Ask SCORE – When Choosing Accounting Software, Make Sure the Numbers Add Up

Ask SCORE – When Choosing Accounting Software, Make Sure the Numbers Add Up

Accounting software has become so powerful and user-friendly, even those who have done little more than balance their checkbooks can easily keep accurate track of their small business’s financial performance. Though there are several brands of accounting software, not all of them are alike. Before selecting a new system or upgrading what’s in place, first determine what features you will need (e.g., accounts receivable/invoicing, accounts payable, project management, reports, etc.), and those that may simply be “nice to have” if the price is right. Examples of these options include time tracking and billing, credit card processing, remote access, and tax and electronic payment services.

Also consider these questions:

  • Do you need industry-specific software? There is a wide range of accounting software for industries such as manufacturers, construction, and wholesalers.
  • Can the product grow with your business? How much will it cost to upgrade or add new modules as your company’s needs change?
  • How compatible is the software? The software must work seamlessly with your existing hardware and services such as your payroll or accountant, and your bank. It should also be compatible with your existing accounting software so you can easily export data from your current system to the new system.
  • Do you want desktop or SAAS (software as a service)? Because SAAS products reside online, you pay a subscription fee instead of downloading it to your computer. This can save money, but be sure you understand all the costs.
  • What restrictions does the software allow? When dealing with sensitive financial data, you’ll want to give different users different levels of access.
  • What type of support is available? Is support provided by email, phone, user forums, online documentation, or chat? Is there a fee for support?
  • Is a free trial available? This can give you the option to try before you buy and see how well the software works for your business.

Even the best accounting software doesn’t replace the need for a bookkeeper or accountant. Ask your current professional for recommendations before you buy. Your IT consultant may also identify system implementation and use issues to consider.

Another great source for small business expertise is SCORE “For the Life of Your Business.” SCORE is a non-profit organization of more than 12,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners.

To learn more about the local chapters of SCORE, visit www.MidFlorida.score.org or  www.thevillagesocala.score.org or www.lakesumter.score.org



« (Previous News)