What should you consider when choosing accounting software?

Have you experienced the overwhelming feeling of trying to manage finances for your SME?

Business accounting and bookkeeping are much more than just collecting money from your customers and depositing it into your bank account. There are many more important factors that you need to consider to ensure that you are protecting the financial health of your company.

One of the fundamental decisions that you need to make is regarding the type of software that you will use to track financial information. Here are a few things to consider when making this decision:

Why manual accounting practices are outdated

Before the invention of computers and the internet, most business owners kept a ledger to track transactions and cash flow. This information was recorded by hand and reconciled manually as needed.

These practices are ancient in our modern, digital world. If you are still recording transactions by hand, then it means you need to get with the times and implement a software program. Even basic Excel spreadsheets aren’t sufficient to track your information with accuracy.

Manual accounting practices and data entry increase the risk of error, which can have a long-term impact on the financial future of your company. It is essential to ensure that the information is correct so that you always have accurate details about your business finances.

Think about the future when choosing accounting software

You are focused on the current needs of the company, but don’t overlook the way the software will be able to manage future growth and development. The chances are that you will find multiple programs that will meet your current needs. Just because your current requirements are met, doesn’t mean that you will have the accounting power needed for the future of your company.

If you are planning to go through the effort of implementing a new software program, then it makes sense that you should choose something that is designed to last. It will be frustrating to get a few years down the road and find out that you need to make the transition to a different software system. So, get it done right by choosing a program that will accommodate future needs.

The main reason that business owners are driven to use the wrong software is that they want to save money on the costs. Even though there are other software programs that seem to be effective for your current needs, it won’t be worth the savings if you encounter big problems in the future. Upgrading to a new software program will be the last thing you want to deal with when your business is booming and you are expanding to accommodate the growth of the company.

Support for the software and your business efforts

The only way software will be useful is if you have good support for implementation and ongoing transaction management. So, make sure that you choose a company that offers continuous support for the source code. New versions will be released as the industry needs change, helping you to stay up-to-date at all times without the painful experience of moving to a new software program.

Even business owners need a helping hand sometimes. If you come across a problem with your accounting software, it’s important to know that your vendor will provide customer support and that they treat their customers well.

These days, it’s hard for a company to hide bad customer service. Thanks to the prevalence of social media, companies and their service records are more transparent than ever. It is worth checking out the reputation of the company and the levels of support that they offer.

Desktop or online accounting software?

Upgrade to a software system that allows remote access from anywhere in the world. Limiting the software program to your computer or laptop increases the risk of losing the information if the hardware fails. For example, if the computer is damaged or stolen, then you will lose all of your financial records.

Plus, you won’t be able to take advantage of outsourced accounting services if you aren’t using a cloud-based software program. The internet will allow you to bring in the skills that will optimise your team and improve t he future success of your company.

Another benefit of online accounting is that you can access the information when you are away from the office. If you are on a business trip and you need to make a big decision that impacts the financial future of your company, then you can quickly pull up the reports to see a real-time picture of your financial situation. You accounting team will also be available to offer tax planning advice and other information that needs to be taken into consideration.

Can I restrict access for certain users?

If multiple people will be accessing your accounting software, then it sometimes makes sense to restrict the information that can be viewed. You don’t need to provide data entry access to some people, while a few select people have access to full reports and the overall financial picture of the company.

What accounting software features will you use?

One problem you might encounter is buying a robust accounting system that offers many features that will never be used. If you have a small business without a lot of complexity, then it might make sense to keep things simple with a less complicated software program. Investing in a robust financial system that includes features you don’t need will result in higher costs that are not justified for your business model.

As a business owner without accounting experience, it can be hard to know which software programs will match the current and future needs of your company. So, the best thing that you can do is consult with an accounting software vendor to learn more about their recommendations. Here at Monpellier, we will gladly discuss your business needs, and help you decide on an accounting software program to match the needs of your company.

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