“We’ve finally decided to take our accounting operations to the next level, in anticipation of a growth spurt in the next few years. All the signs are pointing to it, and everyone in the company is excited, so we definitely don’t want to this enthusiasm dampened by an accounting system that can’t keep pace with the growth. I’ve heard of several very popular accounting systems out there but I don’t want to choose accounting software based on just that. But I’m also thinking that there must be a reason behind the popularity. Are the most popular accounting software really a good choice?”
It’s always wise to listen to the wisdom of the crowd. The most popular accounting systems have risen to that status for a good reason, and most of these have to do with them being simple, easy to use, sometimes free or relatively cheap, and being scalable or expandable when the situation calls for it.
We’re featuring some of the best systems below and the selection comes from this quick comparison of the best accounting softwarefor small businesses. We’re also featuring excerpts of advice on which criteria to use for evaluating accounting software, combined with information from article by the US Small Business Authority for tips on selecting the right software accounting system.
These are the most popular accounting software systems currently in the market today.
CYMA features formal accounting methods, extensive reporting options and a high level of customization – all the tools experienced accountants need to deliver accurate and timely financial services to their clients. However, if you’re a small business owner looking for an all-in-one, out-of-the-box accounting solution that can be used by people with little or no formal training in bookkeeping and accounting, CYMA might not be the product for you.
QuickBooks Online Plus is an excellent choice for business that needs mobile access to sales and purchase tools and data, as well as payroll and basic time billing. QuickBooks historically has been the easiest or one of the easiest accounting software programs to use. Its user interface simulates forms that most business people already know how to fill up. If you want all the bells and whistles that come with an accounting software system, you can always upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.
NetSuite ERP is recommended for companies that want sophisticated financial management from the very start, and who have plans of eventually integrating accounting with CRM and e-commerce. Its base package most accounting functionalities, and includes revenue recognition management, global consolidation and fixed assets. It’s extremely robust and the user interface and navigational tools are extraordinarily understandable.
Intacct is a great step up from the smaller accounting packages if you are a growing company. The ease with which you are able to add users, new entities, dimensions, etc. gives you a wonderful sense of control and scaling will not be a problem. Intacct is a leader in Software as a Service / Cloud computing financial management and accounting applications for small and mid-sized businesses.
Generally, the following criteria are used to evaluate an accounting software system, popular or not.
Reports and Analysis. You should be able to generate reports with a few clicks and these reports should be able to give you a quick view of how your business is performing. At the very least, there should be some form of profit-loss statement to let you know how much your making or spending.
Standard Accounting. The accounting software should conform to the rules of double-entry bookkeeping and have the standard battery of features for standard accounting practice such as journals, a general ledger, and a balance sheet.
Human Resources and Payroll. If you have employees, you definitely want a payroll module which will help you create a database of employee data and manage salaries.
Inventory and Services Management. If you are a service-based business, or you’re selling products you will need some form of inventory and services management to make sure that you’re properly stocked to deliver finished products, or that you have enough raw materials to manufacture your goods.
Integration and Productivity. You will want your accounting system to work with any existing software that you currently use. You will definitely want one that can export and import files to a spreadsheet, or save documents as PDF files. In addition, you might want your accounting system to function seamlessly with other applications for project management, customer support customer relations management, marketing, productivity, payment gateways, eCommerce and POS, and even workforce management!
Banking. You might also want to connect any or all of your business bank accounts and credit cards to your accounting software to get your expenses imported. This includes any checking account, credit card or PayPal account you are using to cover the costs involved in running your small business. Inputting expenses can take an inordinate amount of time away from a busy schedule. This convenient feature helps you focus on activities that add value to your business instead of tedious paperwork.
Scalability and Expandability. Lastly, you want accounting software that has the potential to grow as your business grows. It must be expandable to allow more users and a greater amount of data, should you need it.
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