Best online accounting software for small businesses in Ireland

Keeping your finances in order is vital for any business. Managing invoices, receipts, expenses and mileage can be a cumbersome task if your records are unorganized and kept in a box. Online accounting software will help you stay on top of your accounting.

Our accountants have years of experience working with many different online software products and know that there are big advantages for small businesses in terms of accessibility, usability, integrations, and cost.

Our detailed guide will help you to decide which software best fits your business. If you need help deciding which online accounting software is best for your business, talk to our Client Services Team about our accounting services. We’re always happy to talk to you about our accounting services.

What you should consider before choosing a software package

Software packages can save you hours of data entry each week. However, it can be incredibly confusing if you are researching the accountancy market for suitable software for your business.

Most online accountancy software providers have originated from other countries and adapted their software to the Irish market, with some adapting much better than others.

Features to look for in online accounting software

  • Usability and user experience

    Do you find it user-friendly? How does it function on your iPad or other mobile devices?

  • Currencies

    Does your business operate in more than one currency? Will the package accommodate this?

  • Export capabilities

    If your business exports goods or services, your package will need to cover this.

  • Reporting functions

    These need to work how you want them to, so check them out first.

Pros of using accounting software

  • Affordability

    Packages cost an average of just €10-€20 per month for a small business and some are even free.

  • Efficiency

    Online accounting is more efficient, saving you and your accountant time, therefore reducing your accounting fees. Your office stationary budget can also be reduced by using online accounting software.

  • Variety

    Depending on what your business needs, you can choose an online accountancy software package that suits your requirements. As other businesses may have similar needs to you there is a large community of resources available.

  • Better Access

    You will be able to access your financial records from any internet-enabled device.

  • Ease of Use

    Online accountancy software is often more user-friendly than traditional software so misplacing files can become a thing of the past.

  • Back-up

    You will NEVER have to worry about backing up data again because all information will be stored automatically using Cloud-based technology. Having your files backed up and accessible online gives you peace of mind that they will never go missing.

  • Flexibility

    There are no commitments with online software - you pay by monthly subscription, so you can stop paying anytime, or you can upgrade, or reduce your requirements.

  • Tailored

    You can also choose add-ons to meet specific business needs e.g. a hairdresser may want an appointments module; retailers and manufacturers may need stock or inventory add-ons. This feature is incredibly useful as you only pay for what you need.

Cons of using accounting software

  • Security

    Many fear over the security of online bookkeeping solutions. This can present a slight cause for concern as even solid encryption procedures can’t totally guarantee the absolute security of your data. That said, alternative options cannot offer any more security than online options either. The moment you share your information, you’re always presenting a risk.

  • Virus risk

    When you store something on the cloud, it will always be at risk of infiltration from a virus or other harming online content. Without antivirus software and firewall protection, it is unsafe to use online accounting software.

  • Customisability

    Because bookkeeping software is designed to be a complete package, it can lack the customisability of other methods.

  • Can’t work offline

    Online bookkeeping software depends on an internet connection. Without it, the work cannot continue.

Our accountants will work with whatever online accounting software you are currently using. But if you’re not sure if it’s right for you, or if you haven’t started with business accounting software yet, don’t worry. Our professional team of experts can make the decision easy for you.

Our recommendations for online accounting software

There are a plenty of options for online accounting software in Ireland. But choosing the best one for your business can be difficult if you don't know what to look for. We outline the best software available in Ireland so you can make an informed decision. You can always talk to us if you need help.

1. Xero

Xero has been described as beautiful software, and in many ways it is. The interface is intuitive and the dashboard provides an excellent snapshot of your business.

Xero has an excellent online presence and is supported by a huge number of add-ons. Some of their features include invoicing, bank reconciliation, bank connections, mobile app, multi-currency and purchase orders.

However, there is no dedicated Irish version – hence the US dollar price below. This means you have to do a little bit of adjustment on the following issues:

  • VAT reporting – Xero doesn’t operate Irish VAT, so our clients and our accountants have to work off the global version, which is built for the US market. Although accountants can still use the software for Irish VAT, the software does not produce Irish reports. For example, Return of Trading Debit (RTD) is not applicable on Xero.
  • Cash receipts – the Irish method differs from the UK method.
  • There are issues with reporting EU purchases and it does not operate the VAT under RCT rules.

Why choose Xero?

Xero is a perfect choice if … you are a visual worker and you appreciate beautiful dashboards. Also, if you’re an Amazon, Alibaba, Etsy or eBay seller, Xero has special integrations so you can stay in control of your finances.

Pricing: Xero is free for accountancy clients of Accountant Online. We’re delighted to be Gold Partners of Xero and happy to offer you a free subscription to the excellent software. (The usual price for Premium is $40/month).

2. Surf  

Surf Accounts is an Irish system and their cloud-based accounting software and Customer Relationship Management system perfectly suits small and medium-sized businesses. A Surf subscription includes:

  • Free unlimited telephone and email support for their clients, so you can always get help when you need it.
  • Stylish invoicing, bank reconciliation, inventory management, and payroll are just some of the features that Surf offers. The software is fully adapted to Irish tax standards and very user-friendly.
  • All their systems can be updated in real-time collaboration with your accountant and accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device.
  • Business owners and accountants can work in the system at the same time, making account management quick and easy. There is no need to look for backups or restores, decreasing downtime and other issues.

Why choose Surf?

Surf Accounts is perfect for you if… you’re a small to medium sized company that wants a software that can manage all your business finances in one place.

Pricing: Free 30-day trial and their monthly subscription starts at just €14.95 with a free advisor login. 

Surf accounts

3. Kashflow

Kashflow is a UK product which, like Xero, has had to adapt to the Irish market. The interface on Kashflow is very user-friendly and easy to navigate, but probably not at the same level as Xero. The company is well established in the UK market and has won numerous awards.

Kashflow’s adaptation to the Irish market have made it a very popular piece of software.

  • It handles bank feeds for the majority of Irish banks very well.
  • It can also handle the Irish cash accounting for VAT.
  • Crucially, it can also manage the Irish Return of Trading details.

Why choose KashFlow?

The only negative is that there appears to be little movement in the area of innovation. The interface also lacks the sharp sleek look of some of its competitors.

Kashflow is perfect for you if … you want an online accountancy software that gets the job done and gets it done at a low price.

Pricing: Offers a free trial then it is £8 – £21 per month for the first 4 months.

KashFlow Accounting Software

4. AccountsIQ

AccountsIQ is an Irish system and so has all the functionality that Irish legislation requires, and also UK, U.S. and Australia functionality if you need it. We would recommend AccountsIQ for larger businesses or high potential startups. As the system is sophisticated, the price is higher than the other software mentioned.

  • The system serves a different market to the two providers profiled above. It specifically targets companies with more complex accounting requirements.
  • From a functionality perspective, it works very well. The dashboard is intuitive and the system, in general, is quite user-friendly, considering that the businesses who use it are more complex.
  • Accounts IQ is designed for multi-entity and multi-currency accounting.
  • Reports are sophisticated and include non-financial reports, which are important for smooth business operation.
  • The VAT reporting is robust, although we have experienced some issues with bounced lodgements not being reflected correctly on VAT returns.

Why choose AccountsIQ?

The only negative is the limit on concurrent users is based on your subscription – i.e. the number of people logged in and using it at the same time. If you exceed the number of users allowed on your subscription, the system will not allow you to log on.

AccountsIQ is perfect for you if… you’re a large business or a high potential startup who needs a fully-enabled and easy Irish platform with consolidation capabilities. 

Pricing: Prices can be found by contacting AccountsIQ directly.

5. Wave

Wave is a free software that offers accounting, invoicing, receipts and payments. However, they do charge for allowing businesses to accept payments online so you can get invoices paid faster and if you need payroll. Each transaction is paid when it’s charged, no you only need to pay for what you use. Perfect for small businesses.

Why choose Wave?

Wave is perfect for you if… you’re a small business and you have business with EU and non-EU customers.

Pricing: Free!

Bookkeeping on your own

If you would rather not use any online accountancy software, don’t worry, you can still run a fully operational business. Here’s how:

Check Your Cash Situation Daily

When you’re starting out, it’s best practice to open a business bank account. Keeping your business money separate from your personal money enables you to see your company cash flow clearly and make projections for the upcoming year.

Organise Your Paper Receipts

Even if you don’t want to store them all on software, at least keep a digital copy of each receipt on Google Drive or Dropbox (Both Free). This makes it easier to search for old receipts and takes up much less space. Keep records of bank statements and invoices so you can easily find them for your accountant when requested upon.

Keep Customer And Supplier Billings Records

Use your preferred method of bookkeeping (i.e. notebook or ideally Google Drive Sheets or Excel) and record any outbound customer invoices, inbound payments, supplier invoices received and supplier invoices paid.

Talk To Your Accountant

Your accountant may offer a different way of doing bookkeeping that matches your business type and suits your needs.

Need help with accounting?

Using online accounting software is only part of your accounting obligations in Ireland. As a business owner you are required to file tax returns each year. Limited Companies also need to prepare financial statements and file Annual Returns to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) each year.

Talk To Us

If you need help with your accounting and compliance requirements, get in touch with our Client Services Team to discuss the services you need.

Call us on +353 1 9059364 or email hello@accountantonline.ie.

You may also be interested in