How to Choose Accounting Software for Your Business

 

Running a business these days is no easy feat. Back in the day, all you needed was a filing cabinet, a good memory, and a lot of paper to manage your business. Nowadays, though, thanks are more complex, and it seems like everything requires a good software program in order to be completed efficiently.

This is especially true when it comes to accounting. Whether you’re managing 10 employees or 1000, you need a good accounting software by your side. Fortunately, there are lots of different accounting software programs to choose from these days, so many that sometimes it can seem overwhelming.

Don’t worry, though; it’s easy to pick the right software if you know what to look for.

First things first, you want to ensure that the software you select has a reporting and analytics feature. Without this feature, you won’t have good accountability, but with it, you’ll be able to keep track of each salary and all spending. You’ll be able to see, with the right software, reports centered around the board of directors, managers, investors, or even tax reviewers.

The best software will make analytics easy by offering pre-configured reports that you can generate as needed with just a few clicks. And truly great software will even include basic analysis tools, like business plan models and projection tools.

While all those analytics features are certainly nice, none of them are going to do you a bit of good- and in fact, could land you in trouble- if they’re not useful for keeping you in compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and basic tax law. While you could learn, remember, and apply all the laws your industry requires, it’s a whole lot easier and more pragmatic to find software that just does that for you automatically!

Also keep in mind that while it’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy features of some modern software, you really have to make sure the software you choose comes with those all-important basics like accounts receivable management, accounts payable management, a general ledger, a purchasing register, and billing and invoicing capabilities. Even the best and most sophisticated software in the world isn’t a smart choice if it doesn’t offer up these most basic but all-important of features.

Finally, when possible, try and find software that you only have to pay for once. A lot of modern accounting software, unfortunately, will require you to pay one price upfront and then to keep paying out of pocket for “updates” and “extra features.” Obviously, that can get to be a real pain- not to mention a financial burden- so try your best to choose software that includes everything at the buying price.

So, now that you know what to look for in your accounting software, it’s time to start shopping and to find the perfect match for your business and its needs.