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Quickbooks, Kashflow, Xero, Sage or VT

Which is still best for bookkeeping?

It is almost 5 years since I set up my small practice and we now have a team of 4 so nice progress. We have several of the cloud based packages and use Quickbooks if we have to (with MTD in mind) but we still keep coming back to VT which we use for 90% of our sole traders and small Ltd Co clients. It’s a beautiful piece of software, the staff love it (the new staff we have had who have used other software are always amazed at how easy VT is to use). It is simple, intuitive, flexible and the data entry and report production is so straightforward it’s a joy.

Be great if they could somehow link easily into MTD now that would be a super Xmas surprise!

The cloud based systems just seem slow and clunky by comparison.

Be interested to hear if others agree or if I’m just a dinosaur ready to be put out to grass?

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06th Dec 2018 15:03

I'd rather shoot myself in both knees than resign myself to a lifetime of using Quickbooks.

I quite like Xero, I thought I liked Kashflow but it's riddled with bugs. Sage One has changed massively since I last used it so I couldn't comment on that, Sage desktop is decent if annoying. FreeAgent feels clunky and unintuitive and I'd rather avoid it.

Personally, if I'm keeping any kind of books I'll always use Excel because it's the only one that goes as fast as I do and doesn't mess things up.

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By daniel_
06th Dec 2018 16:16

I prefer Xero the most but still use VT for clients who have no intention of touching the cloud.

Xero has the cash coding tab which works a bit like the UIS for BP and BR transactions. The bank rules are also the best of the cloud providers I've tested.

To me Xero makes the most sense and things are where I'd expect them to be.

The reporting is also very good. More flexible and prettier than VT but definitely slower than just hitting F5/F6.

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06th Dec 2018 18:25

I agree with everything you say about VT. It is so quick and easy. I also use Xero and QB for a few clients,and both are clunky and slower because they are in the cloud. I believe there are now at least two bridging products available, which should enable you to stick with VT for now.

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By Matrix
06th Dec 2018 19:03

I still use VT. Clients use FreeAgent or Xero to do their own bookkeeping. Others don’t want to and I am not forcing them to go digital until they have to, so they keep their records as they wish and I put them in VT.

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06th Dec 2018 19:33

My fear with clients doing their own bookkeeping using cloud based software is that a lot of them haven’t a clue what they are doing and often end up making such a pigs ear of it that it takes longer for us to put it right than if we had done it originally in VT. Going digital will be a fiasco and if HMRC really believe it will reduce errors then they are clearly loop the loop!! We have spent 3 days this week trying to sort out a new client who did his books in Sage One and you would not believe some of the entries he made; worse still in Sage One once a transaction has been allocated to the wrong bank account it seems the only solution is to delete the transaction and re enter it; you don’t seem to be able to change the bank account.
It’s been great training for our new trainee but a clear sign of things to come.

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06th Dec 2018 21:14

Another vote for VT.

We have QBO gold partner status, but it’s a really poor piece of kit and we’ve almost taken everyone off it now.

We are a Xero Partner, but it’s clunky.

Sage one I’ve never used; Sage desktop is still popular and remains the first choice for “proper” companies.

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07th Dec 2018 00:38

I use Sage desktop for most of the bookkeeping work I do, I am quicker on that than on anything else, I suppose because I am so used to it. But I have clients that use QuickBooks, Xero and FreeAgent, I do little bits of bookkeeping on them, and of those I find Xero the easiest to use.

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07th Dec 2018 07:33

Sage is solid and a good solution in many cases although I find it a bit (sic) frustrating at times.

VT is brilliant and my favourite although I do not like its multi-currency handling.

Quickbooks I do not enjoy but is OK.

Xero I am about to get exposed to so we shall see.

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07th Dec 2018 09:29

Some practices are trying to automate fully and use bank downloads into online bookkeeping software and photographing receipts (or getting clients to photograph receipts) into software that analyses spending and then feeds it into one of the online bookkeeping systems.
Idea is that its quicker!
Does this actually work in reality?
My fear especially with clients photographing receipts is what if they miss some, what if they bring in receipts at year end say they didn't photograph these, what if you can't find them on the downloaded bank feeds?
I just see it all as a recipe for chaos and still believe clients coming in with their plastic bags, bits of paper, bank statements and letting us write it up for £25/hour is the best way.
Perhaps someone could enlighten me and others of my generation?

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07th Dec 2018 12:45

I am very pleased to be able to say that we have just announced on our web site that we will be implementing MTD directly into VT Transaction+ and VT Cash Book. We will be emailing customers next week. See www.vtsoftware.co.uk/mtd

Philip Hodgson
VT Software

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to vtsoftware
07th Dec 2018 12:47

That is brilliant news.

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to vtsoftware
07th Dec 2018 14:31

Bloody brilliant news!

Thank you Philip

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By Matrix
to vtsoftware
07th Dec 2018 14:40

This is fantastic news. Thank you.

I am glad I didn't make any changes and stuck with you.

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07th Dec 2018 12:59

Thank you VT! I feel like I have just opened Box 7 on my Advent Calender today and got the best surprise ever! Such a relief to be able to carry on with VT after MTD. Fantastic. I was dreading having to switch more of my larger clients (albeit not too many) onto some online system.

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07th Dec 2018 15:58

That's made my day, no, my year, thank you, Philip. Glad I haven't wasted time on bridging stuff.

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