Selecting the Right Accounting Software
by JimD, Former Moderator
- Created: December 13, 2010, 7:57 am
Some of the first computer software ever produced was accounting software. Over the past few decades, accounting software has become more robust and much easier to use. If you are planning to start a small business or if you already have a small business, you know the importance of your accounting. You need to know where you money is, where it is going, and where it will come from and accounting software can help you do that.
Here are some things to consider what purchasing your accounting software.
For years, accounting software was straight forward, but as the market became more competitive, there are more and more add-ons being offered. These add-ons vary and may include features like attaching scanned receipts to financial entries, remote access, accepting payments online, and compatibility to tax software. The add-ons can really make the difference on choosing your accounting software.
Some businesses have accounting procedures to prevent fraud, like having a receipt for all business expenses. The ability to scan a copy of the receipt and attach it electronically to the reimbursement entry can cut down on filing and record management.
Accepting payments online has been becoming more popular lately.
This connects your ecommerce/invoice system directly into your accounting software. When your customers make a purchase, it will automatically enter into your bookkeeping.
- Reports and Industries Available
Reports are the key for small business owners make decisions. Having the ability to make custom reports is a necessity. Keep in mind that the default-loaded reports are limited and will only help you make certain decisions.
Some software gives you the ability to download industry-specific modules. For example, if you are a non-profit, there are non-profit modules you can add for tracking donors and fundraising campaigns. This customization can add more value to your software and allow it to better serve you.
Your bookkeeping is an essential part of running and managing a small business and you may hire someone to do the data entry into your system. You may not want to give them access to all the past records and reports. Some software packages have permissions that you can set to limit how much certain users can see or access.
- Access Points and Backup
With the era of mobile apps and constant Internet access, many accounting packages have developed remote access for their users. You may think that you will not use these features, but there may be times when you are on the road or away from your office and you will need to do some number crunching. If you are on a sales trip and in the middle of negotiating a deal, you may want to pull up your previous mont;s sales, so you can see how the potential sales will affect your cash flow.
Another aspect of having remote access is that the software companies will host your financial data on their servers. Hard drive failure is very common and you do not want to lose all your accounting information. Many accounting packages offer automatic backups or server storage for your data. This is a good feature to take advantage of because they monitor and run backups frequently on their end so your data is never lost.
Speak with your Accountant
You accountant can give you valuable advice for which type of software to use. They may know of compatibility issues when they import that data into their system. They may also just have a preference on which is better.
Locked into the Software
Many small business owners fear they will be locked into their software for life once they pick it. This is not true. Many of the major software packages offer some type of conversion. Some things may not convert perfectly, but you will not need to re-enter all your financials.
There may be a learning curve, so you should-t switch often, but after you pick a software, just know that you can switch.
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