When it comes to choosing the right accounting software for your business, it can be tough knowing where to start. With a wide range of available programs out there, it is by no means easy to determine which set of features will best cater for your needs at the best price for you. When making your choice, there are three important questions you should ask yourself:
- What features are available and how can they benefit my business?
- How much does the software cost and will investing in the software save me money in the long run?
- How easy is the software to use and is it accessible from other devices?
The following information can point you in the right direction when thinking about those questions.
Since each product varies in the features offered, it is important to know what each feature is and how it can benefit to you. The appropriate accounting software should allow you to clearly see how your business is performing and aid the completion of accounting tasks. Different features and benefits you may see include:
Basic functions: Accounting software offers basic functions such as income tracking, invoicing and financial reporting. For the majority of small businesses, these basic features should be sufficient in helping you manage your finances. If your inventory expands beyond a small range of products, however, a program which tracks and manages your vendors and monitors inventory on top of these basic features might be preferable.
Time efficiency: The right accounting software saves you time, as well as helps you track your financial progress. Automated features like purchasing inventory when stocks drop below a set point, or the automatic sending of recurring invoices can make your life easier, saving you time and consequently money in the long run.
Tax features: You can save even more time by purchasing accounting software which includes features like automatic tax calculations and generating data into tax reports.
Cost and value:
Choosing the right cost depends on your business’ specific needs and budget. Plans range from as little as $10 a month, although many of the top programs cost significantly more. If you think you can benefit from the added features and advanced functions of a more expensive plan, it might be worth investing in an annual package as the long-term plans tend to offer a discounted rate. If your business is small, however, you might be better off starting with a free accounting software. These are limited to basic features, but you can customise your program by purchasing add-ons when required.
Ease of use:
If the accounting software you choose is difficult to use, it can cost you time instead of saving it, especially when you factor in other employees who need to learn how to use the system. If you have several employees, you should also consider choosing a software that allows multiuser access. This ensures that the system can be accessed on multiple screens. It is also worth checking that the software incorporates cloud-based storage so that you can use the system offline. Similarly, it is worth finding out what devices the software is compatible with. Some software is mobile friendly, while others cannot operate on certain models. This is important to consider if you want to access your accounting information on the go.
Although the range of accounting software is vast, this list provides a starting point for further research. Make use of the free trials that many companies offer and know the difference between the features that directly benefit your business and those that are unnecessary, expensive add-ons.