January 12, 2016

How to choose the best accounting software for your business

by Colin Quinn

Have you ever noticed your employees spend more time managing the books and dealing with cumbersome spreadsheets, then you’d like.. Then accounting software may be the right choice for your business. Streamlining your processes by reducing, or completely eliminating the need to constantly manually re-enter the same data on multiple sources, can save you time, money, and your sanity.

Accounting software is a great bet for mid or small size businesses that tend to carry inventory, serve a relatively high number of customers, and employ a medium sized staff.

Thanks to ever advancing software, most accounting solutions on the market today are more intuitive than ever before. Even users with no financial or accounting background will find today’s applications easy to navigate. Here are some things to consider if you decide to invest in accounting software for your small or mid-sized business.

Decide which features are most important to your success..

Your decision on which accounting software to purchase will be influenced largely by the features you decide are most necessary for your business.

The most common features in accounting software today are:

  • Payroll
  • Budgeting
  • Planning
  • Forecasting
  • Sales tracking
  • Inventory management

It is also possible to find accounting software that is specific to your industry. For example, if your business is in Government Contracting world, you may be able to locate a software package that is custom tailored to your every need and includes features specific to your industry like bid management, accrual based costing, and budgeting & planning.

Questions to ask yourself before purchasing accounting software..

Do I really need software that will grow with my business?

If yes, then you should look for a package that will allow you to add in modules, reports, and additional features at a later date. Dashboards are a popular add-on once businesses start expanding.

If you can’t add modules to the existing software, look for a package where you can upgrade to new or better version when you need different features. At the very least, make sure the software you purchase enables you to export data in .CSV format that can be easily read by other software applications. This enables you to merge your old data with the new, which is crucial when you make the switch to a different accounting software platform.

Do I need a desktop or a cloud based solution?

The need for cloud-based solutions is continuing to grow as businesses come to realize the value and convenience of being able to access there accounting software from multiple mobile devices from any location.

Does management need to be able to restrict access for some users?

If you have a medium sized company you will have multiple users with different roles using the same software, but if only certain people need access to every function, or you want to limit certain users roles then you will want to include this on your feature list of requirements.

Final thoughts.

With most accounting software, or any software investment you will need to purchase support, while other providers will include it for no additional cost (at least for a usually short period of time). This will affect your overall cost, so keep it in mind when making your decision.

Make sure that you are not paying for extra features that you will never use. As mentioned above, you can always upgrade later if you find that your business has outgrown the current restrictions or capabilities.

It is important to remember that accounting software does not replace an a well trained staff or a real accountant. If you need to ensure that your business meets legal standards, or want to discuss what accounting software is right for your business you should consult with a Kinetek advisor today.