We think KashFlow might be the easiest package to use out there for the non-accountant with a simple business. Everything complicated is hidden away with only the core functionality easily accessible.
This is perhaps double-edged but there really shouldn't be any reason for non-accountants to need to do anything too complicated, that is unless you have a small business seeing some serious growth.
The Overview Page
KashFlow's overview page is pretty solid at doing what it says on the tin and giving you an overview of your accounts.
What isn't showing up in this demo screen is the current VAT liability which, if VAT registered, will appear below the two charts. However this is only the VAT liability accruing during the current VAT quarter.
We think this is a bit of a weakness because any unpaid liability for a previous VAT quarter won't appear on your overview page. It would also be nice to be able to add an actual or estimated Corporation Tax / Income Tax liability so businesses know how much they should have set aside.
We've seen some people use a workaround by setting up fake bank accounts to show the liability on this page but it isn't ideal and is something that Xero allows.
We're not too enamoured by the bank reconciliation page either and are aware that a lot of businesses just don't use it.
So to make this work you set the current account balance and then click all the pre-input sales invoices and purchase receipts that are now paid to get from the old bank balance to the new one. It's a very traditional way of doing it but is of little help if you have transactions going through your bank account that you haven't already set up an invoice for.
Instead, it's much easier to go down your bank statement and then open the respective unpaid invoices and then mark them as paid. If you don't have a record for an invoice you can create one there and then.
It's not a huge weakness but is perhaps symptomatic of a bigger problem that unlike others, KashFlow doesn't have automated bank feeds. We've also never been able toÂ successfullyÂ manage importing a CSV bank statement manually but are told it's possible..
This is where KashFlow is a clear winner. As long as you don't stray into the Tools & Reports menu you're unlikely to come across any language you don't 100% understand and as we've said the combination of sales, purchases and bank pages should be more than enough for most small businesses.
If though you want to see a profit and loss or balance sheet and head into the Tools & Reports menu you will be confronted with this:
We love that it's possible to run all these reports (and this isn't all of them) but it would probably be nicer if some of the really key ones were moved to the main front end. There's some pretty niche stuff in there like a template for Prince's trust businesses (KashFlow had startup funding from the Price's trust) and a report for HSBC invoice factoring (should we take from this that KashFlow use that service too?).
As another little gripe most of these are either a chart or numbers with no choice between the two. We love to see a full monthly profit and loss report but this isn't possible unless you export the report to a spreadsheet.
How easy KashFlow is to use depends on what you want from it. If you want a super enhanced spreadsheet to record your transactions nicely for your accountant whilst keeping track of unpaid invoices then it's amazing (5 stars).
If your business is a bit more complicated or you want to do some decent historical analysis then you are going to have to put a bit of work in (3 stars).
We'll compromise and give KashFlow's usability 4 stars.