The Most Popular UK Accountancy Software Packages

Whether you are new to accountancy software, or looking to update your current package after a change in company circumstances, choosing a reputable accountancy software package can often be difficult. The key is to find the right package which can work with your individual circumstances, thus offering your business the best financial support possible.

This is a basic guide to some of the more popular accountancy software packages, for UK businesses, that currently rank the highest on the market. With a concentration on the smaller and medium sized of businesses, each provider offers a variety of options to choose from.


Who are they: If you work in the finance industry, you will most likely have heard of Sage. Regardless of your knowledge of the company or the software, there is no denying that Sage has earned its place at the top of the accountancy package charts. For over three decades, Sage has been consistently offering companies of all types an extensive and impressive variety of software solutions. This is a multi-award winning reliable provider and is used by over 1 million organisations worldwide.

What does their accountancy software offer? Sage offers three types of packages:

  • Sage One Start: Perfect for the freelancer or sole trader, this package is a fully online solution for just one employee, allowing one user access.
  • Sage One Accounting: An online package for smaller businesses,including start-ups, this covers 1-20 employees and allows unlimited users.
  • Sage Live:  For the bigger of businesses, with 10-200 employees, this relatively new online package allows multiple users.

Which companies would benefit from this software: All companies who want to record their data accurately, whilst gaining a regular overall position of their business’ financial performance would benefit from these Sage accountancy packages. This software is relatively straightforward, easy to use and doesn’t require expert knowledge. Sage are a reputable and well established ongoing company.

Best feature: All Sage packages offer the ability to collaborate directly with your Accountant. This means you can work online and in real time with them to gain reliable, recent and most accurate information possible.


Who are they:  Iris is perhaps the only company to come close enough to rival the expertise and standards of Sage. This company are currently the leading supplier to UK accountancy sector firms,as well as an innovative specialist who provide solutions to thousands of SME’s. An award-winning company, Iris believe in offering their customers huge choice in the software they purchase, and therefore aim to build a specific package around individual customer requirement.

What does their accountancy software offer:  Iris accountancy software packages are slightly more specified and usually recommended personally upon further discussion. However, for the smaller of UK businesses, Iris use Kashflow to encourage a more simplified process:

  • Kashflow Small Business: Aimed at sole traders, partnerships and small businesses, this package enables multi user access.
  • Kashflow Business: More suited for growing businesses and limited companies, there is no limit on the users for this package either.

Which companies would benefit from this software: Companies with more of an understanding of how accountancy packages operate would find Iris suitable. Though it is effectively Kashflow that Iris promote, both packages ultimately integrate with Iris software. Whereas Sage is user friendly and accessible by many user levels, Iris is a little more difficult to master and can often take a lot longer to become fully acquainted with – not ideal for those members of staff without any prior accountancy knowledge.

Best feature: Iris have an extensive and thoroughly impressive suite of cloud products to choose from.

The most popular UK Accountancy software packagesQuickBooks

Who are they:  QuickBooks are a no-nonsense UK centred company who boast an impressive 1 million plus subscribers. A smaller accountancy software service, QuickBooks is instantly accessible and a simplistically designed accounting package designed to eradicate the need for extensive prior financial understanding. Aimed at the smaller business market, its website encourages easy access for all users.

What does their accountancy software offer:  QuickBooks offer three simple solutions to suit all business types including:

  • QuickBooks Self-Employed:  For freelancers and independent contractors, allowing 1 user.
  • QuickBooks Essentials: For Small businesses and VAT registered companies, allowing up to 3 users.
  • QuickBooks Plus: Also for small business and VAT registered companies, QuickBooks Plus allows up to 5 users.

Which companies would benefit from this software:  QuickBooksis a better all-round solution for the smaller business, and where quick and easy recording of financial transactions is preferred.

Best feature: This is perhaps one of the quicker and easier of accountancy software packages on the market to get started with, whilst mastering within just a few attempts. Perfect if you work on your own and can’t devote much time to recording your finances.


Who are they: Known widely as the alternative to QuickBooks, Xero is a relatively newer software accountancy package provider. However, within ten years of trading, they have become good contenders of web based applications. Though they offer packages for small to medium sized businesses, it is the medium sized business that they have developed a considerably impressive reputation in providing solutions for.

What does their accountancy software offer: Xero offer 3 simple plans for your business type:

  • Starter: For the freelancer or sole trader, where transactions are few.
  • Standard: For the smaller business with unlimited transactions.
  • Premium: For the medium business with an ability to record multi-currency.

Which companies would benefit from this software: All small business, and especially medium sized businesses,would benefit from Xero’s wide range of additional facilities, including POS and CRM services, alongside their impressive web-based accountancy packages. A newer company, this is the perfect choice for businesses that want to use the services of an innovative and advancing software provider.

Best feature: All three packages offered by Xero allow unlimited users, with no additional charges.

With all providers offering free trials, if you can afford the time, it is worth sampling the offers from your preferred accountancy software provider before committing financially. However, with each company providing an array of special offers and discounts on a regular basis, your choice of provider will ultimately rely on the type of your company and, more importantly, its size. With an array of additional services offered such as payroll, HR and cloud access, ensure you choose a provider who can offer the support and services to accommodate your individual requirements, whilst allowing room for you to modify your services as your business continues to grow.

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