How do you know you have the best small business accounting software? If you’re looking at a new product, how do you know it will be worth the purchase price? Small businesses have many unique software needs that off-the-shelf solutions sometimes struggle to meet, but finding good accounting software is easier than you may think. Consider the product’s flexibility, automated features, potential for integration with other key systems, and available support options.
Small businesses expand at a faster pace with more dramatic results than larger businesses. Established companies still grow and shrink as profits and demand rise and fall, but it takes a lot for a big business to double their profits overnight. A small, local café could earn twice as much the second consecutive year of operation as their first year in business. Business tools for small businesses either exploit or support these changes. If you have to pay for an entirely new system every time your business experiences even a moderate growth spurt, then you probably need better tools
Small business accounting software must allow businesses to grow. Otherwise, it restricts potential profits. There is no gray area. Look for programs that feature add-on or unlimited features that you will need in the next year or two. Consider how quickly you will use available storage and whether the maximum number of clients you can enter leaves room for growth. Even if your chosen software offers affordable add-ons that will not equal the cost of a new system, you are still ahead of the game. Always think ahead. Otherwise you may limit your ability to expand.
Any job your small business accounting software can do in the place of an employee is time and money saved. Small businesses face strict budget restrictions, especially where costly labor is concerned. Time is also at a premium for upper management and leading decision makers, any of whom may have to deal with the business’s accounts. Paying your most trusted employees to handle extra accounting work typically costs more than an average hour’s labor. Handling it alone, however, also wastes extremely valuable time. The best way to avoid these expenses is through automation.
Programs like QuickBooks earn praise for many reasons, but the number of automated processes is a major contributing factor. Programs offer automatic updating and syncing features. It’s also very easy to schedule or automate billing. Some QuickBooks programs even help you with taxes. The developers understand the value of automatic processes, so their products reflect that dedication.
QuickBooks often advertises the benefits of integrating its products. Although many accounting systems offer similar features, QuickBooks probably offers the widest range of integrated processes. The developers also chose very useful tasks to link through automation. If you run both QuickBooks POS and a QuickBooks bookkeeping product, for instance, you may never have to deal with regular payroll ever again.
Thorough integration also helps prevent accounting errors. These costly mistakes are easy enough to make through human error alone. Automation helps minimize this risk, but integration is essential for best results. Rather than relying on a human employee to take information from POS systems and other sources of revenue, these data sources feed directly into your accounting software. It saves time while reducing errors, both of which are expensive drains on your potential earnings. Integration also makes it easier to see a data point’s source and double check it against the original numbers.
Very few small businesses can afford their own, dedicated IT staff. When small business accounting software users have a question or experience a glitch, they rarely have any trained professional they can turn to for help. That’s why it’s so important to choose software products with good support tools. Again, QuickBooks is one of the best choices for tech support due simply to the program’s popularity. There are too many QuickBooks users for the official staff to handle, so QuickBooks trains third-party support teams. This means you get professionally-trained experts who may offer cheaper rates.
You may be able to get support free when you first purchase an accounting product. Although these free offers come with a limited plan, they’re still valuable. At the very least, you should be able to find an affordable service bundle that will ensure you have support when you need it. Keep in mind, although support services are an optional purchase, they’re essential for every small business owner.
Make sure you choose the right accounting software for your small business. Compare it to your immediate needs and then consider how it will perform under the strain of rising traffic and additional clients. The more automated features, the better, and these are enhanced by integration with other, related software products. Last, but by no means least, make sure you have the support you will need when Murphy’s Law takes effect.