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Published 16 May 2024
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Clear Books Accounting Software Review: Pros, Cons & Features

Find out where Clear Books accounting software stands out, and falls short, with our review.

Many or all of the products and brands we promote and feature including our ‘Partner Spotlights’ are from our partners who compensate us. However, this does not influence our editorial opinion found in articles, reviews and our ‘Best’ tables. Our opinion is our own. Read more on our methodology here.

If you need to give a large number of employees access to your accounting software, Clear Books may be a good option for you. This is because every plan comes with unlimited users, with full customisable access, at no extra cost.

All Clear Books plans are Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliant. However, only the Medium and Large plans allow you to submit VAT returns directly to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Certain features, such as multi-currency accounting, expenses and time tracking, are only available in the most expensive Large plan, while you won’t be able to forecast your cash flow regardless of which tier you sign up for.

Key features

Key features

  • Making Tax Digital-compliant
    All Clear Books plans are MTD-compliant. However, you can only submit VAT returns to HMRC with the Medium and Large plans.
  • Unlimited users
    Regardless of which plan you pay for, you can have unlimited users with fully customisable permissions per user.
  • Self-assessment tax returns generation
    Through your Clear Books account, you can automatically generate, and then amend, a self-assessment tax return form based on your accounts.
  • Payroll
    After a three-month introductory offer period, during which payroll is half price, payroll starts at £5.40 for two employees per month, and if you want to add more employees it will cost an additional £2.70 per employee per month.

Clear Books accounting software pros & cons


Pros

Cons

The pros and cons featured here are chosen by us based on our expert, research-based opinions. They are unlikely to be the only product features and restrictions that you should consider. Pros and cons are subjective and you should align them to your own personal and business circumstances. Information was correct at the time of publication but may have changed since. 

Clear Books accounting software full review

Founded in 2008, Clear Books is a UK-based company providing accounting software to around 15,000 small businesses.

All Clear Books plans are compliant with Making Tax Digital. It is now required by the UK government that you use MTD compatible software when submitting returns as a VAT-registered business. Further MTD rules will be introduced around income tax returns in April 2026 and 2027.

There are three Clear Books plans to choose from: Small, Medium and Large. These are outlined below, excluding VAT and other discounts:

On top of this, you can also add payroll, starting at £5.40 per month for two employees, pre-VAT.

Clear Books accounting software features: at a glance

Monthly fee (pre-discounts, pre-VAT)£13.50 (Small)
£29 (Medium)
£36 (Large)
Free trial30 days
Making Tax Digital compliantYes
Submit VAT to HMRCNo (Small)
Yes (Medium and Large)all other plans)
Payroll costs per month (for five employees, pre-discounts, pre-VAT)£13.50
Multi-user accessYes (unlimited for all plans)
Multi-currency accountingYes (Large)
Customer serviceOnline contact form
0203 475 4744

Where Clear Books stands out

Free trial and discounts: You can sign up for a free 30-day trial before deciding whether you want to commit to Clear Books accounting software. Clear Books also offers discounts, which can vary depending on when you apply. At the time of writing, you can receive 50% off for the first three months, as well as a further 10% off if you pay annually, or 20% off if you pay for two years up front. 

Making Tax Digital-compliant: All Clear Books plans are compliant with the government’s Making Tax Digital requirements.

Unlimited users: Unlike many other accounting software providers, every Clear Books plan allows for an unlimited number of users. Not only that, you can customise exactly what each user can see or do.

Self-assessment tax returns: Every plan allows you to automatically generate a self-assessment tax return form, which may make it faster to complete and submit your full tax return. You can view a breakdown of your transactions, and manually make any adjustments you need to.

Where Clear Books falls short

Not all plans can submit VAT returns: You cannot submit your VAT returns directly to HMRC if you are on the Clear Books Small plan. You can with the Medium and Large plans.

Payroll: At £2.70 per employee per month, e.g. £13.50 for five employees, pre-VAT and any discounts, Clear Books is at the more expensive end of the accounting software providers that offer their own payroll function. However, at the time of writing, you do get 50% off for your first three months, following a 30-day free trial.

Multi-currency accounting: You can only access multi-currency accounting if you pay for the most expensive Large plan.

Expenses: You can only create employee expenses, or allow employees to make their own expense claims, on the Large plan.

Cash-flow forecasting: Clear Books does not offer automatic forecasts of its cash flow on any of its plans.

Clear Books customer reviews

Clear Books customers have left reviews on a range of sites. Generally, these reviews are mixed to positive. However, it is important to note that Clear Books has far fewer reviews than many of its competitors.

This information is correct as of 15 May 2024.

Review methodology

At NerdWallet UK, we base our reviews and our ‘Best’ pages on the results of surveys we undertook about what was important to people who use these products. This allows us to look at products impartially of any commercial arrangements we have and fairly rate the products on the same set of criteria.

Best means our ‘Best’ and is based only on what products we have aligned to our surveys, which form the basis of our reviews and ratings. This means that there will be other products on the market that we have not included in our ‘Best’ pages. Best does not mean it’s best for you, nor does it mean the ‘cheapest’.

Our reviews may display lenders’ rates. This additional information has not been included in our evaluations but is still very important when choosing a product. Rates offered can depend on circumstances, amount and term. Always check details before proceeding with any financial product.

Product details reflect the information that was available at that time but may have changed since. We strive to give you a review on as many products as possible, but there will be products not included on the market. The review is our opinion, but it does not constitute advice, recommendation or suitability for your financial circumstances.

While we try to provide you with accurate information, the providers can change the terms of their products at any time, therefore it is advisable to check the terms before you proceed.

You can view our full review methodology here.

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