If you own a business, you likely need help with your accounting. Thanks to modern accounting software and cloud-based services, taking care of financial tasks has become smoother and more accurate than ever. Ideally, this should be the first piece of software your business purchases. In reality, many only buy when it comes time to pay taxes or apply for a loan. And with options like QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Sage and Xero, you have a lot of software from which to choose.
Every business has its unique accounting needs, which leads to the question: how do you choose the right accounting software? The answer is simple: by considering their most important features.
Important Factors for Choosing the Right Accounting Software
Understanding which features are going to be most useful to your accountants and bookkeepers will help you choose the right software.
Here is a list of the most valued features of accounting software:
1. CRM Integration
Integrating your Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) and accounting software is a major step if you wish to save precious time for growing your business. By letting your CRM and accounting apps transfer data back and forth without interruption, you diminish the need for manual data entry. Integration can benefit any business. CRM integration saves a lot of time since you do not need to enter the same data across multiple systems manually or by downloading CSV files.
2. Mobility and Data Access
Most accounting software today, especially a cloud-based or web-based one, has a mobile app. This offers greater flexibility and gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. With this facility, you can access your financial data from anywhere, at any time. This is also a great way to improve work collaboration, thanks to the open line of communication with customers, suppliers and management.
3. Inventory Management
The systematic approach to gathering and storing your non-capital assets, such as raw materials and finished goods, as well as profiting from them, is known as inventory management. The right accounting software should help manage your inventory by:
- Quickly calculating inventory on hand and its value
- Keeping track of the cost of sold goods
- Keeping an eye on your resale income
- Maintaining a record of all assembled goods needed to finish the final product
- Maintaining symmetry within inventory reports and physical inventory
4. Payroll System
This is one of the most important functions your accounting software performs. The payroll system can either be an in-built component or an external app that you install on your system. This feature lets you handle employee payroll and withhold/pay taxes automatically. Additionally, it can help you create legal and tax reports. From transferring funds and salaries to employee bank accounts to directly printing cheques, this feature does it all. Creating payroll manually is a messy process, complete with human errors. With the right software, you eliminate such inaccuracies.
5. Accurate Report Production
Whether you have accounting software meant for more than simple bookkeeping or one that manages your business’s entire financial situation, it will help improve accuracy. What is more interesting is that this software can provide accurate financial information in a timely fashion. For instance, if your company’s CFO asks for a report on cashflow two hours before a meeting, this will do it. Many accounting systems even have built-in reporting modules to help you create an error-free report. All you need to do is fill in a form or click a button.
6. User Interface and Complexity
Apart from the technical side of the software, its user interface also needs to be considered. Many business owners arguably have no accounting background and either need a dedicated accountant, bookkeeper or both to handle all the applications. However, as a business owner, you need to login and supervise everything. That is why user-friendly software that both you and your employees can learn quickly is important. Any accounting software you are using should firstly be easy to operate. This is where the interface comes into action. Even if you hire professional accountants, bookkeepers, or any other help, an easy-to-operate interface makes using the software much easier. It not only saves time in entering important financial data but also keeps you in the loop regarding all transactions within the company.
Choosing the right accounting software is not difficult if you know what to look for. It is advisable to invest your time and effort into choosing the one that offers a complete solution and good return on your investment. But remember that once it is installed migrating to another system will be difficult, so take your time making your choice.