The UK accounting software market has split into three levels, with a big gulf opening up between the bookkeeping platforms tending the sub-£1m turnover market and the smaller constellation of developers catering for larger organisations.
The early results of AccountingWEB’s annual software survey illustrate the strength of Xero and QuickBooks, which between them account for 25% of all the ratings posted so far. FreeAgent, which has a strong user base among freelancers and one-person companies is the next closest contender. Capium, KashFlow and ClearBooks are all in the chasing pack too, but so far their share of the votes is behind the levels we saw last year.
Capium, which combines tax, accounts production and practice tools in its suite, is a relative newcomer to the bookkeeping market, but KashFlow, FreeAgent and ClearBooks have longer track-records in the UK cloud accounting software market.
Overall, the proportion of cloud applications logged in our small business accounting category is running at 40% down on last year. The desktop population is currently split between Sage 50 Accounts, QuickBooks Desktop, VT Transaction+, a few Moneysoft users and about 10% of the sample in the “others” category.
Sage 50 enjoys a unique position in our awards by competing in both small and mid-market categories. So far its share is holding up compared to 2018, suggesting that it may have weathered the MTD-inspired cloud boom. But like other established UK mid-market accounting software products such as Pegasus and Exchequer, Sage 50 is losing ground to cloud alternatives such as AccountsIQ, Oracle NetSuite and Sage X3.
Like Sage, the Access Group is attempting to maintain a foot in each camp, with users split between the client/server Access Dimensions product and the online Access FMS system.
A few users have shown up to fly the flag for Exchequer. Since January, the founders of Exchequer have been marketing a cloud alternative called iPlicit, but that application has registered only a few ratings in our software survey.
Does our analysis reflect your experiences? Several thousand software users have already posted their ratings in our survey, but we need a broader sample to truly reflect what is happening in the UK accounting software market. You can help us by taking part and the results will be revealed in our Accounting Excellence Software Awards in September and our continuing Software Reviews coverage.