What is the best online accounting software?

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 and bookkeeping responsibilities.

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.

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Choosing the best software package

Using online accounting software can save you hours of data entry each week. However, it can be incredibly confusing if you are researching the accountancy market for a 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.

  • Gives you access to your finances anywhere

    All the software on this list can be accessed through a laptop or phone. But consider how easy is the system to use - talk to us if you want our advice.

  • Handles multi-currency businesses

    If your business deals with multiple currencies, you'll need software that is capable of handling different currencies with no extra work for you. Dealing with Foreign Exchange can be difficult.

  • Automates admin tasks

    Keeping track of your receipts, invoices, bank statements and expenses is very easy with online accounting software. Everything is organised and stored in the cloud.

  • Reporting functions

    All the software on this list will offer some level of reporting. But what exactly do you need to know about your business?

  • Connect to your bank

    Some of the packages can connect directly with your bank so you get live bank feeds and easier bank reconciliation. Is this something you need?

  • Integrates with other apps

    Are you currently using apps for receipt or expense tracking? Connecting these apps to your online accounting software will remove a lot of admin tasks.

Benefits of using online accounting software

1. Better business decisions

When you enter information into the software, it organises all the data into dashboards. This makes it easier for you to report on certain aspects of your business and therefore make better decisions.

2. Efficient admin tasks

Even if you use Google Drive or Dropbox for your invoices or receipts, it is still not considered to be moving your accounts online. This is because you or your accountant will still need to go through each individual document. Online accounting software gathers all the data and categorises it.

3. Information is backed-up

If you’re still storing records in paper form, it is time you moved online. Your documents shouldn’t be insecure in only one location. Your books and records should be on the cloud and protected online.

4. Save costs

Most online accountancy software is subscription-based. So even though you need to pay a fee to use the software, it will save you the costs of hiring an in-house bookkeeper in small businesses. Plus, it’ll help you spot unnecessary costs in your business because your cash flow management can be controlled using the platform.

Our recommendations for online accounting software

How do you choose the best software for your business? We outline the different options available in Ireland so you can make an informed decision.

Check out our Guide To Moving Your Accounts Online With Xero if you’re interested in learning more about this particular software.

We currently have a special offer to help take your accounting online. Talk to our Client Services Team about our accounting services today.

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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 over 800 integrations. 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 offer a straight forward way to calculate Irish VAT, so when our clients are setting up on Xero for the first time, we make sure that their accounts for Irish VAT correctly.
  • Irish specific reporting – 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 software.
  • 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. It’s also great for integrating with other apps so you can enhance your experience and make even better business decisions.

Pricing: Xero Premium is free for clients as part of our Special Offer for new Limited Companies. 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).

Live Webinar: Take Your Accounts Online With Xero

Do you want to know more about the Xero functions and our experience with the software? We’re offering a free tutorial on how to use Xero online accounting software.

We’ll answer your questions about setting up on Xero and introduce you to all the Premium features.

You can register for this webinar here: https://accountantonline.ie/events/take-your-accounts-online-with-xero/

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 start at just €14.95 with a free advisor login. (Checked in April 2020)

Surf accounts

3. Sage

Sage One is UK based and has an Irish adapted system that is good for both small and medium-sized companiesThey offer different packages depending on your needs so can choose the best fit for your company.

A Sage subscription includes: 

  • Invoicing, payments, reporting and connection to your bank account.
  • Always up-to-date with the latest legislation VAT requirements.
  • If you want to add another user to your account, you need an enhanced subscription plan.
  • Offers training for their software at an additional cost.

Why choose Sage?

Sage is perfect for you if… you’re just starting out. You can start with Sage Business Cloud and when you grow, you can upgrade to Sage 200cloud or  SageX3.

Pricing: Free 3-month trial then 10  25 + VAT per month (Checked July 2020)

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 has 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.
  • KashFlow also offers payroll features so your bookkeeping and payroll systems can be integrated.

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. (Checked in April 2020).

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 and 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.

Still Deciding?

Our client services team are always happy to talk to you about what's best for your needs

Get Started

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