Oliver Thomas Klein

What to Look for in Online Accounting Software

SAAS products have revolutionized the software market. If you’re looking for great accounting software, you’ll probably find your best fit online. To find the ideal online accounting software, however, you should take some time to examine your options. There are many of them. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for online accounting software.


First and foremost, your online accounting software ought to be accessible. Access for some smaller services may be limited by something as mundane as server capacity. These services may be a bargain, but the price tag could hide problems that will limit your ability to actually use the online functions. Make sure you are not stopped from accessing your accounting software by the time of day and number of other users.

A more common limitation comes from user number restrictions. Online accounting software of all sizes charges more for additional users, but different brands include different base lines for basic packages. Unless you are your only employee, chances are that you’ll need more than one person to access your accounting software. This could be an actual accountant you bring in before end of year taxes, a manager, or a business partner. Be sure your choice of accounting software allows enough individual users to access the program.


If your business is doing well, it will grow. This will put additional strain on all of your software solutions, including online accounting software. One of the great advantages of online products is that they are almost infinitely scalable in theory. Theory and business practice don’t always align, however, so it’s important to do your research before signing up for online software.

SAAS (software as a service) products usually offer larger storage spaces, expanded client records, and other necessities for a growing business at premium prices. The best options usually offer unlimited storage for a specific monthly fee. A few, however, may not. It’s important to examine the software packages you don’t need yet to see if they will fit with your anticipated growth. Are larger packages as affordable as the smaller ones? Do they offer adequate space to grow? Accessibility applies to scalability as well. Make sure you can afford the number of additional users your growing business may require in another year or two. Changing accounting software during a crucial period of growth is a waste of time and resources. So, make sure you can stay with the same service for a few years at the very least.

Cost vs. Utility

The biggest considerations in cost vs. utility are additional features. These could range from tax assistance to data backups. Some are basic necessities for businesses, and they could save money you would have had to spend elsewhere. Not all features are terribly useful, though, especially for small businesses or businesses that already employ separate services covered by those features. The key to balancing features and cost is to get practical. What can you use today?

Smaller packages usually include fewer bells and whistles. Of course, smaller packages also limit the number of users per account, backup space, and other critical features. If you can use features at your current size, then they aren’t an unnecessary expense. The principle is a little harder to apply as you expand, however. Chances are, there will be at least one feature on advanced packages that you simply don’t need. You’ll have to use a little imagination to figure out what advanced features you may or may not use. Still, the best online accounting software should offer additional features at separate costs. This will allow you to get what you need without paying more than you have to or upgrading to a package stuffed with useless features.

Tutorials and Training

Chances are, you are not a professionally trained accountant. Even if you are, when you purchase new software, you’ll need some instruction before you can get the most out of its various features. Tutorials will only take you so far. They’re useful, but they are static, and they can’t always answer your questions. They usually only teach you basic features as well. The best programs have further training options. It doesn’t matter whether the training program comes from the manufacturer, but any courses should be officially accredited by the software’s developers. Training is key to taking advantage of your new purchase. Make sure you at least have the option to pursue these courses before making a final purchase.

The best online accounting software should be accessible for the right number of users at the right times. It should have the flexibility to grow with your business. Although everyone likes extra features, they could raise the price unnecessarily. Last but not least, make sure there are reputable training courses available so you can get the most out of your purchase. With these features combined, you get a fantastic product.


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