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If you're part of a UK-based company or are a self employed individual then Clear Books offers several simple, low cost accountancy packages to help you with your finances. As the name indicates, the hope is that their software will help you to keep your books concise and clear, but how successful are they?
First let's look at some of the packages on offer. There are two kinds of basic plan, either Cashbook or Invoice. These plans are stripped down to basically provide a few services within a specific area of accounting. Invoice is designed to manage your invoices, whilst Cashbook handles income and outgoings. These are very basic indeed, although if you only need those services then they could come in handy. There are also two full accounting plans available: Together and Together+. There's a considerable price difference between the two (as a percentage, but both are still pretty low cost). Together is perhaps best for you if you're self employed because it provides the widest range of features (excluding VAT functions), whereas if you need to handle VAT then you'll need to upgrade to the Together+ deal.
The website contains a blog, with posts every 3 days or so. Generally these are written with users in mind, so you won't be bombarded with complex accounting lingo. However there seems to be very little activity in the way of responses to the blog posts, suggesting perhaps that users don't take much notice of them. The site also offers a tour, as well as a few video clips here and there to help you to understand what's on offer. There is a community section of the site, but it suffers the same problem as the blog insofar as there are very few responses to the posts. If this could be further developed, even having the staff reply to posts more frequently, it would be a good resource to develop customer understanding of the company and how it performs.
We were pleased to see a mobile app is available to download, allowing you to access your accounts on the move. However more generally the features of the software are quite basic. If you're new to doing your accounts then this might be good for you as it's a pretty easy system to use and shouldn't require a lot of assistance, but if you're a more advanced user then you'll probably find Clear Books too simplistic for your needs.
ClearBooks.co.uk is best suited to self employed individuals from the UK. It offers a cheap platform for helping you with basic accountancy tasks, but it's not really going to out-gun a lot of its competitors in this market, particularly if you need it for large or more complex tasks.
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