Small Business Accounting Software: What You Should Look for
You’re just starting your new business and you’re wondering what you should look out for with regard to the accounting software you’ll need to run your business efficiently? Perhaps that question should start with: do you really need to buy accounting software?
Depending on the nature of your business the answer may very well be no, you may be better off by getting a friendly spreadsheet expert to set you up a series of linked spreadsheets that will last you from now until you retire and sell your business.
If your company deals in prepayments, has few purchase invoices and doesn’t generate a large number of sales invoices every month, you can avoid buying software all together. Many High Street banks supply easy start up packages with a cash flow, forecasting, profit and loss as well as balance sheet set up in spreadsheet form that are perfectly sufficient to get you started.
Selecting Small Business Accounting Software
Whatever you do decide, never ever ask your accountant to recommend software to you! Invariably your accountant, trained for years to hide behind accountancy jargon, will recommend software that is suited to large multi-nationals with zillions of dollars turnover and a whole team of accountants looking after their affairs, but that is utterly incomprehensible to anyone who’s not a trained accountant.
Instead, go online and try out at least three different online small business accounting software providers for 30 days, free of charge. Once you’re happy that you’ve found the one you like best, you can sign up to their secure online software.
If your business requirements change and you need something different, you can usually cancel the online contract with just one month’s notice and no harm is done. With traditional accounting software you don’t have this advantage, since you’re required to buy the expensive package and are then stuck with it, until you can find the money to buy something that suits your business best.
Most accounting packages fall down on the foreign currency front, so if you are dealing with multi-currency sales invoices, but the volume of invoices you sent out every month is large, you should stick with spreadsheets rather than buying any software at all.
One of the most important aspects of small business accounting software is the sales and purchase ledger functions. Yet this is an area that many traditional accounting packages neglect. Sales invoices and monthly statements must be clear and easy to understand to avoid delays in payments, which causes havoc with your cash flow.
Equally, you want an accounts software package that allows you to look up any expenditure quickly, while at the same time making monthly payments to your creditors manageable.
Advantages of buying Small Business Accounting Software
With the right accounting package you can vastly improve your cash flow and knowledge of your business’ financial position at any given moment. Online accounting software allows you secure access from anywhere – and with monthly subscription payments spread out over the year you won’t need to lay out a large upfront fee either.
Accounting software that allows you to tailor-make your statements and sales invoices, so that they look professional and underline the branding you’re trying to achieve for your business image can also be vital for your long term success.