Accounting software is the gift of modern technology. Yes, nothing can replace the skills of expert accountants, but using the software can help speed up their job. When you’ve got numerous transactions coming in daily, it’ll be time-consuming and sometimes even impossible for your accountant to do everything manually.
With that in mind, there are so many accounting software or bookkeeping providers that you can choose to use for your business. But not all of these are created equally, as naturally, some perform better than others.
So, how do you narrow down your options, or what features should you look for in accounting software? Here’s a list.
1- Balance Your Needs – And Your Team’s Accounting Skills
First on this list is to create a balance between what you need your accounting software to do for you and the level of skills that your accounting team already has. That way, you can be sure that there isn’t any mismatch. No matter how good an accounting software may be, it’s still not serving a good purpose if it doesn’t meet your needs concerning what your accountants can and can’t do.
The best place for you to start is to consider the software that’s designed to help your business, depending on the niche it belongs to. For example, some applications do well for certain sectors, like manufacturing, retailers, and restaurants.
Remember that this is very important, given that the accounting software you choose impacts directly how your operations proceed. The software, per see, is only a tool. The most important factor will still be the brains who will use the software—your accountant.
Second, on this list is your budget. You have to factor this in, as you’ll be paying for the costs of maintaining the software. Typically, this is a monthly fee that you’re going to cover. So, you’ve got to be sure that it fits your budget seamlessly.
Note that even if you have accounting software in place, this doesn’t take the need for you to employ an accountant. This is still very much necessary. So, on top of the wages and the benefits of your accountant, you must be able to afford to pay for the accounting software.
When choosing accounting software, remember that the price isn’t always a determinant of quality. You have to balance the reputation and software capabilities with the price you’re paying for. This is why following the first step is very crucial.
3- Cloud Applications
Many software today utilizes the cloud, and accounting software is no exception. So, it’s a plus if your chosen accounting software has cloud capabilities. This means that you can store files on the cloud and not be dependent on your computer’s system or hard drive. In case your local hard drive crashes, you’ve always got a backup of your files through the cloud.
There are other advantages that your business can enjoy if your accounting software has cloud capabilities, and these include:
- You don’t need to pay extra for software licenses just to run the cloud.
- You can access the cloud from any device you’re switching to—even when you’re on the go.
- Your team doesn’t have to worry about upgrades, as these are already completed on the server end.
Different accounting software will have its own set of features. It’s up to you to choose only those features that you know will be useful for your business.
Especially if you’re still a small business and you’d like to minimize expenses, you can do this not by skimping on the quality of the accounting software but by choosing one with only the features you need. If a certain feature is one that you know won’t be useful for your particular business, why pay for it.
As a guide, here are some of the questions you may want to ask yourself:
- What are the duties that you want the accounting software to be able to do for you?
- Do you need the accounting software to track inventory, payroll, and time tracking?
- Do you need tools for both accounts receivable and accounts payable?
Before you even start your search for accounting software for your business, you should already know what you’re looking for. This will make it easier to narrow down your options based on the features that you want it to have.
Some of the most common usability features that good accounting software should have include:
- Multi-User Access: This enables multiple users in your team to access the accounting software. You can even control how much access you want to grant certain users to avoid changing confidential data and reports, for instance.
- Mobile Access: As the term suggests, this means that the accounting software can be accessed even from a mobile device. This comes in handy if you or your team are constantly on the go or if you’re managing businesses from across different locations.
5- Your Accounting Team’s Opinion
Since your accounting team would be making the most out of the accounting software, it just fits you to seek their help and opinion. These professionals most likely know more about the latest in accounting technology, so they can help you make a better decision. Plus, they can also give their insights on what features are needed for your business so that the finance and accounting departments can be more efficient and productive.
Whether you’re a small or large business, having accounting software in place will always come in handy. Surely, you need that added push to help accountants with the job that they can do.
If there are certain things that you can automate to increase efficiency and reduce human error, then why deprive your business of these possibilities. As you select which accounting software to go for, keep in mind the factors stated above so you can choose the most useful and cost-efficient one for your business.