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AccountsPortal review

Ideal if you need a beefier accounting solution than a plain old spreadsheet

AccountsPortal
(Image: © AccountsPortal)

TechRadar Verdict

The AccountsPortal experience is a quick and easy one, with the emphasis on simplicity and affordability.

Pros

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    Free trial initially

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    Paid-for edition is cheap

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    Solid no-nonsense interface

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    No install and cloud-based

Cons

  • -

    Trails behind the big names in accounting

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    Interface is simple but basic

AccountsPortal has been created in order to help small business and freelancers to get to grips with their accounts. While it seems to be aimed at people in the UK it will actually work if you're overseas, so in that respect AccountsPortal could be very useful if you frequently work on other shores. Indeed, the accounts package has since been adapted so it functions no matter what your location.

The operation has actually been in existence since 2009 and is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. Meanwhile, the latest incarnation includes a host of features and functions aimed at the ever-changing world of accounting and taxation. Better still, this is a system that can be sued without the need for downloading and installing software. And, it’s versatile too because the package can be accessed and used by multiple users at the same time.

What you get here is a real-time online accounting system, which contains enough subtle nuances that it will appeal to people running their own small businesses as well as contractors. There’s also plenty on offer to make AccountsPortal of use to accountants who work with Limited Companies.

AccountsPortal

The pricing structure for AccountsPortal is refreshingly simple (Image credit: AccountsPortal)

Pricing

Accounting packages can frequently be confusing when it comes to their pricing and package structures. Not so with AccountsPortal because they’ve got a simple one plan pricing arrangement. This sits alongside the option to try the software for free initially, increasing to just £10 per month if you decided to keep using it.

Reassuringly, you can try the software for nothing during the trial period without the need to submit your credit card details. If you’ve ever felt nervous about having to do this for fear of being unable to stop a contract starting this is clearly beneficial. And, in terms of value, AccountsPortal certainly seems to deliver on the value front as this price includes access to all of the features and functions.

Another neat thing about AccountsPortal is that it has a referral programme. What that means is you can get savings and discounts if you get other people to sign up and start using the accountancy package. AccountsPortal says that your subscription fee will be reduced by 20% for each new user who you send their way.

On top of that, if you manage to get 5 people to sign up you’ll enjoy free online accounting and bookkeeping. Bag another 5 and AccountsPortal says it will pay you. Worth investigating for sure.

AccountsPortal

You can start AccountsPortal with a free trial and progress to a monthly paid option if it works as expected (Image credit: AccountsPortal)

Features

Considering you can get started with AccountsPortal for free via a gratis sign-up system the package is certainly packed with features. Running down through the list of obvious benefits you get the likes of invoicing tools, inventory and stock management, dedicated tax and VAT sections plus real time reporting. Businesses can also send out quotes, process purchase orders, accept online payments and enjoy the power of intelligent banking.

The other major appeal with AccountsPortal is its ease of use, with a straightforward setup process and free support to help you along the way. The package works around a central dashboard area, which means that it’s pretty easy to get to grips with.

A really valuable facet of the AccountsPortal website is its Guides section too. In here there are insights into core areas of interest, with dedicated help for self-employed workers, small business owners as well as comprehensive guides to tax and VAT. Accountants too have their own dedicated guides area, which makes AccountsPortal a boon if you’re looking to impress your client base of Limited companies.

AccountsPortal

The main dashboard area lets you build up a comprehensive picture of your accounts over time (Image credit: AccountsPortal)

Performance

Thanks to its online only approach, with no need to download or install software as a result, you can expect sprightly performance from AccountsPortal. This does, naturally, mean you’ll need to have a working internet connection to tap into the package but this can also work if you’re away and perhaps need to use your mobile phone as a hotspot in order to connect.

AccountsPortal also looks to be safe and secure, with date that is stored in the cloud being protected by encryption using SSL. Another useful bonus is that you’re always going to be accessing the latest incarnation of the package whenever you’re logged in. Any updates are applied to the system online, which means that you don't have to fret about installing updates or having access to features and functions that may be out of date.

AccountsPortal

The setup wizard involves just five steps and makes light work of the procedure (Image credit: AccountsPortal)

Ease of use

If you’re not a fan of bookkeeping or accounts you’ll find that AccountsPortal is the perfect remedy. Inside the package there’s plenty of punch, but using it is definitely more straightforward than some rivals. The bonus with AccountsPortal is that it is cloud-based so you can dip in and out of it online whenever or wherever you wish. The only caveat to that is you’ll need an internet connection.

Getting started proved particularly simple, which is always a blessing if you’re baulk at the thought of tackling your accounts. The best route to take is via the free trial, which involves nothing more than entering your first name, last name, a company name, email address for activation and setting a password. You can also enter a referral or promotional code if you have one. Simply access the terms and conditions then press the Register button.

Once you’re into the system you’ll get the benefit of a free 30-day trial, free unlimited support, unlimited transactions and all with the added benefit of being safe and secure. Once you’ve configured your email and registration you’ll have to work through a five-step organization setup wizard. Unsurprisingly, step 1 is called Start, followed by General Settings, Financial Settings, then Taxes and finally Complete, which rounds out the organizational process.

AccountsPortal

There are options for importing your data which speeds up the configuration process (Image credit: AccountsPortal)

Support

The AccountsPortal website has a whole area dedicated to helping users with anything and everything. In order to assist you with day-to-day queries you’ll find the searchable documentation zone is perfect for many common issues. Inside the Documentation is a small mountain of information, all thankfully broken down into various sections.

This includes core areas of the software, such as Banking, Reports and Purchases. You’ll also be able to find out more about getting started and also adapting settings to suit your own needs. There’s a ticket help desk too though, which can be used if your question doesn't come up anywhere in the documentation.

AccountsPortal

Support from AccountsPortal is comprehensive and free too (Image credit: AccountsPortal)

On top of that there’s a blog, which is pretty useful for insider information and other up-to-the-minute topics that might be in the news. It doesn’t seem to be hugely active, with posts that are generally quite sporadic but there’s no question that the topics covered are very useful nonetheless. If all that’s not enough you can contact the support team by sending them a secure message.

Final verdict

AccountsPortal is perfect if you’re not a fan of doing your accounts and bookkeeping duties. It’s affordable, easy to set up and even simpler to use on a daily basis. While the overall look of the interface is slightly less flashy than many of the bigger names in accountancy software, AccountsPortal has all of the core features you’ll ever need.

There’s also the benefit of not needing to install anything and AccountsPortal can be accessed from anywhere just as long as you can connect to the internet. There are some really good value features and functions on offer, which for such a small monthly outlay allows you to forgive any downsides such as the slightly uninspiring interface. It’s a great little no nonsense option that will make a lot of sense if you’re reluctant to spend too much on your accountancy software.

However, other business software options worth looking at include Sage Business Cloud Accounting, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Freeagent, GoSimpleTax, TaxCalc, Nomisma, ABC Self-Assessment or Crunch.

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.