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    • Terrum
    • By Terrum 30th May 16, 9:53 AM
    • 9Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Terrum
    FreeAgent Alternatives
    • #1
    • 30th May 16, 9:53 AM
    FreeAgent Alternatives 30th May 16 at 9:53 AM
    I'm running a web hosting company currently and registered as a sole trader. I'm looking for an alternative to FreeAgent but for a fraction of the price.

    Whilst I know cheapest isn't always the best, I'm really not sure I'm getting the best out of the money with FreeAgent. £21/m to just import my PayPal/bank, explain transactions and fill out a self-assessment seems like a bit too much to spend for something I can probably just do on an Excel document (if I felt confident enough).

    I was really tempted to go with a company called Intuit QuickBooks which currently has a 'Self-Employed & Freelancer tax help' plan for a crazy £2.99/m for 6 months, and £6/m after that. Even if I went for the free trial and stuck with the £6/m that's still a fraction of the price I'm currently spending with FreeAgent (Unfortunately can't post a link to QuickBooks' plans, one will have to Google their price plans).

    The only drawback is they don't offer PayPal transaction importing (or so the sales rep told me over the live chat). Which is disappointing as I was really hoping to transfer to QuickBooks today.

    I'm wondering if anyone can let me know of a free or paid alternative (pre-hosted like FreeAgent or QuickBooks, one I can do on my home PC for free, or one I can host on my own site for free) that will simply let me import my income/outgoings from my bank and PayPal, explain each transaction for necessary tax categorisation/codes, and fill my self-assessment for me each year (FreeAgent does all of this - but at a price I really don't feel happy with).

    In all honesty I am just paying FreeAgent to store my transactions and keep them explained. Which I really don't feel is worth the £21/m I'm spending.

    Any comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!
Page 1
    • Pennywise
    • By Pennywise 30th May 16, 10:21 AM
    • 9,823 Posts
    • 18,110 Thanks
    Pennywise
    • #2
    • 30th May 16, 10:21 AM
    • #2
    • 30th May 16, 10:21 AM
    You'll find few, if any, alternatives that will also do the preparation and filing of your self assessment tax return. I'd be very surprised if QB facilitates that (happy to be shot down if I'm wrong) - it certainly didn't last time I looked. FAC is fairly unique in doing so much, which is why it's more expensive. Most, if not all, alternative book-keeping software will do the number crunching and the accounts prep (assuming you enter the right data in the right places), but don't go as far as populating your SA return and filing it - you usually have to export your data from the accounting system and import it into a separate (and paid for) tax return filing system.
    • Pennywise
    • By Pennywise 30th May 16, 10:24 AM
    • 9,823 Posts
    • 18,110 Thanks
    Pennywise
    • #3
    • 30th May 16, 10:24 AM
    • #3
    • 30th May 16, 10:24 AM
    In all honesty I am just paying FreeAgent to store my transactions and keep them explained. Which I really don't feel is worth the £21/m I'm spending.
    Originally posted by Terrum
    No you're not. You paying for the functionality of the data being automatically input into the SA return and the SA return being sanity-checked and filed. Most other book-keeping systems don't do that.

    You're also paying for the inbuilt "intelligence" of FAC knowing which expenses are allowable for tax, which aren't (i.e. disallowed entertaining) and also for the different tax treatment of buying fixed assets such as computer or office equipment.

    You're also paying for automatic calculation and posting of depreciation and automatic adjustment of the tax return for it.

    If you want something cheap and cheerful just for the book-keeping, then try Wave which is free. But it doesn't have the inbuilt tax functionality.
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 30th May 16, 2:36 PM
    • 13,102 Posts
    • 11,167 Thanks
    paddyrg
    • #4
    • 30th May 16, 2:36 PM
    • #4
    • 30th May 16, 2:36 PM
    You can also look at Crunch.co.uk, any better?
    • fishybusiness
    • By fishybusiness 30th May 16, 10:49 PM
    • 1,140 Posts
    • 704 Thanks
    fishybusiness
    • #5
    • 30th May 16, 10:49 PM
    • #5
    • 30th May 16, 10:49 PM
    I'm really not sure I'm getting the best out of the money with FreeAgent. £21/m to just import my PayPal/bank, explain transactions and fill out a self-assessment seems like a bit too much to spend for something I can probably just do on an Excel document (if I felt confident enough).
    Yep, you probably could, and fill in the forms.

    £250 odd per year for the numbers to be calculated and filled in on your SA, plus filing.........

    It's peanuts, give a local accountant a call and ask for a quote for SA filing if you provide the numbers. You won't get much change if any from £250.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 8th Feb 18, 8:37 PM
    • 5,964 Posts
    • 5,446 Thanks
    00ec25
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 8:37 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 8:37 PM
    as a daily user of FreeAgent for approx half of our practice's client base i would second pennywise's comments

    there are lots of other cloud based bookkeeping packages that do bank imports and auto matching (some better than others!) but only FA has the tax return aspect. Even then we do not actually allow our clients to file via the FA tax return package as it can only do that for whatever data is in it and we have clients who have little understanding of their own finances and should not be anywhere near a tax return unescorted.

    yes FreeAgent is "easy" to use and that is because, as pennywise says, a lot of its functions are fully automated. Whether you need those is another matter, and whether those that you do need are as sophisticated as you really need is also a moot point. For example own a company car and try depreciating it meaningfully in FA, you can't, as FA only allows straight line.

    there is no clear winner on the cloud based bookkeeping/ accounts packages because they each have strengths that differentiate them from their competitors, but no one package does it all because its price would be prohibitive for the small business market these things are aimed at
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