When picking an accounting system, the options are seemingly endless, at all sorts of different price points, with every conceivable option. How is it possible to cut through all the noise to find a good solution?
To help break it down, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind, that will hopefully help you decide on the best accounting software for your business.
Features: We recommend starting your software journey by determining what features are ideal to have in an accounting system. Do you have inventory? If so, you might want a system that tracks inventory, or a program that integrates with an already existing system. The same question applies for payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, project management, customer tracking, expense reports tracking, and the list goes on.
Some systems, such as QuickBooks, have many integrations with software and systems, but in some situations, it might not make sense to integrate programs with an accounting software. Some other considerations might be the number of users that need to access the system, and how many entities will need to be tracked with the program.
Try to determine what features are most necessary and what features would be nice to have. This will be a good starting point in narrowing your options.
Cost: This is a very strong consideration for a lot of shoppers. All accounting systems are not created equal, especially when it comes to cost. QuickBooks is going to cost a lot less than an ERP solution, but it will not have the same features, support, and functionality. Using your list of features from above, taking in mind the cost aspect will help to narrow down the options further.
Scalability: Do you anticipate that your business is going to grow in the next few years? If so, it might make sense to pick an accounting solution that can grow with your business through adding additional features or options, or even adding a phone app to access your data on-the-go. Outgrowing a software, buying new software and implementing it can be very stressful, expensive, and labor-intensive. Planning for the growth helps to get ahead of numerous headaches and unexpected expenses.
Format: Software being cloud-based or desktop-based can be an important consideration for some, and there are normally strong preferences between options. Both come with the advantages and drawbacks. Cloud-based means it is accessible and online, and that you don’t typically have to worry about making backups of data. However, some might be concerned about security and how accessible the data is. With desktop solutions, you have more control over the data, but also need to make sure regular backups are made, and that data stays secure.
Customer Service: Before buying, be aware of what kinds of customer service the company provides. Do they just have chat or email options, or is there a live 24/7 phone number that you can reach a human at? A lot of time this boils down to personal preference, but having good quality and timely support, especially if a program needs troubleshooting, can help reduce stress and frustration.
By this point, you should have a few strong options, if not just one that stands out from the rest. Asking trusted friends or mentors what their experience with the software has been is always a good way to get insight on how it will work for you and your organization.
We hope that these thoughts will help your business strategize on deciding on which accounting software is best for your business. How did you last pick your accounting software? Let us know in the comments below.