Accounting software for small business
There has never been more accounting software for small business users available than there is now.
It’s a buyer’s market.
Fuelled by a flight to the cloud, providers are fighting it out for SME accounting software spend and the alternatives available have never been better.
Leaving one key question to be answered – how do I choose?
Start at the end
You have to ask what financial information you need to run your business and make sure the accounting software you choose is capable of producing it at the touch of a button.
Most financial information is for internal consumption but some, sales invoices and credit control statements for example, goes to third parties so you need to know you can send them what they need easily and on time.
If you are unsure about what financial information you need to run your business, or need help understanding reports such as balance sheets, take some time to learn because you will make better decisions if you really know what’s going on!
Who needs to use the accounting software?
People in your business and at your accountant’s office are the main users so choose software that they can access.
Cloud software is clearly useful here because anyone with a web browser can use it, but remote access tools such as TeamViewer can be really helpful if you have desktop software and you want your accountant to log in and help you with something.
Training is vital
It doesn’t matter what accounting software you choose – learn how to use it properly right at the beginning!
Your numbers are either right – or they’re wrong. And often they are wrong because the accounting software is being used incorrectly. Not only can you get the wrong impression of business performance and make the wrong decisions as a result, but you could be making errors in things like VAT returns which can prove expensive if they are not found and corrected.
Most accounting data entry is routine but don’t take it for granted that it’s right.
Cloud or desktop
Cloud software is improving and it has the big marketing money and product investment going in to it but, despite that, our view is that the best of the cloud accounting software for small business users is still not as good as the desktop equivalents.
So although you may think from the marketing that there is only cloud accounting software available, don’t be fooled.
Accounting software doesn’t need to change very much so a one-off purchase of desktop software could be very good value for money compared with a monthly subscription to cloud software for years to come.
Accounting software is now both widely available and much easier to use than it has ever been so there is no excuse not to use it in your business. But choose wisely and invest in training so you get the best out of it going forwards.