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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Hi. I currently run a small business and I am looking to switch from using an accountant to using an accounting package like Quick Books or Xero. I am also just starting a new (and different) business and may just jump in to Xero or Quick Books.

I am looking for some feedback from someone who uses either, or a different package entirely, and it would be useful to see what your experiences are. It may actually be useful to come see someone using it for 5-10 mins to get a feel for it if that is possible. They kinds of questions I have include:

  • Is it straight forward to use?
  • Is there a difference between the two, or are they both equally good at everything? (Strengths and weaknesses of either)
  • Can I use the package independently and not need an accountant
  • Can I generate VAT and corporation tax returns using the package?

Any thoughts most gratefully received before i commit one way or the other.

Tags for Forum Posts: 'small, accounting, business, packages', quickbooks, xero

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Hi Jus - you can come and see Xero at ours if you like. We've never used quickbooks but did have a look at the pros and cons when deciding which one to go with and I can't remember now why Xero came out on top for us but it did. We do VAT returns via Xero - it was always reasonably easy, but got easier with Making Tax Digital because the system changed a bit and now it's just a few clicks to generate and submit. We still use an accountant for end of year stuff (Companies House accounts and corporation tax return).

We use Xero for nearly everything day-to-day, the one exception being payroll (because we only have two employees and we found someone cheaper than the Xero add-on - I know what I'm doing with processing it through Xero manually, so it's easy enough) - including invoicing customers. That tool is really neat because you can customise your invoice template with logos, etc., and the customer can pay by clicking a link in the invoice, plus you can also see whether they've read it or not, so you know how to phrase it if you need to chase.

The other invaluable feature (which isn't exclusive to Xero) is being able to take a pic of a bill or receipt and attach it it directly to the Xero record so that when the accountant is checking through at the end of the year, everything should already be ticked and tied.

As to whether you can completely ditch the accountant - it's probably theoretically possible if your accounts don't need auditing, but I'm a corporate lawyer and a reasonably experienced bookkeeper and I wouldn't ditch them altogether for our business, but our accountancy costs have now decreased from pre-Xero rates by more than the cost of Xero.

Thanks, that's excellent feedback, I would love to take you up on your offer to see it in action. I will message you.

If anyone has other thoughts, especially about quick books, then please let me know!

Hi Justin

Xero and Quickbooks are both excellent though I'm with Freeagent.

I used to also have an accountant to do my taxes but because my affairs are pretty simple and I do have an accounting background myself, I just do it myself. Links to bank accounts, handy for generating quotes and turning them into invoices which can be auto-chased, generated financials and tax returns and you can even diretly file to HMRC. I don't need to deal in VAT but it's set up for that. I don't have employees though, and I don't think it can manage payroll.

They offer free trials I think but here's a 10% referral code in any case: 

http://fre.ag/42m3nsmlFull disclosure, I'll receive 10% off too if you sign up. But that's not why I'm making the reco, I genuinely like it.

Happy to chat offline if you like.

Thanks, I will message you and maybe we can chat.

Hi Justin,

I've just recently gone freelance so for ease I opted for QuickBooks after some research. So far I've found it really easy to use and very happy with invoicing processes etc.

Thanks, I have had a coupe of really useful responses so far, but have not seen Quick Books in action- I have dropped you a line and if convenient I can call, or we can meet briefly?

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