Published on January 8th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
Small Business Accounting Tips When Choosing the Right Software
Before, keeping records of every business process was done manually on paper. While such efforts honed the meticulousness of both owners and accountants, manual methods remained largely prone to human error.
Fortunately, modern accounting software is already available to significantly reduce costly mistakes. The brainpower needed for accounting can now be shared with a program that does the bulk of what you had to do by hand.
Why Using the Appropriate Software Matters in Small Businesses
If you are a small business owner, using a software is necessary to ensure that you’re able to track everything properly and accurately. However, it’s worth considering that not all software are built the same. This is what makes choosing the best software more difficult than it first looks.
Naturally, it’s easy to think that accounting software all have the same capabilities—it’s just a matter of choosing according to the interface’s looks, your budget, and reviews. But depending on how you plan to run your business, some software will have an upper hand over the others. This is why the software shopping stage is crucial.
Are you having a hard time deciding on the software that best matches your business? Listed below are 7 factors that you can take note of as you go through your options:
1. Consider Your Business Needs
No matter which department you’re choosing a software for, the first thing that you must consider is what exactly your business needs are. A thorough understanding of what your business does, as well as the methods that make tasks efficient, are the keys to knowing what kind of software best fits a particular job.
For instance, different accounting methods are required for different industries. You may even find software out there that is specifically tailored for your business type. Specialized software is bound to make your business processes flow smoother, and your accountants will thank you for it.
2. Easy Navigation and User Interface
Even though you’ve employed an accountant to do all the accounting for you, as an owner you still need to be able to understand what’s going on. Hence, it’s important that you choose a software that’s easy to navigate and has a user-friendly interface. This will help you better understand what’s going on in terms of your business’ cash flow.
This ensures that your accountants won’t have a hard time doing their job. They will also be able to explain the process to you in a much clearer way if there’s something you can’t understand. That’s because the visuals look intuitive enough even for those who aren’t experts.
3. List Down the Software’s Features and Accessibility
You can easily trim down your initial choices by listing the features that are integral to running your business. It’s also worth considering if you want your software to be accessible online or offline. Some notable accounting software features include:
- Sales tracking
- Inventory management
- Customer and vendor contact management
- Balance sheet and profit reports
- Invoice creation
- Access control for employees
- Business tax reports
- Online-based (cloud software) or offline-based (desktop software)
Certain individual features can usually be obtained by paying an added fee. That said, make sure that you only pay for the features that are necessary for your work. You don’t want to waste your budget on something that you won’t actually use.
4. Prioritize Data Security
This point isn’t necessary if you’ve chosen an offline-based software, but if you’ve opted for an online-based one, data security should be of high priority. Hence, you should consider asking the manufacturer the following questions:
- How is data stored?
- If the software is hosted on their servers, what are their security measures?
Make sure that you only go for an online software that has your data encrypted. This will protect your data from any hacker attack.
5. Set a Budget
Setting a budget also helps you come up with a shortlist sooner. If you’ve already set the budget that you’re willing to spend on an accounting software, you’ll easily filter out all your available choices. After which, it will just be a matter of choosing what you deem essential for your accounting tasks.
Although more expensive options tend to be of higher quality, especially in terms of features and ease-of-use, it’s worth considering whether you’ll be able to maximize those features in the first place. What’s important is that you’re able to get all of your money’s worth with your software, even if it’s more expensive than your other available options.
To help you decide whether a costly software will be worth it, you have to go back to the first point: ask yourself whether your business will benefit from it greatly or not.
6. Take into Account Users’ Opinions
Every business needs a good accounting system, but what good will it do if the actual users don’t find it convenient for their jobs?
It’s one thing that you find it easy to use, but make sure that you also seek the opinion of your accountants so they can secure the features that will make their task smooth-sailing. You may be choosing the software that looks like it’s the best one on paper, but your accountants may have opinions that are worth taking into account.
7. Check the Availability of Support
Though many software are relatively issue-free, you can never be too sure when issues will come up. Hence, it’s important to choose a software that provides quality and timely support when you need it. The manufacturer should be able to respond to you adequately and teach you how to apply long-term solutions to the problem.
Businesses, whether they’re big or small, rely on their tools to ensure a smooth workflow. If your accounting department fails to deliver their outputs on time, the rest of the processes will also be affected. This is something that business owners should avoid at all costs.
The reason why some software are sold cheap is because they don’t provide support when issues arise. Hence, you will be left to solve the issues on your own and, depending on their magnitude, they might be something that would require external assistance.
Better go for a product that includes support right from the get-go. Remember, the longer you remain stuck in a task, the more money you’ll lose in the long run.
Conclusion: The Right Accounting Software Simplifies Your Business Processes
An accounting software greatly minimizes the time and effort you need to spend on your business’ accounting processes. It also prevents you from committing errors that stem from mental fatigue and confusion.
However, you can’t simply pick a software based on looks and customer reviews. Yes, these factors can help determine the usefulness of a particular software but, ultimately, you’ll need to consider the accounting needs of your business to ensure that you can accomplish your tasks accordingly.