You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing accounting software but the choices can be overwhelming. Here are a few things to consider when narrowing down your choices.
The size of your business. A multi-million dollar business with offices in several countries will have vastly different needs than a sole proprietorship with no employees. Some software is great for small businesses, while other packages have a full suite of services ideal for larger, more complex operations.
Your industry. Retail companies, restaurants, freelance graphic designers, and manufacturers are all very different businesses and all have certain specialized accounting needs. Some software is specialized for certain industries.
You can get an idea of your options by talking to others in your industry to find out what they use.
Your skill level. If you’re not a professional, you may have a steep learning curve with some packages, no matter how good you are with technology. There are simpler packages out there ideal for laypeople, but they may not be tailor-made for your industry or business size.
If you’re hiring a professional bookkeeper, you’ll have more latitude to use a more complex package without the need to spend hours learning it yourself.
How much access you need. Do you need 24 / 7 access no matter where you are, as long as there’s an Internet connection? How about mobile access? If so, check out Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options.
With this software, you’re basically buying a monthly subscription rather than the whole package outright. You access the software online rather than installing it on your computer. The software company handles all IT issues, and you get your data stored at a secure location away from your physical facility, which is a security plus for some.
Your budget. Some more general software can be downloaded for free; there are Open Source versions of some accounting software. Depending on your budget and needs, accounting software can be cheap or free or quite expensive.
The more specialized the software, the more it usually costs. And the cheapest option isn’t always the best if you want to save money in the long run. A tailor-made package that’s ideal for your business can help you pinpoint areas to reduce expenses that a more general package might miss.
Your integration needs. Do you need to integrate purchases with your accounting software? How about tax preparation? Inventory and logistics? Payroll? Some software comes with add-ons that can help it integrate seamlessly into other areas of your business. This can streamline your accounting and save you a ton of time.
Talk to a professional accountant. A pro bookkeeper can assess your business, help you define your needs, and make a recommendation based on your industry, the way your company operates, your budget, and what you’re able to manage.
We help our clients make this choice every day, as well as helping them get set up and train them in using the software.
If you need help choosing accounting software, get in touch for a free consultation at our San Rafael office today. We’re located right on 4th Street in downtown.
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