Accounts software helps you track and manage your company finances, ensuring you keep on top of your business accounts.
It can save you time and money by automating tasks and allows you to understand and predict your cashflow.
Unless your business processes very few transactions (ten or fewer a month), you will probably benefit from using accounts software rather than doing your accounts on paper.
Accounts software eliminates the need to enter information more than once and carries out laborious calculations automatically.
Accounts software can be used to perform these core accounting tasks:
More advanced business accounting software can carry out additional tasks like running payroll, stock control and recording purchases made through a retail point of sale system. These functions often require the accounts software to be integrated into your other business systems.
For instance, an accounts package could be tied into your website to record online sales, or could link to your customer relationship management (CRM) software so you can see which customers are most profitable.
Accounts software can be divided into three broad groups:
You can opt for traditional desktop accounting software (which you install on your computer), or online accounting software, which you log in to through a web browser. It’s a form of cloud computing and a good way to get the benefits of accounts software with lower management costs. It also has the benefit that you pay on a monthly basis and can spread the cost rather than paying up front.
Online accounting software is inherently more flexible, because you can access it from any internet-connected device. Many packages can also be accessed from mobile phones.
However, it requires you to save your financial data to a remote server operated by another business – so it’s vital they are trustworthy. You may also find that desktop packages offer more advanced features.
When choosing business accounting software, build a set of finance software requirements. Consider what you want to do with the package, but also make sure it will be compatible with your existing business computer systems.
For example, will it run on the operating system you use and be able to link to your customer database? How much training will your staff need?
Accounts software publishers often produce other business software, like customer relationship management packages. These programs may be designed to link together, so consider picking a single software company and sticking with them.
If your business uses an accountant, consult them before choosing your office accounting software. It may be advisable to find a package which can integrate with your accountant’s systems.
Finally, remember that your accounting software requirements will probably change as your business grows. Look for a package that can be easily upgraded as required.