Tools of the trade that will save you time and effort in bookkeeping.

As a small business owner, your time is gold dust.

And with so much to do, your bookkeeping is a chore that takes up that valuable time.

But bookkeeping is not something you can skip out on, particularly with the growing need to keep a digital record.

Luckily, there are many tools on hand that small business owners can use to make bookkeeping easier.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we know there’s a lot to consider. What works for one business may be the wrong fit for another.

That’s why we’re breaking down the tools of the trade so you can figure out what bookkeeping aids work for you.


If you’re doing your research, you might’ve noticed that many small businesses use QuickBooks Online.

But what makes it so good?

  • Scalable
  • Commonly used by professionals (including us!)
  • Integrates with 3rd party systems and Quickbooks Payroll
  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • Easy to use: All features are accessible through a central dashboard
  • Has a plethora of online resources to give you the support you need
  • 30-day trial
  • 4 Subscription plans that vary in price for business size, but can be upgraded as your business grows
  • More advanced plans offer more advanced features – though most small businesses will find the Simple Start Programme (£14/m.o) will suffice
  • Customisable options with mobile app
  • Requires an upgrade for additional users
  • Can suffer from syncing problems with banks and credit cards


Another popular accounting tool, Xero is rapidly growing into a bookkeeping giant. And like QuickBook, Xero is that it is designed to grow with your business across its different subscription options.

It also integrates with hundreds of third-party business solutions, many of which you likely already use like Gusto for payroll.

Here’s the full lowdown:

  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • 3rd party payroll integration through Gusto and app marketplace
  • Integration with 3rd party services allows online payment collection
  • Simple inventory management
  • Limited customer service and reporting
  • Fees charged for ACH payments


Another cloud-based software, as a FreeAgent partner, we recommend it for freelancers, consultants, and other project-based businesses.

  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • Doesn’t limit transactions behind a paywall
  • Supports unlimited users, clients, invoices and transactions for one monthly price
  • Ideal for keeping track of billable hours and expenses
  • Runs fully RTI-compliant payroll
  • Allows you to create and send estimates and invoices
  • Uses personalised Tax Timeline of upcoming deadlines and amounts due, cash flow, and profitability
  • Files VAT, RTI payroll and Self Assessment tax returns directly to HMRC (ideal for sole traders and limited companies)
  • App development and compatibility for Android is lacking, but underway
  • Tax Timeline doesn’t offer a comparison of year-on-year comparison


Sage is one of the bigger brands, and it’s been around a lot longer than most.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is specifically geared towards the needs of small to medium-sized corporations and offers two plans for small business owners.

However, it has been described as overly complex and difficult to use.

Here are the pros and cons:

  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • Offers a free trial or demo before buying
  • Offers invoicing, expense management and reporting, as well as the creation of quotes, estimates, tracking, and inventory management
  • Provides monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports and reports. These include balance sheets and income/cash flow statements
  • Produces comparison of financial statements e.g. year-to-year.
  • Many features are preset  and ready for the user to make management streamlined but also offer multiple customisation opportunities
  • Offers capabilities for budgeting or cash flow forecasting, job costing, auditing, and automated workflows, as well as industry-specific features.
  • Uses a central dashboard to access information and data in one place
  • Link your credit cards and bank accounts
  • Integrates with third-party apps
  • Difficult to use and set up. May need a Sage expert to support you (Luckily, we are!)
  • Features can be complicated to use and need expert support
  • Homepage can become cluttered if not customised
  • Geared towards larger businesses.
  • Lack of documentation and support, often necessitating further support

How Rosemary Bookkeeping helps your business

Each online bookkeeping aid offers something different, with both strengths and weaknesses.

And many can be difficult to use without the right support.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work with accounting tools to offer you and your business bespoke support with getting the most out of each software.

By regularly consulting your local Rosemary bookkeeper, you’ll be able to receive support specially tailored to you and your business, and we can take care of your bookkeeping for you.

From helping you choose the right software to use, software supply, training and data migration to a complete outsourced bookkeeping service – we can help.

Whether you’re just starting or looking to hire a bookkeeper to support your growth, the best bookkeeping tool for any small business is still a Rosemary Bookkeeper.

To take your first step towards stress-free bookkeeping, find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping branch to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with your local expert today.