Our accountants and account managers have years of experience working with many different online software products and know that there are big advantages for SMEs in terms of accessibility, usability, integrations, and cost.
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. Our detailed guide will help you to decide which software best fits your business.
Have you incorporated your company in the last 6 months? Check out our Startup Offer!
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 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.
All the packages mentioned in our list will do the basics, such as posting your transactions the right way and covering VAT. So why not try a couple of different software by signing up for a free trial.
Points to consider in selecting your package include:
- Usability: 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: 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.
Is Online Accounting Software Really Better Than Excel?
Online accounting software has many benefits compared to traditional desktop versions, including:
Ease of Use
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: No commitments – you pay by monthly subscription so you can stop paying anytime, or you can upgrade, or reduce your requirements. 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.
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
In no particular order, here are our top picks for online accounting software for small Irish business owners.
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 your accountant can work in the system at the same time, making account management quick and easy. No need to look for backups and restores which result in downtime and other issues.
Free Online Accountancy Software
For a limited period, we are offering startup businesses a FREE accountancy software subscription for Surf Accounts. Simply purchase our startup offer to avail of the Surf Enterprise Package worth €360.00 annually. The Enterprise package includes Invoicing, VAT, Banking, Purchases, General Ledger Dashboard & Reporting, Quotes & Orders, CRM, RCT, Multi-Currency, Stock, SEPA Payments.
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’s Enterprise Package monthly subscription worth €29.95 completely FREE when you sign up for our Startup Offer.
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 the business.
Xero originated in New Zealand and has grown rapidly over the last few years. It has an excellent online presence and is supported by a huge amount of add-ons.
However, there is no dedicated Irish version. This means we have to operate from their Global 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. Our accountants still do use it for Irish VAT but it does mean that we can’t get Irish reports like the RTD (Return of Trading Details).
- 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.
- It does not produce a Return of Trading Details report, which Revenue has started to insist on in recent years. This report is very time-consuming to produce.
Xero is the 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: Free 30-Day Trial then €13 – €26 per month for your first three months.
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 user-friendliness and adaptation to the Irish market have made it a very popular piece of software.
- It handles bank feeds for most 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
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.
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 use this system and 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 so 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.
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.
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.
Wave is perfect for you if… you’re a small business and you have business with EU and non-EU customers.
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 – track the money going in and going out. When you’re starting out, it’s best practice to open a business bank account. Keeping your business money separate from your personal money means you can 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) and sort them into folders. 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 they need them.
- Keep records of customer and supplier billings and payments – use your preferred method of bookkeeping (i.e. notebook or ideally Google Drive Sheets [Free] or Excel) and record any customer invoices being sent, payments made in, 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.
Still not sure about using online accountancy software? Here at Accountant Online, we can help you choose which software package is best for you. Our Startup Offer for new Limited Companies gives you access to your own dedicated team of accountants who specialise in helping startups in the early stages of development.