Set up a basic record-keeping system

Computerising financial records


A computerised record-keeping system can save you a great deal of time. It will allow you to add, delete, amend and share your data easily and will recalculate your running totals for you.

Computerising your accounts can also have wider business benefits. It will allow you to file government returns, such as VAT and Self Assessment tax returns, online as well as potentially enhancing your business' ability to communicate online with customers for applications such as e-invoicing.

Choosing a software package

You can either use your computer's standard spreadsheet package or you can buy an accounting software package.

Accounting packages have been developed to meet the needs of most small businesses. Well-known packages include:

  • Sage Instant Accounting and TAS Books
  • Intuit QuickBooks and QuickBooks Pro, Regular and Accountant
  • Pegasus Capital Gold

More advanced accounting packages are sold in 'modules', with each one handling an aspect of financial management. Most businesses buy at least three modules (sales, purchase and nominal ledger). Well-known packages include:

  • Sage Line
  • Pegasus Opera

Remember if you are using an accountant, your software packages should be compatible.

If you are registered for VAT, your system must enable you to meet your legal obligations to:

  • account for VAT properly
  • provide information to inspectors should they visit you
  • keep records in the required detail for the required length of time

See accounting software.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been working with the IT software development industry to facilitate the provision of simple mobile record keeping applications (apps) for small businesses and the self-employed that are below the VAT threshold. Record keeping and Simpler Income Tax applications/software.

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