Small Business Accounting Software – 3 Things To Consider When Buying

Whether you are just staring out in small business and are trying to determine what sort of accounting software you need, or have been in business for a while and have decided to upgrade, there are a number of critical issues that need to be considered to get what you need.Data InputIt is important to determine whether the entry of data into the system is user friendly. Can your staff (or you) easily enter the data without needing to access too many different screens? Is the layout of the screen logical and easy to follow? Input controls such as passwords need to be considered. Error signals during the actual input of data are important to reduce errors in your financial reports. For example, some accounting software will not allow incorrect expense codes to be entered, and will not proceed until a correct code is entered.Data Output / ReportingWhat sort of financial reports do you require? Have a look at the type of custom reports that are produced. If they in line with your requirements, good. If not you may need to consider industry specific software that produce reports for your needs. Also check to see if the accounting package allows you to easily design a customized report. Will it may produce GST / VAT reports, or other tax reports for tax purposes – this reporting requirement depends on the country you are in.Module RangeDoes the small business accounting software have the modules you need now, and also modules that you may need in the future? For example, apart from the general ledger / cashbook does it have a payroll module or a fixed asset register. Also, an important question to ask is, are the modules integrated? By that I mean, can the financial information entered into one area of it be transferred automatically, to a different area, without the same information being reentered. Having areas of the software integrated saves you time and reduces errors.You need to consider what you want the accounting software to do based on your small business processes. Then get the modules or features you need. The basics usually include Debtors or customers – for people you sell goods or services to, Creditors or Suppliers – for people you buy goods or services from, and a general ledger. If you have employees, consider a Payroll module, and if you have a large number of assets you may need a fixed assets register. Job costing is helpful as it allows you to keep track of costs for specific jobs. Finally, what do you want the modules to do. For example, do you want it to print purchase orders, print checks, generate customer invoices.Ask yourself these questions and you are well on the way to selecting the best package for your small business.

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