The best regulation-approved finance software for charities

From October 1st, charities will need to move to HMRC-approved software for their accounting and VAT processing – here are some of the best deals for charities.

Chloe Green | 10th Sep 19

Click here to watch our free webinar on Making Tax Digital, for everything you need to know about the scheme and the changes your organisation will need to make

Making Tax Digital is an HMRC initiative designed to make sure the UK tax system is effective, efficient and easier for taxpayers – for more on the new regulation and how it might affect your charity, we recommend watching our webinar.

From October 1st, If you’re a charity that processes VAT, you will need to keep records and submit VAT returns digitally. The Government has published a list of HMRC-approved software platforms for managing and submitting VAT Returns and VAT records.

For VAT periods after 1 October 2019, charities will need to keep digital records for VAT. Paper records will not be sufficient.

These digital records must be kept within “functional compatible software”, which means software that is able to:

  • Record and preserve digital records;
  • Provide information and returns from data held in those digital records to HMRC by using the API platform;
  • Receive information from HMRC via the API platform.

Charities will need to submit their VAT returns directly to HMRC using appropriate software and can no longer use the Government Gateway system.

The list is quite extensive – we’ve picked out a few of the best finance software for charities with non-profit-specific deals and discounts. Most also include other features around finance, data and even donor management so charities can get more bang for their buck.


Sage Business Cloud

Sage Business Cloud software offers an array of diferent options depending on an organisation’s needs, from accounting for smaller organisations up to the largest charities with many complex processes.

Sage Accounting software is ideal for organisations with up to 19 employees who need to manage their finances in an easy to use platform.

For organisations with more than 20 employees, Sage Intacct offers more features including additional users, reporting and automation of key processes.

At the next level up, Sage Enterprise Management is a business management solution gives larger organisations a single view on their resource planning, including finances and employees.

There are various donated licenses available for non-profits for each product – eligible charities can get validated through Charity Digital Exchange, which streamlines the process of getting access to the software.



Zoho sells itself as a unified platform for all back-office functions. Alongside features for accounting and invoicing, Zoho is a fully-fledged CRM/business management system with the ability to unify data, processes, communications and people management in one platform.

There are also specific apps for non-profits which can be added on for free, including an app for donor management and accepting donations online, a volunteer portal and event management app.

Zoho is free for up to three users, and there is a 15% discount on total cost of any paid subscriptions for non-profits.



Xero is a good accounting software option for smaller organisations looking to make the switch from spreadsheets, as it offers good value for money and less complicated functionality with limited customisation. There are a number of different plans depending on the functionality you need and the number of invoices and transactions you need to process.

Though it has no specific features for non-profits, the software can integrate with third-party apps for fundraising, donor management and other charity processes.

Eligible non-profits save 25% on their subscription.