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What is the best accounting software for medium-sized businesses?

27th Sep 2023
Brought to you by
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The Access Group provides integrated business management software.

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Best accounting software for medium businesses

With so many accounting systems in the market offering similar features and benefits, how do you pick the right one for your business?

It's a big decision purchasing new accounting software and as a medium-sized business you need to be sure that the new accounting system is future-proofed for your growth. 

In this article, we discuss what the best accounting software is for medium-sized businesses, what makes accounting software future-proof and when you should upgrade your accounting software.

When should you upgrade your accounting software?

So when is it time to upgrade? Perhaps the solution that suited your needs as a start up or small business is now too simplistic, meaning you’re missing out on tools that could facilitate further growth.

Perhaps your business is expanding in other ways, and new capabilities and markets have created a need for greater functionality.

Or it could be that you’re restricted by a clunky on-premise solution and looking to move to a more efficient, more secure cloud-hosted platform.

Signs you’ve outgrown your accounting software

  • It isn’t integrated with the rest of the business

You’ll probably be using a range of different systems across different functions. The best business accounting software will integrate with them all, collecting data from across the organisation and aiding faster, better-informed decisions. Moving away from siloed systems also means less time spent on workarounds and manual data input.  

  • You’ve yet to migrate to the cloud

If you’re still relying on on-premise accounting software you’re missing out on several big benefits. Moving to a cloud-based accounting system will provide easy, remote access to live data, improved security, instant upgrades and better user experience.     

  • There’s a lack of automation

A lack of automated processes is another one of the signs you’ve outgrown your accounting software. Manually rekeying data increases the potential for errors, meaning reports could be based on outdated or inaccurate information. It also means your team will spend too much time on repetitive, low-value tasks when they could be working on more strategic activities.

  • You need to step up security

An outdated system requires extra intervention to meet UK compliance rules, and could leave your business vulnerable to data breaches and theft. The older your accounting software, the more time hackers have had to work out how to undermine it. Cloud accounting software offers enterprise-level security with compliance and data-recovery tools built in. 

What’s the best accounting software for medium-sized businesses?

Medium-sized businesses are defined as having a turnover of between £25m and £500m. Obviously it’s a broad range, and a business at one end of the spectrum will have very different financial processing requirements to one at the other. But regardless of your turnover now, all medium-sized businesses need the ability to scale, with the best accounting software to meet your current and future needs. 

There are many providers in the market offering accounting systems such as us (The Access Group), QuickBooksXero and Sage. But which one is best for medium-sized businesses? Let's take a look.

QuickBooks Online, Xero and Sage 50 are popular accounting systems. They are excellent solutions for small businesses, featuring user-friendly dashboards and all the key features you’d expect from accounting software. But as your business grows, the transactions add up and your needs become more complex, it could be time to move on.

With its low-cost starter plan and relative simplicity, QuickBooks is an entry-level solution for freelancers and small businesses who don’t need advanced reporting or accounting. As customers, products, revenues and sales channels increase, you might find information is stored in separate spreadsheets, which means more time collating data as well as limiting visibility and reporting capabilities. You might need more user licenses, or feel frustrated by the lack of customisation options.

Similarly, Xero is aimed at the smaller end of the SME spectrum. So you might be limited by some of the functionality, particularly around multiple currencies, Outlook integration and inventory management. Or it might simply start slowing down: Xero has recommended limits on sales invoices (1,000 per month), purchase bills (1,000) and tracked inventory items (4,000). Exceed these, and your system won’t be able to perform in the way it’s designed to.

Sage 50 is also designed for small businesses. It offers features such as general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, inventory management, and payroll processing. Sage 50 is known for its ease of use and affordability, making it a popular choice for sole traders, small business owners and businesses just starting out.

While you can often extend the usefulness of your current software with manual workarounds and complementary software, that approach isn’t sustainable and will put extra burden on your system. An accounting software solution designed for medium-size business will offer more advanced tools and reporting and better align with your organisation’s requirements. So which accounting software can give you this?

Access Financials is designed for medium-sized businesses. As your organisation grows, you need a connected financial system that can keep pace. As one of the UK’s fastest-growing software businesses, Access understand the dynamics of expansion. We created our powerful, cloud-hosted accounting software to support the complex needs of medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

Our solution provides everything you need to streamline and automate complex accounting processes, helping you eliminate duplication, improve controls, and enhance visibility. It also offers several advantages over Sage 50 and Xero, including unlimited transactions, month-end management, multi-level general ledger, auditing and corrections, automated bank reconciliation, customisable analytics, and resource scheduling.

Take a look at the feature comparisons between The Access Group, Sage 50 and Xero here.

What makes accounting software future-proof?

If you want to know whether your accounting software will be just as useful to you in five years’ time as it is now, consider:

  • Will it give the business room to grow?

Consider limits on the number of users, as well as on the number of transactions, API calls, and tracked inventory items. As your business expands and becomes more complex, you might need to add on more advanced functionality, such as multi-company, multi-currency accounting and multi-dimensional reporting.

  • Will it stay up to date?

A huge benefit of cloud-based accounting systems is that software and security are upgraded automatically. You always have access to the latest features and your data and systems are always properly protected. Compliance should be built in and evolve in response to rule changes, so you’ll always meet the latest UK regulations.

  • Will it be useful beyond the finance department?

Good accounting software won’t just make the finance team’s jobs easier. Ideally it will integrate with other systems to promote efficiencies across the organisation, as well as generate insightful management reports to inform decision making.

Our easy-to-use Workspace apps make it easy to share key data and insights with the rest of your business. They also allow team members to input financial data, action approvals and view reports, reducing data entry and bottlenecks.

  • Will it give an instant view of financial performance?

The ideal system has a centralised data dashboard that captures what’s happening across all strands and systems within the business and presents it in a readable, precise manner.

This becomes harder in more complicated businesses with a number of subsidiaries. Access software helps you manage multi-company, multi-currency accounts and group-level consolidation with ease. 

Insights that power growth

Finally, the best accounting software for medium-size business will be one that doesn’t just accommodate business growth, but actually helps you achieve it.

The cost of accounting software is another topic, but it’s worth remembering the ROI too. The right software will add value to your business. It will save time for your team, help you avoid costly errors and potentially reduce the need for outsourcing. More than that, through consolidated financial reporting, it can provide the real-time data you need to plot your business’s next big move.

We’re happy to help you determine which accounting software is best for you, even if you decide your path doesn’t include us, so contact us or book a demo today and let’s see what is going to work best for your organisation.

Once you've chosen your finance software, you're likely going to be switching from your current system to your new one. Our switching hub has many resources to guide you through this process.

Book a demo