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How to choose the right accounting software for small businesses

12th May 2020
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Businesses can find accounting a real inconvenience.

This rings true particularly for small businesses who don’t have access to the correct skills to effectively manage their accounts in-house or the means to outsource their accounts to a professional. Therefore, relying on outdated, manual processes (spreadsheets or combinations of Word and Excel to compile records).

For small businesses, accounting software can be a real asset, allowing them to free up time to help grow their business, time which would otherwise be spent manual tasks.

As with many things, there is a wealth of accounting software options to choose from for small businesses, all claiming to be better than the last.

We look at the main factors to consider when choosing the right accounting software for your small business, and what benefits constitute to achieving maximum ROI.

Ensure you stay compliant with legislation

Over the past couple of years, there are has been a large increase in the number of adjustments to the accounting and tax regulations, with many more changes in the pipeline.

In order to keep up to date with the ever-changing regulations, it’s necessary to look for software which will help to ease this burden. You should ask potential suppliers whether their software is kept up-to-date with regulation changes, and whether compliance is considered within their product development.

If compliance is integrated, you can complete your accounts with confidence knowing your software will ensure accounts are compliant with legislation.

Does it work in the cloud?

Small business owners tend to spend a lot of their time out and about developing relationships with clients and suppliers alike, working wherever they can. They don’t want to be bogged down with admin at their desk all day.

Investing in cloud software allows access to work remotely, anywhere with an internet connection. This would be advantageous if you are on the road regularly.

Is training provided and is it easy to use?

Accounting software is bought into a business to help ease the burden of the business finances, making things easier, freeing up time for other things.

Therefore, you should consider carefully where and how you will use the software, and if it’s easy to use?

Usability features to consider are:

  • Is it easy to add and remove users when required, while controlling access to the data which is viewed by the users?
  • Can multiple accounts be managed on the same software? Does it come at an extra cost?

Enquire as to whether software training is provided by the supplier, and is there assistance or a team to help should there be any troubleshooting or any questions.

Don’t choose it because it’s the cheapest

When talking about software, the price will inevitably be discussed. Although you don’t want to pay over the odds, and budgets can be tighter for small businesses, you shouldn’t necessarily go for the cheapest option.

The cheapest software may be good short-term, you will likely find however, that over time it becomes the more expensive option, as you may need to purchase additional features at a cost along with being charged for upgrades and delivery/installation.

Cheaper software is on a whole less flexible, therefore leaves you stuck with what you have, rather than being able to adapt to your business needs. This is of course, unless you are willing to spend significantly more in the long term.

Therefore, look beyond the initial cost when choosing the right small business accounting software. While you might spend a bit more initially, it could make a huge difference in the long run.

Features and integrations

Another thing to consider is how well you can integrate your current work into the accounting software. If you store your data on Excel and Word, can you import these into the software? Also, will your accounting software be compatible with any other software you may use?

Does the accounting software allow you to collaborate with others when required? Does it assist with prioritising deadlines, and allow easy access to data and documents?

Again, these are all questions you should be asking.

Find out more on how to choose the best software for your small business by downloading our eBook. Download our eBook here