Here's how to use Sage Instant Accounts to manage your business accounts, from tracking customers, invoicing and supplier tasks. 

For the following workshop you will need: Sage Instant Accounts 16. Read our Sage Instant Accounts review.

Ever since spreadsheet software VisiCalc became popular in the late 1970s, PCs have been a vital tool for human number-crunchers needing to keep track of their accounts. Millions of us now rely on accounting packages to complete our tax returns or keep track of our income and expenditure.

Sage produces a wide range of products, many of which are targeted at large businesses. Its Instant Accounts 16 is ideal for small businesses that want to automate their bookkeeping, however. As well as being up-to-date with current legislation, it helps you manage money, customers, suppliers and invoicing.

As an entry-level application, Instant Accounts aims to make managing your finances as simple as possible. It provides an easy-to-use setup wizard and basic templates for organising your books and collecting data.

With Instant Accounts, you can view all your accounts at a glance, seeing how much money is coming in and going out, and any invoices that need following up. If you've never raised an invoice before, step-by-step guides walk you through the process.

The dashboard interface makes it easy to find and locate information. You can see your best customers, your main suppliers and where you need to take action to manage debts. Reports are available to help you sort and filter information at varying levels.

Over the following workshop, we'll use Instant Accounts to track customers, invoicing and supplier tasks. This HM Revenue and Customs-accredited product also provides the necessary tools to keep on top of your VAT.

We'll show you how to set up your accounts using the program, as well as where you need to go to perform essential tasks. By organising all your key business information using Instant Accounts, you can access data in a way that is useful for presenting to your bank manager or investors.

Getting started with Sage Instant Accounts 16

Step 1. When you install Instant Accounts and elect to work on your own accounts, the ActiveSetup wizard guides you through registration. You'll be prompted for the company type and address, the financial year, your VAT number and the currency in use. You can also experiment with the sample data mode.

Sage Instant Accounts step 1

Step 2. Sage will now set up data files and launch Instant Accounts. The default interface displays tips for getting started in the main panel. On the left of this panel is a series of modules that control most of the features you need to handle your accounts. As you click on each module, a list of operations appears.

Sage Instant Accounts step 2

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