How to Choose Business Accounting Software
You’d be hard-pressed trying to find a universal accounting software package that suits all businesses across all industries. And you shouldn’t be trying to do this anyway. The reason there are several different types of business accounting software packages on the market today is because some businesses have specific needs that are better addressed by a specific system.
At the same time, as business owner, you shouldn’t accept that the accounting software package you’ve used since you started your business is still suitable for your business. Businesses grow; from the number and value of sales, through to the number of products or services offered, right up to the number of employees they have. There are numerous ways in which a business today can be very different to how it was 10 years ago, and how the accounting software you are using is not meeting the needs of the business anymore.
If your business has outgrown the finance system currently used, there are a few things to consider – and steps to take – before choosing a replacement.
Types of Business Accounting Software Available
Depending on how long it has been since you bought the accounting software currently used by your business, you might find that things have changed a bit, not only with the capability of the systems on offer, but also the type of systems or packages available. Three common solutions available include:
Small Business Accounting and Payroll Packages
Very small businesses that aren’t involved in manufacturing, but only sell finished products or services, might have little need for anything more powerful than a basic accounting software package that includes payroll capabilities. However, it is important to note that many accounting packages – even those meant for small businesses – are now set up in such a way as to include basic, core features, with separate add-on modules available to extend the capabilities of the system as needed. This is better than it sounds in that by default these packages give you all the basic accounting features any business needs, with the ability to grow with your business by only adding more advanced features as you need them. If you are looking at packages structured in this way, always pay close attention to the basic core features to ensure they are what you would expect; features such as General Ledger and cashbook capabilities should not be available only as an add-on.
Business Management Systems
More powerful – and more comprehensive – business management software such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system are not meant for large companies only. As with small business accounting packages, you should find many ERP systems to be modular, with a core set of features complemented by a suite of add-ons you can select as needed. So, even small and medium sized enterprises can affordably implement a more powerful business management system that can grow as your business grows. These solutions also make it easier to analyse multiple aspects of your business and to make important decisions faster and using more accurate data, so aside from being able to grow with your business, they also actively contribute towards the growth of your business.
Cloud-Based Accounting Software
Most modern business accounting packages include an option for a cloud-based solution, meaning that all data is stored online, and all updates are also carried out online. There are many advantages to cloud-based software as a service (SaaS), including that you can view and update your business finances from anywhere, along with being able to generate reports from anywhere; as long as you have an internet connection. These solutions also generally more secure than an onsite deployment since backups can be automated, and built-in data redundancy helps prevent any loss of data. However, there are also reasons for some businesses not being able to reliably implement a cloud-based solution, in which case you should consider a solution that offers both a cloud-based system and the ability to deploy the system onsite, using your own IT infrastructure. That way, if you later decide to switch to cloud-based, you don’t need to switch to an entirely new system again.
Understand What Your Business Needs
As noted earlier, there is no universal solution, and a key requirement of choosing a new business accounting solution for your organisation is understanding what your business needs. And unless you’re truly a one-man operation, you can’t possibly know what each department or role in your business needs from accounting and business management software.
Talk to Your Employees
Don’t limit yourself to only talking to your accountant or finance department. While their expectations and requirements are very important, it does not mean you should simply ignore the contributions of other employees. If you are large enough to warrant a dedicated HR person or department, they will have first-hand knowledge of the shortcomings of your current system when it comes to payroll, management of employee leave entitlements, superannuation and taxation, and even managing employee details. Other departments might have specific needs in terms of inventory management, along with the integration of point-of-sale systems and other forms of order and sales processing. Finally, also speak to whoever is in charge of your IT, since their input can help you decide whether to implement a cloud-based solution or an onsite deployment, along with any needs to upgrade any part of your IT infrastructure to better manage a new accounting or business management system.
Know Your Budget Limitations
Most accounting packages, even those that are deployed onsite, operate on the principle of charging a base price for the core package with all essential modules included, and then charging extra for specialised add-on modules. Additionally, you also pay per user needing access to the system; for an onsite deployment all of this will be used to calculate a single, once-off cost, while for a cloud-based solution this would be a lower monthly or yearly fee instead. While a cloud-based solution incurs an ongoing cost, it is worth remembering that this usually includes all software updates and upgrades, while for an onsite deployment you will need to pay for any major updates to the software. Either way, you need to know what your business can afford once-off or ongoing, while also ensuring you don’t acquire any licences you don’t need without limiting access to the system to too few employees. Given the importance of accounting and business management software, being too frugal with it can be damaging to your business.
Consider Local Solutions
Taxation and other legislation and regulations that affect business operations and employee management can differ widely from one country to the next, and sometimes even between different regions or states within a country. A locally developed and supported accounting package would not only implement local regulatory requirements with minimal customisation requirements, it would also be able to adapt to changes to existing regulations and the introduction of new requirements faster. Tencia accounting ERP software is developed by Arrow Research Corporation, a 100% Australian-owned and -based company with more than 24 years’ experience in software development. And with offices and business partners in all the major centres across Australia, you can expect fantastic support and service wherever you are.
Switching to a new accounting software package requires a considerable financial investment, along with time and effort to implement and learn the new system. Because of this, you shouldn’t be choosing a new system without seeing it in action first. This not only allows you to see what the system is capable of, it also allows you to assess the design and layout of the system, along with the speed and ease-of-use.
Depending on your needs and location, you can either book an online demonstration, or request an onsite, obligation-free demonstration, during which you can also discuss your specific needs to see how our Tencia accounting ERP system can help you manage your growing business.
From growing small businesses, to mid-sized enterprises with multiple offices, branches, or warehouse locations, and organisations looking for a properly integrated payroll that addresses Australian requirements, Tencia business accounting software is suited to a variety of different businesses across a broad range of industries.
Contact us to find out more.