Choosing accounting software can seem daunting. There are so many different types of accounting, and seemingly a choice of software packages for each type. To be certain that the various packages will all work together, it is often best to opt for a suite of software designed to integrate, in the way that many other business software packages do.

Companies such as BTC Software (https://www.btcsoftware.co.uk/) offer a complete suite of accounting software for practice management, self-assessment, corporation tax, and account production. It is MTD (Making Tax Digital) compliant and can be networked for up to 10 users.

Of course, sole-traders and small businesses can always keep a basic incomings and outgoings list in standard spreadsheet format and hand that over to an accountant to produce their tax return for them. That’s the preferred method for many freelancers and startup business owners who want to concentrate on what they do best and leave the figure wrangling to someone else. But there are some advantages to running your own accounting software – automation of many stock and ordering tasks, production of dunning letters chasing overdue payments and online integration with the tax return and banking facilities, for a start.

Many modern packages are cloud-based, eliminating the need for a server site and allowing easy sharing of files with finance professionals. Some packages will offer a free trial so users can get a feel for whether the software is right for them. Ease of access may be important for those whose staff travel widely, while for others the question of scalability when the company grows may be the option which sways them to choose one provider over another. Cost is always an important factor too. The more a user wants from the software, the more it will cost. Plus, a basic plan which suits a sole trader will not be suitable for a small business with several employees. There are packages available for those users looking for a one-stop shop which manages everything from basic bookkeeping to tax returns and even payroll, but they will inevitably be more complicated to use and cost more to buy than the simpler options.

Even accountants themselves may have a preference for one particular software brand over another. Choosing accounting software is a process which shouldn’t be rushed. Users should be clear on what they want the chosen package to achieve, and any budgetary constraints they have which could limit the choice.

Research is key, and many software providers will have a sales team who can demonstrate the product as well as a support team for existing users. It may be worth potential customers watching some of the support videos offered by their shortlisted products to see how the company deals with common questions, bugs, and glitches. BTC Software (https://www.btcsoftware.co.uk/) have a selection of videos and webinars explaining how to perform certain key tasks using their software, for instance.

Choosing accounting software can seem daunting. But with a clear list of expectations and a budget, it becomes much easier.