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Published 09 May 2024
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Ember Accounting Software Review: Pros, Cons & Features

Find out where Ember 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.

Ember offers a range of accounting software plans for sole traders or limited companies, including a free Starter plan. This free plan is available for sole traders and limited companies with average monthly revenue up to £1,000. If your average monthly revenue exceeds £1,000, you will need to pay to access Ember’s Pro and Unlimited plans. 

However, if you are looking for free basic accounting software – assuming your business earns under this threshold and is not VAT-registered – then Ember could be a good option for your small business or side hustle. 

If you are looking for accounting software which allows you to submit your VAT returns directly to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), you will need to opt for one of Ember’s paid plans. The good news is that Ember’s Pro plan for sole traders is one of the cheaper of the paid plans on the market. 

Ember’s paid plans come with access to its in-house accountants, alongside exclusive discounts on other business tools. 

There are limitations to Ember’s accounting software, however. There is no multi-user access, no cash-flow forecasting, and full payroll is only available under its most expensive Unlimited plan for limited companies.

Key features

Key features

  • Making Tax Digital-compliant
    The Pro and Unlimited plans are MTD-complaint. You cannot access a free Starter account if your business is VAT-registered.
  • Free account
    Ember offers free basic accounting software plans for sole traders and limited companies alike.
  • Discounts on business tools and services
    Every Ember plan includes the ability to access discounts on other business tools, such as legal services and insurance.
  • In-house accountants
    Depending on your plan, you can access live chats with Ember’s in-house accountants, and even arrange one-to-one video calls.

Ember 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. 

Ember accounting software full review

Founded in 2019, Ember provides specific accounting software plans for sole traders and limited companies.

The Ember Pro and Unlimited plans are compliant with Making Tax Digital. While the free Starter plan is not MTD compliant, Ember will not let you sign up for this plan if you are a VAT-registered business anyway.

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.

Sole traders

For sole traders, there are three options to choose from: Starter, Pro and Unlimited. Pre-VAT and pre-discounts, these plans are as follows:

You can also pay £129 for your self-assessment tax returns to be created and filed by Ember’s accountants.

Limited companies

The plans available for limited companies are also called Starter, Pro and Unlimited. Pre-VAT and pre-discounts, these plans are as follows:

You can also pay £129 for help with your self-assessment tax return, £200 for help with your annual accounts, and £149 for Ember’s registered business and director address service.

Ember accounting software features: at a glance

Monthly fee (pre-discounts, pre-VAT)Sole traders:
£0 (Starter)
£9 (Pro)
£29 (Unlimited)

Limited companies:
£0 (Starter)
£39 (Pro)
£79 (Unlimited)
Free trial14 days
Making Tax Digital compliantNo (Starter)
Yes (all other plans)
Submit VAT to HMRCNo (Starter)
Yes (all other plans)
Payroll costs per month (for five employees, pre-discounts, pre-VAT)£20 (£4 per employee, only available for limited companies on the Unlimited plan)
Multi-user accessNo
Multi-currency accountingYes (Pro and Unlimited plans only)
Customer serviceLive chat (via the app and online)
[email protected] (9:30am to 17:30 pm)

Where Ember stands out

Free trial and annual payment offer: Ember offers a 14-day free trial when you sign up. Ember also offers discounts, which can vary depending on when you apply. At the time of writing, it offers a discount worth up to 35% if you choose to pay annually instead of monthly. 

Free account: Both sole traders and limited companies can sign up for a free basic Ember account. This plan is an option for businesses with average revenue of up to £1,000 a month.

Monthly fee: Ember’s sole trader Pro plan is one of the cheapest paid-for accounting software plans on the market.

Account perks: Every Ember plan, free and paid, has access to discounts on other business services and tools. Users of the free plans can claim up to £500 in discounts, while paid account holders can claim up to £1,000, and access a greater number of offers.

In-house accountants: Users of Ember’s Pro and Unlimited plans can chat to Ember’s in-house accountants via its mobile app, while Unlimited users can also arrange one-to-one video calls. You can still schedule these calls on the other plans, but you will be required to pay a fee.

Where Ember falls short

Not all plans are Making Tax Digital-compliant: The free Ember Starter plans are not MTD-compliant. Ember will not let you sign up for a Starter plan if you are a VAT-registered business.

Not all plans can submit VAT returns: You can only submit your VAT returns directly to HMRC on the Pro and Unlimited plans. This feature is not available for free account holders.

Payroll: With the free Starter plan, you cannot access any payroll features. The limited company Pro and Unlimited plans, meanwhile, both allow for payroll for one company director. However, you can only access full payroll if you are a limited company paying for the most expensive Unlimited plan. And at an additional £4 per employee per month (pre-VAT), the cost of running payroll through Ember is pricier than many of its competitors.

Multi-user access: None of Ember’s plans, whether you are a sole trader or a limited company, currently offer multi-user access.

Cash-flow forecasting: Ember does not have a cash-flow forecasting feature, regardless of which plan you pay for.

Ember customer reviews

Ember’s customers have left reviews on a range of sites. At the time of writing, these reviews are generally mixed to very positive. It is important to note that Ember has fewer reviews than many of its competitors.

This information is correct as of 7 May 2024.

Review methodology

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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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