Accounting software can vary from multi-million dollar solutions for major public companies to simple managed lists of income and expenses. Simple accounting solutions are not always the most suitable for small business.
While simple accounting software may be sufficient, many features can help a small business focus on other, more important things. These features can range from automated tax compilation to specific reporting on types of sales.
Like most other products, accounting software can be paid for or it can be free. The great majority of the free accounting software products are not very comprehensive or easy to use. However, some business procedures can be greatly streamlined with free accounting software.
Although free programs are not very suitable for large companies, they can easily be used by small businesses, because they focus on simple accounting. Many people say that with free accounting software they can perform the same tasks as with a paid version.
Some accounting knowledge either from the management or outsourcing the bookkeeping services is usually required with the simplest database accounting solutions even if this requires the understanding of what accounts receivable ledgers, accounts payable ledger and control accounts mean.
Whether paid or free, accounting software must be chosen correctly to best suit the company’s procedures. Here are a few pointers that should help to find the best solution available:
1. Write down the company needs. What's the main objective of your business? Do you plan on growing the company rapidly or slowly?
2. Don't get carried away by product reviews or recommendations from friends, although they should be considered. First and foremost, you need to concentrate on what's suitable for your specific business procedures and operations.
3. Don't just look at the first few highly rated products. Start with a large group of programs because it is easy to compare and eliminate unsuitable options.
4. Write down a list with all the available pieces of software. Carefully thinking about your available budget and their specifications, rule out the first few which don't clearly fall into your preferences from the start
5. By now, you should have narrowed down your list to about 2 or 3 products that meet your demands. Usually, it's best if you decide on a product made by a known company, rather than a more obscure one. Although it's usually wrong to judge by that, most of the time it is the safest bet.
Bear in mind is the user friendliness of the software, because getting technologically complicated software may make accounting complicated. Accounting software is definitely not meant to make the process more complicated. So, settle for accounting software that is easy to operate and gives accurate accounting results.
Now, if you are about to choose accounting software, make sure that it performs these basic functions efficiently and accurately. Taking time to match the company needs to the features of the program will pay big dividends avoiding time and frustration.
Joe Coffee is a consultant for the online marketing firm, Web Shepherd. Visit www.accountingandyou.com for tips about leading methods of accounting and small business accounting options.