There are many different cloud accounting software to choose from on the Irish market. Many of them offer free trials or starter pricing to entice you to choose them. But where do you start looking for the right one for your business? We’re here to help.

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 unorganised and kept in a box.

Online accounting software will help you stay on top of your accounting and bookkeeping responsibilities and make managing your business finances easier! But we also recommend checking our Bookkeeping for Small Businesses guide for more tips.

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.

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Benefits of using cloud accounting software

  1. Save costs – You could receive a 20% discount on your annual accounting bill and save on bookkeeping costs if you use online accounting software to manage your books and records.
  2. Provides real-time information – Always be in the know about how you’re doing financially with the dashboard and reports.
  3. Allows you to work from anywhere – Access your business finances anytime, from any internet-connected device – phone, tablet, or computer.
  4. Protects your business data – online accounting software backs up your data and protects it.

Best online accounting software for Startups and small businesses in Ireland:

  1. Xero
  2. Surf
  3. Sage
  4. Kashflow
  5. AccountsIQ

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1. Xero

Xero online accounting software is our top recommendation. Xero is easy to use for all levels, has a very user-friendly interface, and is suitable for both startups and small to medium-sized businesses so you can continue to use the same software as you grow.

It also has an excellent online presence and they publish regular guides, videos, and help articles to help users. The software integrates with over 800 third-party apps, making it easy to streamline and consolidate all your business software into one platform.

Pricing

Xero’s prices are in US Dollars but you can purchase from their Irish site. Alternatively, check with your accountant if you subscribe to Xero through them. As a Xero Accounting Firm, we offer our clients a discounted subscription to Xero and free Xero subscriptions for clients availing of our Startup Offer for Limited Companies in Ireland.

VAT

Xero requires Irish VAT rates to be entered manually so when our clients are setting up Xero for the first time, we make sure that their accounts are set up for Irish VAT correctly. This is an extra step but it is easy to do and there is plenty of support and guidance on how it’s done.

Bank feeds

Due to Brexit, Xero has temporarily stopped live bank feeds from Irish banks. This requires users to manually upload their bank statements but we feel that it is a quick process, and the advantages of using Xero outweigh this additional step. Even still, they are bringing back the live bank feeds from 2022 so you can automate your processes even further!

Xero is ideal for…

Visual workers who appreciates beautiful dashboards. It’s also great for integrating with other apps so you can enhance your experience and make even better business decisions.

Free, live webinar: Take Your Accounts Online With Xero

Free, live webinar: Take Your Accounts Online With Xero

To learn more about how Xero can benefit your business, register for our free, live webinar now.

See what Xero has to offer and the advantages of taking your accounts online and automating your bookkeeping.

Register Now

2. Surf  

Surf Accounts is an Irish system whose cloud-based accounting software and Customer Relationship Management system perfectly suit 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. For more information on Irish tax standards, check out our post on how to register for tax in Ireland.
  • All systems can be updated in real-time, in 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 software that can manage all your business finances in one place.

Pricing: Free 30-day trial with a monthly subscription starting at just €14.95 with a free advisor login. (Checked in August 2021)

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 based on your needs so you 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 on VAT requirements.
  • You can add an additional user to your account (an enhanced subscription plan is required.)
  • Sage 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 2-month trial then 1025 + VAT per month (Checked August 2021)

4. Kashflow

Kashflow is a UK product that, 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 choice of software.

  • It handles bank feeds for the majority of Irish banks very well.
  • It can handle the Irish cash accounting for VAT. Crucially, it can also manage the Irish Return of Trading Details.
  • KashFlow 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 £9-£24 + VAT per month for the first 4 months. (Checked in August 2021).

KashFlow Accounting Software

5. 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 is designed for companies whose accounting requirements are more complex.
  • From a functionality perspective, it works very well. The dashboard is intuitive and the system, in general, is quite user-friendly, considering that it’s aimed at more complex businesses.
  • 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 – i.e. the number of people logged in and using it at the same time. This is based on your subscription. 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 that needs a fully enabled and easy-to-use Irish platform with consolidation capabilities. 

Pricing: Prices can be found by contacting AccountsIQ directly.

accountsiq logo

Frequently Asked Questions

What does online accounting software do?

Most systems will have some or all of these features. If you're a new business, you may not need all of these features but it will be easier in the long-run if you pick a system that does everything you want... and more!

  • Gives you access to your finances anywhere

    All the software on this list can be accessed through a laptop or phone. Users should consider how easy the system is 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. Pick a software that is easy to use so you don't have to spend too much time setting it up.

  • Reporting functions

    All the software on this list will offer some level of reporting. Users should consider what they need to know about their business to ensure the software can cater to their needs.

  • Connect to your bank

    Some of the packages can connect directly with your bank so you get live bank feeds and easier bank reconciliation. Users should consider whether this is this something they need.

  • Integrates with other apps

    Are you currently using apps for receipt or expense tracking? Check if it will connect with your chosen cloud accounting software.

Can I do my own bookkeeping?

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.

  • 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 best suits your needs.

How does accounting software work?

  1. The first thing is data entry. Your financial information needs to be imported into the accounting software. This can be done seamlessly, in real-time, through automation
  2. Then, your financial information is categorised and admin tasks are completed automatically
  3. Once categorised correctly, you can run financial reports in seconds to review profitability, compare revenue and costs, check bank and loan balances, and predict tax liabilities

How much does accounting software for small business cost?

The cost will depend on the functionality you need and how many users you want to have access to it. You should also consider if you need training for the software as you may need to factor in the cost of hiring a trainer. If you need to digitise your existing systems, you may need to pay extra for converting historical data into the accounting system.

What business processes have been automated with accounting software?

Accounting processes such as invoicing, payments, bank reconciliation, and receipt tracking are streamlined using accounting software. An automated system also reduces the likelihood of human error and helps you stay on top of taxes and other financial paperwork. Real-time budgeting tools and forecasting capabilities also allow you to see how changes in key financial indicators will affect your bottom line.

What is the simplest accounting software?

In our opinion, Xero is the most straightforward, user-friendly, and simple accounting software for small businesses. Xero’s comprehensive online resources, access to expert advice from Xero-certified advisors, and their integrations with other apps make it one of the most reliable software on the market.

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.

Need Help?

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

Get Started