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Best cloud accounting software for small business?

Looking for advice around cloud software for SME business Xero vs QB vs Freeagent

I imagine this has been asked many times over but I can't seem to find the relevant and recent threads. I'm looking to make a recommendation on a cloud accounting package for a friend of mine running a design company. Turnover circa £200k p.a. with 2 employees. Likely to grow nicely in the coming years say 20% a year with employees due to increase too. Fairly straightforward business with employees working on multiple design projects (interior building design) with need to track time and costs by projects being important as well as some kind of employee time  / timesheet functionality. 

I'm currently looking at the pros and cons of Xero, Quickbooks Online and Freeagent. Are there good threads comparing these? Would anyone like to offer some thoughts based on the above spec? 

Thanks in advance, Patrick

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14th Oct 2018 16:40

I have a design client with the same sort of needs. Their business is much larger than your friend's but their first priority is the project costing side of things. They've used Sage for many years because of the project costing option.
Xero's project costing option is in its infancy in comparison and I can't find any bolt on for Xero that would be as good as the Sage project costing.
I don't know about Quickbook's project costing option, but I bet Sage's is the best.
Of course whatever Sage calls its many options, none of the sophisticated ones are cloud packages. They have a truly awful Sagedrive, which is supposed to end up being the same as cloud accounting. However this regularly freezes, and is unreliable. I would rule it out on that basis.
The other option would be to find a cloud project costing package that they like (could be rather pricey) and pay a developer to get it to talk to Xero.
So not really any good news for you.

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14th Oct 2018 17:28

Definitely Sage is the option if a proper cost reporting is required. Although Sage cloud is awful. They've lost this one to the likes of QB and Xero.

We always recommend either Xero (paid) or Wave (free) for our clients, unless they require more than just a bookkeeping software in which case the suggestion usually is Sage.

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14th Oct 2018 19:51

QBO is fine , at present the use of classes would suffice and full job costing like in the desktop will follow presumably

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15th Oct 2018 06:38

Maybe Xero with a bolt-on like Workflow, which is a combo I’m about to recommend to a client that needs project costing (but not timesheets).

NB Xero time/payroll is sh17e (and expensive).

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to atleastisoundknowledgable...
15th Oct 2018 08:58

Others have said on Aweb that Workflow is pants.

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to Moonbeam
15th Oct 2018 18:06

Moonbeam wrote:

Others have said on Aweb that Workflow is pants.

Oh. I was looking for something that tracked & accounted for POs into a project budget.
Any suggestions?

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15th Oct 2018 14:22

My first ever cloud accounting client was a firm of consultants who needed identical features to those you set out and I introduced them to FreeAgent. It revolves around project accounting, including the time sheet and expense claims being well tuned to projects and subsequent invoicing.

The added benefit, I didn’t anticipate at the time, was that it’s designed for business users rather than accountants and so we found it perfect to move their entire accounting over to them, relieving us of the work (we did everything but invoicing). Their turnover was probably £700k and they had about 10 employees.

The downside is that FA is not designed for high volume transactions and it lacks some of the sophistication of other systems but it suited that and several other service providing clients perfectly.

Although not as slick as FA in the above features, Clearbooks also has integrated time tracking and expense claims systems for project accounting and invoices but is more traditional in the accounting methodology.

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