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Over the years, small business accounting software has evolved and continues to do so to this day. It used to be accepted that if you were a small business and required accounting software there was a simple choice between purchasing Sage or QuickBooks.

However, these leading names are now being challenged by a new generation of web and desktop-based software. And, now there is a host of accounts software packages start-ups and small businesses can choose from.

With the big brands being challenged and alternative accounting solutions available, how do you choose the right accounting software package for your business?

Types of accounting products available

Choosing the right accounting software package will save you time and money and help you gain a better understanding of your business finances. At the moment there are a few general categories to choose from when considering your accounts package. Below is a summary of each category and some of the products available for small to medium businesses.

  • Small business payroll and accounting: There is a number of accounting software programs you can purchase off the shelf and over the internet that will accommodate most small business needs by offering the tools and reports you require to use your financial data. These include QuickBooks, the best-selling series by Intuit. QuickBooks is available in a range of tiered editions and there are add-ons, such as a cash-flow calculator. Additional popular products include Simply Accounting by Sage Software, which is available in up to 20-seat licenses. Sage also has Peachtree Complete Accounting Software, which comes in tiered offerings too, serving from 1 to 40 users. It also has targeted modules for construction, distribution, and manufacturing businesses. Other popular options include Cougar Mountain Software and MYOB Accounting.
  • Business management software programs: Higher-priced and more full-features accounting programs that may also include other financial functions you need to track in your business, such as point of sale, inventory control, customer relationship management (CRM), billing, purchasing and even enterprise resource management (ERP). Some popular picks in this category include Everest's Business Management Software, which integrates all business processes into one solution, and NetSuite -- the latter of which boasts that it's "everything you need in one powerful solution."
  • Cloud-hosted accounting applications: The new breed of online accounts applications has emerged in the last few years, taking full advantage of the growing confidence that businesses are developing in the cloud as a safe business environment. The heavyweight of small business accounting, Intuit, has launched an online alternative called Quickbooks Online. Peachtree has also announced a well featured online version. Some vendors offer online-only accounting packages, such as Less Accounting and NetSuite, which has a more comprehensive business management package online.

  • Free accounting software programs: Most small businesses should be skeptical of "free" programs, particularly when they deal with the financial data of your business. However, a free version of QuickBooks lets you create invoices, print checks, handle payroll, and manage up to 20 customer accounts. There are plenty of free bookkeeping tools on the market, but QuickBooks is the best option for growing companies, because it's easy to step up to the paid version, which lets users track more than 10,000 customers.

What are the benefits of using accounting software?

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As well as helping you manage finances, accounting software also offers many benefits that make running a business a little bit easier.

Here's what some of our clients love about their accounting software:

  • All-in-one solution. An all-in-one solution that provides everything a small business needs: affordability, ease of use, credit card processing and more. It also allows the company accountant access to monitor transactions.
  • Simple interface. A simple look and feel and the ease of use of the accounting software can take away the frustrations and complexities of bookkeeping.
  • Less stress. Managing a business's finances is difficult enough as it is, so it's important to have an accounting software that alleviates that stress instead of adding to it.
  • Tracking capabilities. In addition to tracking expenses, being able to track when a client has viewed email invoices takes the mystery out of whether or not the invoice has reached the customer. This is particularly useful when a bill is past due.
  • Less clutter. Accounting software means you don't need to keep piles of paperwork everywhere. Our client found that his accounting software's mobile app makes it easy to add receipts to expenses simply by taking a picture.
  • Real-time data. Accounting software updates data in real-time eliminates the need to manually input financial information. The reconciliation feature on the accounting software, keeps this client constantly up to date on the company's finances.

What you need to consider

Ready to invest in accounting software? Here are some questions to ask potential vendors:

  • Is your software built for small businesses?
  • Is the software compatible with your existing hardware?
  • Is your software a good fit for my industry?
  • Do you offer customized solutions to fit my business needs?
  • How many employees and clients can your software accommodate?
  • How can your software help me comply with GAAP, Tax laws and financial regulations?
  • How is my data backed up? Can access be restored immediately during an outage?
  • What security measures do you have in place to keep both my business and my customers data secure?
  • What is the total cost? Are there any setup or cloud storage fees?
  • What types of technical support and customer service do you provide? (For instance, does the provider offer your preferred form of contact, such as phone or live chat?)

If you need assistance choosing the right accounting software for your business, why not contact us today for an informal chat and let us see if we can help you! 


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