As an entrepreneur, you want to maximize the time spent on growing your business, and either let someone else take care of the all the pesky tasks related to daily operations or at least, minimize the time you spend on them. Fortunately, more and more technology is available to help you do just that. There is a plethora of accounting solutions for you to choose from, which now always offer standard features such as GST and QST tracking (a true blessing for us accountants). Here are 4 important considerations you should keep in mind, before choosing your accounting software.
1) Desktop Versus Online Solution
There are pros and cons with each option. On the one hand, a desktop solution will typically provide you with more features than an online one. Advanced customization of the look and feel of your invoices and more robust inventory functionalities are just two of many examples.
On the other hand, online aka cloud solution software is accessible online by more than one user at a time, making it easier to review data and discuss your business with your accountant. It eliminates the need to make copies of the data and exchange information back and forth through email. It is also more secure than sending data by unencrypted email.
2) User-Friendliness and Connectivity
Some graphic user interfaces are just built better than others, making learning and navigating the software more intuitive. In addition, several accounting software solutions allow you to connect with interesting third-party applications. If you are also managing payroll on your own, some will allow you to connect to your payroll software and let your integrated software solutions talk to each other to become a one-stop accounting shop.
Again, the user-friendliness and the look and feel make a big difference. Depending on the development stage of your business, you may eventually want to evolve from standard to customizable reports, so pick software that can grow along with you. If you are operating or sourcing in different countries, the software should offer reporting in several currencies.
A great feature to consider if you want to make your accountant happy (and save you some valuable time and money) is to select software with an “overview” option, which, for example, lets them see at a glance if your accounts are reconciled properly or if there are transactions that have been left uncategorized. In other words, it will make it easier for them to ensure your books are being maintained properly and in a timely fashion.
Pricing is often related to the number of users. There are very affordable solutions as well as pricey ones at either end of the spectrum, but remember: you get what you pay for! Software can be extremely versatile. It can help you manage everything from accounting transactions, to invoicing by email, receiving payments by e-transfers and credit cards, viewing your bank transactions and managing your product and suppliers. But consider all of your business needs before committing to a particular one. Remember that bigger is not always better, so don’t buy the equivalent of a luxury car, while all you really need is an economy or mid-size.
We Are Here to Help
If you want help in setting up your accounting software, your chart of accounts and your general ledger, or for training on any or all of the above, please contact our Accounting and Bookkeeping department. Our team is here to help you get started on the right foot.