One of the most important decisions you’ll make for your business is which accounting software you’ll use. So, it can be very confusing, stressful and difficult as a small business owner trying to sort out all the different choices for accounting software these days. Between popular commercial programs, subscription based online offerings, and industry specific specialized software, the choice can quickly become overwhelming.
Here are some key points to consider in order to find the right accounting software for your business:
Consider the size of your business
You may be a sole proprietor with no employees, small inventory, and only a handful of customers. In that case, your software requirements will not be the same as a large multi-national company. Generally the size of a business is important because the larger the business is the greater the need for advanced technological features to stay compliant and manage expenditure. A smaller business doesn’t need to overbuy when it comes to software but does need to evaluate its needs now and into the foreseeable future. Some good questions to ask are:
- Does the system calculate all payroll requirements (PAYG withholding, annual leave, long service leave etc).
- Does the system track stock, work in progress, orders, jobs and other task management requirements
- Will the system need to handle foreign currency
- Does the system allow for interface with other computer systems such as online payments
- Does the system keep detailed records on customers including what they buy how often they buy, when they buy, etc. (Often referred to as customer relationship manager system)
Top Requested Accounting Applications
NOTE: Other top requested applications were financial reporting (48%) and billing and invoicing (44%) from source – Software Advice.
Now that you’ve got your list of required features, and have an idea of whether you’d rather buy a physical software program or subscribe to a program online. It’s time to start comparing prices. You can search online, check with local retailers, and even contact your local bookkeeper for their recommendation. Make sure that the software you’re looking at provides the services you need, and if you’ll need support after the sale, take that into consideration too.
Check for Reviews
Once you’ve got a few software possibilities, look for online reviews to see what other users are saying about the accounting software. If you find a lot of complaints about the program you’ll know to steer clear of it, even if it’s the most inexpensive on your list.
Another great source for reviews is your personal network. Do you know other small business owners with companies similar to you in size, or in a similar industry? Find out what software they’re using, and how happy they are with it.
Take your time, weigh all of your options carefully, and get advice from trusted sources to help guide you in the right program for your company.
Types of accounting products available
The range of accounting software products available for small and midsized businesses has been growing steadily. Right now, there are a few general categories to choose from: Small business payroll and accounting packages, more full service business management programs, online web hosted applications, and free programs. Here is a run-down of each category and some of the popular products available for small to midsized firms.
Small business payroll and accounting:
There are several top selling accounting software programs you can buy off the shelf, or over the web, that will meet most small business needs by providing the accounting tools and reports you need to use your financial data. These include MYOB AccountRight and Reckon Accounts formerly known as Quickbooks.
Business management software programs:
These are higher priced and more full featured accounting programs that may also include other financial functions you need to track in your business, such as point of sale, inventory control, customer relationship management (CRM), billing, purchasing and even enterprise resource management (ERP). Some popular picks in this category include SAP, which integrates all business processes into 1 solution, and “NetSuite” the latter of which boosts that its everything you need in 1 powerful solution.
Web-hosted accounting applications:
A new breed of online financial management applications has emerged in the last few years, taking advantage of the growing confidence that businesses are developing in the Web as a safe business environment. Now that the entrepreneurs are indeed becoming comfortable with the “software in the cloud” model and the inherent benefits to offers, they are in growing numbers starting to look beyond email or office productivity to more comprehensive solutions incorporating other general business applications. Product leaders in this category include Xero, MYOB Essentials and Saasu.
Most Buyers are Small and Medium Businesses
This sample spanned a wide range of businesses sizes and revenues, the majority (62%) of accounting software buyers were from companies with 1-100 employees. Meanwhile (31%) were from businesses with less than 1000 employees. Source – http://www.softwareadvice.com
Top accounting programs
Our favourite software choices are:
In conclusion, it is so important to do your research and choose the best accounting software that best suits you and your business. Make sure you speak to someone to who has a lot of experience and knowledge in this field, like a business owner or an IT expert.
In my experience for small to midrange businesses, online accounting software helps you get away from your desktop and out conducting more enjoyable parts of running your business. Using cloud based accounting software, you can easily create professional invoices, manage client contact information and oversee projects from anywhere, even via your mobile device. There are many advantages to using online software:
- Easy data backup features
- Time saving tools
Still need more guidance? Give the team at Darcy Bookkeeping & Business Services a call on 1300 728 875 and speak to an expert today.