Accounting Software Overview

By: Sandra Rodrigues

Accounting Overview
Want to stop using an accountant and do-it-yourself? Looking to replace or upgrade your accounting software. Read on for a high level overview of Accounting Software.
Whatever our business - church, construction, fund, inventory, manufacturing, nursery, payroll, project, restaurant, etc - an accounting software system will help you to lower your costs, improve your accounts' accuracy and give you a much better idea of how your company is performing. Also, an accounting software system may just help you with the e-filing (electronic/online filing).

Accounting Software Functionality
Generally, you need to manage your sales**, customers**, inventory and other information along with associated documents. You will definitely want to generate reports.
Ideally - to manage your sales**, customers**, inventory and other information - the 'out-of-the-box' (minimum or no configuration required) accounting software will manage:


  • your money coming in (Accounts Receivable)

  • your money going out (Accounts Payable)

  • your main documents (Billing, Purchase Orders, Sales Orders)

  • your inventory (Stock)


Additionally (probably extra cost) you may need your chosen system to manage:

  • money owed to you

  • your staff's expenses and salaries (Payroll)

  • project times (so that you can charge for actual work against projects your staff are working on)

  • approval processes (so you can submit, then track who approved what and when)


Advanced Requirements:

  • integration to other systems (normally enterprise systems)

  • major imports (when initially bringing data into the system)

  • minor imports (for regular use by staff for getting small quantities of data into the system)

  • backing up of the accounting system (meta data, as well as configuration of the system)

  • reporting/graphs (for high-level views such as Balances, Profit & Loss, Portfolio overviews etc)

  • Multiple currencies

  • Import ability

  • Localisation (allowing you to use the software in your own language)

  • Cheque/Check printing


The Right Solution For You
You should really, consider:

  • How are you managing your accounts at the moment?

  • How many transactions do you have a month? (manual might be best if you only have a dozen transactions a month for example)

  • What type of company is yours? (meaning what type of legal entity is it?)

  • How many people wil be using the system?

  • Do you know what your business needs? If you know what your business needs, then you will be able to better match up functionality of the accountancy package(s) you are considering.

  • What database will the accounting package be using?


Some Popular Accounting Software Examples:

  • Personal: GnuCash (GPL), Quicken

  • Small Enterprise: Microsoft Office Accounting, TurboCASH (GPL)

  • Medium enterprise: NetSuite (on-demand), Tiny ERP (GPL)

  • Large Enterprise: Oracle Corporation, SAP


Conclusion
The cost of your chosen accounting software will vary greatly. Your supplier should have no problems showing you (not just telling you) how and why they are a good partner for your company. Don't be afraid to ask questions - not to trip them up, but to get ansers to issues important to you. Be frank and open with the supplier - you'd expect the same back after all! Negotiate hard - before you sign is the best time for getting a good price and/or goodies (training, consultancy, health checks, etc) thrown in.

Keywords
accounting software, business accounting software, business software, financial software, small business software, tax accounting software, bookkeeping software, free accounting software

References
"Accounting Software Overview" from RCS Limited an Company.

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