With the Internet shrinking the world, every company competes for business not just nationally, but globally. To be the fittest, businesses have to operate using the best practices with regard to innovation, quality, technology, and service.
One of the pivotal developments of the 21st century has been the integration of information technology and business. The creators of this marriage have provided a new dimension for business; for entrepreneurs and start-ups to adopt and reach global markets.
The news calling for celebration for start-ups is that there is adequate technology and information about it for companies to use, set up operations, get the business rolling with quick momentum, and never let up. Effective planning by entrepreneurs sets the stage for success or failure owing to various aspects, one being the choice of right technology.
Well-established internal setups and operations facilitate entrepreneurs in focusing potently on the external elements of business like customers, product development, partners, competitors, and market outreach.
One of the fundamental building blocks of operations in any start-up is multi-purpose accounting software. 58% of successful business entrepreneurs have admitted to using accounting software to manage their finances. Being unaware of the financial status of the business can cost start-ups dearly, at times leading to failed endeavors.
Here are a few tips to aid your decision-making process as you go in pursuit of efficient accounting software, which ideally should be one of the first pieces of software to be purchased.
Determine Your Budget
Running a business is all about and for the money. Developments in a business require financial investments at every stage. Upon serious hunting, you will find several options in the market. You can strike out a good lot of these by simply verifying their cost. Determining your budget will help you filter almost half of the options, thus making it simpler to choose.
Once you have narrowed down your options, you can compare the choices and calculate the hidden costs that will potentially follow with every choice. Check the costs of upgrades, add-ons, maintenance, and extended support.
Comprehend Your Business Needs in Detail
You may want to finalize a comprehensive list of business activities that would need the support of the accounting software. Different business sectors need specialized and customized modules, add-on packages, and extended functionalities.
You will need to be financially literate in order to establish the objectives you need the software to meet. It would be wise to discuss the same with an internal account officer or an external consultant before taking the final call. Expert advice will help to speed up the process and may provide you with a certain perspective about the software and its utility, which you may not have had otherwise.
Here are a few features that accounting software offers to help manage your finances:
i. Basic Bookkeeping – The software manages income and expense tracking, creates invoices, generates financial reports, and organizes your financial data.
Retailers can easily track their fast-moving products and re-evaluate strategies for marketing products that show less movement. Business owners can also keep a close watch on important customers and vendors using the data that the software complies for them easily.
ii. Billing – Want to send accurate bills to your customers on time? Well, the software will create the bills allowing you to manage cash flow efficiently.
iii. Automation – Accounting software facilitates automatic billing, and features like past-due notifications help you track your income efficiently, saving your time and effort that manual work demands.
iv. Multi-user Access – Accounting software can be accessed by more than one user, allowing you to share the load with your accountant or financial expert. You can have access to all the information while someone works on getting the data ready for you.
v. Payroll Processing – The software manages time sheets, processes salaries for employees, setting you free of all the legwork.
vi. Mobile Access – Having information on a mobile device is a luxury you want to have. You can have all the information on your phone while on the go, to stay updated on the company’s finances.
vii. Integration – Adding to the aforementioned list, you also have the choice of integrating various online applications like PayPal, e-Commerce, CRM, and point of sale software with the accounting software. The only constraint to achieving this is using online accounting software, which is a good choice to freeze upon.
Ensure that the software you select comes with backup infrastructure to protect your data, in case of damage to your system due to natural calamities or functional failure. Verify the time within which the backup can be retrieved for sustainable business operations. Check for all the terms laid by the service provider to avoid dealing with unpleasant surprises later on, especially during difficult hours.
Comprehensive Research Is the Way to Go
Every aspect of a successful business demands ample research. It’s no different when choosing your software tools. Finding out what your competitors and other businesses use will help in making an informed decision.
Use conferences and networking meets to discuss about the various tools with consultants or financial experts.
Consultants will help provide better insights and narrow down your options as they work with different companies and carry knowledge about the hottest trends in the industry.
Choose Between Online and Offline Software
It can be a tough choice to make, but you will have to select one eventually. Determine whether you are comfortable with putting out your business data on another vendor’s server, or if you would prefer to have software on your sever, which only authorized employees can access.
Online or cloud accounting software is highly preferred due to the advantages it offers, along with robust data security features. With the availability of the Internet, most software does not require installation. You can sign up and begin processing your numbers.
You can rest assured that all the updates will be pushed automatically and periodical backup of your data will be taken. Integration of the software with other cloud-based applications will let you synchronize all the data across different locations.
Entrepreneurs also have the option of using traditional offline software that can be operated without the Internet, should you experience connectivity issues.
Ask for Demo
It would be a good move to ask for a demonstration of the software to check for the ease of use and the customer support system that it extends. Scrutinize all the functions until you are convinced of the value the software will add to your business. Finally, do verify if it offers continued and on-time customer support that will be available online and offline to help with troubleshooting and other clarifications.
It is advisable to first opt for free trial versions to check if all your accounting needs are met.
Having Said That
For entrepreneurs, time is money! Every tool that aids in efficient time management adds value to business. Efficient accounting software gives you easy and quick access to customer and financial information, which is a must-have for every entrepreneur. Consider reading reviews, seeking expert advice, and referring credible sources. Once you’re done with this, you will have to make a decision. Proceed towards finalizing software that best meets your needs and fits your budget. While there is no “ultimate” software out there, be assured of finding the one that helps your business thrive with the help of the above tips.