Best accounting software

Bookkeeping doesn’t have to be tied to just one computer, we look at the options for keeping accounts in the cloud

Cloud-based accounts are increasing in popularity and there are many services from which to choose from. While a lot of these are US-based, there are some from the UK and further afield.

Choosing the right cloud-based accounts software for you is not an easy task. The capabilities vary greatly from company to company. Some target the sole proprietor, freelancer or contractor while others aim to be a one-stop shop for SMEs 

Some offer ancillary services such as expense tracking, invoicing, and even human resources functionalities.

We look at the options available in cloud-based accounts software.

Wave Accounting


Price: From free

Wave Accounting has been designed for micro businesses - those with ten employees or less and as such, it's been designed to fit in with very small budgets. The basic version is completely free and that includes more premium features that other accounting apps charge for. For example, double entry accounting is supported in the free version - a service you normally have to pay for when using Wave Accounting's rivals.

If you want people to be able to pay you online, you'll have to pay fees to the company and this is how it makes its money. You can also add on extra modules, including the ability to manage payroll for $20-$34 a month, although this feature is only reserved for US-based companies at the moment.

Wave's user experience is really top notch, with an easy to use app across all devices. It also supports multiple currencies, so if you're paid in dollars but want to account in pound sterling, you can do so.

Like other accounting apps for small businesses, you can use Wave Accounting for your entire accounting process, including invoicing, linking your bank and PayPal account to import transactions automatically and generating reports.

Sage One


Price: Cashbook: £5 per month; Accounts: £10 per month; Payroll: from £5 a month


Sage is well known in the UK for its accountancy software and Sage One is its foray into the cloud. 

It offers a number of packages aimed at the sole trader up to the larger SMB. Sage One Cashbooks costs £5 per month and has a simple graphical interface for entering income and expenses. This is aimed at sole traders and cash-based businesses.

Sage One Accounting has features aimed at larger businesses and costs £10 per month. This package supports multiple currencies, can raise and send invoices, track quotes as well as manage and submit VAT returns.

The interface makes it easy to use and is logically laid out. You don’t particularly need knowledge of the previous software versions to figure out how to use this.

QuickBooks Online


Price: Self-employed package costs £4.80; Simple Start is £5.60 per month; Essentials costs £10.50 a month; Plus package costs £15

QuickBooks Online has offerings aimed at different types and sizes of business. It sports a colourful dashboard and users can quickly get up to speed entering details such as suppliers, creditor, expenses and invoicing.

The service will tailor itself to the industry you work in and the welcome guide helps in sorting out any queries you might have in using the service.

It supports a number of third-party apps to extend its usefulness. Support for online payment services PayPal and Stripe are built-in.

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