Very, very simple bookkeeping app

Most of my clients are sole traders, not VAT registered and don't have a business bank account

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Nor do they issue invoices to their customers. I just need to point them to an app (they seem to be attached to their phones and are happy using them for anything and everything) where they can list their takings and their expenses (which could have been paid in cash or from a personal bank account/credit card. If I suggest using a spreadsheet they usually plead ignorance and say they can't use one!

Does anyone have any suggestions what I could recommend they use, please?

Replies (10)

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By lionofludesch
23rd Apr 2024 12:44


Folk who can't use a spreadsheet won't use an app either.

Thanks (5)
Replying to lionofludesch:
the sea otter
By memyself-eye
23rd Apr 2024 14:36

I vote paper also - trouble is most of the entries will be illeg...errr..unreadable.

Thanks (0)
By RobbieT
23rd Apr 2024 12:56

Not for nothing, but you'd save yourself a ton of hassle if you could get them to set up a standalone 'business' bank account. Not that I'm licensed to recommend financial products, but a Tide account can be set up by phone in five minutes. Otherwise, a Mettle account (or any under the RBS umbrella) gives them free access to Freeagent software, which is good value at £nil pounds.

Thanks (6)
By janelm
23rd Apr 2024 13:50

I have been looking at Coconut the last few months, and have a couple of clients trying it out who like it. I used it a bit myself and they have very much optimised the phone-app end of things, intuitive, easy, and it is set up for people running everything (multiple self-employed businesses/rental/personal) out of one or two bank accounts.

One of these clients has a small amount of self-employment plus a property rental, and it is ideal as you can post items for the two separate businesses and get out reports on each at the end of the year for self-assessment, I've not seen any other software handle this well. (That client also has a Ltd company on FreeAgent and was previously on QB, so he has used other software and is finding Coconut good). I will caution that it is early days in that I haven't done a tax return from it yet - the back end reporting is not extensive but you can export a full excel transaction listing by category so I don't anticipate problems. At the moment I think Coconut can only do MTD-VAT if you export numbers from it to file via bridging software, which is a potential limitation for bigger businesses.

Some of my clients no longer have a laptop/computer (often because their work/life requires them to be constantly on the move, not because they are bad with tech) and spreadsheet editing is really not very viable on a tablet/phone, so software does become essential. I have a VAT-reg self-employed in this category, who travels daily for work and has lots of train-time to sort out accounts via a phone app.

It would be interesting to hear which apps suit different people/lifestyles and have best functionality.

Agree separate bank accounts would be utopia but also seems extremely hard to get clients to do this.

Thanks (1)
Chris Downing
By Chris Downing
23rd Apr 2024 14:31

Sage Individual - mobile / web browser access with accountant and bookkeeper collaboration. Headline:

Free version - single bank feed, snap and store receipts

Paid version (£6 RRP, £4 via accountant or bookkeeper) - multiple bank feeds, snap and scan (OCR) receipts

CD from Sage

Thanks (2)
By jonharris999
24th Apr 2024 09:15

Either Coconut, or if you become a Xero partner you can sell them Xero Cashbook for about the same price-point.

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By I Can Help Your Business
25th Apr 2024 10:09

As mentioned, if they used a dedicated bank account (like one of the new challenger ones) all transactions are recorded.
Many of them allow you to record details of purchases and some of them allow you to raise invoices.
This, combined with the ability to download all transactions to csv should be more than enough, shouldn't it?

Thanks (0)
By davidbrewster
25th Apr 2024 11:29

Any number of firms, any number of accounts, any number of users (£5 each last I heard).

Imports/exports old DOS QUICKEN data and Excel.

No monthly fees and it is only short of producing comprehensive reports although will produce all data needed for them.

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By Sue Murby
25th Apr 2024 13:40

Why not devise an Excel spreadsheet for them? Most of my clients have difficulty with writing up an account book which they rarely add up. Many have learned to use a spreadsheet now and, funnily enough, they quite enjoy it.

I adapt my sample sheet as necessary and high light the cells that they must not type over. It seems to work.

Thanks (1)
By abutler&co
25th Apr 2024 14:30

Hi offer a very easy to use bookkeeping package on a pay as you go option for small businesses, the charge is based on the number of transactions, so if 20 transactions are recorded in a month, the cost would be £1 plus VAT for that month. The client can simply record their income and expenditure, it is not available as an app at the moment just online, but it will be in the future. The nice thing is it is simple to use and they will be prepared for MTD ITSA. The accountant can have full access, produce their annual accounts on the software and directly import the TB into your accounts production software .

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