Advantages and disadvantages of accounting software
If you’re toying with the idea of taking on new accounting software, you’ll be wondering exactly what the benefits and any potential downsides might be. We’ve taken a look at some of the options you might be considering. Read on to find out some of the main advantages and disadvantages of accounting software, including the market leading options available.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of accounting software?
Accounting software has come a long way over the last decade with a whole host of improvements and functionality included that will make life easier for your Finance function. Everything from automation and alerts to audit trails – plus features that fit with current legislation and reflect how your business wants to work today.
Whether you’re considering taking the plunge and ditching the spreadsheets, or you want to upgrade your existing software to something more up-to-date and in keeping with how your Finance team operates: there are solutions to suit every set of needs.
We’ve assessed the main advantages and disadvantages of accounting software. Many of these are common across a range of packages available. In particular we’ve looked the pros and cons of accounting software from us (The Access Group), Sage and Xero.
Advantages of accounting software
There are of course some generic accounting software advantages that really help to move your Finance function on to the next level of efficiency. These include all of the following:
- Faster processing of key elements such as invoicing, forecasting and audit control
- More accurate thanks to the removal of repeated manual rekeying
- Efficient because of integration with other business areas and automation of key tasks
- Compliant with digital record keeping requirements for VAT for example
- Responsive – you can dig for data or pull off reports at the click of a mouse
- More secure – especially when compared to spreadsheets or outdated desktop software
Disadvantages of accounting software
As with everything in life, there are some downsides to change, so there are of course some disadvantages to accounting software that you should take into consideration.
- Cost is obviously a key factor but bear in mind that there are multiple ways to proceed – a cloud-based subscription package might be more cost-effective than you think.
- Customisation might be required to ensure your accounting software fits perfectly with your business needs and how easy or expensive that is depends on the level of change required and the level of IT resource you potentially need.
- Data will need to be transferred from your existing package or system into the new one and this can be laborious. Bear in mind though that the quality of what you put in at the outset will impact the effectiveness of the new software from day one.
- Support for a new accounting software package is useful but you should expect to pay extra for maintenance cover from whichever provider you choose.
Once you’ve made the decision to invest in an up-to-date accounting software package, the next stage is to consider the specific advantages and disadvantages of a particular package. The three main options for small and medium-sized businesses are Access Financials, Sage 50 and Xero. We’ve taken a look at all three and assessed the headline facts you should be aware of when considering which one might be preferable for your business.
Advantages and disadvantages of Access Financials
Access Financials is the latest iteration of cloud-based accounting software from The Access Group, a leading provider of software solutions specifically focused on meeting the needs of medium-sized businesses. Access Financials is a modular solution which can be configured to suit your business.
Advantages of Access Financials
- Single sign-on via a secure central platform from any location
- Real time reports, analytics and dashboards give a 360-degree view
- Excel integration makes it easy to pull data without rekeying
- Automated procurement and purchase processes improve efficiency
- Includes project costing and timesheet management via mobile app
- Resource scheduling options maximise value from key earners
- Secures data against threats, data loss and leaks
- Compliant with all the latest UK regulations
Disadvantages of Access Financials
There are some potential disadvantages to be aware of when considering Access Financials.
For starters, Access Financials is not the cheapest option available. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but it is mainly due to the fact that Access Financials also offers everything a medium-sized business might need compared to a smaller, simpler business. This is particularly relevant for businesses that expect to grow.
Another perceived disadvantage is that Access Financials is only available as a cloud-based solution. Even if your current solution is on-premise and you were expecting to go down the same route again, it is important to check out Cloud vs On-Premise Accounting Software to find out why so many businesses are opting to move to the cloud.
Finally, it is not possible to participate in a free trial for Access Financials. Instead a detailed demo with product experts is provided where you can ask questions specific to your business.
In conclusion: the pros and cons of accounting software
Clearly this article has only really scratched the surface when it comes to the many advantages (and some disadvantages) of accounting software. And of course there are numerous decisions to be made when assessing the needs of your business. The cloud versus on-premise question is one of the first to consider, especially in light of the changing needs of employees as hybrid and remote working becomes embedded in most sectors.
It's also important to move beyond the main features and benefits – the best accounting software packages will all cover similar functionality to some degree. Instead, dig deeper into the next level of functionality to find out if all the key elements required by your business are included (or if they are optional and/or chargeable extras). And take a close look at the limitations too. The last thing any business needs is to invest in new accounting software, only to discover it has outgrown it within a short space to time.
The best accounting software for you
If you’re ready to take the next step and start investigating which solution might represent the best accounting software for your business, why not start now? Take a look at how our accounting software or book a demo with our finance team to discuss what you're looking for so they can advise which accounting software is best for you.
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The Access Group provides integrated business management software.