Be it retail, manufacturing, healthcare or education business. You may own mid/large size business or you are about to launch a start-up. To these different domains & sizes of business one thing is common, Financials. Gone are the days, when the time consuming, error prone paper work was in practice. In today’s digital world everything has to be done quickly & more importantly correctly.
Good news is; there are plenty of options available in the market today. Some popular ones are QuickBooks, NetSuite, Peachtree and MYOB and so on. Selecting accounting software for your business is not only one of the most crucial jobs but it needs some serious research and understanding. Your ability to choose the correct one can decide the future of your business. So let us consider few tips before you choose your accounting software.
Do not rush
Definitely you don’t want to go through the selection process again after few years of implementing your accounting software. Plan before you move ahead. It is said that spending 1 minute of planning saves 10 minutes of execution time.
Know your business & make a list of expectations
Get a clear picture and make a list of all the functionalities, you expect from the accounting software. There are industry and application specific accounting software available in the market. Make yourself aware, of the basic accounting terms and functions of your business. It will not only help you to take correct decision while selecting your software, it will also help you to understand your business better. You can do some research on internet, read books or can take some classes as well.
Pitch In your accountant and IT department
If you can, take help from an accountant as he knows better what accounting needs, your business will have. The infrastructure and hardware you already possess is also important. Pitch in a person from IT department. Hardware requirements, database, disk space, back up processes, storage media, other software licences are some of the areas which you will need to keep in mind when taking a decision. All the compatibility and portability needs will be determined appropriately by the IT person.
Know your budget & final cost of available options
There are several choices available according to the size and needs of different businesses. Business specific software options are generally costly as compared to generic common software. Such software programs are normally traded by VARs (Value added reseller).VARs provide installation, training which make the software costly. Do not forget the yearly maintenance fee, which they charge that includes timely updates for the software. As per your budget, you can decide upon buying the software or to take it on rent or lease.
Also, always keep in mind, the estimated growth of your business before selection; you will require software which can accommodate the growing needs of your business. Sometimes, the starter version of one brand is cheaper than the other but look for the final version, you wish to implement, and it may come out costlier.
Prioritize the expectation list
This is not a perfect world so you may never get a 100% fit for your business. This makes it important to separate things, which are most important for your business, from the ones without which you can still survive. Hence, is it Security, cost or is it number of customers, which one is of your prime importance, will help you to take the plunge.
Peer and market study
See what others in the same business are using. It is always a good idea to look for the options used by your competitors. Read reviews about the software you are interested in. There are free online services like http://findaccountingsoftware.com/ which provide you with some suitable accounting software choices once you fill a basic questionnaire as per your needs.
Now, when you have consulted and researched a lot, you can shortlist some choices for the accounting software. Try trial versions and take screen tours to get a feel. But make sure, you try only those which are nearly best fit for your business else you will be wasting your precious time in testing. Remember, this is real world and we may not get everything you want, but here we are looking for the best fit. So, plan it and grab it!