4 alternatives to doing your own accounting and bookkeeping

pile of printing papers

Nobody likes accounting. Not even accountants. Well, that’s not technically true, but it adds to our narrative! As an entrepreneur, small business owner, or contractor, the chances are that you’ve had to do a lot of accounting and bookkeeping in your time, monitoring all of your payments, invoices, and expenses, and reporting them to your relevant government body.


According to one report, the average self-employed person spends two hours per week on their accounts – equating to around two weeks of the year. That’s a crazy amount of time, and could be better spent serving clients or building relationships with potential customers.

If you simply hate accounting and don’t want to do it, fear not: below, we’ve rounded up four alternatives to help you avoid getting lost in your figures and handing it to someone else… 

Hire an accountant

Perhaps the most obvious way to avoid accounting is to hand over the role to an accountant, who is specialized in managing bookkeeping and accounts. They’ll know exactly what you should and should not include in your return, make you aware of any schemes, discounts, or savings you could make, and ensure you’re always paying under the right tax code. If you’re self-employed, for example, and earn over a certain amount, it might make more sense to incorporate a limited company to reduce your tax contributions/liability. A good accountant will identity such tax-saving opportunities months in advance to give you a chance to switch.

Use accounting software

Though you’d technically still be doing your own accounts using accounting software, having a tool to handle the day-to-day maintenance of your books will keep you sane. You can set up your accounting software with your bank to automatically import your transactions and expenses, and even link third-party tools like Stripe and PayPal for one-click bookkeeping. With so many pieces of software on the market, we recommend trying some of the biggest players – they all offer free trials – and choosing one that feels most natural and comfortable.

Work with an umbrella company

As a freelancer or contractor, you could work with one of the best umbrella companies on the market as an alternative to being self-employed. The biggest advantage to doing so is that you technically become an employee and are paid under the usual PAYE system, with your tax and National Insurance contributions deducted before your money hits your account. This helps you budget better and means you’ll never have to submit a tax return in your life!

Stay employed

Finally, if accounting and bookkeeping are too much for you, consider taking on a role where you’ll be paid by an employer instead. Though you might not earn as much over your lifetime you will benefit from job security, employee benefits like pension contributions, a company car and other perks. Know your worth and only apply for roles that meet salary expectations.

Accounting is never any fun, but it’s an essential part of being a professional. The tips we’ve offered above should help. If you have accounting questions, let us know in the comments! 

Paul Petersen