JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002
Just had an enquiry from a potential new client who's using Kashflow to produce/record their sales invoices and want me to record all purchase info & reconcile bank etc on it. I've never used it before and after my brief look around the system it looks... well.. horrible!
Does anyone use it? Does it get better once you pick it up? Does it have serious limitations that I can point out to persuade said client to convert to quickbooks? I don't fancy doing a VAT return on Kashflow, looks like it'd be easier to just use spreadsheets.


  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 🎆 🐘 🎆
    JodieR wrote: »
    I've never used it before and after my brief look around the system it looks... well.. horrible! .

    I love you Jodie ;)

    Yes, it's horrible. I can't stand it. However, I have the misfortune of knowing it quite well from a final accounts point of view (but not from a VAT pov). None of the staff in my office like it. I just don't understand why some accountants rave about it, all of the KF files I've had the misfortune to work on have had gross errors on them.

    The double entry is incredibly hard to see, it's not intuitive, it feels like it's been cobbled together (which it has - it grew from a very simple system and then when it took off they added on all the other functions) and there is SO MUCH scope for error it's unreal. If a professional is reconciling and checking on a regular basis then it's a bit safer but letting a client on it for a year and then having to fix it, god, I've never had such an awful job in my life!

    Also, the TB is not a TB, it's a transactional TB - to get a real TB with b/f bals, you have to run a TB from the year dot to the year end, as opposed to just specifying the y/e. Oh, and the nominal ledger report only containts P&L accounts, you cannot get a nominal/general ledger report that includes BS accounts, you have to find them manually. Seriously.

    It is also a very expensive option, espeically for a basic business: compare £15 a month (or more now, I don't know) forever, vs say £125 one off fee for VT T+ or £99+VAT for Solar Accounts, or £5 per month for Accounts Portal. It has a lot of clever API addons but many of these are not relevant for the average small business.

    I have a lot of respect for Duane (the MD) and how well his business has grown but I cannot stand KF itself. Sorry Duane!

    Disclaimer: This post has been brought to you by my dear friend Shiraz, who may be somewhat more blunt than me on my own! However - it's still my opinion!
  • JodieR
    JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002
    I love you too jenni... especially for telling it how it is (even if you are using someone elses words to do so!)

    I've just had another look and the company records start in 2008 - there's been a few random purchases entered and a couple of bank transactions. There's only an average of 10 sales invoices a month so I think I'll let him carry on with Kashflow for the invoicing (he likes the online-ness of it - fair enough) and tell him it'll be far cheaper for him (and easier for me) to pay me to re-enter the invoices into quickbooks and do the rest of his bookkeeping there.

  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 🎆 🐘 🎆
    If the transactions are few, you might be ok.
    Seriously have a look at Accounts Portal though - it's free to sign up as a partner Accountant (as opposed to £999 a year with KF) and it's merely £5 per month through an accountant. I've not used it much but it's a much cleaner and simple interface than KF and if all he wants is effectively invoice software then £5 vs £15.99 has got to be a no-brainer.

    Online bookkeeeping software is brilliant - it means you can log in and check as they are going along, as opposed to getting a file at the year end, or having to email backups to and fro. It's just a case of getting the right one.

    I am geniunely baffled at why so many accountants like KF, I just simply can't understand it. I know it's been designed for non-accountants to find it simple to use but in my experience, the non-bookkeeper types who have used it have made such a hash of it.

    One of my gripes is that it's all too easy to let KF post transactions to the "other" account which is effectively a suspense account, equivalent to 9998 in Sage, which means in some cases I've had thousands of transactions to analyse and journal out. This includes transactions from a direct feed from Paypal which is supposed to import them and automatically put them in the right place - now I don't know if that was KF automatically posting transactions to "Other" or whether that was the way the user set it up, but it just didn't impress me.

    The best one I saw - which wasn't the fault of the software but was genuinely the user not having a clue about bookkeeeping at all - was a set of books that bore no resemblance to the real transactions in the bank at all. When I questioned this, I was told "yeah I know, thats what I thought should have happened so that's what I put in" :lol: Classic!
  • JodieR
    JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002
    It just makes my head hurt thinking about it! I imagine that I'll get all the purchase invoices and the majority of the bank transactions entered without too much bother, and then things like overpaying a supplier or refunding a customer will be a nightmare to work out, and then I'll run the VAT report and it'll be nothing like what he's declared on his VAT returns and then I'll loose the will to live! Am I getting too cynical in my old age?!

    I'm not actually going to think about it any more, he's not got back to me anyway so maybe he's found someone else already.

    Just had a quick look at accountsportal... looks straightforward to use so thanks for that - i shall let him know if neccessary.

    Thanks again
  • JodieR
    JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002
    Further update on a little test of Accounts Portal...

    On the good side:
    * It does look pretty and is straightforward to navigate around

    * Dead simple to set up a customer and create an invoice

    In the middle:
    * Amending an invoice was easy but there was no 'warning' that I'd amended it - could lead to problems but personally I'd prefer this over not being able to amend it at all

    * I was a bit confused as to why I couldn't charge VAT on the invoice but found where to 'turn on' VAT without too much hassle.

    Not so good:
    * You don't seem to be able to print invoices straight to the printer, they have to be emailed or saved as a PDF (which I presume you print from there). For the technically challenged this could be a headache.

    * After creating my £200 invoice I tried entering a £250 receipt from the customer. It wouldn't let me enter the £250 in one transaction as it exceded the outstanding amount. So I entered the £200 against the invoice (simple) and then entered the £50 coding it to 'customer overpayment'. Only, when I looked at the customer record after that there was no record of a £50 Cr balance on their account. On the balance sheet I could see £50 in the 'customer overpayments' account but it wasn't allocated to the sales ledger.

    So basically, unless someone has the most perfect of customers who only ever want emailed invoices I think that this software is probably too basic. Pity.

  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 🎆 🐘 🎆
    Thanks for the review Jodie! Really useful.

    The lack of print function I think is because those who like the idea of online software are those who are going to tend towards electronic communication or paperless systems anyway, but I agree there should be a paper print option for those who need it.

    The lack of overpayment function is a real flaw. I'd advise emailing their support and asking when they are going to fix it as that's a bit rubbish really. How can you send an accurate customer statement?
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