Accounting Software

By: Eric Morris

Bookkeeping is one of the most vital processes in any business. More than developing products and selling, it's effective management of the flow of revenues and expenditures that ultimately makes a business fail or succeed. Don't be discouraged if you don't have extensive accounting experience – just invest in accounting software, and you're good to go.

But with the many choices available, how do you know which kind is best for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

What is your budget? Determine how much you are willing to spend on your accounting software to help limit your choices. As a general rule, software programs with more features have higher price tags, so be prepared to spend more if you need a lot of functionalities. You would be surprised to find very good accounting software for amazingly low prices, though, especially the ones designed for small businesses. Keep your mind (and eyes) open.

Is it user-friendly? To cut the downtime in training your staff or yourself to handle the software, it has to be easy to use in the first place. Look for something that is simple with regard to three aspects: installation, set up, and navigation.

Does it have all the accounting modules and reporting categories you need? The most basic modules that accounting software must include are accounts-payable and accounts-receivable modules. You should also look for simple reporting categories that allow you to easily generate and print reports such as cash flow for a customized period, forecast reports, receivables reports, etc.

It's a good idea to invest in slightly more expensive but very helpful expandable features; the software must be able to handle your growth (if you add a product line or more employees on the payroll, for example).

Does it offer after-sales support? Choose accounting software that comes with a complete FAQ package (for both technical and accounting topics), a toll-free call center, and maybe even live online support.

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