• This topic has 11 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Kit.
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  • Bookkeeping and stocktaking software recommendations
  • Premier Icon Kit

    Looking for recommendations for PC software what will do combined/integrated stock and bookkeeping, preferably free and HMRC friendly, and even more preferably geared towards spirits (alcohol) production.

    If it has fancy bobbins stuff like easy e-commerce integration, phone apps for scanning receipts etc, then even better.


    Premier Icon Kit

    Er… no one?


    I swapped from Quicken on my PC to Quickbooks Online – one of my better moves.
    Easy to use and you don’t worry about your PC freaking out and losing your data. Pretty cheap too.
    Does stock tracking also.

    Premier Icon burko73

    To be fair that’s quite a niche area to expect a quick reply on a bike forum. If you were posting on distilling sharetraders receipt scanning forum uk then fair enough….

    Premier Icon Sandwich

    For free, it’s unlikely to be available fully formed. You’ll need to be happy coding some stuff to get stock control and taxes to happen automatically. Then you need to make it HMRC friendly and keep that bit updated as the rules change.
    I suspect your time will be better spent with making booze and paying Intuit or someone else to provide an accounting package monthly.

    Premier Icon Kit

    To be fair…

    To be fair, I said ‘preferably’, not ‘required’, but thanks for your input nonetheless.

    Looking around it seems there’s some decent accounting stuff online, but much of it doesn’t take into account stock, or it’s very basic, or you need an expensive tie-in app.

    Might stick with Excel for a bit until I see how the business is going 😀

    Premier Icon burko73

    To be fair my comments probably weren’t worth the thanks but thanks nonetheless…



    We run our stuff through Freshbooks, although we’ve outgrown it a bit now, 5 years in. Possibly not great for the stock control side of things though. It’s got invoicing, clients, expenses, app etc all built in so may at least be worth a quick look.

    Xero or Quickbooks may well be worth a look. Sage is expensive, clunky as hell but very reliable. An absolute pig to work if you’re not an accountant (or accountant’y minded, certainly).

    Premier Icon petefromearth

    Certainly nothing wrong with using excel as you can tailor it to exactly what you want. When you’re starting out that’s fine and investing in time/money in a big fancy system probably isn’t worth it.

    If it isn’t a long term solution don’t get too comfortable in excel, as it’s a right ballache to move all your accounts across. It’s better to do that before your business grows ideally! We did it the other way round.

    We moved from having everything in excel to xero last year. After 5 years of trading it was a big job. I still use excel for more high level reporting that I couldn’t quite get xero to do how I wanted.

    Really happy with it now, I do all the invoicing, bookkeeping, payroll and VAT myself and get an accountant to file our accounts at the end of the year. Soon I’ll have to do pensions too but it’s meant to be easy. Knowing that it’s all being done correctly, synced to the bank transactions, is a big weight off my mind and worth every penny.

    Xero might not be able to do the stock take stuff but there are lots of 3rd party add-ons you can pay extra for.

    And IME free software rarely works well enough to be with the hassle. The right tools for your business are worth paying for.


    Switch accounting system early and it will be much less painful.

    I strongly suggest doing it in the cloud. There is a small cost but that is nothing compared to the hassle if your PC dies or gets a virus – yes I know you plan to back it up and update your virus software – but you are running a small business so it won’t be top priority.

    Let the cloud provider deal with the changing hmrc landscape etc. I don’t know if any of them deal well with alcohol duty rules. Xero is bound to have an add on suitable for the sort of stock you need. And probably for websales too.

    If you want an off the shelf complete package have a look at BrightPearl more intended for small shops and online retailers. Possibly more expensive but last time I was involved with it they provided a lot of other stuff you probably don’t know you need (like customer support ticketing system etc). Not sure if their approach to stock/bills of material will work for you without being creative but I am five years out of touch with them.

    Talk to your accountant. If he says Sage, find a new accountant!


    Only software that springs to mind that meets your needs is De Facto but it is far from user friendly and makes Sage look basic so I wouldn’t recommend it.
    You’re requirements including stock control and alcohol, not sure if you mean retail or production. The former then the online accounting packages of Quickbooks, Xero, FreeAgent and to a lesser extent Sageone.
    If it’s the later then I assume you will require to separate your stock into duty paid and suspended duty in which case you are going to struggle with off the shelf packages and the online ones will probably cause you more problems than they solve as their stock functions tend to be very basic or 3rd party add ons.
    You may benefit from newer version of Sage which are hybrid in their function in that the database is synced in the cloud for its mobile apps but you still have the power and functionality of the desktop software.

    Premier Icon Kit

    Thanks for the replies so far! I’ve been looking at Xerom already as it’s not too expensive, and there’s an add-on called Unleashed which takes care of manufacturing stock and ‘recipes’. It’s pretty expensive though for a small startup!

    Having done more digging about software that looks after duty paid/suspended stock, none of the advertising providers give a clue on prices. I think that probably says a lot (i.e. ££££’s).

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