When operating a business the accounting process can be strenuous and time consuming. There is the redundancy of data entry and administrative tasks such as inventory. The use of accounting software can save time and reduce redundant data entry. It is important to choose the best software for your business, based on your needs. We'll cover this more as we get into the tips for selecting accounting software. First, consider some of the essential features of accounting software >>>
Such features factor into how effective high quality accounting software would be for your business. Now we'll cover the top 10 tips for selecting business account software:
1. 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, you won't need software as much as a bigger business. You may be able to find free or low priced options for accounting software. Otherwise, the size of the business is important because the larger the firm the more advanced the software and features needed. A smaller business doesn't need to overbuy when it comes to software because it would make things more complicated and costly than necessary.
2. Look at Your Industry
Consider the industry that your business is in. There are two main types of accounting software: generic and industry specific. Some industries have particular specialized software which may be designed for your specific needs. Usually they are more specific but the benefits make it worth the cost.
3. Decide What Is Needed
It is recommended that you make a list of pain points and find which software features can help solve these issues. If you are unsure of anything as far as features you can consult the software vendors. Different software varies as far as how basic or advanced they are as far as features. Some include budgeting, credit card processing, and so forth.
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4. Assess Current Accounting System
If you have staff, find out what they think of the current accounting system you have in place. Inquire about what software they may have used in the past and find out what they need to work effectively. It's best to get feedback before making any purchasing decisions.
5. Internet Connection & Mobility
Consider your internet connection and whether you and your staff are heavy mobile users. Currently, cloud is a major concept in accounting software and a cloud package may be ideal for your business. Factor in the logistics of using such a package, which will require a consistent, reliable internet connection to allow you to access your data via laptop, PC, or mobile device.
To get an idea of what to expect, review the costs and payment plans of available accounting software. Many of the software packages may end up costing more than the listed retail price. This is due to additional services required for features such as payroll updates and merchant services. Consider what financial resources you have for investment in software. Every investment made for your business has a cost-benefit analysis that you should assess.
7. Data Transfer
Many popular accounting software packages have the convenient attribute of allowing data to be converted from one program to another. Should the software not work as expected, firms may easily switch to more suitable accounting software products. Be sure to compare software capacity to your current and future business needs.
8. Test the Software
Most software suppliers may offer a free trial (lasting 30 days usually) depending on the size and type of software package. There are also online or onsite demonstrations available so whatever options you have be sure to try out the software. Have the accounting stuff who will use it test the software and give feedback. Take extensive notes during this testing and make a list of attributes that are positive and negative in relation to your needs.
9. Support Options
Buying the software itself is only part of the deal. Consider the available support you may have for it, such as internet or phone support or local consultants.
10. Professional/Accountant Recommendations
If you have an accountant that will assist in looking after your accounts you should discuss with them what software they use and recommend. You may rely on them during the set-up of the software. Remember that the decision should be for the best overall benefit of your business.
About the Author
Michael Pendred is Managing Director of Horizon Business Systems, accounting software and business process systems designers and implementers based in Perth, Western Australia. Reach out to Mike on Google+.