Eight Things To Consider When Choosing Your Accounting Software
Updated: Jul 31
In the area of Bookkeeping/Accounting there are many financial activities that you are required to complete, in order to manage a business. Because of these numerous tasks, a good bookkeeping/accounting software is essential to achieving your goals quickly and accurately.
As an accounting professional for over 25 years, I can only imagine how confusing it can be for a small business owner (or anyone) trying to do their own business bookkeeping to look at accounting software. Even when I first started as a bookkeeper and took my first college course, it was all "Greek" to me.
There are many options available to a business owner trying to do their own accounting. While I don't suggest anyone doing their own books without some kind of formal training or education, I understand that some small business owners may need to so. (In my opinion, this would be like me trying to fix my own car. I promise you, I am NOT a mechanic by any sense of the word!)
If you have done any research on accounting software, you may have heard of some of the programs listed below:
* QuickBooks Online
* QuickBooks Desktop * Quicken * Xero * Wave Accounting * LaCerte
Whether you choose a program from the small list above or have a whole different accounting system in mind, there are a few items you need to consider before choosing your accounting platform.
Cloud or No Cloud
* Many current accounting programs are cloud-based, but there are programs that are still not connected to the cloud. There are advantages to both. Cloud based programs are becoming more popular because of the availability to collaborate with your bookkeeper/accountant and seeing your accounting books in real-time. On the other hand, some people do not feel safe with the security of cloud based programs. This will be something you should research for yourself and your companies needs and security requirements.
What programs do most bookkeepers/accountants use?
* Even though you currently plan to do your own books, most business owners become too busy to handle their accounting on their own. Let's face it, business owners wear several "hats" and are already over-busy. Starting with a program used by many professionals will help make things easier for you in the future when you choose to hire a professional bookkeeper/accountant.
* Will you be doing our own payroll or outsourcing it to a payroll company? This is an important question since not all systems are created equal. In doing payroll yourself, labor law questions are bound to come up. If you choose an accounting system that can support you with those issues, that is a huge plus. If you outsource your payroll to a professional payroll company, you will want to know if that company has integrations that are compatible with your accounting software. This will make automation much easier for you.
Bank Feed Automation.
*The ultimate goal for an accounting professional is efficiency and accuracy. This should be the same for a busy business owner. Bank feed automation is a must and will not only achieve the goal mentioned above, it will also reduce human error of data entry.
*As a professional in your field, you need to be able to customize your invoice with the bare minimum of your logo and contact information. You should also consider the option of emailing your invoice. This is wonderful to have in your accounting software, because it saves you time, money and can get your invoices paid faster. It also offers (in some cases) an option for your customers to pay over the web by clicking on a link in the invoice. Reminders and tracking can also be available.
Dashboards Should Be User Friendly.
*Like I mentioned above, you are a busy professional. You don't have time to search for your data or the right button to click for a simple task. A dashboard that is not user friendly will only add frustration to your already busy life.
Customization Of Reports.
*Most business owners have heard the terms "Financial Reports", "Profit and Loss" or "Balance Sheet". These reports are vital to your business. An accounting software needs to not only track your income and expenses, it also needs to generate these reports. The ability to customize these reports is a feature that you might want to consider when choosing your accounting software.
Third Party Integration and Apps.
*Many accounting software programs have third party integration systems (or apps) you can download to help your software be more efficient and to automate a procedure that your software does not. These apps can really make your accounting tasks easier while taking less time from your already busy day.
I hope this short article helps you in your search for an accounting software that works best for you and your company. If you need more assistance or have any questions, please feel free to email me.
If you are considering hiring a bookkeeper/accountant, please use the contact form on my website. We can set up a free 30 minute (no obligation of course) time to chat. I would love to find out how I can help you with your accounting needs.
Here's To Your Success!
RH Business Solutions