Accounting Software Buyer's Guide
The Best Enterprise Accounting Software Is All About Automation and Forecasting
By Lindsey Jenkins, Market Research Associate
Most people don’t think of accounting and immediately jump for joy at the thought of compiling spreadsheets and tracking expenses. For many businesses, accounting is something that they wish could be more automated. Luckily, there are many affordable and accessible accounting software options available on the market. We’ve compiled this list of helpful factors to consider before choosing the accounting system that’s right for you.
- Enterprise Accounting software is meant to reduce the amount of time spent on day-to-day accounting functions that could be easily automated. Benefits may include more time spent on bigger projects, less human error from manual data entry and a centralized accounting system.
- Implementation goals are key as you begin to install or change your software portfolio. These goals should include general budgetary concerns and workflow considerations.
- Some basic functions of corporate accounting software include the general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable. However, many software companies offer more advanced functions such as budget forecasting based on actual financial history that may be beneficial to your company.
- If you realize that an accounting solution is the right fit, you should develop a list of questions and factors to consider when looking at potential companies. Elements such as industry experience, cost and installation method could make or break an accounting software option.
What This Enterprise Accounting Software Guide Covers
See how the top 10 Accounting Software leaders fare against the most common key requirements
Benefits of Accounting Software and What It Does
Accounting software assists in the automation of financial management. Businesses of all sizes use automated accounting systems to facilitate transactions, keep track of payroll and develop budgets. More and more businesses are looking to accounting solutions to streamline their financial processes, and the market is poised to expand by a CAGR of six percent from 2017 to 2021.
The barrier to entry when purchasing accounting software is relatively low because it is available for installation both on-premise and as cloud accounting software. There are many benefits to adopting enterprise accounting software, four of which are listed below:
- Reduce the headache of manually inputting expenses/credits from each of your bank accounts. Many accounting software options allow you to connect your bank account information to the program and automatically track incoming and outgoing payments. This function may also categorize transactions. For example, the software may group all food-related expenses together while marking hotel room costs in a different category.
- Free up your accountant’s time so that they can expend more effort on “big picture” financial matters. Having an accountant on-hand is always going to be essential in tracking the financial viability of your company. However, by using financial management software, you can reduce the amount of time that your accountant spends entering payments into the system individually and instead have them focus on the bigger picture of your business. After all, someone as essential as your accountant shouldn’t be spending the majority of their time entering receipt information into a spreadsheet.
- Split up accounting services on a project-by-project basis to track profitability. If your company is developing a new potential revenue stream and needs to measure the financial impact of that project specifically, accounting software might be a viable option. Many accounting programs have a feature that allows you to track finances for a specific project in order to measure profitability.
- Develop budgets based on operating cost. Forecasting technology is getting smarter and smarter, and it may be a key component in helping you determine future budgets. Developing a budget is tedious, detailed work, and enterprise accounting systems can use previous budgets and other data to forecast and develop a more accurate budget. These systems can also assist with amending current or old budgets.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Accounting Software
Before you implement your new enterprise accounting software, it’s important to create some implementation goals in order to make the process a bit easier. Reduce the chance of any mistakes by keeping these goals in mind.
Create a budget plan and stick to it
One common mistake that companies make when implementing new software is that they bite off more than they can chew financially. Sure, the base price might be the right cost, but as more features are added on, the price can be significantly elevated. Make sure that the accounting software vendor that you go with meets your capital needs as well as your functional needs.
Train employees on new workflow processes
An important step to success is making sure your employees understand the new workflow associated with the implementation of new software. In order for the automated processes to be used effectively, employees need to be trained on their role in the workflow and, depending on the employee’s role, might need to understand the broader picture of the tools included in the software and the processes it will complete.
Allocate IT resources
When new software is introduced, it is helpful to have your IT department on-hand to assist with the migration and the training. Many software companies will provide some sort of training and support, but having knowledgeable people on-site in the form of your IT team can especially help with successful implementation.
Make sure users are happy
It’s a good idea to survey the needs of the employees who will be primarily using the enterprise accounting system to make sure that the solution effectively meets their needs. Before, during and after deployment, you should check in with your employees to see how they are liking the software and if it is working effectively. If you are receiving persistent negative feedback, you may wish to change the functionality included in your specific software package or even go with a different accounting software vendor.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Accounting Software
Basic Accounting Platform Features & Functionality
The basic purpose of accounting is to track incoming and outgoing transactions. However, there are many accounting software tools available to assist in other important accounting aspects, such as payroll and project accounting. Below are some of the basic accounting features that you should look for when making a software selection.
A general ledger keeps note of all incoming and outgoing transactions over the course of a company’s existence. Many accounting software programs allow you to connect your bank accounts to the system so that transactions are automatically categorized and inputted.
Accounts payable is a fancy way of describing the bills/fees that a company owes to creditors, employees, other businesses, etc. For example, monthly rent would go under the accounts payable column. Some software allows you to make payments directly through the accounting program.
Accounts receivable is the money that is owed to your company. Therefore, a customer purchase would be classified as accounts receivable. Accounts payable and accounts receivable go hand-in-hand with one another and are basically a package deal when obtaining software for accounting — you wouldn’t have one without the other. Some enterprise finance software options may allow you to send invoices notifying customers of the amount that they owe.
At its most basic, the payroll feature in enterprise financial software can help you calculate how much money is owed to your employees. The system may also be able to assist in the maintenance of employee records and tracking PTO.
Project accounting is similar to basic accounting but is measured specifically by project. It measures all of the same basic financial aspects such as accounts payable and receivable, but on a micro level. Some attributes included in project accounting software include generation of project cost estimates, billing details and profitability measurements.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Accounting Software
Best Accounting Software Product Features to Consider
We surveyed hundreds of people looking for the top accounting software on the market and learned about the best available features and why consumers want them. Below are some of the most frequently requested functions outside of the standard set.
Your owned assets will fluctuate in value over time, which is why the fixed assets tool in accounting software is so popular. This accounting tool will assist in forecasting matters such as how your lease cost will fluctuate along with measuring potential tax implications.
The billing feature is helpful for automating and streamlining your company’s payments. This tool will assist in tracking and making payments automatically to fine-tune your business processes.
Most people have developed a budget in their lives, whether it be for personal or business purposes. It can be difficult to remember all of the minute expenses that are associated with a budget. The budgeting tool assists in the development of new budgets along with developing forecasts and revising old budgets based on factors such as operating cost.
|Multi-Entity Financial Management||
Multi-entity financial management is a program that may be more beneficial to big companies. This accounting tool assists in developing centralized accounting across multiple departments and business verticals. Some features may include support of transactions made in different currencies and management of changes in legislation.
Fund accounting is used by non-profit organizations to track incoming and outgoing transactions. Some aspects include the tracking of grants and the management of volunteers and employees.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Accounting Software
Compare Accounting Services
Whether you need business accounting software for enterprise operations or a simple solution for your small business, there are numerous options available. There are hundreds of enterprise accounting software vendors on the market, which makes it exceedingly difficult to choose the right one for you. That’s why we’ve developed a tool to help you compare the best financial software to find your perfect fit. With our in-depth comparison report, you can look at how accounting companies compare across dozens of software features.
Questions to Ask About Accounting Needs
If you’re still deciding whether or not an accounting solution is the right choice for your business, ask yourself these questions to try to determine whether or not financial accounting software is right for you.
How many hours per day does my team spend on accounting processes that could be automated?
This question will determine whether onboarding an accounting solution is worth it for your team. If you aren’t wasting time and energy on processes that could be automated, you may wish to continue business as usual. Software implementation does take time and effort, so measuring how much strain there is on your accounting team can help determine whether it’s worth it to make a change.
Do we need accounting software or a bookkeeping solution?
The difference between accounting software systems and bookkeeping software is that in addition to collecting financial data, accounting software also interprets and categorizes that data. Bookkeeping solutions primarily record data.
What specific accounting functions do I need, and is there a software solution that contains all of the necessary features?
Depending on the features that you need in your solution, a different software option or even an integrated solution might be preferred. For example, if you want to integrate your accounting processes with your distribution workflow, you might wish to purchase distribution software or choose an accounting option that can be integrated with the software that you currently use. If you can’t find a solution that encompasses all of your needs, fear not because many solutions are configurable and therefore let you sync different software and features into a streamlined system.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Accounting Software
Questions to Ask Accounting Vendors
Now that you know more about some of the functions involved in enterprise accounting software packages, you can start to consider potential vendors. Before you go into these vendor meetings, you should compile a list of questions about features, cost and user settings that are relevant to your business needs. We’ve created a list of some starter questions to ask accounting software companies when you’re meeting with them.
How much does your solution cost? Is it subscription-based?
As noted in the implementation goals above, cost is a key factor to consider when looking at accounting software solutions. If you can afford the base package but not the bells and whistles needed to make the program sustainable, then you should move on to other options.
What size of business does your solution cater to?
Some enterprise accounting solutions are more well-suited to freelancers, whereas some are more worthwhile for multinational companies. The size of your business is an important thing to mention when speaking to software vendors. Ultimately, these companies want businesses to use their software successfully, so they will be honest about what size of business their program caters to.
How many users can access the software? Is there a fee per user?
Financial software vendors sometimes require a fee per user. If you plan on having a large group of people use the software, this is a cost that you will need to know about up-front. Additionally, it should be noted if there are any limits to the number of people who can access the software under a specific pricing model.
Is the software available for on-site installation or is it cloud-based accounting software?
There are pros and cons to both on-site and cloud-based accounting software. Depending on the needs of your company, you may prefer one of these solutions over the other. Read up on some of the differences between cloud-based and on-site software installation.
What are some of the basic and advanced features that are included in your software?
You’ll want to be sure that the features that you need are included in the solution you are considering. It’s a pain to go through price sheets and other logistic information before realizing that the software doesn’t provide all of the necessary functionality.
Do you have experience working with companies in my specific industry?
It’s likely that you would prefer to work with an enterprise accounting software company that has worked with other businesses in your industry. This industry experience makes the process of onboarding the software and analyzing features that you may need easier on both you and the software provider.
Will the current software that I use integrate with your accounting program
You may wish to integrate your new accounting solution with any existing software that you are currently using for other business functions. Make a list of all of the software that you use and ask the accounting service provider if their system will work with your existing processes.
Top 10 Accounting Software Leaders by Analyst Rating(of 123 products) GET THE IN-DEPTH REPORT
Easy online accounting to organize your finances in one place: QuickBooks puts the things you need most all in one place. Easily do invoicing, accept payments, track expenses, and stay on top of bookkeeping for tax time.
Small Business Accounting Software That Makes Billing Painless. The all-new FreshBooks is accounting software that makes running your small business easy, fast and secure. Spend less time on accounting and more time doing the work you love
Xero is an online accounting software designed to meet the needs of small businesses. The easy-to-use interface helps companies visualize their financial position and monitor performance based on real-time data. The system is designed to connect businesses with third-party advisors and services in order to increase collaboration. This vendor offers a variety of integrations, making the system capable of handling a variety of tasks associated with accounting.
Wave Accounting is an accounting software suite that connects users’ bank accounts, balances their books and syncs their expenses to prepare for tax season. It is designed for small businesses. It is simple, reliable, secure and helps users manage cash flow. It helps users properly assign tasks and processes, and its dashboard organizes income, payments, expenses and invoices. All bank data connections use 256-bit encryption and are read-only. It is PCI Level-1 certified and handles banking and credit card transactions securely.It uses a double-entry accounting module and helps users create professional invoices free of cost. It allows users to create invoices on the go, and sends invoice reminders and emails to clients when payments are due. It also supports mobile expense tracking that scans receipts and lets users create spreadsheets.
Netsuite Accounting assists financial leaders in designing and modifying their bookkeeping operations by pairing finance and accounting capabilities with robust compliance management to increase business performance and financial close proficiency. Immediate access to financial information offers users full visibility to study all the nooks and crannies and expeditiously fix issues. This visibility also enables users to draft thorough statements and disclosures that conform to ASC 606, GAAP, SOX and other financial compliance requirements.Netsuite's key accessories include tax management, general ledger, accounts receivable and payable and cash management.
Deltek Financial Management is afully-featured accounting and billing system that revolves around project. It is developed specifically for project-focused firms, giving you unprecedented insight into companywide performance
Deltek’s Costpoint management suite is designed to serve government contractors of all sizes. It includes support for the entire life cycle of a project and includes accounting, manufacturing, business intelligence and materials management inclusions. It maintains high levels of compliance to ensure government contractors are within successful operational parameters.It is available with both cloud-based and on-premise deployment options and adheres to the ever-growing list of government regulations required of contractors. It helps users streamline daily tasks and complex accounting processes and provides users with valuable visibility into company metrics.
Sage Intacct gives users control over more basic accounting aspects such as general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable. However, it also includes more advanced capabilities that allow customers to individualize the solution based on specific needs. The program enables the creation of configurable dashboards and customized reports.This system is available for deployment both on-premise and through the cloud, making it an effective solution for a variety of companies. It offers role-based functionality to protect the security of information and to ensure that employees only access information that is relevant to them and that they should be privy to.
SAP S/4HANA Finance runs on the SAP HANA platform. It supports financial planning and accounting, financial close, treasury and cash management, accounts payable and receivable, risk management and more.There’s also the option of cloud or on-premise deployment, a common view of all financial and operational data, flexible and easy consumable reporting and automated processes. Capabilities include research and development, supply chain management and real-time financing.
Tipalti is an accounting solution that automates the payables and invoice-to-pay-to reconciliation accounts procedures, allowing companies to adapt and thrive with updated practices while keeping payables hassle-free, safe and more efficient. Its scalability enables users to pay a large population of suppliers for digital goods and services.Supplier and invoice management, payment reconciliation, tax and value-added tax (VAT) compliance and self-billing are some of Tipalti's top features.
Oracle Financials Cloud offers in-depth modern financial management applications and tools that easily integrate and scale as your business grows. This software gives companies real-time insight to minimize costs and increase productivity. Capabilities of this software include collections overview, quick receivables, expense report generation and an accounting hub. -
Odoo offers more than 10,000 integrated business applications for website building, sales, business operations management and employee productivity. It’s available for deployment through the cloud or on-premises, and they offer implementation services. It’s suitable for businesses of all sizes and budgets. Its open-source model and strong technical foundation is developer-friendly and allows users to customize to meet their specific needs. With that being said, it's good for businesses that may have unique requirements. It’s fairly low cost of ownership and ability to centralize all business processes provides ample opportunity for reducing costs. Its integration capabilities allows the user to work from one centralized location, which ultimately can save an organization time.
Manager is a fully-featured 100% Free Accounting Software for Small Business. Available in 70+ Languages and constantly being updated and improved, Manager will take your small business to the next level. Free download for Windows, Mac Linux.
Vena’s financial planning and analysis feature connects Excel spreadsheets, templates and models to one central database operated by a workflow engine. It provides accurate calculations, strong data modeling and a controlled environment. Excel and other traditional spreadsheet tools have intense IT consulting, high cost of ownership and lack of auditability.All spreadsheets come with real-time updates to guarantee your team has the latest versions of their work at all times, and the capability to roll back to previous versions to view and analyze changes over time. Insightful analysis ensures smarter and faster decision making.
Xledger is a cloud-based financial management platform that combines multi-dimensional reporting and devolved budgeting in a single unified module. It automates processes such as bookkeeping, invoicing, asset management and bank reconciliation. It supports multi-entity, multi-currency transactions, consolidating data for all the entities in the user’s enterprise.For charities and nonprofits, it combines donor management and fund accounting. It helps professional services organizations automate and streamline processes through the entire project lifecycle, starting from workflow and ending with payment processing. Users can grow without limits by tracking costs and maximizing profits.
Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage ERP Accpac) assists businesses in managing their finance and bookkeeping needs. It has handy accounts receivable, accounts payable and general ledger accessories to ease routine processes. Companies with intricate corporate structures like multi-entities, franchises and companies with international subsidiaries seek out Sage 300cloud because its general ledger accessory has robust consolidation features and easily ciphers intercompany transfersIts application programming interface (API) and software development kit (SDK) components make it an effective option. It can scale and extends its capabilities to customers in several industries.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (formerly known as Microsoft Dynamics AX) is a highly integrated solution that’s fit for a variety of businesses. Its ability to easily connect to other Microsoft tools enhances its automation and integration features. Its supply chain management and financial management modules are sought after due to their visualization and customization capabilities.The overall centralization of business processes and data is optimized through the automation of tasks such as financial error tracking and predictive intelligence. As a cloud-based solution, this range of information is available to users using mobile devices on the production floor for real-time monitoring. This program has multi-site functionality, which makes it especially well-suited for enterprises. Support packages are included with a software subscription, and advanced training options are available through a diverse set of packages.
Epicor financial management is designed to automate and streamline your financial processes with tools and controls to support complex legislative requirements and create value through timely financial monitoring, including: Accounts receivable, lockbox, credit and collections management; Accounts payable, electronic funds transfer, automated order matching; General ledger, allocations, consolidations and eliminations; Cash management, bank reconciliation, and statement interfaces; Payroll, fixed asset, and tax management; Budgeting, forecasting, and planning
An industry-leading accounting software application of choice, the ASG Financial Management System offers payroll processing, manufacturing, distribution and job project cost accounting functions such as General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Payable and many more. This product offers true value in an accounting software application targeted to the small and mid-sized business market.
In today's competitive world, for any organization, sound financial planning and management is very important to ensure sustained growth and good health of business. For enabling this, you need to have an end-to-end view of your business finances. Ramco Finance Accounting helps you to achieve all this and a lot more. The solution can help transform your hitherto administrative financial tasks into well-synchronized processes to enable the best possible financial supply chain management.
There are different types of accounting softwares to fulfill the needs of different types of business ventures on the basis of their utility, like: AccountMate SQL SoftwareAccountMate Express SoftwareAccountMate Enterprise 2015 Software AccountMate Enterprise 2015 Express Software AccountMate LAN SoftwareAccountMate Cloud
Acumatica enables users to centralize transactions and to view a company’s financial status in real-time. The program connects features such as the general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and tax management to ensure that information is portrayed across all accounting aspects.This system is available for deployment both on-premise and in the cloud. It’s especially beneficial for businesses that are small- or medium-sized. The solution was purchased by EQT Partners, the owners of IFS AB, in June 2019. The vendors remain separate but share a chairman, resources and capabilities.
Budget Maestro’s enterprise budgeting software streamlines the entire budgeting and planning process. By greatly simplifying the task of data collection, Budget Maestro dramatically shortens budget cycle time as well as improves accuracy and relevance of results… and does it all without the aggravation of spreadsheets
DENALI FUND is a fully-integrated, affordably-priced accounting and financial management software package designed for nonprofits. With full conformance to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) as mandated by FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board), DENALI FUND is particularly valuable for entities that must balance multiple fund ledgers.
SapphireOne provides a complete solution that integrates all aspects of your business enterprise, enhancing enterprise wide performance, speed and competence. SapphireOne ERP financial accounting and business enterprise accounting software solution provides Accounts, Inventory, Job/Project Management, Assets, HR, Payroll, Document management, Business Activity Statement (BAS), Standard Business Reporting (SBR), VoIP Softphone, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) all in the one application. SapphireOne allows for unlimited companies and has multiple tax jurisdiction functionality. The application is deployable on both Windows and Mac OS environment concurrently.
SutiAP, an integrated SaaS-based payables product, streamlines the entire payment process by automating the every phase of invoice-to-pay process. The solutions works with any accounting system, simplifies cash management workflow and gives more control over the payment processes, resulting in greater insight on the complete payable procedures.
Focused on financials only and spans all three market segments: small, medium and large enterprise organizations. Multiview clients reside in over 40 industries, with many being listed on one of the major north american stock exchanges. Multiview is a unique supplier in this market because its products are industrial strength with enormous functionality and the ability to handle large transaction volumes. Over time, we have established ourselves as a premier tool for organizations looking for quality software and a supplier who can execute. Multiview has a single tool that offers: financial, BI analytics, ad hoc reporting inquiry all driven by a point and click/drag and drop interface.
The DocVue e-invoicing solution is a fully automated invoice processing solution that delivers efficient, cost-effective, and timely processing of AP transactions. Leveraging electronic document capture, best-practice workflows, repository management and unparalleled ERP system integration, DocVue e-invoicing enables organizations to: Improve efficiency, Reduce costs and Streamline processes
Focus i is a revolutionary product that combines business intelligence (BI) tools with traditional ERP implementations enabling users to run statistical models, analyze data, extract, and generate business intelligence reports on the go.
Sage 100 Fund Accounting is the award-winning financial management solution preferred by nonprofits and government agencies for planning and managing budgets, increasing transparency and accountability, and producing accurate reports.
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