Top Rated Accounting Programs for Samll Businesses
Small Business Accounting
There are hundreds of choices of small business accounting software. The trick is to find the accounting software that has the right features for your small business. You will want a software package that does everything you need done but that is not so complicated that it creates more work. If you select your accounting software carefully it should enhance your company’s efficiency and productivity paying for itself many times over. Here are some suggestions of questions you need to consider when selecting an accounting software product.
- First, consider what you need for you unique business. Do you need to track inventory? Do you need to track clients? Will the software meet your invoicing and payroll needs? If you are going to use the software to meet your business’ tax reporting requirements check with your accountant to see if he/she has recommendations or suggestions. As your company grows will the software be able to grow with you? How easy is it to upgrade or add functionality to the software?
- Check out the company producing the software. Is it a reputable company that is likely to still be in business when you need customer support or when you are ready to upgrade the system?
- Is the software compatible with the hardware and software your business currently is operating? Will the software be able to import data from your current financial institutions, accounting program or spreadsheet?
- What is the cost of the software? Small business software can be purchased for very little or for as much as thousands of dollars depending on the product’s functionality and the size and complexity of your business.
Business accounting software should be an asset but without adequate planning it can cause you more trouble than it is worth so take the time to thoroughly research the available accounting software options and choose your software product carefully.
Some of the better known small business accounting software products are:
- QuickBooks, produced by Intuit the dominate producer of small business software, offers a series of small business accounting and payroll software products including Simple Start, Pro, and Premier Editions. QuickBooks offer a Mac compatible version as well as Windows compatible software.
- Simple Start offers functions to track sales, expenses and customers, allows you to create invoices, pay bills and print checks and categorizes expenses for easy tax preparation or to download into Turbo Tax.
- Pro offers everything that Simple Start offers plus the functionality to accept credit and debit cards, create unique invoices, and create over 100 business reports with one click.
- Premier is the next step up from Pro and offers in addition to what Pro the ability to create business plans, create forecasts and Premier includes over 150 industry specific reports including some for not-for-profit organizations.
- Enterprise Solutions is QuickBooks top of the line business accounting software designed for larger companies. You probably do not need this version unless you are a “very large small business”.
- Peachtree Pro by Sage includes standard accounting functions to automate invoices, checks and payroll, record customer payments; create budgets and track sales and inventory. Peachtree Pro has over 100 reports and financial statements. Peachtree also comes in Complete, Premium and First Accounting versions. The Peachtree software only runs on Windows systems.
- Sage BusinessVision Accounting 50 is marketed as an accounting software solution for small to medium sized businesses. BusinessVision runs on Windows systems. Features include financial management, inventory management and partner/supplier management and over 300 reports. The software automatically does year-end processing and offers industry specific and e-commerce add-ons.
- Netsuite Simply Accounting is a web-based business software package that includes financial management functionality including electronic bill paying check writing and invoicing. Netsuite includes a budgeting function, a multi-currency adjustment function, an amortization function, a payroll package and e-commerce features. The data entry screens resemble paper accounting formats and include drag and drop functionality making the program easy to use and learn. The package comes multi-user ready.
- AccountEdge is the best and most versatile business accounting package available for the Mac. The software has a payroll function, keeps track of inventory, invoices, pays bills, and has a new feature which presents data in easy to understand graphical reports.
- MYOB Business is one of the more highly rated low priced small business accounting software options. Recognized for its ease of use and report generating capabilities, MYOB has all the features you will need to create a general ledger do your banking, process your payroll, track accounts payable, accounts receivable and inventory. MYOB also allows you to create custom forms.
There are hundreds of other small business accounting programs to choose from. Just go online and search for “small business accounting software” or stop by your local office supply or software store. Once you have reviewed the product’s functionality and cost, narrow your choices to several business accounting products which fit your budget and most closely meet your needs. Check out the expert and peer reviews for these products to get an idea of pros and cons others have identified for each product.
Finally, contact the manufacturer of your top accounting software choices and request access to a demonstration version of the accounting software to make sure the product has the functionality and ease of use that you expected. Trying out the product before you purchase it is the only sure way for you to determine if you are comfortable with the product. You can purchase the most complete and complex accounting software on the market and it will not do you any good if you are not comfortable entering the data necessary to allow the system to produce the financial statements and reports you need. Sometimes ease of use is more important than bells and whistles. Color graphics and custom invoices are great to have but more important is an accounting system that will give you the information you need to manage your business efficiently.
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