Kashflow: Simple, Web-Based Accounting For Small Businesses

Good accounting practices are key to any company, whether it be a sole trader or a large, multinational corporation. It helps keep the company flowing and is vital for end-of-year figures, fiscal forecasting and resource planning. However, given the sheer range of accounting software out there, it is often difficult to choose which one to use. Large companies with plenty of money at their disposal often choose an expensive ERP system such as SAP or Infor, however smaller companies often don’t have the liberty of choice.

Web-based accounting software seems, for the time being anyway, to be the way forward for smaller companies looking to keep their books in order as well as saving money purchasing expensive, mainstream accounting solutions such as SAGE. The one I’m going to look at today is Kashflow, which is aimed towards small businesses based in the UK. There are plenty of features built in to Kashflow which make it a worthy candidate as a great accounting system for small businesses.

Let’s have a look at it in a bit more detail.

First Thoughts

Kashflow is entirely web-based, so it runs on any platform your company is using, whether it be Windows, Mac or Linux. You can sign up for a free, no obligation 60-day trial via their website and pricing plans start from £15.99 (approximately $24) a month.

Kashflow Homepage

The splash page for Kashflow

Kashflow works off the principle of cutting out any accounting jargon, making it simple and easy to use for anyone, even if they have no prior knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping. Don’t think of it as simply a system for keeping the books in order – Kashflow can also produce invoices, quotes, estimates, purchase orders and a lot more. And when it comes to the end of the year, the system can also help you produce monthly and yearly reports as well as help with VAT filing (the system is recognised by the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs).

Features

Kashflow has plenty of features that make it so much more than an accounting system. Let’s have a peek at a few crucial ones.

Setting Up Customers

Before you can start doing any business, you’ll need some customers of course! Kashflow makes adding new customers to your database easy and quick. Simply enter the name and the system will generate an automatic code based on the customer’s name.

Kashflow Customer

Adding a new customer in Kashflow

If all your customer information is stored in vCards, then you can import this information straight into Kashflow. Once you’ve chosen the name for your customer, you can add more specific information like their address, contact information, payment terms, discount rate and so on.

Kashflow Specific

Adding more specific customer information

Creating Quotes

Kashflow will help you create simple quotes for your customers. You simply choose the customer from your database and enter the products and price. You can print and e-mail the quote directly from the app and, if the customer decides (hopefully) to make an order, convert it straight into an invoice.

Kashflow Quote

Creating a quote in Kashflow

For each quote, you can create a list of categories, which could be used to mark whether the quote has been sent, accepted, rejected and so on. Kashflow includes a few “sales types” (e.g. whether the quote is for the sale of goods, shipping costs, business services and so on) which can be customised. These sales types are also used to produce financial reports in the program as well.

Invoicing

Kashflow will help you keep all those invoices you send out in one place and ensures that no invoice is left unpaid. To create an invoice, you simply click on Sales then Create Invoice. You can choose the customer, add the items you want to invoice and voilà, your invoice is created.

Kashflow Invoice

Creating an invoice in Kashflow is extremely straight-forward

Bank Accounts & Finances

As well as being able to run the purchasing and invoicing side of your business, Kashflow can also help you control your company’s finances in an accurate and easy way. You can add multiple bank accounts and reconcile them easily (i.e. matching up the transactions from your account statement).

Kashflow Bank

Adding a default bank account in Kashflow

If you have any transactions that are repeated monthly (for example, energy bills, wages or a regular deposit from a debitor) then you can set these up in Kashflow as well. You can choose the frequency of the payment, the VAT rate, and the type of payment.

Kashflow Regular Transaction

Setting up a regular transaction (whether a deposit or withdrawal) in Kashflow

Reports

At the end of the fiscal year, Kashflow makes it extremely easy to produce financial and sales reports either for internal use or for financial authorities (for example HM Revenue and Customs). Reports are classified by three categories:

  1. General Reports: reports on assets, sales lists, profit and loss, VAT reports and year-end reports.
  2. Income Reports: reports on income per customer, income per product, monthly sales reports and unpaid invoices.
  3. Expenditure Reports: reports on expenses per supplier, monthly expenses and unpaid suppliers.
Kashflow Reports

The range of reports that can be generated with Kashflow

Reports can be generated in CSV or PDF formats (or can be displayed on-screen for later editing) and some reports are generated in pie-chart form or line graph form (especially monthly sales statistics) which allow you to analyse your company’s statistics much easier. If there are certain reports that you use often, then you can save them in the section Favourite Reports, making them easier to find later.

Add-Ons

Kashflow has a wide range of (often free) add-ons that really extend the functionality of the program. You can, for example, integrate Paypal into the Kashflow system to accept payments and record them in the app. The developers of Kashflow have made their API (Application Programming Interface) available to download from their website, allowing software developers to develop a wide range of add-ons for the system.

Kashflow Addons

An example of some of the add-ons available for Kashflow

Final Thoughts

So, we’ve had a look at Kashflow and some of its features, but the burning question is – what’s the program like as a whole? The answer is fantastic. The sheer simplicity of the whole program yet its powerful, useful features make it a fantastic candidate for an accounting system for small businesses.

The low running costs (£15.99 a month) make it ideal for companies not wanting to lay out thousands of pounds on expensive IT systems, and the fact it can be accessed from pretty much any computer with an Internet connection make it oh so attractive in this day of mobile working.

For small businesses, it will most certainly help them keep track of their sales and ultimately, in the long run anyway, assist them in obtaining greater revenue and becoming simply more organised.


Summary

A web-based invoicing, purchasing and accounting system for UK-based small businesses.

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  • Another accounting webapp? Surprised it’s not another Project management app. Is it me or are the articles getting redundant? It could be me.

    • Indeed, some article themes seem to be returning often. But for (creative) professionals, it is essential to keep up to date as to which applications emerge on the market.

      My only “problem” is that most articles discuss non-free apps.
      For example ApolloHQ instead of the free Teamlab (which is excellent in my opinion).
      Or Kashflow instead of GnuCash, osfinancials (both are offline, but open source).

      Here is a link of some open source account managing applications, some of which are available online:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_accounting_software#Free_and_open_source_software

      Cheers!

    • Sorry about that, Nick. Business-orientated apps are definitely overrepresented in the world of web apps, much like photo-sharing apps in the world of iOS apps. We try to keep a good mix of a variety of apps in our reviews here, but I’ll try to see if we can do a bit better at that.

  • We just started using Kashflow instead of Quickbooks Pro. It has a lot of advantages and the whole company is loving it.

    One caveat though, it will import your customer and supplier data very easily, however transactional data (all the other records, invoices, ledgers etc) is a nightmare to get out of Quickbooks and into Kashflow.

    Having said that we would definitely not go back.

  • I use Wave Accounting which is far superior than Kashflow and is completely free.

    • kashflow has lots of drawbacks – vat accounting quirky, stock primitive, bizarre use of non-standard descriptions, odd delivery note system….
      but it’s a good place to jump on to the cloud.

  • Anyone have any suggestions for a Canadian compatible online accounting service? Canada inevitably seems to be low on the priority support list.