How to Choose the Right Accounting Software for Your Business?
Your finances can be a complicated part of business operations. Accounting software makes your life as a business owner easier by monitoring the movement of your money in and out of your accounts and tracking your business’ financial health. A software that can create invoices, track expenses and generate various reports will help you analyze your financial operations – will help you run your business more efficiently.
Finding the right accounting software for your business can be challenging with each program including different features, multiple pricing plans and a different number of users who can access the program.
These are a few things to consider when you’re choosing an accounting software for your business:
Features: Consider what you need your accounting software to do for you. Do you need both accounts payable and receivable tools? Do you need various reports generated? Are looking for a software to help you with invoicing, inventory tracking, time tracking, project management and payroll?
Usability: Do you need to multiple users to have access to your program? Are you looking for a cloud-based system you can access anywhere, or do you prefer desktop software? Do you need an accounting software mobile application?
Costs: Do you want a basic and inexpensive accounting software or a more expensive application that costs more but includes extra features?
This article will also discuss:
NOTE: FreshBooks Support team members are not certified income tax or accounting professionals and cannot provide advice in these areas, outside of supporting questions about FreshBooks. If you need income tax advice please contact an accountant in your area.
8 Things to Consider When Choosing an Accounting Software for Your Business
Consider Your Accounting Skills
If you own a small business or start-up, finances might not be your specialty.
You might be a small operation without a finance department, but you still need to be on top of your company’s accounting. There are a variety of options on the market for accounting software but make sure you find one that matches not just your needs but your capabilities too. While accounting software makes bookkeeping easier, you still need to have a basic understanding of your finances and what you need the software to do for you.
Do your homework, so that you pick the right program and get the most of its functionality.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based Applications
Switching to a cloud-based application can benefit your business operations in several ways. The software can be accessed from any location with an internet connection on tablets, laptops, and smartphones. Having this easy access to your accounting software at any time from anywhere can help you keep your bookkeeping consistently up-to-date.
You won’t need to worry about having an IT department to manage the installation of software upgrades because that is all done through the server. Plus, your records are secured from a physical location where safety might be jeopardized by a local disaster, theft or another destructive event.
Options That Work within Your Budget
You can find an accounting software suitable for all budgets. While you can find cheap and even free applications for download, consider if these options are useful to your company’s business operations. While you might pay more for some accounting software, it could very well minimize common accounting errors that could save you time and money, and it might be worth the additional cost.
Many accounting software applications have tiered pricing levels so that you can pay for what you need and get the best results.
What Features Do You Need?
To help you decide what accounting software program to choose, ask yourself what features you need to run your business. Here are a few things a small business might need from their accounting software:
- Sales tracking
- Inventory management
- Merchant account support to accept credit card payments
- Manage customer contacts or work with your current contact management software
- Business tax reporting
Does the Software Work with Your Bank?
You can save a lot of time if your accounting software is compatible with your bank. If you’re able to download transactions from your bank, it can make paying your bills and keeping an eye on your cash flow easier. Check to see if the accounting software you are choosing compatible with your online banking activities.
Is Your Data Secure?
When considering an accounting software program, data security should be at the top of your mind. Find out how the company stores their application data. Many trusted cloud hosting services host their application on their own servers. Before deciding on a software application ask the company about the security measures they are using to safeguard your data.
You can do a simple check to ensure your data is transferred from your computer to the application is secure. Check that their services are using HTTPS connection by opening the application and see if the URL in the address bar starts with https://. HTTPS ensures that the data transferred is secure and can’t be viewed by hackers.
Is the Program Easy to Use?
If you’re a small business owner, you may very well not have an accounting background. Even if you have an accounting department, as a business owner you want to have access and understanding to your financial records. You also want to ensure that your accounting system is easy for employees to learn to use.
Find a software that has features that are easy for everyone on your team to use. Go for software with a simple user interface and not overloaded with unnecessary features. Working with a clean interface makes it easier to focus on important tasks and can reduce the learning curve.
Something that is overlooked when choosing you an accounting software program, is the customer service you might require after your purchase. No matter what the quality of the program you pick, you will likely need support at some point.
You have gone through the work of choosing the right program, but that work might be in vain if there is no support for you to use it right. Often programs that are cheaper don’t have support included in their prices. Paying extra for post-purchase service is worth the money.
A simple way to check the quality of the support for an accounting software program is to post a message or call the support line and see how long it takes you to get a response. Based on the response time and quality of the feedback, you will have a better understanding of the company’s support operations.