KashFlow (www.kashflow.com) is a very popular online (web-based / cloud) accounting / bookkeeping software applications for small and medium sized businesses on the market today, and has grown over the years to its current standing whereby it has tens of thousands of users.
The application was initially developed in 2005 by the founder and current CEO, Duane Jackson, an ex web developer who at the time needed a suitable accounting package for his own use. He developed KashFlow, which was almost called Lollymate, and soon found that other small business owners were interested in the product. Duane gradually added new functionality, with help from the Prince’s Trust, and slowly the software has developed into the accounting application we have today.
Summary of the main KashFlow features
Here is a quick list of the main features of KashFlow. As you would expect, you can find out more information about the features on the KashFlow website (see link above).
- Quotes and Estimates
- Customers and Suppliers
- Credit Control
- API and Integrations
- Accounting (miscellaneous)
You can edit and customise invoices, and set up the system so that they are generated automatically. The software can also notify you when they become overdue.
Quotes and Estimates
You are able to easily create quotes or estimates, or pro-forma invoices.
You can set up both individual purchases and recurring purchases, and notify suppliers by email when you’ve paid them. You can also scan and upload attachments relevant to your purchases, and pay multiple purchases with a single transaction.
Customers and Suppliers
KashFlow lets you record details about all your customers and suppliers, including details about invoices relating to them. Information can be printed or exported in PDF or CSV formats.
A range of reports can be generated, including: profit & loss, balance sheet, and trial balance.
You can set up all of the bank accounts you use, whether personal (for expenses) or business, and view their balances on the KashFlow dashboard. Repeat transactions can be set up and you can quickly record transfers between accounts. Bank transaction information can be exported/imported in CSV format.
Quickly see how much money you are owed and what is overdue. The software lets you create pre-written reminder letters, which can be sent automatically to someone who is late settling an invoice.
In order to keep the software as easy-to-use as possible, a lot of the functionality can be switched off if you don’t need it.
APIs and Integrations
KashFlow has a secure interface that allows other programs to enter data into your account and/or retrieve data. As well as being able to integrate with a number of pre-made addons, there is a full-featured API that lets people build their own integrations.
The software also contains functionality that doesn’t neatly fit into the other sections listed above. The software supports a number of different VAT schemes, including Standard VAT, Cash Accounting and the Flat Rate Scheme. If you are a contractor or sub-contractor, KashFlow also works in conjunction with CIS.
At the time of writing this post (January 2014), KashFlow costs £18 + VAT per month. There is a two week free trial though, as detailed below. (Note: I think there is a limited offer whereby the software is slightly cheaper, which runs until July 2014.)
Free Trial – using the software
So that you can try before you buy, you can use KashFlow for free for 14 days. This isn’t very long though – a month would have been better – so if you intend to try the software, make sure you start playing around with it as soon as you’ve registered. There’s a lot of functionality to try and you may well find that you run out of time – ie your trial ends – before you’ve tried everything. I find the best thing to do when I’m testing a bit of software is to try to complete certain tasks rather than randomly clicking on buttons and links.
Registering is straightforward, which is what you would expect from an online (web-based) application. You have to provide the usual user name and password, plus a ‘memorable’ word. Make sure you use a word that you can remember though because you will have to enter three characters from that word whenever you log on.
Once you’ve registered you are taken to an opening page where you can optionally set up some company details, such as your company name, address, business type and whether you are registered for VAT. If you don’t want to do this at this initial stage, you can come back to it any time you want to,
This moves you onto the Getting Started page, which gives some very quick instructions on what you can do along with links to popular tasks. (Note – if you ever want to get back to the Getting Started page, click the Overview link in the top right hand area of the screen.)
You’ll probably need to spend a bit of time finding your way around the software, which is to be expected for a program as sophisticated as KashFlow. Try to use the software properly, ie set up one or two customers, create a few invoices, create a few reports, and so on. This way you’ll get a feel for whether the software suits your business. (Note: A day or so after I registered, I received an email from KashFlow that contained some useful links as an aid to using the software.)
On the whole I found the screen layout to be clear and the navigation to be straightforward. On some screens though the text seems a bit light – too light for me in fact – I like text to be dark on a light background.
If you need a bit of help with the software, click the Support button in the top right hand area of the screen. From here you can download the KashFlow user guide or, if you have a specific query, search the knowledge base for an answer. If you are still stuck, you can send an email to the support department. You can also call them up if you need to.
KashFlow is powerful accounting software and it will suit many small and medium-sized businesses. If you’re an IT contractor though, or someone whose accounting/bookkeeping requirements are very basic, you may find that you won’t have any need for a lot of the functionality on offer which, after all, you will be paying for. If this applies to you, you might be better off looking at a very basic bookkeeping tool such as Earnings Tracker.
Does KashFlow offer value for money? Yes, I would say so – you get a lot of accounting functionality for your money. Remember though, £18+VAT per month adds up, and you’ll be looking at £259.20 per year, which takes you into the Sage accounting arena. If you intend to use most of the features on offer though, you’ll probably be getting your money’s worth.
Other Accounting Software Reviews
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