Well, we love our “boring business” stuff here at BoringBusiness and for most business owners I can imagine even thinking about accounting software makes you want to reach for the therapist listings in your local business information “help” pages.
But fear not, like most things you can break the process down and make an informed (empowered) decision with a little bit of research. Here’s what to consider when choosing your accounting software:
- List out what you need your current software to do. Consider:
- Number of transactions you will be posting (i.e. how many receipts and invoices you will be using the accounting software to manage)
- If you have any specific complexities e.g. foreign currency transactions, long-term contracts, specific industry requirements e.g. construction or travel.
- Take that list to form your “key words” to do a sensible internet search. For example you may conclude you are looking for “simple accounting software, low number of transactions (say under 100 invoices/receipts each month), dog walking business. You will then see various results come up – including adverts. From this initial list of accounting software providers consider the following:
- Ease of use (especially if you plan to manage it yourself). All the well established accounting software companies will provide you with a free demo.
- Cost. One off cost or Monthly subscription? Can you get away with a free version? What about upgrades – are they included?
- Availability in the cloud (i.e. you can access your accounting software from any internet connection)
- Consider requirements / freebies from your book-keeper or accountant. Many well established accountants may even provide free access to an accounting software as long as you are their client.
- Connectivity with other software. Do you need the software to interact e.g. with a CRM system or an ordering system. Plan, plan, plan. Think how you want information to flow through your business and then decide how the accounting software will service that. Don’t let the tail wag the dog, you do NOT want to have to put in place a bunch of work arounds because you picked the wrong accounting software. Believe me I have seen this in my work as a Finance Director.
- Future proof. Think how you want / expect your business to grow over the next few years. Make sure whatever choice of accounting software you make is adequate for those future requirements.