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 124 products) GET THE IN-DEPTH REPORT
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.
NetSuite ERP provides businesses in a wide variety of industries with the tools to automate and centralize processes across departments. This includes tasks such as financial management, distribution, CRM and supply chain management. This solution is cloud-based and is available whenever and wherever, as long as you have an internet connection. Additionally, this tool is customizable and has a relatively low cost of ownership due to its automated software maintenance. It provides real-time data insights across workflows and includes the option to build dashboards that are unique to your business.
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.
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.
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.
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. -
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.
QuoteWerks is a turn-key quoting and proposal solution (CPQ) with over 80,000 Users in 101 countries. What sets QuoteWerks apart is its 55+ integrations with CRM, Accounting, Distributors, FedEx/UPS, Leasing, Sales Tax, Microsoft Word, Dell, Cisco, HP, CDW, NewEgg, Provantage, and more. QuoteWerks is used by companies in almost every industry and by companies of all sizes.
Sage Business Cloud X3 allows its users to collect data from various workflows and use those insights to inform and streamline operations. Automation can be implemented between processes such as sales and financial management to reduce the manual time spent on data entry and tedious communication among departments. For example, with Sage, the sales team could give discounts on products and have them instantly reflected in the financial system upon receipt of payment. This tool is available as both an on-premise and a cloud-based solution. It isn’t catered towards a specific industry or business size, which makes it a potential option for a variety of businesses. Sage offers a range of software that can be integrated relatively easily with this program so that you can customize your solution based on your specific needs. External services can also be implemented through APIs.
Oracle ERP provides a single location to manage and look at business processes across an organization. It allows users to visualize real-time information using dashboards. It also contains advanced financial management tools to streamline workflows and improve revenue.Can be used to help ensure regulatory compliance with industry and government standards. It also allows users to keep track of projects that they are working on and to allocate resources. Can improve vendor negotiations and reduce communication issues through its centralization of information.
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.
WinTeam is a business administration solution intended to systemize operations, harmonize accounting practices and offer transparent understandings of profitability. Users can employ WinTeam to integrate with other departments throughout an organization such as human resources, payroll and analytics to create a cohesive experience. WinTeam also integrates with TeamTime and eHub to optimize attendance management and provide a self-sufficient portal for employees and clients. Other key features include analytics, accounting and KPI overview.
BQE Core is a solution that measures every aspect of a business such as earned value, cash flow, job costs, project margins, client profitability and more through artificial intelligence. Users gain access to crucial data on all devices from virtually any location Users can establish automatic invoices for clients, conduct project estimations, design and deliver reports and monitor the performance of their workers. BQE Core also offers integrations with Google Drive, MYOB AccountRight, QuickBooks and Amazon among others.
Consolidate all manufacturing and distribution processes into a single, user-friendly business system. xTuple is affordable, enterprise-class business management software technology for small- and mid-sized companies, especially companies who need control over growth, operations and profitability. Includes all critical supply chain functions: accounting, sales, customer and supplier management, inventory control, purchasing and operations, manufacturing and distribution. Features Include: Enterprise-level accounting, Fully-integrated CRM, Hosting available in cloud or on-premise, Runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, mobile, Plan with MRP, MPS or Lean Scheduler, Unlimited financial ad-hoc report writing, and sales service Web Portal.
Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage ERP Accpac) establishes a unified and productive system for small and mid-sized companies. Some essential capabilities include accounting and finance, inventory and warehousing and customer service.
Projector PSA aides groups in managing and streamlining the delivery procedure from start to finish. It handles initial planning, project management, resource scheduling, time and expense tracking, budget management and invoicing. It can integrate with CRM and accounting solutions to coordinate and boost workflows. Projector PSA's modules include project accounting, resource scheduling, performance and satisfaction.
When you want to improve visibility and profitability across your construction business, you need ProContractor™ by Viewpoint. As the industry's only all-in-one cloud software solution for estimating, project management, and accounting, ProContractor helps you manage the entire project lifecycle from bid to project completion in a single solution to collaborate easily and make decisions with confidence.
For over 30 years, Chempax has been helping Chemical Process Manufacturers and Chemical Distributors cut costs, improve operational efficiency and make better decisions faster. Combining the latest technological innovations with our chemical industry expertise, Chempax address you unique requirements of your industry and offers total integration for the daily demands of your business with powerful functionality options. Chempax is seamlessly integrated allowing you to see rapid ROI without missing a beat.
Founded in Palo Alto in 2000, Xledger provides the world’s most comprehensive and automated Cloud ERP to 10,000+ clients in 50 countries. Empowers clients in three ways: automation, insight, and scalability. We automate processes ranging from work-flow and invoicing to bank reconciliation. Powerful insight drills down to the most granular level of an organization’s data. Xledger’s peerless scalability gives every organization room to add new entities. Implements seamlessly and updates quarterly. Multi-tenant solution configures to client dimensions rather than requiring costly customization.
Vista by Viewpoint is a construction accounting solution. It is integrated and can be scaled and configured according to the requirements of the business. It reports time-critical financial data to decision makers, and connects field personnel, office staff and extended team seamlessly. It makes it easy for managers to view the real-time status of the current project. It maintains RFIs and critical tasks from all stakeholders while managing risk and tracking revenue. Its support team helps migrate from outdated software platforms by helping at every stage of deployment.
IBM Financial Performance Management solutions help companies of all sizes automate and transform planning, reporting and analysis processes. IBM solutions help you anticipate performance gaps, analyze root cause, assess alternatives and enable more effective decision making and execution.
Apprise is a fully-integrated, enterprise-wide ERP solution designed specifically for the consumer goods industry – built to fit the needs of importers and distributors that market or manufacture fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as toiletries and cosmetics, non-durable goods such as food, wine and apparel, or durable goods like electronics and home furnishings.
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
BroadPoint is the largest Microsoft Dynamics Gold-Certified GP, SL, AX and CRM partner in the Mid-Atlantic. In addition, BroadPoint is also a NetSuite solution provider. Delivers ERP, CRM and membership management tools to nonprofits, associations, professional services firms and over 400 clients across the country
NetSuite OneWorld addresses the complex multinational and multicompany needs of organizations. It enables businesses to adjust for currency, taxation and legal compliance differences at the local level, with regional and global business consolidation and roll-up. Get unprecedented visibility of your business worldwide in real time, ensuring consistent, compliant management across the organization, locally and globally.
Penta Technologies is a construction accounting and operations tool that incorporates industry best practices by providing standardized processes. It is available for commercial and industrial contracting, field service and engineering firms. It brings construction accounting and project management together. It simplifies inter multi-company management and makes collecting field data easier. It also provides daily analytics to decision makers. It is also available on mobile for more efficient and flexible field data collection. It has cloud hosting capabilities, which gives teams the ability to access data on their devices. Users also benefit from 24/7 data security features.
Clearview InFocus is a project-based accounting and project management solution that helps A/E firms manage project lifecycle that includes sales, PM, data analysis and invoicing. Key features include business intelligence, project management, CRM, automated billing process and real-time accounting.
Blue Link ERP provides integrated inventory management and accounting ERP software for small to medium size businesses, and is best suited for those in the wholesale and distribution industry. As an all-in-one system, Blue Link helps businesses streamline and automate their processes by providing inventory management, accounting, order entry, warehouse management, and customer relationship management. In addition, Blue Link provides various add-on components such as point of sale, lot tracking, landed cost tracking, eCommerce integration and barcode scanning and can be customized in order to meet the specific needs of clients.
Open Systems offers you complete ERP software with a fully-integrated accounting software to exceed all of your accounting, manufacturing, distribution and enterprise resource planning needs and everything in between.
Available on-premises or online, Sage 100 ERP (formerly Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) can deliver what you need—from up to the minute accurate financial, manufacturing, and distribution data, to remote access through the cloud for field sales and service teams—you’ll have visibility into your operations so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.
ProcessPro offers the market leading batch process ERP solution. ProcessPro Global is built on the world’s most accepted technology, spanning the broadest set of functional capability and providing the ability to customize without the penalties commonly experienced with other software vendors. Offers a robust enterprise resource planning tool with full manufacturing, inventory and financial integration - from beginning sales order entry through the manufacturing and accounting process. The software solves the critical needs of batch processing, including forward and backward lot traceability and the management of complex formulas and recipes. The fully integrated quality control functions eliminate the need to re-enter data, and the centralized database provides immediate and accurate visibility of sales, manufacturing and inventory across your business.
FinancialForce can accommodate the most diverse and complex financial needs. The perfect complement to Salesforce CRM, it brings back office data to the front, allowing companies to align sales, services and finance on a single cloud. It includes advances like a single ledger design and a multidimensional chart of accounts, which give you real-time business intelligence and help shorten period close cycles.
TRXio is an asset tracking and management platform that is available as a cloud-based solution for businesses of any size. Provides real-time tracking of inventory, shipments, purchases and product usage throughout the warehouse or storage facility. Designed to organize inventory and create a consistent storage process, helps clients save money and improve employee accountability.By drilling down into daily inventory processes, TRXio can help cut down on manual tasks while discovering where an operation is having issues. Discover where employee time is being lost while optimizing included workflows to strengthen weak points.
Sage Live is an integrated cloud accounting solution that empowers small and medium businesses to achieve their ambition by reducing the time spent on low-value tasks. By offering full integration with Salesforce and thousands of other business apps, Sage Live enables businesses to benefit from a single real-time source of information so they can manage efficiently their business.
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