Every small business owner will surely want to see his/her business prosper. He/she will work hard in order to have his/her business in tip-top shape. Income and expenses will surely be tracked in order to find out if the business is still profitable. Gone are the days when business owners keep track of them in spreadsheet or even on pare. At this day and age, there are a lot of accounting applications for small businesses which can cater to various needs of an entrepreneur.
If a business owner is searching the marking for great accounting software, it is best to check out with the business’s accountant prior to looking for one. The accountant can recommend software or may even advise not to buy one if there is no need because the accountant will be able to help to business owner with the software setup. It’s also good to check out business forums to find out what other small enterprise owners are using. It also pays if the business owner will list down features that he/she is searching for in an accounting application like inventory, payroll, online banking, credit tracking, etc.
Not all accounting software is created equal therefore in the search for software he/she must ensure that such software is compatible with his/her business type. If the small business owner is into service business, he/she needs accounting software which can track billing and time. On the other hand, if he/she is into trading, he/she needs software which has the capability for inventory tracking and invoicing. The owner’s accounting skill level and his/her time in the maintenance and setup must also be considered. If the business owner needs only simple accounting software then he/she need not invest on the most expensive accounting applications.
It is also important to find out if the business needs a double entry or a single entry accounting application. If the business only deals with cash, a few assets and liabilities, and the owner just needs to record and keep track of income and expenses then an Excel spreadsheet or free accounting software may suffice. The business owner can also check out PCMAG and CNET which review different kinds of software. There are accounting applications which offer trial runs. The business owner can try out some of these applications before finally deciding which of these are most applicable to the kind of business the owner has. Customer support is also an important feature. It is important to check if the software one wants to buy has 24/7 technical support, online help, complete user’s manual, and/or forum where the business owner can interact with fellow users to ask questions regarding the use of the software.
Also, the business owner can also research on accounting cloud applications, which are accounting applications found in the internet. With its emerging popularity, more and more small and medium scale businesses are shifting to accounting applications online. Such applications are accessible anywhere, anytime, as long as there is robust internet connection. They can be accessed using a tablet, a smart phone, or a laptop. With this type of accounting software, the business owner need not buy software licenses. Adding users to access the business’s records is a breeze. There is also no need to buy expensive servers to host the software and users can access the same accounting file at the same time. Backups are also not a problem with accounting software hosted in the cloud because the vendor is responsible in scheduled backups.
Common disadvantages of cloud computing, however, include security, downtime, and privacy. Although big company suppliers often implement stricter security policies, customers are also wary about housing their clients’ and their information in the cloud. The vendor’s supplier may suffer downtime for days. When this happens, every business which is using the accounting software may have no access until the vendor resolves the problem. Also, the problem of privacy may come up from time to time because users are still nervous about other people having accessed to their data. A lot of cloud computing vendors, however, offer strict authentication procedures like usernames and passwords.
In almost everything, there are advantages and disadvantages. To decide which is better for a small business enterprise, the business owner must be able to weigh all the pros and cons. It is good practice to search for various applications and services available on-site and in the cloud and compare each feature before finally deciding which of the numerous accounting software is the most applicable for the owner’s business.
By Glenn Blake
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