (either Chartered, ACA, FCA, or certified ACCA, FCCA) and make sure you think you could have an open honest chat with.

Good luck!

TaIkinPeace Thu 05-May-16 21:22:03

VT Cashbook is free
lots of accountants have the VT transaction Plus that links it to tax software

your accountants cockup is not necessarily of all accountants, qualified or otherwise

2016namechangecomingalong Thu 05-May-16 22:05:25

Yes I also like VT cash book and have some clients on that but you do have to manually type every transaction in whereas xero and Quickbooks link to your bank. It depends whether you want the bank feed and also are willing to pay monthly for it whereas VT cash book is free.

AdelesBeard Fri 06-May-16 07:27:27

Thanks Talkin - that's interesting will check it out - but I think on balance I'm probably better not typing too many numbers. Honestly, I don't have a thing about not trusting accountants - it's purely that I had put too much faith in my accountant (and washed my hands of that whole side of things) so this has been a wake up call. I'm more annoyed at myself than at him!

2016 - that's all very helpful thank you. I've got some time today so will have a proper look at Xero and Quickbooks. And find a new accountant. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question so fully.

TaIkinPeace Fri 06-May-16 17:03:13

xero does link to your bank, but makes an utter cock up of it if you have debtors and creditors (I raised a batch of invoices for the same amount, each customer paid, Xero linked them randomly, I have switched off bank feeds)

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