A healthy company is simply impossible without a decent accounting software solution. It’s necessary to keep you on top of all the earnings and expenses in a single place. Below is a detailed guide for small business owners on how to select the right software solution to maximize your company’s accounting efforts efficiency.
Where to Look for Accounting Software?
There are numerous sources where you can find accounting software offers, but you should trust more specialized platforms with higher authority on the market. These include popular accounting blogs, nationwide websites like Forbes and Insider, etc.
Besides, you can rely on research companies that are specialized in finding the right software products for your very business. Look for websites like Riselane.com to get expert help along with a decent discount on the service you choose in the end. The work of such platforms is to thoroughly research the market, and provide you with eCommerce solution offers that are really worth your attention. Take a look at their policies to ensure the fairness of their research practices.
At this point, you have to filter the offered accounting solutions based on the features they provide and the features you actually need. Ask yourself whether you require tools for accounts receivable and payable, inventory tracking, report generation, project management, time tracking, etc.? Below are detailed descriptions of each set of features.
Most types of small businesses can get by with only a set of basic accounting features, such as:
- income and expense tracking;
- customer management;
- financial report generation.
Still, if your company sells more than just a few positions, you might also want to track your inventory, use vendor management features, and get assistance with the ordering process. If your business is more about providing services, it will be very useful for you to track invoice billable hours.
The more automation your accounting software can handle, the higher time saving potential it has. But what are the options you have? Here is a list of automation solutions to look for:
- automatic invoices;
- past-due notifications;
- transaction matches suggesting;
- conversion of quotes & estimates into invoices;
- automatic purchase orders for product reordering.
Having an accounting software that can automatically perform tax calculations and send reports is super valuable. Look for solutions that also allow you to easily provide your accountant with system data or email all the necessary items automatically.
Having some extras, such as payroll and payment processing, online invoice receiving, and employee payments can be very nice. Of course, all the add-ons usually add up to the price, but usability can be more valuable to you.
You are definitely already using more than just a single software solution for various purposes and would not like to give them up. If you already have a CRM, POS system, payment processor, bank account, and other apps and services working for your business, look for an accounting solution that supports integrations of all the important apps.
To find the most useful accounting software solution for your business, you have to decide where, how, and how many users will use it. Below are the main factors to consider.
Multi-user access support
While multi-user access is just a necessary feature, you should also look for the options to invite users and distribute levels of access between them. For example, you might decide that your accountant needs access to the entire database, while the employees need access only to the invoice tracking toolkit. You should compare the same multi-user access features by several vendors because one may allow multiple users at no extra costs, while the other will charge a fee for each added user.
If you run two or more small businesses, it might be very useful to unite them in a single accounting software solution. You should look for service providers that either don’t charge you for adding several business accounts or don’t charge too much.
Cloud-based, desktop, or mobile?
Today the vast majority of small business accounting software solutions are cloud-based, which is very convenient for businesses that require access from multiple computers as well as for situations when you need to log in from different computers quickly. However, your business might simply not need to require that and get by with a cheaper desktop solution.
Why is it cheaper? Well, because most desktop solutions are a one-time purchase, while absolutely all cloud-based systems require recurring monthly or yearly payments. On the other hand, the first is available only from the computer it is installed on, which can be very uncomfortable if you frequently travel or work from home.
Many services also offer you to install mobile apps for monitoring key data and even working at specific tasks on the go. It might also be very beneficial to have separate apps with limited access for employees. If mobile access is a priority for your business, you have to ensure that the mobile apps provide enough functionality and work on your preferred platforms. For example, a solution you like can be available for iOS only and leave Android users behind, or vice versa.
The number of features offered, users supported, and others usually directly affect the price of the product. You should also understand that you are most likely to choose a cloud-based solution that requires recurring payments instead of a one-time software license. The average monthly cost of an accounting solution varies from $10 to $60, depending on the plan you choose. However, the chances are high that you will need extra features that will add up to the price. If your business needs only the very basics, you can even find a free solution.
Having the right accounting software is a huge relief for your entire company. Be attentive while selecting, always seek expert advice, and avoid those pricing policies you find somewhat obscure.