Insight Associates provide outsourced accounting and Finance Director services to ambitious and growing businesses. We work as your only resource or with existing staff to give you complete financial support including monthly management accounts, high level financial advice, robust controls and financial systems, funding and business planning, payroll & compliance, VAT returns and statutory compliance.

Successful business leaders have all the information they need to make good decisions…Do You?

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The Accounting System I Recommend

“Can I kiss you?” the husband asked me….. and I’m not altogether sure he wasn’t being serious.

It was six months after I’d first met these husband-and-wife business owners, who I started telling you about in my last email. Before we worked with them, they had been spending three full days every week trying to keep on top of their books. Despite running a £2 million business, their life was being consumed by their accounts.

Then we introduced them to Exchequer.


That’s the accounting software we use internally, and for all the companies we work with – because I believe it’s just that good.

In fact, to call it ‘accounting software’ is almost unfair.

Exchequer isn’t just for accounting tasks: it can also handle jobs like sales order processing, purchase ordering and stock control. That makes it useful across your business, not just for the people handling accounts.

Exchequer has extremely flexible reporting, so we use it to get a detailed understanding of our customers’ financial position – and any business owner can do the same. A new app, which we’ve just started using at Insight, makes getting information even easier. 

Since knowing where you stand financially is key to making sensible decisions, this is crucial if you want to grow smoothly.

The best add-on feature, in my opinion, allows you to read data off purchase invoices, so you can simply scan them rather than having to key them in.

And there are other time-saving benefits as well. Exchequer integrates fully with Microsoft Excel and other popular systems, so you can import and export data easily – helping streamline your team’s work.

How does it compare to other systems? At the top of the range, you have SAP, Oracle and the like, which are great for very large corporates, but too big for SMEs. At the bottom, you have more basic systems like Xero and Sage 50.

While these are very popular and extremely good, they are really designed for micro-businesses. In my experience, once sales reach between £1 and £2 million, businesses start to outgrow them, and find they no longer answer their needs (much as I described in my email last week).

Exchequer is a mid-market product, perfect if you have big ambitions for your business.

The key to Exchequer is that it is able to grow with you. You can start with the core accounting software, together with the stock control module perhaps, and then add further modules as you grow in size and complexity – it can have up to 200 users.

I consider it a grown up accounting system for a grown up company. As your business grows, you need to professionalise the way you handle your finances. A robust system like Exchequer not only does that, it gives you all the capabilities the ‘big boys’ have – even if you’re not quite there yet.

I know I’m supposed to mention the negatives as well. But using it both for Insight and for our customers, I honestly can’t report any – except for the price, as it costs in the thousands.

However, there is a cheaper way to access Exchequer. Because we’ve invested in the infrastructure and support, we can make it available as a hosted solution from as little as £80 month. It’s a way to give smaller companies a power and flexibility in their finances which otherwise would only be available to much bigger organisations.

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