Question? What is the Best Accounting Software?
Answer How long is a piece of string?.
When you first start out in business, you may not be dealing with many transactions which you might be able to keep organised via a spreadsheet. As time goes on however, for various reasons, you might need to look at buying accounting software. This software will make your bookkeeping easier, it will also properly track all of your data from which you’ll be able to measure the health of your business. This is important for future growth and development and to help you make decisions about your business.
How to choose correct software
Firstly, there is no one ‘best’ accounting software package. The best online accounting software primarily depends on your business, and it’s worth considering several options before deciding. Finding that however,can prove difficult because we are spoiled for choice and it’s hard to know where to start.
I aim to make your decision-making a little easier.
.1. Talk to people and research
Assuming you don’t know much about accounting software, the first thing you are going to have to do is some research. Start by talking to your competitors and find out what software they use and why. Ask your accountant or bookkeeper for software suggestions. Once you have a few software suggestions, note them down – this will become your initial list. Using Google search, review each software vendors’ literature and third-party reviews to better understand functionality. You may be able to play with some trial versions to try before you buy. If a trial version isn’t available then review the feature screens made available by most vendors. As you go, cross off what isn’t suitable.
2. Industry specific or generic?
There are two types of accounting software: Industry Specific and Generic. You need to decide which one will be best for your business.
Industry specific software has been specially created for each industry, honing in on particular features required by those industries.
Generic software also known as “off-the-shelf” software offers a broader range of features to suit most users.
Industry specific software is often much more expensive than its generic counterpart but may be worth looking at because it might be more suitable in the long run. Again, do your research and amend your software list as needed.
3. Decide on your budget
Your choice may be dependent on your cash flow. You need to decide on a budget for your accounting software purchase. Your budget needs to take into account the following costs:
- Installation setup and ongoing maintenance fees
- Initial and ongoing training via a software consultant or your bookkeeper and/or accountant
- Consider your current computer hardware – will the software run properly on this hardware or will you need to upgrade?
- NB: If you decide on industry-specific software, this can be very expensive which you need to factor the overall cost of such software into the budget.
4. Make a wish-list for your business
The next thing to do is define your business requirements. You need to list every feature your business needs in a software to enable it to function and grow.
Some common features might include:
- Invoicing (sales and purchases)
- Purchase orders
- Estimates or quoting
- Comprehensive reporting (what sorts of reports do you need?)
- Contact database or light CRM
- GST tracking and BAS reporting
- Simple interface and user-friendly
Other features could include:
- Bank feeds
- Foreign currency
- Point of sale
- Ability to connect to other software i.e. Addons
- Multi-user capability
- Scalability (software grows with your business)
- Access on multiple devices i.e. mobile access
- Reliable support e.g. local consultants, email and/or telephone
- Audit trail (software keeps records of who did what and when)
Don’t go overboard with your wish-list. Keep it simple, stay focussed on your business’ needs otherwise you might end up purchasing software that has loads of extra features you will never use.
5. Match your wishlist to software features
Okay, now you’re on the home-run. You are getting closer to making your final software choice. Look at the initial software list you made in steps one and two, match the features they offer to the list you created in step four. Choose the software that provides all or most of the features on your list. Stay within your budget, remember cost should not be the only critical factor you take into account; make a choice that will suit the needs of your business now and into the future.
My last piece of advice, keep it simple, focus mainly on the needs of your business. Don’t get caught up with all of the bells and whistles that some vendors throw at you, at the same time, consider your future business needs too.
You Only Know what you Know, you don’t know what you Don’t know.
You are good at what you do not what everyone else does.
Same thing applies to business.
Hire Professionals, they know what they know, they’ve gone through training (sometimes decades), gotten their certifications, licenses and know how.
Utilise that and save yourself headaches, stress and major wallet pain in the future.
Good luck with your software shopping! I hope we have helped you with your choice. If you would like more assistance, you can contact me here at DeBoss Business Solutions to discuss your software needs. I am happy to advise you about the software we support