How do you choose your accounting software?

Blog / ERP
Keeping business "books" would have been a literal paper-based process, involving a ledger, lots of columns and a pencil to record the company's basic financial statements. But in the digital age, even the smallest of businesses can benefit from the wide range of small business accounting software products on the market. Not only can accounting software help you reduce human errors in your calculations, but it can also help you get deep information about your company that you haven't been able to see in paper form -- such as creating sales forecasts for the next quarter, identifying items that are overfilled, defining less profitable service.
A professional accounting program can be the source of all this information. But finding the best accounting software for your business can be a challenge with an explosion of shrink-wrapped software products and online application offerings. To choose a business accounting program you must understand some of the basics of professional accounting, look closely at your business and its accounting needs, and evaluate the products available today. "It's very important to do it right. In many cases, it can make the difference between businesses being profitable versus unprofitable."
How to choose a business accounting software
Understanding Accounting Needs
The first step you need to choose accounting software for your business is to conduct a good needs analysis that will satisfy both administrative and financial needs. It should be broad, with an exploration of both the obvious questions and the ones that make your picture real. Take your time with this important step, as the last thing you want is to repeat this process over the next two years. If you experience unexpected growth that forces an upgrade, great, but good planning at this point can help you avoid having to change software too soon. Get some help before buying anything.
What you need to know about your business
The first step you need to take before deciding on accounting software is to make sure that you are somewhat financially savvy. One of the mistakes companies make when buying accounting software is thinking they don't need to know anything at all about financial accounting because the software will only take care of it for you, says Linda Benson, author of Keeping Books. Basic record-keeping and accounting for a successful small business. "They should understand the accounts of small businesses."
There are many ways a small business entrepreneur or executive can master the data their business needs to hold (in order to make better business decisions) and the reports they need to generate (for the Internal Revenue Service and state tax authorities). . You can read books. You can take classes. You can do a search on the Internet. "You can't use any accounting software if it's like trash somewhere or trash," Benson says. This is the result "if you don't understand what you are putting in".
Another consideration is the type of business you are running. Several different sectors have additional specialized units or groups because they need to hold specialized data. If you are a manufacturer, for example, you may need to understand and handle parts and labor inventory. If you are a retailer, you may also need to understand your inventory through the point of sale software. The doctor's office needs specialized software for billing insurance companies, although many may transplant this functionality to a broker and/or consultants.
Talk to the accountant and staff
If your business has an accountant -- either an external consultant or an internal accountant -- it would be wise to consult with that expert before you enter the accounting program. The accountant may be able to recommend programs that work with the programs he has. In fact, Benson says, some accountants may help you set up your accounting software so that it collects the data they need to help you file your taxes, as well. "They know what kind of business you have and what you need," Benson says. Most accountants work with a specific software.
Your IT department is just as important as an accountant. You also need to understand the condition of the hardware. Professional accounting software packages use large databases, usually consisting of many different spreadsheets working together, so take a good look at your disk space. As accounting data grows, which is happening quickly, the more space you need. This is the most important item to review, but it is not the only one. You will need to assess the life of the system, as well as procedures for backing up and storage media.
What to know before you start shopping?
Know your budget limits
A major consideration is your budget. All ready-made programs are available at very reasonable prices. However, when you start focusing on industry-specific accounting software, also referred to as vertical software, costs go up and up.
Most professional vertical accounting software is sold with a value-added (VAT) feature, so they can demonstrate the software and help you with installation, setup, and training. The software has a higher price tag because it has a smaller market than public accounting software, and annual maintenance fees are required for you to receive updates and upgrades as they are produced.
Communicate with other companies and program consultants
Find out what everyone else in your field is using. Well, maybe not everyone else, but at least a few of your competitors. Business association meetings are a great place to chat about this, and you can also ask your accountant because they should have at least one other client in your line of business.
There are also advisors and/or services that will assist you as you narrow down your options for a good financial accounting program for your business. FindAccountingSoftware.com operates independently of any software vendors, for you


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