If you’re a small business owner, then you know that keeping track of your finances is essential. A shoebox full of receipts is not the best way to save money on your taxes, and having current financial information at your fingertips can help you prevent the “cash flow heart attacks” that small business owners fear.
That’s where accounting software comes in. Here’s what to consider when you’re working out how to choose the right accounting software for your small business.
Consider your needs
Most accounting software will handle basic functions like invoicing and tracking your bank balance and tax deductions. But you may have special needs. Does your small business need to track inventory or mileage? Do you want a software package that can handle payroll deductions and monitor vacation and sick leave accruals for your staff?
Write out your specific needs before you start evaluating contenders.
Think about mobility
Do you run your business on the go? Do you have field service staff who need to make entries for billable hours, materials, or inventory usage on the fly?
You’ll want an accounting software package that offers mobile apps so you can track your business finances no matter where you are.
Look for ease of use
You don’t want to spend hours learning how to use your accounting software. Look for a package with a user-friendly interface and plenty of online resources, like tutorials and FAQs. Also, note whether any of your staff already have experience with a particular app.
If you want your business to run seamlessly without taking up hours of your staff’s time, you’ll need accounting software that integrates with your other systems.
For instance, ServiceWorks users can track income, expenses, and inventory right in the app. ServiceWorks even handles customer payments and invoices. If you’re using Quickbooks as your accounting package, you can connect the two apps and let them interact automatically. ServiceWorks is designed specifically for field service businesses, with features for routing, scheduling, taking orders online, and more. Try it free for two weeks, no credit card needed.
Leave room for growth
When you’re considering how to choose the right accounting software for your small business, think about the future as well as the present.
As your business grows, you’ll need an accounting software package that can grow with you. Look for a package that offers features like multi-currency support or the ability to add multiple users.
You should also consider whether you want a cloud-based solution or one that you install on your own servers. Cloud-based solutions are usually more expensive, but they offer the flexibility to scale up or down as needed.
Talk to your accountant
Your accountant is a valuable resource when it comes to choosing the right accounting software for your business. They can offer insights based on their experience working with other small businesses. They can also tell you which software is compatible with their systems — that way your computer and their computers can work things out while you relax.
Reporting is vital
The right accounting software will do more than keep track of tax deductions — it will give you the information you need to run your business profitably. You need to know which services are profitable enough to help cover your overhead, and which ones are costing you more than they’re worth.
The right software will give you the insights you need to make informed decisions about your business.
Don’t forget customer support
You may never need customer support, but it’s nice to know it’s there if you do have questions or run into problems. Look for a company that offers the contact options you prefer, whether that’s phone, chat, or email.
Then try it out — contact them to ask a question and see how responsive the company is.
Get recommendations from other small business owners
Finally, don’t forget to ask around for recommendations. Other small business owners in your industry or community may have already done the legwork of finding the perfect accounting software for their needs.
They can save you time and money by sharing their insights into what works (and what doesn’t).
The top contenders
Now that you know what to look for in accounting software, it’s time to start evaluating your options. Some of the most popular small business accounting software apps include:
- Quickbooks: A popular choice that integrates well with other software and offers robust reporting options.
- FreshBooks: A cloud-based solution that’s easy to use and designed specifically for small businesses.
- Xero: Another cloud-based solution with features like multi-currency support and the ability to add multiple users.
- Wave: A free accounting software app with features for invoicing, tracking expenses, and more.
The choice is yours
Figuring out how to choose the right accounting software for your small business can save you time and money while giving you the insights you need to run your company profitably. When choosing an app, keep in mind your business’s size and needs, as well as your budget. And don’t forget to ask for recommendations from other small business owners.
With a little research, you’ll be able to find the perfect accounting software for your business.