From Sage to Quickbooks, and a fistful of others in between, the accounting software choices available to small business owners are truly vast with options to suit practically every need and budget. In this article we’ll explore how best to research and pick out accounting software that’s right for your company.
Step 1 – Know What You Need From Your Accountancy Software
Understanding exactly what you want from your accounting software is key when it comes to researching suitable options, and picking the most suitable one. Identify particular needs that your business may have from an accounting software solution – for example, a retail business may benefit from a point of sale inventory program that can feed directly into the accountancy software. The more integrated you can make your accountancy software with the various key departments within your business, the better.
Good accountancy software will also be able to help provide insightful management reports quickly in a way that paper based accounting just cannot. Decide right from the get go if the software you want is intended just for basic book keeping or for more advanced management reporting.
You will also need to have a budget in mind – there are many different accountancy software solutions, from cheap and cheery down to expensive bespoke systems created especially for your organization.
When deciding your needs, talk to key members of staff within your business – certainly the individuals currently responsible for creating and managing financial statements.
Step 2 – Researching Different Accountancy Software Options To Arrive At A Decision
If you have business contacts within your industry, inquire what software is the most popular – and why. You can also find this information out by posting on industry specific forums where other business leaders in your niche are likely to frequent.
Narrow down your search by creating a spreadsheet with the needs you identified earlier listed – stack up these needs and wants against the potential accounting software solutions that you have shortlisted. This should help narrow down the accountancy software options to one or two at most, and make your final decision a fair bit simpler.
A few of the software accounting types that are available in the market include the following:
- Small business payroll/accounting software. These are relatively standard, off the shelf packages and include options such as QuickBooks and Sage. Some of these accountancy packages target specific industries – such as construction and manufacturing – it’s worth checking if your industry is covered before arriving at any decision.
- Business management and accounting software. These are more expensive than off the shelf packages, but incorporate additional functionality such as point of sale, customer relationship management, billing, and purchasing integration.
- Web or Local. There are both web based and desktop accountancy software options available to small business owners too.
It’s well worth spending some time to understand your requirements from accountancy software, and researching the options thoroughly to ensure you pick the right one. If you find you make the wrong choice, it can be a painstaking exercise to upgrade to a more suitable system only a year or two down the line.