Over the past two weeks, practitioners have debated the advantages and claims of different online accounting systems on a busy Any Answers thread, reports John Stokdyk
The great online accounting debate was set in train by an Anonymous Any Answers post on Tuesday 11 August. Setting out the criteria for an online accounting system for an accountancy practice the anonymous questioner posed a series of challenges for prospective systems:
1. Capable of handling the books for multiple clients.
2. Purchase and sales ledger included.
3. Support for bank payments and receipts, and reconciliations
4. Generate the same basic reports as Sage (eg transaction history in various ledgers etc).
5. Affordable and easy to use.
As fans and developers paraded the credentials of different systems, the questioner followed up with further queries that broadened the debate into new areas, including: VAT requirements; project accounting; what Sage has to offer in the online arena; and the advantages of using online accounting system over emailing software files back and forth between desktop applications. These points will be summarised after looking at the main contenders.
There is a “horses for courses” aspect for any software recommendation. It’s pretty difficult to declare that one application is best, it’s more a case of getting the best fit with the prospective user’s needs and budget. That said, KashFlow won the popular vote with five recommendations from the 20 or so participants; while FreeAgent, e-conomic and Liberty Accounts drew two recommendations each.
About John Stokdyk
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.