Choosing an online book keeping package

Published on 21st October 2016

With an eye on “Making Tax Digital” it’s time to look at the features that will appeal to farmers with any online book keeping package.
Generally packages come in 3 sizes. Your choice will depend on what aspects are important to you. Things to consider include:-

  • VAT record and VAT returns
  • Producing sales invoices for customers
  • What book keeping system do you use – recording transactions as they go through the bank, or imputing all sales and purchase invoices and clearing them via bank payments and receipts (double entry)
  • Direct bank feed to minimise time on data entry and eliminate bank reconciliation errors
  • Software rules to automate coding of regular transactions.
  • Importing of purchase invoice details using additional software
  • Timesheets and payroll records
  • Recording expenses via an app on mobile phones
  • Links  to credit card apps so payments can be accepted using a mobile phone
  • Stock records
  • What reports are useful?
  • Do you do enterprise costing (or should you now start)?
  • Ability to record income and expenses by customer
  • Reports based on location
  • Profit and loss reports by enterprise, varying date ranges to suit a production cycle
  • Budgeting

Time spent designing the set-up of the software ensures that it is fit for purpose, easy to use and provides up to date management information.

An appropriate code list that provides a full breakdown of key performance indicators is the cornerstone to success, followed by a clear understanding of regular routines and reconciliation of the all-important bank and VAT accounts.

Online software can be accessed by you, your book keeper and your accountant; assistance can be given remotely to smooth out any issues, and everyone can look at the same data at the same time. Issues with backups or lack of them are a thing of the past.

Most general packages can be set up for farming businesses and provide management information to help monitor and run the business more effectively.

More information on software is on our website: