Choosing accounting software can be a daunting prospect if you are used to using paper systems or spreadsheets, but fortunately, there are now some really easy accounting software solutions available on the market that are reasonably priced. To help you decide which software suits you best and choose accounting software that fits you most, we want to offer our four best recommended practices whilst choosing.
List Your Requirements
Before you purchase any software, list your requirements, so that when you come to the point of actual accounting software selection, you will have an established checklist, to tick off against. Think about issues such as:
- Your business operations and potential integration
- Your financial jobs, including payroll, VAT, etc.
- Compatibility with existing software and IT systems, including those of partners, such as your accountant or outsourced marketing team.
- Flexibility of your software, to configure for different users
- Scalability, so that you can add features as your business becomes more sophisticated
- Ease of use and need for training
- After support services
- Existing reviews
When you have boiled down your options to one or two preferred options in your list of accounting software, confirm options with your accountant for whether they are appropriate to your business objectives, and then take time to take a trial run of each, to save time and money later. Configuration of accounting software does take some time, making starting over with another solution somewhat off-putting, but putting in the time now is an investment too.
This is the point at which you can identify any potential lack of compatibility either with existing software, such as your CRM, or limitations of use and even your in-house lack of accounting skills.
Mobility and Remote Access
Consider the fact that most businesses operate on the move increasingly. Choosing software that is cloud hosted will give your teams the flexibility that you need to continue working remotely. You will want to establish whether data can be accessed in real time from your server in order to collaborate effectively and offer the best customer service, with up to the moment information.
Cloud hosting eliminates potential downtime and also frees up your existing IT staff, keeping down costs.
Stay Within Your Budget
It might seem an obvious thing to say, but make sure you fully understand the costs of packages you are reviewing. Your final accounting software selection should make budgeting easy by offering monthly subscriptions, with no hidden costs, such as for after-support.
When you look at options for scaling up, pay attention to potential costs for add-ons. There are flexible business accounting software solutions to suit all budgets. Some general software applications are even freely available now, or only charge a one-off fee, albeit these may not allow for a wide number of users. Base may be downloaded free or bought off the shelf at a lower price. Bear in mind, the more specialized and sophisticated the software is, the more expensive it will be.
If you are looking to accounting software specific to your industry or customisable and to be integrated with other systems used by your company, you should be ready to pay a premium. If unsure, you can always double check your options with your accountant before committing to ensure that you are really adhering to accounting best practices.