Going it alone...

MissKCB Registered Posts: 7 Regular contributor ⭐
Hey everyone!


I have been in full time employment as an Accounts Assistant for the last 4 years, and think I am now ready to start my own book keeping business. I don't envisage it being a huge money making business, but hopefully it'll grow enough for me to be able to stop working full time and work from home, ready for when I have children in a few years

My issue at the moment is that I am absolutely petrified of getting started. I know I'm capable of doing it, but I think the thought of being completely self sufficient, with no finance manager checking my work is freaking me out a bit. I also am a bit confused as to where to start.

I've got a rough business plan together, but I'm not sure of the order in which to do things. I'm also struggling to find a suitable software package. I have worked with Sage for the last 4 years so its lovely and familiar, however the cheapest package that would be suitable is £700 +VAT. There are so many other options out there, does anyone have any recommendations of a package that is similar to Sage in the way it works?

If anyone out there who was in the same position as I am now is able to offer any help or guidance, I would really appreciate it!



  • Sue
    Sue Registered Posts: 217 Dedicated contributor 🦉

    There are lots of other packages available, which I will leave others to tell you about as I have always used Sage since I have had my own business. Although I have had a lot of problems with it since upgrading to the 2012 version.

    If you are interested in Sage the best option is to ring them and ask for a quote. You will need to insist that you are a bookkeeper/accountant and they will give you a better deal. I currently pay just over £500 a year for a 50 company licence and annual support. There use to be 5 and 25 company versions as well.

    Good luck with your business.

  • stefanboro
    stefanboro Registered Posts: 187 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Re: Software

    For bookkeeping - VT Transaction + is spot on for the price. As a programme I do prefer sage but I cannot justify the cash compared to how cheap VT is and you get the end of year software in with it all for around £250 as I recall.
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    stefanboro wrote: »
    Re: Software

    For bookkeeping - VT Transaction + is spot on for the price. As a programme I do prefer sage but I cannot justify the cash compared to how cheap VT is and you get the end of year software in with it all for around £250 as I recall.

    VT. VT. VT. VT. You cannot go wrong! :)
  • JodieR
    JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    I use quickbooks for a lot of my clients - It's about £400 a year if you join the 'pro advisors' scheme and for that you get:
    1 Copy of all singing all dancing QBs for you to use in your practice for an unlimited no of companies
    Payroll functionality so you don't need any further payroll software
    1 copy of QBs Pro which you can sell to a client or on ebay - I think I usually get back about £100 for this.
    And all the extra bumf - telephone & online support, discount codes for your clients & rubbish desktop calendars.

    Just to be clear though, it's the DESKTOP version I use and love, the ONLINE version is really horrible and I wouldn't recommend it at all!

    Good Luck!

  • ademoore
    ademoore Registered Posts: 146 Dedicated contributor 🦉

    I concur with Monsoon and Stefanboro - when I first started out I took the route of Sage, because it was the package I knew from my full time employment! But when the next years subs come round, I was starting to realise that it wasn't such a great long term solution when I was looking at my client base! Having spoken to another local accountant in practice, they recommended VT and I haven't looked back since! There will of course be the learning curve, but in honesty it's very simple to navigate around once you have put a few intial transactions in. Just bite the bullet!

    For payroll I use Moneysoft, which again came recommended, and I haven't looked back since. It really does everything you need and at a good price in comparison to other products.

    Support on both of these has been excellent!
  • Pixie1
    Pixie1 Registered Posts: 24 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Hi miskcb

    I'm in exactly the same situation as you. Although been working in industry accounts for Thirteen years. I really really want to take the jump but I am so nervous. I have been researching this over the passed few months on the net etc. looking at also getting vt as recommended.

    Be interesting to see how you get on?

    Where abouts are you?

    Thanks :-)
  • MissKCB
    MissKCB Registered Posts: 7 Regular contributor ⭐
    Hi Pixie1!

    I'm based in Hampshire. Looking into it a bit more, with the Pro Indemnity Insurance I will need, plus a new laptop, software etc the monthly outgoings are already going to be quite high! Obviously I'm not going to make a profit on it straight away but hopefully I will pick up enough clients to make it worthwhile. I've done a bit of research and there are only 1 or 2 other accountants offering the same services in my area, and they are proper practices so I imagine will be charging quite a lot. If I get my prices right I hope to take on a few sole traders and build up a base from word of mouth and advertising.

    I definitely need to just bite the bullet and get on with it. So many people I have spoken to have said its a good idea and think it will be successful, so I just need to be a bit braver!

    I'm going to look into VT today, as its a package a few people have suggested to me

    Thanks everyone! Any other advice would be greatly appreciated :)
    BIG WAL Registered Posts: 133 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    When I started I visited clients' premises to keep their books up to date on their computers which were
    running the Sage they had purchased. So initially it wasn't necessary for me to buy my own.

    In time I found it useful to have my own programme, but by that time could afford it. Invariably, even
    now all the clients who are using Sage have their own and mostly I still work at their premises, but back up on to my own computer. So it's not strictly necessary to have my own.

    Otherwise, like many others I use VT
  • Pixie1
    Pixie1 Registered Posts: 24 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Hi MissKCB,

    Thanks for your reply. I am in exactly the same situation as you with regards to the outgoings in the first few months. I guess this is the same for everyone though. Suppose we all have to start somewhere.

    I have downloaded the free vt trial for sixty days and was working through it yesterday on a small limited companies books. So far I am finding it easy enough to use/get on with.

    Have you already registered for your MIP with AAT then? How long did it take?

    I have spoke with AAT over email and been sent the forms etc, so now I just need to make the decision to apply or not.

  • MissKCB
    MissKCB Registered Posts: 7 Regular contributor ⭐
    Hi Pixie

    No I haven't applied to be an MIP yet, wanted to get Company set up first, then complete all the forms etc. There just seems to be so much to do and I just dont know what order to do it all in! iI'm going to play around with the 60 days free too and make sure I'm happy with it. People are saying its much easier to use than Sage and I find Sage a doddle so hopefully I'll be ok.

    What services will you be offering? Just the normal stuff?

    MissKCB :)
  • Pixie1
    Pixie1 Registered Posts: 24 Dedicated contributor 🦉

    Yes I know what you mean so much to do/think about. Hard to know where to start. I need to print all the forms off and start getting them filled in, so I know where I stand.

    Well I feel confident with accounts and bookkeeping for small limited companies. Im a little worried about sole traders Nd what is required for those? I think these are straight forward but have not had any practical experience on these, just exam based. The only thing I will struggle with is tax. So I'll have to speak to AAT about this, maybe I'll have to have a mentor for this?

    What about you?

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