As a company that is just about to celebrate it's 15th year in business, one question that has been repeatedly asked is "what accounting package do you use". If we'd of had a pound of everyone who'd asked this we'd have a an extra Mac Book Air in the office.
Business accounting can be one of the biggest headaches when starting out. Migrating from the status of an employee to company director is a great feeling but being immersed in figures, paperwork and compliance is not what we signed up for, or what we knew anything about!
When twobelowzero started in 1997 we opted to have the accounts done by hand, the old school way. We'd drop off a shoe box of receipts and the accountant would painstakingly work through these often asking for clarifcation of reciepts that were months old. With so much going on we could hardly remember the previous week, let along months back. Although this was a releatively cheap way of accountanting it didn't allow to see upto date information and with cash flow becoming more important as client payment terms became longer as we gained bigger clients we needed to take another leap forward.
So two dirty words were upon us. A 'PC' in the office to run 'Sage'. With this migration came a new accountancy firm who swore by Sage. So we bit the bullet. It soon became apparent you need a degree (which I have 2:1, thanks) to operate Sage. What we weren't told is that this application has been built by accountants for accountants; not business owners or staff.
After many mistakes and wasted phone calls to support we opted to employ a bookeeper trained with Sage that did all the data entry and supplied exports at the end of the year to accountant and for quarterly VAT returns. As a design agency we wanted to make our invoices clean and well designed. My god what a misssion this was! It dawned on me after doing some more research that of course accountants love Sage. It makes the task of preparing your accounts much easier. We know they love an easy life.
So by 2000 we had updated to a computer system (albeit on a PC) but we still needed an operator and having to switch from Mac to PC to issue invoices was just more wasted time.
Then it dawned on us, well actually on the other director, there must be an online system we could sign up to. We looked at various packages including KashFlow and Freshbooks. It tooks us about 2 months to fully assess the merits and downfalls of the systems and at the last point when we thought we had found an acceptable solution we heard about ClearBooks.
To be honest we were all about done with all the research, and to be honest, none were really what we wanted but they were a massive leap forward from Sage. So at the last minute we researched about ClearBooks online accounting package and were pleasantly surprised, although at this point in time the data was sparce and they had only just come out of beta. With a clean easy to use interface and a system designed for both business users and accountants we decided to sign up and see what they had to offer.
What happened going forward was a reflection of the dedication and passion from the team (which at that point I think was just was Tim Fouracre, the founder). As soon as we jumped in we found a few clitches and made some stuoid user errors, so we emailed support about our errors and a few missing features.
With an almost immediate reponse from Tim saying he was adding these bits and by the morning they would be live. The morning came and there they were. We were amazed to be honest; it was as if we had a dev guy building our wishes.
As time went on the help section grew along with the vast fetaure list. Very quiclkly we knew we'd found the ideal system for us. Online, accessible, and easy to use, upto the minute reports and the ability to import your bank statements direct from your bank; all making keeping tabs on the finance of the business very easy.
In our opinion and experience we think ClearBooks and the team behind it is first class, always looking forward and always happy to help. I'm sure we are not alone in thinking ClearBooks has really shaken the online accounting world and raised the bar. Job well done.
So if you're looking for a system for your business we would recommend you seriously consider ClearBooks.