Any small business which wants to keep track of its customer information, expenses, revenues, and any other financial data must make use of an accounting software. If you wish to take a break and gain an overall understanding of your company’s finances, the budget analysis tools and timely reports provided by most accounting software programs will prove to be a great tool for decision making.

But with so many accounting software programs out there, on what basis should you decide which accounting software is right for your small business? As an accounting software is important for several reasons, it is necessary to do some research before you purchase any accounting or financial management software. You need to take a close look at the needs of your company to learn which day to day functionality  requirements you need in your accounting software.

Following are certain considerations that you need to take into account before you purchase an accounting software:

Do a Needs Analysis

Before you finalise your choice for an accounting program, you must perform a needs analysis to assess the reports, functions, and features that you will need the program to do. Take some time to understand which accounting transactions are important for your business so that you can prioritise those particular functions when you shop around for an accounting program and purchase the one which can handle them efficiently.

Integration with third party applications, any specific types of reports that you need your software to generate and particular controls that you need are other functions that you need to include in your list of requirements. The selection process can begin only after you have conducted a needs analysis as it will help you to make an informed decision.

Read Reviews of Accounting Software

Critics and user reviews of accounting software will give you an insight into the functioning of an accounting software and what your experience of handling the software program is likely to be. Countless reviews can be found on the internet which analyse the program in detail and discuss the various aspects of an accounting software such as reporting, ease of use, operating system compatibility, support and price.

Buy the Software Which Suits your Needs

It is possible that businesses belonging to your particular industry may have unique reporting and accounting needs. For this reason you may be on the lookout for an industry specific software such as construction accounting software, nonprofit accounting software, or point-of-sale accounting software.

However, you can create almost any report that you need with ease as most vendors set up reporting templates and features which make the task extremely convenient. Thus many small businesses prefer buying straight-out-of-the-box accounting software rather than industry specific software programs.

Consider Ease of Use

The accounting software that you purchase will most likely be extensively used by you or your staff. The possibility of staff turnover in the future makes it important for you to give a second thought to how easy the accounting software is to use. Therefore it is important not only to choose an accounting software which meets your needs but to select one that is easy to learn and handle given the resources and time which you can devote to train your employees on how to use the software.

If you have limited resources to get employees up and running on your program in the event of staff turnover, then you must select an easy-to-use and simple accounting software program. You shouldn’t contemplate buying an advanced version of an accounting software as your small business will not be able to utilise the benefits of such programs if their functions are more advanced than what you actually require or your staff isn’t aware of how to use it properly.

Consider After Sales Support

As most companies have realised that it is impossible for a product or service to become popular without offering the right kind of customer service, accounting software vendors offer a wide range of support options such as phone, email and online support.

You should try to understand what type of support you may need when you start using a particular software and verify if the vendor provides the level of support that you expect. Some vendors may provide free support upon purchase of an accounting software, while other vendors may charge some additional fees for comprehensive technical support plans over and above the cost of the accounting software application. Reading information about a particular accounting software which is generally given in online discussion forums should prove to be helpful in this regard.

Consider Scalability

How much growth do you think your business can realistically record over the short-to-medium term? The projections that you make about the growth of your business will tell you how scalable your accounting software program needs to be, in order to accommodate the growing needs of your business.

Do you need an accounting software program which can run smoothly across desktops, laptops as well as mobile devices? Do you want your accounting software to have network capability? Will you have to incur additional costs to add more users to your accounting software?

Considering these questions is a good place to start along with contacting an IT professional to learn whether the accounting software will run efficiently on your systems. This is necessary as you need to ensure that the software or hardware specifications of the accounting software are being met by your systems. They may also be able to make suggestions as to how you can improve the operations of your business.

Consider Data Security

With the introduction of GDPR, it has become more necessary than ever to take data security into consideration. As accounting software is a type of program which keeps personal records of consumers, data security should be an important concern. Your personal information as well as that of your customers and employees needs to be protected.

By taking the above factors into account, you should be able to select an accounting software application which suits the needs of your business.

By Robert Smith

John Smith: John, a former software engineer, shares his insights on software development, programming languages, and coding best practices.