Avanquest Bookkeeper review

Tackle accounting and other small business tasks on the cheap with Bookkeeper

Avanquest Bookkeeper
(Image: © Avanquest)

TechRadar Verdict

If you’re not bothered about taking advantage of the latest cloud-based SaaS options out there then this feature-packed budget package is worth a look.

Pros

  • +

    Impressive feature set

  • +

    Wizard system helps new users

  • +

    Good for smaller business needs

Cons

  • -

    Windows only

  • -

    No app support

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Bookkeeper (opens in new tab) is just one of many software products from the Avanquest stable that offer value for money while also ticking a lot of feature boxes. In the case of Bookkeeper that means its prime objective is to help you get through your small business accounts (opens in new tab). However, Bookkeeper does quite a lot of other things too, making it an excellent and very affordable solution for the small business owner who needs to keep tabs on overheads.

In fact, considering this business accounts package retails for less than $40 it packs in quite a lot of additional extras, which allow you to take on numerous crucial aspects of your business dealings, and all without breaking the bank. While it might lack some of the high-profile clout that rivals boast, Bookkeeper is a practical solution for anyone who might be feeling the pinch, perhaps because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Avanquest Bookkeeper

Avanquest Bookkeeper is a Windows-only package and not cloud-based (Image credit: Avanquest)

Pricing

Affordability is the central theme with Bookkeeper, and currently that means you can get the software for just $39.95 (opens in new tab) in the US. For that admittedly miserly outlay you can get yourself a software download that features a full 90-day money back guarantee. If you plump for the boxed version of the software then you’ll also be able to get the Bookkeeper Value pack. 

This comes with a $150 value and allows you to backup your data, make use of labeling software and there’s a free Magtek card reader thrown in too, which will let you swipe credit, debit or ATM cards. However, the latter is subject to merchant application approval and subsequent account activation. The latest edition of Bookkeeper will work on Windows 7, 8 or 10 platforms.

Avanquest Bookkeeper

Considering its cheap price tag Avanquest Bookkeeper can perform many different functions (Image credit: Avanquest)

Features

More recently the Bookkeeper accounting package has had something of a makeover, with plenty of new features that help keep it relevant. With tax and accounting (opens in new tab) legislation evolving all the time it’s vital to make sure you're using software that’s up to date. 

Therefore, Bookkeeper now boasts updated tax forms and there are new tax tables for this year, plus better support for new forms, which include W4 form fields if you need to tackle employee payroll calculations. It’s hard to fault Bookkeeper for its sizeable range of business tools too, with plenty of other highlights that sit alongside the area of accounting. 

The software can be used for creating checks and paying bills, there are lots of productivity options built in, such as PDF creation and support for handling local taxes from within the basic payroll area. In addition it’s possible to create invoices, keep tabs on sales and expenses along with generating business reports and charts too.

Avanquest Bookkeeper

A wizard-style helper can get you past the tricky set-up stages (Image credit: Avanquest)

Performance

Unlike many of the latest SaaS offerings on the market, which offer a rather more dynamic experience because they're based in the cloud, Bookkeeper is a classic software bundle. This Windows software (opens in new tab) is downloadable, or available as a boxed edition and chunters along respectably enough. However, it lacks the sort of edge that all those SaaS products offer. At the same time, because it's so cheap, many people will probably be happy to forego all the trimmings of a cloud-based package (opens in new tab).

Avanquest Bookkeeper

Avanquest Bookkeeper also features some practical reporting tools (Image credit: Avanquest)

Ease of use

There’s a certain old school charm to Bookkeeper, especially as it comes as a downloadable or boxed software package that is purely Windows-centric. The workspace will appeal to Windows fans, but there’s little in the way of frills. That cheap price tag means you might face a bit of an uphill struggle if you're new to accountancy packages. 

Simple tasks are reasonably easy to understand, but Bookkeeper does also have some quite powerful options, especially when it comes to payroll (opens in new tab) and suchlike. Novice users will probably need to consult the documentation in order to master these areas. However, there’s a practical wizard option that will help to get your workflow underway and this does at least allow you to get up and running reasonably quickly.

Avanquest Bookkeeper

Windows fans might well warm to the Avanquest Bookkeeper interface (Image credit: Avanquest)

Support

Despite the low ticket price of Avanquest Bookkeeper there is still the benefit of support services available to users. There’s less sparkle on offer when it comes to training and tutorials though, and unlike many accounting software (opens in new tab) packages, you’ll find little in the way of things like instructional videos to help you pick your way through the many and varied options hiding inside the interface. 

Nevertheless, Avanquest does offer email support, there’s a Knowledge Base available too although in order to access phone support you’ll need a support code, which comes with a cost. One code is $9.99 and is valid for 30 days while the three codes option is available for $19.99 and these are valid for one year.

Avanquest Bookkeeper

Support is available although you do have to pay for tickets to contact them by phone (Image credit: Avanquest)

Final verdict

Bookkeeper does a good job of packing in the features and functions. Little wonder then that the website blurb from Avanquest points out that you get all of the accounting tools (opens in new tab) found inside QuickBooks, but at the bargain price of just under $40. 

Of course, there are compromises with an interface that is workmanlike and low on flair. Nevertheless, despite the lack of an engaging workspace you can still tackle accounts, billing and invoicing (opens in new tab), expense tracking (opens in new tab), tax management (opens in new tab) and even carry out payroll tasks (opens in new tab)

You’ll probably get the most from Bookkeeper if you’re already reasonably well versed in the workings of accounts software as some elements of this software are less user-friendly. The trade off is the lack of money you’ll need to spend in order to get started. It’s cheap and, to some, Bookkeeper will also prove to be cheerful.

Alternative accounting options include the likes of Sage Business Cloud Accounting, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Freeagent, GoSimpleTax, TaxCalc, Nomisma, ABC Self-Assessment, Crunch or Zoho Books

Rob Clymo

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.