“Accounting” is a word that most business owners probably don’t want to hear very often. And when they do hear it, they want the conversation to be quick. But keeping the books balanced and the business profitable is paramount as you grow a small business from the ground up. If you still need to learn the basics, please check this guide from CPA Exam Guy.
Accounting software can be incredibly helpful in monitoring and organizing your business finances, but which ones are the best and how do they serve your needs? Join us as we look at the top five tips you should consider in your accounting software search.
The 5 Best Accounting Software Tips For Small Business
What are you looking for in your accounting software? This type of software manages accounts (like cash, sales, and expenses) and processes information to help keep your finances in check. While this software can be used for internal and external audits, it’s also helpful for analyzing the business as a whole.
The types of software on the market range from simple and single-entry options, to business accounts that handle multiple facets of the company, including payroll and inventory. Let’s take a look at the top five tips you should consider.
1. Try Cloud-Based
Our first feature is to look for a software that offers a cloud-based solution and professional expertise at your fingertips. All types of small organizations should be using simple and mobile accounting software to gain that accessibility. The cloud-based functionality allows you to log in and use the software on any device that has an internet connection.
There’s also a significant amount of flexibility when you choose a cloud-based software. Several different plans give you the option to pay for only the features you need and scale upward as your business grows. This kind of combination between functionality and simplicity is what makes this software a cut above the competition.
Another benefit of a cloud-based software is the simplicity of security and the latest updates. If you have a physical software, you need to keep it updated and maintained for both security and functionality purposes, but software in the cloud is managed by the company itself.
Consider the ability to access the software from just about anywhere, and never worry about maintaining it, and you’ll begin to see the benefits of this new style of software.
2. Seek out Niche-Specific Software
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to accounting software. Before you choose one, you should consider how your business operates, and what you, specifically, would require from an accounting software solution.
There are programs out there that cater to certain industries and niches. If you work in the manufacturing sector, retail, restaurant, or even a church, there are specific programs that focus on these elements of a business.
It’s important to research these kinds of things to ensure that you find a solution that meets the unique needs of your business, while also providing enough functionality to meet your own financial literacy and knowledge of accounting.
3. Check Out Add-Ons
Many accounting software choices have extra add-ons that add to the functionality of the system. While it would be ideal to have all of these options in the original price, you’ll find that some choices allow you to scale upward without paying for more than you need.
This is the key. Look for add-ons that add features beyond the basics that you require. If a software is hiding basic options behind a paywall, it may not be the most cost-effective solution. Instead look for tiers that allow you to add on things that you need as your business grows.
4. Consider Your Budget
Even though accounting software is all about money, some businesses don’t think about their budget when choosing one. Keep in mind that basic software, in many cases, can be free for your essential needs.
Once your business begins to grow, you can then add paid features or plans, but look for something that suits your needs without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that specialized niche software will increase the base price as well.
5. Ask Your Peers
You can skip the learning curve and check out what other business owners are using. Particularly if they are in your industry, you may be able to skip bad choices by learning from their decisions. Reach out directly or check reviews to see what others in your industry use.
We’ve got apps for everything. From our business to our finances, to our health. The biggest thing to remember is that you’re not married to your software. If you try one that you don’t like or one that your accountant isn’t a fan of, you can always switch. This is especially true in the case of cloud software that lets you start and stop your plan on a moment’s notice.
Which accounting software solution do you like to use for your business? Let us know why it’s your favorite in the comments!
Jaren Nichols is Chief Operating Officer at ZipBooks. Jaren was previously a Product Manager at Google and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.