Sometimes, even accountants, those people whose job is to get the numbers right, have no idea of how much the key tool in their toolbox can cost: they just don’t know accounting software prices.
The fact is that these prices can vary greatly, from thousands of pounds per year down to… zero. While it’s important to know exactly what you get for the price, the emergence of cloud accounting software has made the total cost structure of using an accounting software much easier to read.
What accounting software prices don’t tell you
Several factors come into play when calculating just how much the accounting software program you’re contemplating will cost you, on top of the public accounting software price itself.
Installation and implementation
This is traditionally a hefty cost related to basically any kind of enterprise software which needs to be installed on more than one machine, communicate with others, or simply run on a given computer.
Specialised consultants or integrators might need to be resorted to and paid for this kind of job, and they charge hundreds of pounds per day.
Training the users
As software vendors only typically provide very basic free guidance with the software package, training is therefore a necessary part of the cost package:
- you may need to hire special trainers (usually, the company which charged you for the installation will also provide this service),
- or do this training internally if knowledge is available in-house - but remember that even this time is… money, and therefore part of the cost.
Customising the software
Although many small companies will only use basic functionalities of the software, other users will need some level of customisation to factor in vertical specificities related to legal reporting, taxation or compliance.
Some of these customisations may be available via software patches, some will require ad-hoc development.
After the software is up and running, tailored to your needs, and staff have been trained to use it, inevitable costs occur in the long run:
- regular maintenance,
- occasional support.
The license fee jungle hiding behind the accounting software price
Cloud accounting software has the benefits of making all other costs much more readable, as much of these are included, but licensing policies may become a real jungle.
Depending on the package chosen, limitations may either apply to:
- the amount of data processed over a period of time,
- the number of users of the program.
Examples of accounting software for all budgets
Keeping these additional costs in mind, here’s a rundown of some popular accounting software prices.
Free accounting software
If free accounting software does exist, bear in mind that limitations related to the number of users and/or number of transactions or connected accounts will be limited, plus possible advertising.
Discarding free trials, the most popular choice of free accounting software is Wave, which relies on advertising, bringing the accounting software price down to zero.
Accounting software for about £10 per month
Software products falling within this price category include:
- Sage One starts at £6 + VAT per month with few limitations,
- Quickbooks has a “self-employed” product at the same price,
- Xero has a rather limited £10 version,
- Freshbooks has a $15 version limited to 5 active clients.
Accounting software for about £30+ per month
All the vendors mentioned in the previous category provide a marginally more expensive, but much more feature-rich full, or intermediate version.
Accounting software prices in this case vary between £20 and £40 per month.
Top-of-the-line accounting software
These software products are much, much more expensive and cater for the need of accounting firms and large corporations.
For hundreds, thousands of pounds per year, users enjoy vastly customisable ERP-like software packages.
Options include Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Oracle Financial Management applications.