Being a small business owner, yeah we get it… you wear multiple hats during your work day. And, you may be in love with most of the activities too. But, what is the one activity that a small business owner hates the most? Oh yes, we hear it loud and clear – Accounting. Instead of running your business for growth and staying with the competition if you have to spend time on maintaining ledgers, doing the manual entry of expenses and sales, report creation, well yes, it could really get on the nerves.
But here’s relief – an Accounting Software. From a plethora of small business accounting software that are available in the market, picking up the one that best suits your needs could be a game changer for you. Your average work day would then include more of actual business tasks and all the accounting and number crunching would be taken care by your favorite accounting software.
Assess if you need Accounting software?
Putting time and effort on choosing accounting software is one of the best decisions for a small business owner. Although, many find excel spreadsheet, manual entries and calculations quite easy to use, but it’s the time saving and accuracy that makes Accounting Software a clear winner.
If, for any of the questions mentioned below, your answer is YES then investing in Accounting Software is a good choice:
- Setting up your Business – Small business accounting software sets a good starting ground in having a streamlined business structure. It pays to use Accounting software right from the start instead of using spreadsheets and manual ledgers and think of implementing an Accounting Software after a month or even after a year.
- Growth in Business – For rapidly growing businesses and even for growth that you anticipate manual accounting procedures are a big pain and prove highly inefficient. Accounting Software, on the other hand, is built and designed to be accurate, efficient and scalable for the growth.
- Data and Reports are just a click away – Accounting software more than just a repository of numbers. It has the capability to produce finance related reports as per your wish and helps in decision making. The details included in the Accounting software can run very deep including information about all your sales, vendor info, customer details etc.
- Enhance Productivity – Accounting software are designed to accommodate all aspects of your day to day operations viz – salaries, daily transactions, purchases and also have the ability to integrate with other systems that you may have to give you a complete picture of your organization. They simply save time and maintain data integrity with the high level of accuracy.
- Want a Simple Software – There are many Accounting software available in the market today and each one of them is made to suffice for a particular business segment. That said, not all Accounting software will prove beneficial for you. Some are made for enterprises and have features that you may never use. One needs to better assess their requirements and as needed opt for an appropriate accounting software.
- Worrying about Compliance – In the Accounting world there are too many regulations, laws, and compliance related issues. This can be pretty daunting for the small business owner. Luckily, most of the competitive Accounting software are made to be compliant and will take the user through the best practices. This is a far cry for the spreadsheet users who have to maintain compliance checks manually.
Best Accounting Software Features
Accounting software available today comes with a wide range of features that help you in keeping close track of your daily transactions and also present you with your overall business picture when you wish. But small business owners that we interviewed consider ease of use and time savings as two prominent features that they look for when selecting Accounting software.
“I would rate the ease of use for an Accounting software as the foremost feature over anything else. It’s really something that makes my life easy, giving me more time to focus on my business,” said Eugene McDougall, founder of Alaska System Inc.
“One of the primary must have feature in the Accounting software is to be able to show the overall health of the organization so that the business owner is able to better decision for the business and produce timely solutions for their respective clients,” said Clive Andrews, owner of Blueline Technologies, an ERP consulting company.
Some of most prominent features that the Accounting software should offer to best fit in businesses of all size and domains are mentioned below –
- Accounting Operations. This is something which is the most basic requirement to fit the bill. Accounting software should come equipped with basic accounting features viz- financial reports, income and expense statements and entry and sale and purchase invoicing.
- Automation. This is a good to have, and necessarily includes all the financial report automation, billing, past reports etc. This one saves a lot of time and going forward proves to be a decision-making platform.
- Readymade Templates. Some of the Accounting software comes with pre-defined templates for pricing quotes which are more like industry standards, the user can put these templates to use with (out) any customization.
- Taxation. Most of Accounting software comes ready Tax compliance and get timely updates in terms of tax tables (federal/state) like you will see in MultiLedger (Small Business Accounting Software). The Taxation module is perhaps the most important one in that, it eases off the burden of your head in doing your companies tax manually.
- Multi-User. For an ever-growing organization, it makes sense that the Accounting software has multiple user access. That way you could be sure that it is not only you who have to do all the entries. Also, the “multiple user access” comes with varied security levels, so you could secure your data and not let all the users see any particular set of data.
- Payroll Tasks. Some Accounting softwares also comes loaded with built-in Payroll modules to take care of the employee time sheets, pay stubs calculations etc.
- Mobility. In today’s high paced trend most of the utility software are coming with mobile compatibility. Accounting software are no exception and mobile accessibility adds an extra layer of convenience to provide service to the user on the go.
- Integration with Third Party Tools. Some of the Accounting software have the capability to directly integrate with other utility software. This may help in data exchange from other apps viz – ERP, CRM etc.
Accounting Software – Benefits
In addition to helping you manage finances, accounting software also offers many benefits that make running a business a bit easier.
A list of Small business owners we contacted have these specific points that they love about their Accounting software:
- Multi Feature Software. Sandra Abnik of MobiApps points out that her favorite Accounting software is something that has all the essential features viz – ease of use, all the accounting operations, economical, credit card processing etc. It should have reporting module capable of producing reports for effective decision making.
- Intuitive Design. Sullivan Bradshaw, CEO of JV Financial Services, gives out most importance to the look and feel of the interface that you have to work on day in and day out.
- Auto Suggestions. Kylin Cass, CEO of SpectraSol has views regarding the auto suggestions that Accounting software is coming up with. These assist in easy workflow and alleviate stress in managing finances of her business.
- Transaction Tracking. David Greenberg, CEO of LinkFast Inc. says not only that the basis transactions should be recorded accurately, but it should also track if the transaction details are seen by the client as well. This is particularly useful when a bill is long overdue.
- Accountant Delight. Andy Trobe, the founder of Creative Media Inc., says he choose his Accounting software based on what the accountants recommends and finds easier.
- DIY Software. Bill Flanagan, CEO of Stellar Furnishings Inc., says that the ability of Accounting software to do a wide range of activities is what impresses him the most. He mentions that Accounting software that can not only record transactions accurately and maintain data integrity but should also be capable of tracking invoice movements, bank alerts, tax alerts and payroll transactions. This way you may never need to hire a full-time accountant, he says.
- Paper-Less Office. Accounting software that is capable of doing all the tasks possible online and don’t need paperwork are a good have. They save a lot on stationary and help maintain cleanliness in office, says Adam Maher, CEO of Investus Inc.
- Actionable Dash Boards. Aiden Smith, the founder of Boston Springs Inc, says it is the dashboard of his Accounting software which gives him the true picture of his business’s health financially and it is something that he sees the first thing before starting his days’ work.
How to Choose the Right Accounting Software
With this we come to the basic question – are you ready to buy Accounting software? Small business owners are more concerned with ease of use, customer service and cost as the basic deciding factors.
To assist you in selecting Accounting software, we have compiled a set of pertinent questions that you should ask the potential vendors before you freeze on a solution –
- Is it targeted for small business owners?
- Is the Accounting software good for my industry type?
- Is any software customization possible to fit my business?
- Is there any limit on no. of employees and clients data that I can enter?
- Does the Accounting software comply with IRS regulations, Taxes and laws?
- How is the data is back-up?
- For the web enabled software, what measures does the company have to keep the data secure?
- What are the cost and other fee structure?
- What is the mode of customer support and what is the extra fee?