The popularity of accounting software today appeals to a wide spectrum of businesses, from small to large enterprises and across industries. With a slew of choices at your fingertips, it can get overwhelming especially if you’re thinking whether to go for industry-specific or general accounting solutions.
Truth is, none is better than the other except in your business context. Here are five factors to consider when choosing which solution is better for you:
If you’re a large enterprise, price may be a secondary factor. But for small and business owners, it can be the deal maker. Industry-specific accounting software is more expensive because it’s tailored fit for a niche (smaller) market. If cost is a major drawback, you’re better off tinkering with a general accounting software that gives the right balance between increasing productivity and managing expense. If you’re a large company with a budget to burn, industry-specific solutions are worth their cost.
It can be a toss-up between the two, but generally, industry-specific systems have the advantage since they understand the subtle needs of the industry. For instance, a construction accounting software is likely to address project and time management better, the main activity in the industry. Likewise, the preconfigured reports and templates are more attuned to the industry standards. However, some of the best accounting software products can be customized with industry-specific add-ons. This can be a good start while your business is growing.
Whether you’re a small or large company but engaged in multiple businesses, you may find general accounting software a better fit as long as the software can be scaled up and down with activity-specific modules. On the other hand, if your operations are concentrated on a very specific business area, such as construction or shipping, industry-specific software may suffice. These solutions offer a vertical accounting infrastructure that deals with sub-tasks and activities within the industry.
It’s one of the subtle advantages of industry-specific accounting solutions. You can easily relate to user testimonials since they belong to the same industry as yours. Their preferences are likely the same as yours and their needs are nearly the same, so reading their comments is the next best thing to trying the product itself. On the other hand, users of general accounting software are as varied as Pez flavors.
Industry-specific accounting software has a narrower range of integration capabilities with popular productivity tools. Some vendors may require you to buy another set of intermediate tools to convert and export your data to commonly used software like MS Office. On the other hand, general accounting software, since they’re marketed to a wide set of users, is more likely exportable to other popular productivity software.
Also remember that there are other ways to categorize accounting software like the difference between ERP and general accounting. Now that you know the difference between the two, know how to maximize the potential of your accounting software.
The tips above are meant to give you a general guide or a starting point when choosing which accounting software type is best for you. However, keep in mind that it’s not a black-and-white picture as more software products are being churned out every year that look more like a cross-over between the two.
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