Friday, September 10, 2021

KashFlow accounting service

KashFlow, which is now part of the IRIS Software group, is moving with the times and has recently announced the launch of a new VAT Dashboard. As is the case with many accounting software packages that are aimed at the UK market, it’s vital to be compliant with the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) vision, which is now becoming a reality. So KashFlow’s software update is certainly timely. As always, KashFlow still prides itself on keeping things simple and that’s good news when you’re dealing with your accounts and anything tax-related. 

This cloud-based software solution can be used from anywhere and at any time, just as long as you can get connected. Launched back in 2005 focuses its online accounting software on small business owners and is now part of IRIS software. Today, KashFlow comes armed with a full suite of tools, which can not only let you tackle your accounting chores, but can also be used to take on payroll and HR duties too. There’s a lot inside KashFlow, but against that you could find yourself a little overwhelmed by it’s bulky feature set.

Other packages in this software area include QuickBooks, Xero, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, Kashoo and Zoho Books.

KashFlow

KashFlow comes with three different pricing tiers currently (Image credit: KashFlow)

Pricing

Currently, KashFlow is available in three different package variants that come with the benefit of no annual contract and it’s possible to cancel at any time too. The Starter package costs £8 a month plus VAT and is aimed at sole traders, contractors and small businesses. You can send unlimited quotes and 10 invoices, along with reconciling 25 bank transactions. Although it’s only a single user account it works with bank feeds, has a mobile app along with a customizable dashboard. 

The Business edition is £16.50 per month plus VAT and is aimed at growing businesses and limited companies. This has the benefit of allowing unlimited quotes and invoices, plus you can reconcile unlimited bank transactions. It’s multi-user and lets you manage and submit VAT returns online. 

Finally, KashFlow has its Business and Payroll package, which costs £22.50 per month plus VAT, which has all of the aforementioned features along with added payroll functionality. At the time of writing KashFlow also had more competitive pricing based on an Annual payment plan, rather than the monthly costings shown above. If you’re happy to commit then that might offer savings.

KashFlow

You can explore the service via a free KashFlow trial (Image credit: KashFlow)

Features

KashFlow is aimed primarily at UK users, and as a result comes with lots of functionality aimed specifically at small business owners with VAT to deal with as part of their obligations. Recent obvious improvements include the colour coding to highlight the status of different VAT returns and there is better navigation too. This is most notable thanks to the new VAT dashboard, but elsewhere the progress bar idea makes keeping tabs of where you are much easier. 

In addition, KashFlow also comes with a raft of tools that can handle expenses, contact management, fixed asset management as well as being able to administer payroll and HR. The latter two features can be integrated using KashFlow’s modular setup, which makes it a very versatile package. 

Central to your workflow is the Dashboard and supporting menu system, which seems to feature just about anything you could ever need during the course of any given business year. Along with the new VAT dashboard there’s another recent addition to the KashFlow feature list, one which allows you to integrate your Square payments into the system. KashFlow says that you currently get your first £1000 of card transactions and a Square Reader for free.

KashFlow

KashFlow can be navigated using a central dashboard area (Image credit: KashFlow)

Performance

KashFlow comes with a lot of functionality built into it, particularly now that the VAT dashboard has been added. This feature allows firms to easily see and also separate all their MTD VAT return clients from non-MTD-clients. That’s a great practical touch, but there is also the ability to submit multiple VAT returns at once. These are great tools to aid performance. 

However, while the cloud-based nature of the software service is impressive it does tend to get hampered by a less-than-intuitive design. The rather clunky navigation tends to slow up progress, as does the need to familiarize yourself with all of the various sections. Things do improve as you become more acquainted with its many different levels though but KashFlow does tend to look more promising than it actually is during use.

KashFlow

The KashFlow interface requires time to fully get to grips with (Image credit: KashFlow)

Ease of use

The latest incarnation of KashFlow shows numerous improvements that help with ease of use, especially with the likes of the VAT dashboard and its ability to send clients correspondence when a return has been submitted on their behalf. This is a great time-saver even for seasoned professionals. 

That said, while KashFlow shouldn't put off users who are less familiar with the working of accountancy software and services, it does tend to take a while to become familiar with the many different faces of the interface. We found that taking a tour of the knowledge base makes a lot of sense in terms of familiarizing yourself with functions. 

However, the knowledge base in itself is quite a read, which means that becoming familiar with all of the features inside KashFlow takes time. Nevertheless, if you’re willing to put in the work then the menu system does eventually start to make sense. Be prepared to spend more time drilling down through the hierarchy of those menus though.

KashFlow

KashFlow support is a little bit of a mixed bag (Image credit: KashFlow)

Support

While KashFlow does have a dedicated support infrastructure the feedback it seems to attract is mixed. To get started, if you have a fairly basic query, you have to head towards the aforementioned KashFlow knowledge base, which is a hub that does offer a wealth of information on all of the main features and functions. 

From there, you'll find there’s also a support email address, while UK users can get to speak to someone on the phone from within their account, which could be particularly useful if you’re using one of the more complex KashFlow interface options. KashFlow does also have training videos available, but these are charged as extras.

KashFlow

KashFlow is very useful for UK users with VAT returns to handle (Image credit: KashFlow)

Final verdict

KashFlow really benefits from the latest tweaks to its interface and additional features that revolve around the VAT dashboard. Other new features like the colour coding and improved sorting capabilities make for a much better user experience. 

So there’s no doubt that KashFlow packs a lot into this cloud-based range of options. While the service is available in the US and elsewhere, it feels like it has a more UK-centric outlook, which is something underlined by its strong emphasis on dealing with VAT. With a lot of features to contend with the slight downside to KashFlow is its rather clunky user interface, which can be tricky to operate especially if you're a newcomer to its inner workings. 

The user experience is saved thanks to a decent main dashboard, which gets you to where you want to go, but once you’re in the menu system KashFlow can occasionally become troublesome. Nevertheless, KashFlow is packed to the hilt with features, many of which come well suited to growing small businesses. Used in its most basic edition, however, KashFlow is also great for freelancers and sole traders.

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