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Choosing the right small business accounting software

Accounting can be a real hassle for businesses.

 

This is especially true if you’re a small business without the resource to outsource the function to a professional accountant, don’t have the skills to efficiently manage your accounts in-house, or are relying on manual processes (spreadsheets or combinations of Word and Excel to compile reports).

 

Accounting software can be a genuine benefit for small businesses, removing the time consuming, repetitive tasks of accounts and freeing you up to spend more time growing your company.

 

When it comes to choosing the right small business accounting software, there is an abundance of options to choose from, with each supplier promising to be better than the previous one.

 

In this blog, we look at the key things you should consider when choosing the right small business accounting software to ensure you get the benefits you need to achieve ROI.

Staying compliant with legislation

In the past 12 months alone, there has been a swathe of changes to accounting and tax regulations – with more changes on the way in the next few years.

Keeping up with regulatory changes is a demanding (almost full-time) job and you should definitely be looking for accounting software that can ease this burden. When choosing the right small business accounting software, you should ask your supplier if they 1) keep up with regulation changes and 2) do they consider compliance during their product development.

If they have compliance built into their software then you can use it safe in the knowledge that as regulation changes, your accounting software ensures you remain compliant with it.

Does it work in the cloud?

If you’re a small business you are probably spending most of your time out and about networking, making new relationships with suppliers, prospects and customers and working from wherever you can.

You likely don’t want to be chained to a desk all day.

The same should go for your accounting software. Does the software work within a mobile working environment, allowing you to work on accounts from anywhere with an internet connection, or does it require you to fit how you work around the software?

Is it easy to use, and do you get training?

If you’re bringing in accounting software, it is likely you have done so to make your life and business finances a lot easier (unless you’ve misunderstood
the point of accounting software).

When choosing the best software, you should carefully consider how and where you want to use it, and how easy it will be to use the software how you want.

A few things to consider on usability are:

  • Can you easily add or remove other users as required while maintaining control and access to the data they have a view of?
  • Can you manage more than one set of accounts from one piece of software? And can you do so at no extra cost?

You should also ask about any training that your supplier offers on the software, or any ongoing help you’ll get from them.

Don’t skimp on price

It’s inevitable when talking about software that price is going to come up at some point. And, while no-one wants to pay over the odds (especially if your budget is tight) you should avoid getting into a race to the bottom on price.

While going down the cheapest route might help with cost in the short-term, you will likely find this is the most expensive option later on when it comes to additional features, upgrades and even delivery.

Cheaper software also tends to be inflexible and once you’ve made the initial investment, unless you’re willing to spend more in the long term, you’re pretty much stuck with what you’ve got.

Therefore, look beyond the initial cost when choosing the right small business accounting software. While you might spend a bit more initially, it will make a huge difference in the long run.

Features and integrations

If you’ve been storing accounting data on Word and Excel for a few years, how easy is it to integrate that data into your new accounting software? Is it even possible? These are few things to consider, as well as how easily (if at all) your new accounting software will integrate with any other software you have.

Do the features in your accounting software enable you to collaborate with other people if needed and does the software help you prioritise engagement deadlines or easily allow you to drop in supporting documents when compiling reports?

Again, these are all questions you should be asking.

For more information on how the right financial reporting software can benefit your business, download our eBook here

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