The world of small business accounting software can be a minefield for any business owner. However choosing the right package is one of the most critical business decisions you will make.
Here are the seven things you must consider before making a purchase that will help you achieve your businesses goals.
Businesses change over time so it’s critical that the small business accounting software you choose can change too. Some things that often change are the number of products and services offered and the number of employees. When you choose your package try and imaging the business in 5 years or 10 years time and how different it will be. Use this information to guide your purchase decision. It may well be better to pay a little more now for the software knowing that it can be easily
upgraded when needed with minimum disruption and cost to your business.
It is important that any software has great support for when something goes wrong (and it always does). Most major companies offer support but you also need to think about support in your local area. It’s often much easier to have someone locally come in and do things you need done with your software than have someone trying to help you over the phone. Make some
enquiries with other businesses about the package they use and who helps them.
3. Accountant Interface
It’s most unlikely you will handle every aspect of your businesses accounting. Your accountant is an important factor in making the right decision. What software are they used to working with and what do they prefer? Can you easily supply them data and reports from your package without the need for any extra work (which you’ll have to pay for). Don’t be afraid to ask their opinion as they live and breathe this stuff.
4. Best Value For Money
Once you have selected the right package for your business you may as well get the best value. Shop around as the price can vary greatly and the product is exactly the same. Online merchants such as Amazon may offer better pricing because of the sheer volume of products they sell. However price is only one part of the equation so if their is great merchant locally with support or installation assistance this may be far more valuable.
5. Major Brands
There are two major players in the small business accounting software market. They are QuickBooks and Peachtree. Microsoft is expected to enter the market soon. I recommend choosing a major brand so that you can get regular updates and you know the company will be around as long as your business needs them.
6. Ease of Use
Ease of use is a personal thing but it is worth trying the software before you buy it if you can. Remember to get the person who will be the main user to test the software as well. Also consider how well the package can interact with other software you use. This is an advantage the Microsoft package may have when it’s available.
7. Features Needed
I touched on this earlier when talking about thinking ahead as to where you business will be in 5 or 10 years time. Most accounting software packages come in several different versions. If you don’t need certain features now and can’t see a need for them in the future then don’t buy them. The major differences are usually – number of users allowed, inventory management capability and number of reports available.
To sum up think ahead when planning your purchase of small business accounting software. You will make a much smarter business decision that will save you plenty of trouble and money in the future.
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