Best Accounting Software UK – Top 10 Compared For 2024

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Choosing the right accounting software for your business is pivotal for optimizing your business operations. It allows you to efficiently manage taxes, track incomes and expenses, uncover critical financial insights, and make critical business growth decisions.

This guide will help you choose the best online accounting software in the UK. We reviewed a list of the top ten contenders to help you make the right choice for you and your business. Read on to find the best fit.

QuickBooks - Most Popular One-Stop-Shop Solution

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Xero - Feature Rich Accounting For Established Businesses

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Sage - Solves Complex Problems For Enterprises

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TurboTax - Beginner-Friendly All-In-One Tax Solution

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Melio - Free iOS Payment Management System

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Bonsai - Simple Financial Management For Creatives

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Tide - Easy-to-use Bookkeeping App for Beginners

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FreshBooks - Best Accounting Software For Small Businesses

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Zoho Books - Cost-Effective Accounting For SMBs

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Oracle NetSuite - First-Grade Business Management Platform

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Top 10 Accounting Software UK

  1. QuickBooks: Best for sole traders
  2. Xero: Best for advanced integrations & usage
  3. Sage: Best for advanced inventory management
  4. TurboTax: Best for efficient tax management system
  5. Melio: Best for streamlined payment processing
  6. Bonsai: Best for business management
  7. Tide: Best for easy bookkeeping integration app
  8. FreshBooks: Best for small businesses
  9. Zoho: Best for retail businesses
  10. NetSuite: Best for large enterprises

The Best UK Accounting Tools Reviewed

To ensure a fair and consistent evaluation of each accounting software, we reviewed each provider against several critical factors, such as price, features, usability, customer support options, automation, and more. Also, we provide further details on our ranking and reviewing criteria in our “how we test” section.

1. QuickBooks – Best for Sole Traders

QuickBooks Logo

Best For Sole Traders
Free Trial Yes, 30 days free trial
Price From Starting from £1/month
Top 3 Features Free Onboarding Session, Self Assessment Taxation Process, Business Analytics with Excel
Why We Picked It

One of the perks that fascinated us about QuickBooks is the flexibility it offers upcoming sole traders who have not yet registered for VAT.

This implies that QuickBooks will take up the VAT processing from scratch with you even if you have yet to register. As a result, we considered it a good fit for sole traders in the UK and small businesses that need a comprehensive suite of features and functionality.

One of its most significant features is that there are no usage limits on any subscriptions, making it appropriate for businesses with diverse transaction volumes.

Features
  • Free Onboarding session: Allows you to better understand the software even if you don’t have any prior accounting knowledge.
  • Multi-currency Support: Record transactions in many currencies, automatically convert foreign currencies, and generate reports in your choice currency. This allows you to operate globally without sacrificing accurate financial records, a critical feature lacking in some accounting software like Melio.
  • Customizable Reports for UK Standard: As a UK-based business, you can quickly generate financial reports such as profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash statements with UK compliance, saving you time and energy.
  • User-friendly Interface: Its intuitive design makes it accessible to small business owners and accounting professionals.
  • HMRC Compliance: QuickBooks ensures businesses in the UK meet HMRC’s requirements for tax regulations compliance. Tax estimation is available at all price plans, which makes it distinct from competitors like Bonsai, Tide and Melio.
Pricing Plans

Intuit QuickBooks offers five plans to cater to all business types and sizes. See the table below showing the price plans.

Plan Self-Employed Simple Start Essentials Plus Advanced
1 month £1/month £1.40/month £2.80/month £3.80/month £9/month
1 year £10.80/year £15.10/year £30.20/year £41/year £97.20/year
  • Self-Employed – This plan includes basic accounting functions and is appropriate for sole traders that still need to register for VAT and need to prepare for self-assessment.
  • Simple Start – This plan offers more than the basic plan by adding capital insight, Making Tax Digital Ready, and VAT error checks. The plan is ideal for sole traders or small businesses managing VAT, income tax and preparing self-assessments.
  • Essentials – This plan offers everything in the Simple Start with multi-currency support, employee time tracking, and bill management. It is ideal for small businesses working with suppliers.
  • Plus – With this plan, you can get everything included in the Essentials plan with stock management, profitability tracking, and budget management. This plan is ideal for small businesses working with suppliers.
  • Advanced – This is the last plan, and it makes it way higher. It includes everything in the Plus plan with advanced reporting, data restoration, workflow automation, employee expenses management, and more. This package is ideal for businesses needing automatic data backup, custom permissions, bespoke reporting and insights.

All QuickBooks plans include features designed to address accounting and management needs without usage limits. However, if you want features like multi-currency capabilities and supplier and bill management, opt for Essentials and jump to Plus or Advanced for budget management and inventory tracking.

Who's It Best For?

QuickBooks is best suited for solo traders, freelancers, and new enterprises looking for accounting software that can grow with them.

Pros pros

  • Easy-to-use platform for tracking finances
  • Straightforward implementation for scaling businesses
  • Thorough record-keeping and comprehensive custom reporting meeting UK Standards
  • Accessible online help with customer support

Cons cons

  • Limited integration opportunities
  • Lack of free plan
  • Lack of capital insights with the basic plan
  • Inventory management and project profitability tracking are only available on the Plus and Advanced plans alone
  • Payroll is only available as an add-on at an extra fee

Read our full QuickBooks review

2. Xero – Best for Advanced Integrations & Usage

Xero logo

Best For Advanced Integrations & Usage
Free Trial Yes, 30 days free trial
Price From Starting from £15/month
Top 3 Features VAT returns submission to HMRC, CIS Automation, Cash Flow Tracking
Why We Picked It

We chose Xero Accounting as the best accounting software for advanced integrations and usage since it provides all of the core accounting functionality at all price levels. Although it does not include unlimited invoicing like QuickBooks Online, you can still submit VAT reports to HMRC, track available capital, and automate CIS.

The icing on the cake for Xero is the inclusion of over 1000 applications, which enable you to get more out of its basic accounting functions.

Features
  • Cash Flow Tracking with Xero Analytics: Easily understand your short-term and future capital, evaluate financial health, and track metrics all in one location. Most accounting software only offers this in their highest tiers, whereas Xero includes it as a standard feature with all plans.
  • VAT Transactions Management: Xero calculates VAT and securely files VAT returns online with HMRC using HMRC-compatible software, saving you time.
  • Online File Storage: Xero stresses secure sharing during data transmission and also stores invoices, contacts, receipts, and other documents online. With this cloud-based accounting software, you can access your business data from any device.
  • Multiple Third-party App Integrations: Many customers will find Xero’s integrations suitable because this feature allows users to personalise the software to their individual needs while also streamlining operations.
  • Bank Transactions Reconciliation: Xero helps you keep up with daily bank reconciliation of items from your bank statements by automatically importing and categorizing bank transactions.
Pricing Plans

Xero accounting software’s UK pricing plan is available in four tiers. It is feature-based rather than user-based, enabling businesses to leverage unlimited users across their plans.

Plan Starter Standard Premium Ultimate
1 month £15/month £30/month £42/month £55/month
  • Starter – As the name implies, this plan is suitable for businesses that are just starting and in need of basic accounting features. The plan features basic invoicing (Send quotes and 20 invoices), five bills, expense tracking, automatic CIS calculations and reports, VAT submission to HMRC, short-term capital, and bank reconciliation.
  • Standard – This plan is ideal for growing small businesses. The Standard plan offers everything in the Starter plan with bulk bank transactions reconciliation, and unlimited invoices and bills.
  • Premium – This plan caters to established businesses of all sizes. The Premium plan features everything in the Standard plan and multi-currency support.
  • Ultimate – This plan is ideal for employing businesses and those with more advanced needs. The Ultimate plan features everything in the Premium plan with Analytics plus support.

Xero only supports monthly subscription packages and not yearly. All of Xero’s price plan comes with 24/7 customer support, safe and secure transactions, and Ready for Making Tax Digital.

Who's It Best For?

Xero is ideal for mid-sized businesses looking for advanced integrations to increase the flexibility of their accounting software, as well as powerful reporting tools.

Pros pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Strong and multiple integrations
  • Excellent mobile apps
  • Security and Compliance with UK Regulations

Cons cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Payroll management is available at an extra fee
  • Advanced analytics come at an extra fee
  • Sudden glitches with the mobile app

Read our full Xero review

3. Sage – Best For Advanced Inventory Management

Sage Logo

Best For Advanced Inventory Management
Free Trial Yes, 3 months free trial
Price From Starting from £14/month
Top 3 Features Audit Trails, Unlimited Sales Invoice, Receipt Capture Automation
Why We Picked It

If you need comprehensive accounting software that offers a robust inventory management system, Sage is the answer. We love this software’s combination of comprehensive functionality, such as audit trails for identifying trends, unlimited sales invoice creation for continuous smooth business running, receipt capturing automation to help you save time, and lots more.

Features
  • Exchange Rate Report: Unlike most accounting software, Sage tracks gains and losses to inform users about the impact of currency exchange on their cash flow and earnings. This allows them to make swift financial decisions.
  • Advanced Inventory Management: Sage takes it a step further by providing extensive inventory management. It allows you to upload current products or stock items in seconds and includes a stock notification alert to help you identify stocks that need to be made available.
  • Advanced Reports: Monitor your business performance by following transactions in depth with customized tags, analysis types, and more.
  • Data Security and Compliance: Sage’s features, such as role-based user access controls, data encryption, and regular software updates, are key security safeguards that secure businesses’ sensitive financial data.
  • Receipt Capture Automation: This is one of Sage’s automation capabilities, which helps businesses get more done in a blink. You can save time and reduce manual entry by automatically pulling data from uploaded receipts and purchase invoices.
Pricing Plans

Sage pricing is in three tiers, allowing businesses to choose the best plan that will support their accounting needs.

Plan Accounting Start Accounting Standard Accounting Plus
1 month £14/month £28/month/ £36/month
  • Accounting Start – This plan is ideal for sole traders and micro-businesses who are starting out. The plan features unlimited sales invoice creation, simple bank reconciliation, VAT submission, and Be Making Tax Digital Ready for VAT.
  • Accounting Standard – The Accounting Standard is ideal for small businesses working with suppliers, CIS, or with accrual accounting. It offers everything Start offers, plus more advanced features like advanced reporting, CIS management, capital forecast, and receipt capturing automation.
  • Accounting Plus – Accounting Plus offers all of the Standard features plus support for multiple currencies, automatic exchange rate updates, and inventory management.

Each Sage price package includes professional support, membership classes, community forums, business guidance, learning, and Sage certification. Sage is very liberal with its free offer, allowing you to use the program for free during the first three months of your membership. Finally, the software has no long-term commitment cost, allowing you to upgrade or cancel at any time.

Who's It Best For?

Sage is ideal for businesses that want comprehensive inventory functionality from accounting software. Furthermore, it is best suited to businesses that need advanced customization and data capacity that can scale with their operations.

Pros pros

  • Free to use for the first three months
  • Regulatory compliance, including GDPR in the UK
  • Robust inventory tracking with Sage Accounting plan
  • Cloud-based software

Cons cons

  • Limited third-party integrations available for use
  • Outdated interface
  • Limit in basic plan features. For example, it doesn’t include available capital and supports one user
  • It is more expensive than competitors like Zoho and QuickBooks Online

Read our full Sage review

4. TurboTax – Best for Efficient Tax Management System

Turbotax Logo

Best For Efficient Tax Management System
Free Trial Free to use
Price From Custom
Top 3 Features Guaranteed Accuracy, Tax Deduction Maximization, Live Tax Assist Accountants
Why We Picked It

A unique feature that made TurboTax become one of our top accounting software is its high level of tax accuracy, which human professionals guide. Unlike most accounting programs that rely solely on machine learning and artificial intelligence, TurboTax provides human expert guidance to help businesses navigate challenging tax problems.

Features
  • Live Tax Experts: TurboTax provides access to live tax specialists who can guide users through the preparation process, allowing people to make informed decisions regarding their taxes.
  • Coverage for All Major IRS Forms and Schedules: TurboTax’s comprehensive coverage of all major IRS forms and schedules required for various types of tax returns simplifies the process of submitting financial information.
  • Tax Law Updates: TurboTax, being a human-based tax aid platform, keeps up with changes in tax laws and regulations to ensure that users have a compliant tax procedure.
  • Automated Data Entry: Automatically import information from W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and bank records to streamline tax preparation. This automation eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the likelihood of errors, saving users time while maintaining accuracy.
Pricing Plans

TurboTax’s plans include a free version for simple returns, an assisted plan for maximizing deductions, and a full-service plan for more complex situations like investment income. Additionally, live expert assistance is available for personalised guidance.

TurboTax only list their pricing in USD, to aid in comparison we’ve included what this would be in GBP.

Plan Do your own taxes Assisted Full Service
Custom $0-$129 (£0-£102) $89-$219 (£70 -£102) Starting from $129 (£102)

Do your own taxes – This plan is designed for solo businesses that have the confidence to do their taxes. This plan offers 100% accurate calculations by the system, a minimum refund guarantee, and easy scan and upload.

Assisted – This plan features everything in Do your own taxes with expert approval, unlimited help from real tax experts, specialist review, and support. This plan is suitable for small businesses that need expert assistance in filing their taxes accurately.

Full Service – This is a full expert service plan that takes your hands off the taxing processes. This plan is for businesses that prefer a dedicated expert to manage their tax filing for them. In some cases, you may have the option to choose an independent Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro.

TurboTax concentrates on tax filing and does so effectively with its human expert advice, assisting businesses in staying compliant. This pricing may be a little steep for small enterprises because the listed price is subject to change.

The final price is determined by your real tax situation and the forms utilized, so you may spend more than you expected.

Who's It Best For?

TurboTax is ideal for individuals, sole proprietors, and small businesses in the United States who need tax preparation and filing assistance.

Pros pros

  • Free to use as you only pay when you file
  • Access to extra help when needed
  • Intuitive and simple interface

Cons cons

  • Only available for US taxpayers
  • It is more expensive than other accounting software
  • Unstable taxing estimation
  • Inconsistent taxing expenses

Read our full TurboTax review

5. Melio – Best for Streamlined Payment Processing

Melio Logo

Best For Streamlined Payment Processing
Free Trial Yes, Start for free
Price From There is no monthly plan, but transaction fees
Top 3 Features Unlimited Users, Custom Payment Requests, Bank Transfer
Why We Picked It

Melio provides a simple solution for managing online payments via bank transfers, debit, or credit cards. Its key features include payment scheduling, automated data synchronization, reporting, invoicing, unlimited users, and payment reminders.

However, Melio isn’t a full-featured online accounting service like FreshBooks or NetSuite, but its simpler payment process is a huge plus.

Features
  • Accounting Software Synchronization: Integrating with QuickBooks strengthens Melio’s value proposition by enabling smooth collaboration between the accounting and payment departments. For QuickBooks users, this eliminates the need for duplicate data entry while maintaining accuracy across all financial processes.
  • Approval Workflows: Invite people to your account, including your accountant. This allows you to define roles, permissions, and approval levels so that you can maintain control at all times.
  • Payment Flexibility: Melio offers more flexible payment options, such as combined payments, split bills, and recurring payment options.
  • Vendor Management: Keep vendor information, such as contact data and payment preferences, in one place. This integrated vendor management solution enables companies to keep structured records and streamline interactions with suppliers.
Pricing Plans

Melio is completely free to use and has transparent transaction fees. However, the rates associated with various services are calculated depending on usage, ensuring that businesses only pay for what they use.

Below is a list of Melio transaction fees.

  • ACH bank transfer — Free
  • Check Mailing, with the first two checks free per month — $1.50
  • Pay by card — 2.9%
  • Instant transfer — 1%, up to $50
  • Fast ACH bank transfer — 1%, up to $30
  • Fast check, to get a check to your vendor within 3 business days — $20
  • International payments (USD only) — $20 flat fee
Who's It Best For?

Melio is a versatile finance software that may help small and medium-sized organisations optimize their bill payment operations and vendor management.

Pros pros

  • Allows payment by card or bank transfer free of charge
  • Unlimited users and clients per account
  • Fast ACH payment processing
  • Free to use

Cons cons

  • International payments can be made in USD only
  • Not a full accounting software product
  • Customer support service needs to be improved

Read our full Melio review

6. Bonsai – Best for Business Management

Bonsai Logo

Best For Business Management
Free Trial Yes, 7 days free trial
Price From Starting from £16.72/month
Top 3 Features Project Management, Customizable Templates, Automation
Why We Picked It

We chose Bonsai as the best accounting software for business management because it includes almost everything a business needs to perform efficiently. The platform consolidates business management functions such as bookkeeping, accounting, and client management.

Despite its flexibility for all business management needs, it lacks the complex tax creation features that popular accounting software like Xero and Sage offer.

Features
  • Customizable Templates: Bonsai stands out with its customizable invoices and contracts. This is an excellent feature for firms of all sizes, independent of sector or market segmentation.
  • Project and Time Management: Project management tools, such as time and task tracking, assist both freelancers and professional businesses by ensuring that projects run on time and remove the need for multiple tools or manual processes.
  • Client Management: Bonsai saves you a ton of time by providing a consolidated platform for managing relationships with clients. Its CRM allows you to add prospects, existing clients, project data, and internal comments to keep track of all your contacts.
  • Workflow Automation: One of the advantages of using Bonsai is that it automates repetitive operations such as contract administration, invoices, payment reminders, and so on. This saves users time and increases company productivity.
Pricing Plans

Bonsai accounting software offers three tiers – Starter, Professional, and Business.

Plan Starter Professional Business
1 month £19.91/month £31.05/month $61.31/month
1 year £16.72/month £25.48/month $52.55/month
  • Starter – This plan is ideal for freelancers and contractors who are just starting out. The plan features include expense tracking, proposals, and contract management, online signatures, and project management tools.
  • Professional – The Professional plan is ideal for established businesses in need of more automation with their accounting software. This plan features everything in the Starter plan, plus custom branding and payment processing functionalities, integration with Calendly, a branded client portal, and unlimited events scheduling.
  • Business – This plan is a perfect package for growing businesses and agencies. It features everything in the Professional plan with premium customer support, subcontractor management, and productivity reporting.

Bonsai’s price offers are feature-rich to cater to any business at any growth level without restrictions. Although it’s a bit pricey, its feature packages are a good consideration when choosing the software.

At the same time, Bonsai allows you to use the software for 2 months for free when you choose a yearly plan. You can as well leverage its 7-day free trial to test the software before making a monetary commitment.

Who's It Best For?

Bonsai is ideal for freelancers, sole traders, and small business owners searching for an all-in-one business management software that also meets their accounting requirements.

Pros pros

  • All-in-one business tool
  • Customizable contracts and invoices
  • Offers good value for money
  • Supports project collaboration with unlimited users

Cons cons

  • Transaction fees are high
  • Many users reported poor customer service
  • Allows only one team member’s seat per plan
  • Basic tax support when compared to other accounting software like TurboTax

Read our full Bonsai review

7. Tide – Best for Easy Bookkeeping Integration App

Tide Logo

Best For Easy Bookkeeping Integration App
Free Trial Free Plan
Price From Starting from £9.99//month
Top 3 Features Unlimited Invoices, Business Bank Account, Tax and Accounting Automation
Why We Picked It

Tide is a digital banking platform that ranks among the top financing tools for small businesses. Although less comprehensive than Xero, it does include a number of functions to help with financial management.

The sophisticated technology and app-based platform enable business owners to handle their accounts effectively and conveniently. Its all-in-one software integrates bookkeeping, invoicing management, cash flow tracking, and tax preparation into a single, user-friendly interface.

Features
  • Automatic Tax and Accounting Integrations: The automatic integrations function makes data entry easier by linking with a variety of accounting software packages, removing the need for manual data transfer.
  • Expense Card Management: This functionality fulfills consumers’ need for effective expense management by sending invoices straight from the Tide app.
  • Business Loans: Easy access to funds through loans is one factor that contributes to the success of many businesses. Tide provides qualifying customers with business loans to help them grow and expand their businesses.
  • Credit Builder: Track your company’s credit score and take steps to enhance it rapidly.
  • Invoice Tracking: Create, share, and track invoices in-app while also generating secure payment links to get paid faster.
Pricing Plans

Tide offers a range of account plans designed to cater to small businesses, freelancers, and sole traders.

Plan Free Plan Plus Pro Cashback
1 /month £0/month £9.99//month £18.99/month £49.99/month
  • Free Plan – This is a free plan that features a free Tide card, scheduled business payment, accounting integrations, up to 5 business accounts, a 24/7 fraud helpline, and free invoice creation.
  • Plus – This plan offers everything in the Free plan plus phone support, app support, exclusive member perks, and 20 free monthly transfers.
  • Pro – Including everything in the Plus plan, with unlimited transfers in and out and two free expense cards.
  • Cashback – This is the highest price offer and it’s only a bit more than the Pro package with its three free expense cards.

Tide pricing is tailored to suit different business needs. Despite its free plan, it still incurs transaction charges such as;

  • 20p for transfers in and out,
  • £1 for ATM cash withdrawals,
  • PayPoint – 3% and,
  • Post Office – 0.5% cash deposits.
Who's It Best For?

Tide is ideal for solopreneurs and small firms in the UK looking for a simple approach to handling their finances. It is an excellent choice for entrepreneurs on a small budget who need both banking and accounting services in one place.

Pros pros

  • Seamless integration with accounting software like Xero, Sage, and QuickBooks
  • Free version for business accounts
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • Quick setup process

Cons cons

  • Lack of an overdraft facility
  • Transfer and cash handling attract extra fees
  • ATM cash withdrawal charges are high
  • Doesn’t support charity businesses

Read our full Tide review

8. FreshBooks – Best Small Business Accounting Software

FreshBooks Logo

Best For Small Businesses
Free Trial Yes, 30 days free trial
Price From Starting from £15/month
Top 3 Features User-intuitive interface, Accounts Aging Report, Client Management
Why We Picked It

We chose FreshBooks as the best small business accounting software due to its capabilities to streamline business invoicing and payment procedures. With features such as automated late fees and multilingual support, it stands out as an effective solution for organisations looking to improve their financial management.

Features
  • Businesses Financial Security: FreshBooks safeguards your personal and customer information with industry-standard SSL and encryption, ensuring that everything is always safe and secure.
  • Multi-language Invoicing: The multi-language invoicing feature is an excellent tool for breaking down language barriers since it allows users to generate invoices in multiple languages.
  • Cross-platform Versatility: FreshBooks’ cross-platform adaptability, which works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile, makes it the best bookkeeping app on the market with wide accessibility.
  • Automatic Late Payment Reminder: Late payments can strain company relationships, but with this option, you can easily apply late fines, gently reminding clients to meet deadlines.
  • Project Profitability: FreshBooks lets you track all project profitability by comparing income and expenses. This feature allows you to quickly identify the most profitable initiatives and make educated decisions about future projects.
Pricing Plans

FreshBooks has four tiers of pricing options with flexibility, allowing business owners to pick. The table below summarizes each of the FreshBooks plans.

Plan Lite Plus Premium Custom
1 month £15/month £25/month £35/month Custom
1 year £162/month £270/month £378/month Custom
  • Lite – The Lite plan offers a solid foundation for small businesses with features like unlimited invoicing and expense tracking, unlimited invoices to 5 clients, and submission of MTD-compliant VAT returns directly to HMRC.
  • Plus – The Plus plan takes the Lite plan a step further, with automatic expense tracking, recurring billing, accountant invitations, financial reports, and unlimited invoices to up to 50 clients.
  • Premium – The Premium plan adds project profitability tracking, customizable email templates, and unlimited invoices to an unlimited number of clients.
  • Custom – For businesses needing support, the Custom plan offers dedicated account management and custom onboarding services.

As the number of add-ons increases, FreshBooks may become too expensive for small firms to manage. Adding new team members costs £8 per user per month, and advanced payments cost £15 per month.

FreshBook provides a 30-day free trial, allowing you to explore and test the program to determine whether it is a good fit for your company. You can also save an additional 10% by selecting FreshBooks’ yearly plan.

Who's It Best For?

FreshBooks is an excellent choice for small businesses to manage basic finance management tasks such as invoicing, expense tracking, payment processing, taxation, and running basic financial reports.

Pros pros

  • Intuitive and accessible
  • Affordable prices on the lower tiers
  • Double-entry accounting reports feature
  • Provides easy-to-use bookkeeping

Cons cons

  • Advanced accounting is not available on the basic plan
  • A dedicated account manager is only available to the custom plan
  • Additional team members incur additional fees
  • No forever free plan like Tide and Melio

Read our full FreshBook review

9. Zoho – Best For Retail Businesses

Zoho Books Logo

Best For Retail Businesses
Free Trial Yes, 14 days free trial and free plan
Price From Starting from £10/month
Top 3 Features Real Estate-Specific Integrations, Users Management, Advanced integrations and extensions
Why We Picked It

Zoho Books is perfect for retail business accounting software because of its user-friendly design, robust capabilities, flexibility, and typical bookkeeping functions.

Another key feature we found is that you can seamlessly combine your accounting data with a variety of company software, including CRM, email, marketing channels, and customer care.

However, it’s worth noting that Zoho’s in-depth capabilities sometimes outperform those of competitors like QuickBooks Online.

Features
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Zoho enables ecommerce and retail store operators to collaborate with their consumers in real time.
  • Sales Order: This function can help businesses with a high volume of orders optimize order processing and inventory management, avoiding errors and delays.
  • Vendor Collaboration: Collaborate with vendors and suppliers. This portal facilitates communication for order placement, invoicing, and payment tracking.
  • Advanced Reporting: Zoho analytics allows you to access data visualizations from a variety of sources, create interactive dashboards, and gather insights to aid decision-making.
  • Sales Tax Management: Automatically calculate and apply taxes to invoices depending on location and tax requirements. This makes it easier for businesses to generate tax reports and file taxes directly from the software.
Pricing Plans
Plan Free Standard Professional Premium Elite Ultimate
One month £0/month £12/month £24/month £30/month £99/month £199/month
1 year £0/month £10/month £20/month £25/month £85/month £165/month
  • Free – This plan requires no fees, and it’s suitable for small businesses with annual revenue < GBP 35k in need of a free accounting solution for businesses.
  • Standard – The Standard plan is ideal for organisations that want to efficiently organise their transactions, accounts, reports, and books.
  • Professional – This plan is for businesses that want to collaborate with their team efficiently and confidently to take on projects.
  • Premium – This plan offers enhanced customization and automation to streamline business processes.
  • Elite – This is an advanced accounting bundled with full-fledged inventory management, allowing batch tracking, shipment tracking, sales channels connection, and warehouse management.
  • Ultimate – This plan helps businesses to gain deeper insights with advanced business intelligence capabilities. It allows 15 users, supports embedding reports in websites/applications, analyzes Zoho Books data along with other sources, creates custom dashboards with charts and widgets, and over 50 pre-built data visualizations.

Although Zoho Books limits the number of users per plan, it offers some of the most affordable additional user slots, starting at £2.5 per user per month, £8 per branch per month, and £68 per month for advanced autoscans, all invoiced annually.

Who's It Best For?

Overall, Zoho Books is ideal for large retail businesses that need more than basic accounting software functionality.

Pros pros

  • Free plan available
  • Feature-rich accounting software
  • Robust mobile app with impressive support options
  • Advanced reporting is available at all price levels

Cons cons

  • Supports a maximum of 15 users
  • Advanced features come at an extra fee
  • A limited number of third-party integrations
  • The interface is too complex for beginners in accounting

Read our full Zoho review

10. NetSuite – Best For Large Enterprises

Oracle NetSuite Logo

Best For Best For Large Enterprises
Free Trial No
Price From Custom-based
Top 3 Features Wide Feature Range, Payment Processing, Cash Management
Why We Picked It

Oracle NetSuite is a robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform that includes full accounting and payroll software. Its notable feature is its broad integrations, which enable businesses to link and automate a variety of critical accounting operations seamlessly.

If you’re considering its scalability, this cloud-based solution not only helps you track financial data but also includes comprehensive invoicing and bill-paying tools.

Features
  • Complex Financial Reporting: Comprehensive financial reporting and analytics to help you gain a deep understanding of your business performance and make smart financial decisions.
  • Automation: NetSuite automates routine operations like writing journal entries and reconciling account statements, and eliminating the need to collect data from other departments saves finance teams dozens of times.
  • Cloud-based Storage: Access your business data from anywhere with an internet connection. Your accounting, management, operational, and staff teams can operate from anywhere and at any time.
  • Cash Management: Netsuite offers sophisticated capabilities for optimizing flows, managing liquidity, and monitoring bank accounts, enabling your finance teams to be more strategic by having a full view of the company’s available means.
Pricing Plans

NetSuite does not disclose pricing information online. However, they do charge monthly fees according to the amount of users and features included, as well as a setup cost.

You can schedule a free demo on NetSuite’s website to verify its applicability to your business.

Who's It Best For?

NetSuite is intended for enterprise-level businesses due to its extensive capabilities. As a result, NetSuite is ideal for mid-sized to big businesses across a variety of industries.

Pros pros

  • User permissions with customized views
  • Generates reports and dashboards for leaders
  • Powerful, versatile accounting platform

Cons cons

  • High initial investment
  • Lack of price plan transparency
  • No free plan
  • The software may be too advanced for beginners

Read our full NetSuite review

The Best Accounting Apps in the UK Compared

Here’s a quick summary of each software to help you compare their essential features:

Accounting Software Best For Free Trial Starting Price Top Features
QuickBooks Sole Traders No £1/month Free Onboarding Session, Self Assessment Taxation Process, Business Analytics with Excel
Xero Advanced Integrations & Usage Yes £15/month VAT returns submission to HMRC, CIS Automation, Cash Flow Tracking
Sage Advanced Inventory Management Yes, 3 months free trial £14/month Audit Trails, Unlimited Sales Invoice, Receipt Capture
TurboTax Efficient Tax Management System, Custom Free to use £0/month Guaranteed Accuracy, Tax Deduction Maximization, Live Tax Assist Accountants
Melio Streamlined Payment Processing Yes, Start for free There is no monthly plan, but transaction fees Unlimited Users, Custom Payment Requests, Bank Transfer
Bonsai Business Management Yes, 7 days free trial £16.72/month Project Management, Customizable Templates, Automation
Tide Easy Bookkeeping Integration App Free Plan £9.99//month Unlimited Invoices, Business Bank Account, Tax and Accounting Automation
FreshBooks Small Businesses Yes, 30 days free trial £15/month User-intuitive interface, Accounts Aging Report, Client Management
Zoho Books Retail Businesses More Features Yes, 14 days free trial and free plan £10/month Real Estate-Specific Integrations, Users Management, Advanced integrations and extensions
NetSuite Best For Large Enterprises No Custom Custom-based, Wide Feature Range, Payment Processing, Cash Management

Methodology

How We Review and Test Accounting Products

To provide our readers with accurate and well-informed recommendations, we test the most popular accounting products on the market to find the best options for you. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Features: We examine the features of each accounting software to determine what capabilities are offered- such as creating, editing, and deleting transactions.
  • Compliance: We evaluate accounting software based on whether it offers local compliance when it comes to payroll, taxes, documentation, and more.
  • Bank Reconciliation: We test the reconciliation process to ensure transactions match bank statements accurately.
  • Multi-Currency Support: We verify the accuracy of currency conversions and transactions in multi-currency environments.
  • User Experience: We get hands-on with each product and act as a new user, testing each platform to gain understanding if the platform is easy to use or not.
  • Reporting and Documentation: We verify the accuracy of financial reports generated by the software such as balance sheets and income statements.
  • Integrations: We evaluate the integrations of each piece of software to determine how well it fits in with other key pieces in a business’s software stack, and whether its functionality can be expanded as required.
  • Audit Trails: We ensure the software maintains comprehensive audit trails for tracking changes made to financial data.

How Do UK Accounting Systems Work?

Accounting systems are designed to help businesses manage their finances, comply with regulatory requirements, and provide insights into the business’s financial health. This consists of seven main parts:

Set up and configuration

The accounting system is configured with your company details and business structure (sole trader, partnership, limited liability, etc), financial year, and tax information. Then, a standard chart of accounts is created.

Data entry and transaction recording

This step includes invoicing and sales, purchases and expenses, and bank reconciliation. This means that your solution can now create and send invoices, track sales, and manage customer relationships. All purchases can be tracked for analysis, you can manage expenses, and by connecting to your bank accounts, all financial records should match your bank statements.

Automated calculations and reporting

UK accounting platforms follow Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) when completing calculations and creating financial reports. Financial teams must adhere to UK GAAP guidelines when compiling finance information for reporting.

This includes the principles of consistency, regularity, sincerity, non-compensation, method permanence, prudence, continuity, periodicity, and complete disclosure.

Compliance

Using an accounting platform for the UK will ensure your business is in compliance with UK tax laws by ensuring you prepare and submit the required documentation to HMRC. This includes VAT returns, corporation tax returns, and tax digital (MTD) submissions.

Security and accessibility

UK accounting systems are safe and secure. They protect financial information with robust security measures, such as encryption, user access limitations, and backups. This applies to desktop and cloud accounting software.

Real-time analytics and insights

By providing dashboards, you can view key financial metrics and real-time analytics, which helps in decision-making. Businesses can also make more accurate financial forecasts to plan for the future and manage cash effectively.

Integration with other systems

Accounting solutions in the UK allow for third-party integrations with other business software. This includes payroll systems, CRMs, e-commerce platforms, and more. This can be done natively in the system or via API.

Within this process, it’s vital that businesses follow the 8 steps of the accounting cycle to ensure financial compliance.

Benefits of Using UK Financial Software

Accounting software designed for the United Kingdom is essential, especially in terms of tax legislation and compliance, as well as location-specific functionality. Beyond this, here are some additional benefits of using UK-compliant accounting software for your business finances:

1. Eliminates Repetitive Data Entry:
UK accounting software automates the entry of financial transactions, significantly reducing the need for manual input. This automation not only saves time but also minimises the risk of human error, ensuring that financial records are accurate and up-to-date.

2. Automatic Calculations:
The software performs all necessary calculations automatically, including VAT (Value Added Tax) and other UK-specific financial processes. This reduces the likelihood of calculation errors done by manual data entry, and ensures compliance with UK financial regulations, providing peace of mind and accuracy in financial reporting.

3. Flexible and Secure Access:
The best accounting solutions allow secure access to financial information from anywhere at any time. This flexibility ensures that business owners and their employees can manage finances on the go, improving efficiency and responsiveness. The software typically includes robust security measures to protect sensitive financial data.

4. Real-time Financial Insights:
With real-time access to up-to-date financial information, businesses can make informed decisions swiftly. Accounting solutions in the UK provide comprehensive financial reports and dashboards, allowing users to monitor cash flow, track expenses, and assess financial performance instantly, enhancing overall financial management.

5. Enhanced Collaboration with Accountants:
The ability to share access with accountants and other financial advisors streamlines communication and collaboration. This shared access facilitates quicker and more accurate financial reviews, tax filings, and strategic planning, ultimately saving time and improving the efficiency of financial operations.

How Much Does Accounting Software in the UK Cost?

Accounting software costs between £0 and £300 per month. This cost difference is due to accounting software’s broad focus on various business demands, which impacts the sophistication of its features. Some software options are low-cost or free, but others are more expensive.

Most accounting software companies provide a basic plan for free or a low fee, with advanced functionality offered as a premium choice at a higher price point. As a result, if you need sophisticated features, you may need to upgrade to a more expensive plan.

The Best Free Accounting Software in the UK

Zoho Books stands out as one of the best free accounting software options in the UK. Its user-friendly UI and solid features make it ideal for entrepreneurs and freelancers. Zoho’s free plan includes invoicing, expense management, and financial reporting features, all of which are vital for small businesses.

However, it is crucial to note that while free bookkeeping software can be useful in specific situations, it is not a long-term answer for businesses.

Free products can lack the scalability, advanced functionality, and personalised support that growing enterprises require. Paid software typically includes great flexibility, support, and more advanced, scalable features.

How to Choose the Best UK Accounting Tool

Several critical factors require careful consideration when selecting an accounting tool for your UK-based business. Each plays a pivotal role in determining which accounting tool best aligns with your business’s specific needs and requirements.

By evaluating these core factors, you can make an informed decision that contributes to efficient financial management and growth.

BudgetFuture ScalingUser Number and AccessibilityIntegration SupportEase of UsePlan FeaturesCustomer SupportTrainingSecurity

Your budget is a fundamental aspect to consider when choosing an accounting tool. While cost should not be the sole determining factor, it’s essential to find a tool that provides value within your financial constraints.

As your business grows, your accounting needs will evolve, so selecting a tool with scalable pricing can save you from having to switch to a new solution later.

The number of users who will interact with the accounting tool is crucial. Depending on your business structure, you might need to provide access to multiple team members or stakeholders.

Ensure the tool you choose offers the appropriate number of user licenses without incurring additional costs.

Moreover, consider the tool’s accessibility—can it be accessed from various devices and locations? Online accounting software will be beneficial if remote access is necessary.

Before committing to an accounting tool, evaluate its compatibility with your existing software ecosystem. Seamless integration with other tools you use, such as CRM or inventory management systems, can streamline your workflow and prevent data silos.

The ability to synchronize financial data across various platforms enhances accuracy and saves time by reducing manual data entry.

The usability of the accounting tool is vital for both you and your team. A user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation tool can expedite the onboarding process and reduce the learning curve.

This is especially significant if you have team members who are not well-versed in accounting practices. A tool that simplifies complex financial tasks will help ensure accurate financial management across the board.

Different accounting tools offer plans with distinct features. Carefully review the features included in each plan to determine which ones align with your business needs.

Keep in mind that certain advanced features may be exclusive to higher-tier plans. Assess whether the features offered cater to your immediate needs while also allowing room for future growth and expanded functionality.

Examine the software’s customer service support offers in terms of availability, help channels, and response time. Customer service is extremely important, especially when dealing with technical issues.

Some software providers make detailed guides available to users in various consumable forms to foster easy usage and setup. Confirm if the accounting software provider you are choosing provides training resources, tutorials, and online documentation to help you get started and troubleshoot common issues.

Before choosing accounting software, review its data security and privacy features, such as encryption, access controls, data backups, and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance.

FAQs

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John Iwuozor
Tech Writer
John Iwuozor
Tech Writer

John Iwuozor is a writer at Techopedia with over three years of experience and expertise covering topics on HR, business software, IT security, and finance for small and medium-sized businesses. His work has been featured on reputable platforms like Forbes Advisor and EsecurityPlanet. Leveraging his background in mathematics and data analysis, he specializes in delivering original and high-quality content with a keen eye for detail and accuracy.