How To Hit The Books

Brokers have good options in choosing the right small business accounting software

NMP Magazine
various financial documents arrayed over a blue background with a question mark
there are a number of easy, intuitive accounting software options that allow businesses to successfully manage their finances.

Which accounting features are ‘must haves’?

Determine which accounting features are the most critical for your business. This is the simplest way to quickly weed out inadequate solutions. If you employ a staff, payroll services with direct deposit that also save you from calculating timecards may belong on the list. If you’re a retailer, having features like inventory management and credit card processing could save you significant time and money.

Do you need industry-specific software or accounting capabilities?

Different industries have different requirements when it comes to reporting financials. You can find accounting software solutions tailored to the specific needs of construction companies, healthcare organizations, manufacturers, and many others. Knowing your industry’s requirements and best practices should help you determine which accounting functions are ‘must-haves’. If you’re not sure, this is an area worth researching. Industry trade associations and talking with colleagues are great places to start. Another helpful resource is Accounting Software 411, which provides information about niche software options developed for industries with specialized accounting needs.

What type of user interface is the best fit for how you work?

If the sight of a spreadsheet makes you break out into a nervous sweat, steer clear of software that relies on Excel and CSV file reports or other overly structured user interface formats. You can find accounting software platforms that operate payroll and invoicing with simple visual reports created specifically for the untrained accounting eye. However, if nothing makes you happier than color-coded pivot charts, then there’s an accounting software solution out there with your name on it, too. Either way, look for an accounting software solution that works the way you do.

How important are features like data security, customer support and scalability?

What non-accounting-specific requirements do you have for the software you choose? For instance:

  • How important is security and safeguarding your and your customers’ information?
  • Do you need 24/7 customer support?
  • Can the software scale to meet your needs as your business grows?
  • Knowing your needs ahead of time will alleviate buyer’s remorse later.

It’s Time To Find Your Perfect Match

Armed with a knowledge of the types of accounting features available and an understanding of which features you need to manage your financials successfully, it’s time to dive in and determine which software solution is the right fit.

Here are some of the most popular software options out there, though there are certainly others.

  • QuickBooks
  • FreshBooks
  • Xero
  • Zoho Books
  • Wave

Many of these solutions offer a free trial so you can try before you buy. Whichever accounting software you choose, make sure it checks as many of your ‘must-have’ boxes as possible and is a good fit overall for how you do business. Never be afraid to ask questions and get guidance from a professional accountant. And, once you’ve selected your accounting software, keep learning! Managing your business’ finances will become easier as you continue to learn the ins and outs of small business accounting.

NMP Magazine

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This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine November 2020 issue.
Published on
Nov 20, 2020
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