With so many accounting packages on the market today, choosing one can be challenging. Here are some things to consider that may help shorten the list.
Basic Accounting Software
Standard accounting systems facilitate recording transactions and producing a balance sheet, income statement, and trial balance at the end of each period. Most will also process invoices and checks and keep track of your accounts receivable. Some include fixed asset tracking either as part of the standard package or as an add-on. These fundamental capabilities may be sufficient to serve your company’s needs. However, if you have other requirements that are specific to your industry, you may need to dig deeper.
While the accounting functions will be similar in most systems, some products cater to the needs of a particular industry. For example, Yardi accounting software has the functionality required by the real estate industry for tracking multiple properties and units. Professional services companies, such as architects and lawyers, bill their clients by the hour, so they need a software package that will track billable hours. Retail companies need to manage inventory and may prefer a system with point of sale capabilities. An internet search for software that serves your industry will provide a list of potential options.
After determining whether you need a basic accounting package or one that is industry-specific, begin to think about ways to narrow your search further. One of the essential features of an accounting system is its reporting capabilities. Will you be happy with standard reports, or do you want to design custom reports? Think about what your company needs in a reporting system, then add that to your list of criteria.
Third-Party Product Integration
Do you download report data into a spreadsheet program like Excel or import timesheet data from employees in remote locations? There are many situations when you may need your accounting system to integrate with other products. Consider this before making a decision.
Training and Ongoing Support
Finally, determine what kind of training and implementation support you’ll need and whether it’s part of the purchase price. Be sure to ask about weekends and after-hours support, as some companies charge extra for that service.
This step-by-step approach should help you decide which products to look at more closely. Having a clear idea of what your company needs before beginning your search may save you time and simplify the process.