If you want to maintain accurate financial records for your business, accounting software is a must. Proper financial records are essential for making informed business decisions and submitting taxes. It can be difficult to find the right accounting software package, as there are many options.
How do you choose the right accounting software for your business? Here is a list I created to help you make the right choice when choosing accounting software for your company. This information is especially useful for small businesses (between 0-9 employees), that do not have an IT department or can't afford a qualified accountant.
You have two options when it comes to software. There are two types of software you can choose from: cloud/online software and desktop software. The software you install on your computer is called desktop software. The software can only be accessed on the computer where it was installed. Cloud software, also known as online software, is the one that you can access through a web browser. It is accessible on any device (laptops or tablets) as long as you have an internet connection. These are just a few of the many things you should consider.
Software must be affordable. This means you need to take into account your budget and the price of the software. The cost of the software should be within your budget. Desktop software costs usually include the purchase price, e.g. QuickBooks Pro 2013 costs $199.96 and may also include annual fees or upgrade fees. Cloud software costs are usually per user per month. Cloud software prices can be as low as $29 per month for Sage One or Wave Accounting.
It should be simple to use the software. It can sometimes be expensive to hire a qualified accountant. It may be necessary to hire someone less qualified to handle the bookkeeping. If the software is easy to use, even a less qualified person could be able prepare financial records. You will only need one-day training to get started.
Software security is essential. especially when using an online/cloud-based software application. Hackers can steal your financial information. How can you be sure that the software is safe? Look out for things such as 256-bit SSL encryption, TRUSTe Certified Privacy, VeriSign Secure, and many other security features.
Software must have all the features you require. Many software packages come with many features. You don't want to pay for features you don't need. You will need software to invoice customers, print reports, and import bank statements so that you don't have to manually capture them.
Software that supports you must have a lot of support. Sometimes you may need immediate assistance if you forget how to print out a report or capture an invoice. You need support in these situations. Make sure you check with your provider to see if they offer it.
A software provider must be financially sound and able to continue operations for many years. Providers must have strong financial backing and show commitment. It is not a good idea to entrust financial information to someone only to have it removed by the software provider.