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.
BOARD is a fully-featured data discovery platform, offering users BI, business analytics and enterprise performance management under the hood. Customizable and interactive dashboards give users the ability to see a high-level overview of their business, as well as drill down into their KPIs to assess business performance goals. Serves mid to large companies across various industries. The platform offers unique, customizable dashboards, which allow the user to dig down to the lowest level of detail, while also giving users a comprehensive view of their complete business.
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.
Make sure the right people are in the right place at the right time for your classes or activities with Amilia's staff management module. You can link staff members to facilities and activities at the same time, streamlining the scheduling process and ensuring that participants, coaches, support staff and managers are aware of any changes as they're made.
Solver BI360 is a corporate performance management suite of four modules that assist organizations in boosting productivity and accelerating decision-making processes: reporting, data warehouse, dashboards and analysis and budgeting and forecasting. It can be deployed either on-premise or in the cloud and integrates with many data sources, including accounting, ERP and CRM. It caters to growth-focused organizations, from small businesses to large enterprises, and serves customers across the globe with its teams located in North America, Latin America, Africa, the Asia Pacific and Europe.
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.
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.
An integrated suite for maintenance, materials financial management. With proven cost savings, the 4Site suite of software solutions for CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) and EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) integrates your need for effective finance, asset maintenance, purchasing and inventory management into one complete package.
aACE is a comprehensive tool that seamlessly supports the sales, operations, and accounting needs of SMEs. As the letters in our name suggest, it unifies accounting, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning into an integrated package. Functionality includes inventory, order management, production, shipping receiving, and scheduling. Built on the FileMaker platform, aACE can be customized easily, efficiently, and cost effectively. Solves the inefficiencies and lost opportunities that arise from a software suite not fitted carefully to a small or mid-sized business’ unique needs.
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.
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.
ForeMost software works the way your business works today. A complete suite of applications that easily integrates with accounting, payroll, reporting, business intelligence software, .NET, Web Services, and SQL Systems. You must see ForeMost if you are considering upgrading your business software. Foremost ERP Fund Based Accounting Solution facilitates Integrated, Grant Based, Cost Accounting!
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.
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.
BQE Core offers business accounting, time tracking, project management, and business intelligence. Core supports a wide range of industries, including accounting, architect firms, engineering, legal services and many more. You can access BQE Core from any browser or device and experience full functionality, the native mobile apps includes iPhone and Android devices. Core also carries over 200 customizable report templates to generate different invoice types from; retainer, recurring, hourly, fixed, per complete and more.
Over 9,000 customers are moving their organizations forward with Sage Intacct’s best-in-class ERP financials. How can we help you? By automating your accounting processes, so you can stop worrying about merely keeping up with growth. And increasing your total business visibility, so you can start deciding how to drive growth. Why? Because Sage Intacct is 100% invested in meeting the needs of the finance team, 100% focused on customer success, and 100% committed to the cloud. That’s who we are, and always will be. Grow better every day with Sage Intacct.
Odoo ERP, formerly OpenERP, is the #1 open-source ERP platform and integrated business app suite in the world. With Accounting, Manufacturing, Service, Inventory, Marketing, Retail, eCommerce and many more apps Odoo is winning over more traditional ‘big name’ competitors. As a trusted partner of Odoo, Vayam delivers top-notch consulting, service and support for your critical business projects.
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.
Unit4 Business World On! enables service-centric organizations in the public and private sectors to gain a significant advantage over their peers with this ERP. Its leading-edge architecture facilitates faster innovation at a lower cost and with less disruption. The result is more opportunity and smarter operations.
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.
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.
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
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 AX is for global enterprises that supports industry-specific and operational business processes, along with comprehensive, core ERP functionality for financial and human resources management. Microsoft Dynamics AX has been compared to traditional Tier 1 systems such as Oracle and SAP, and yet has proven to be a more cost-effective and equally powerful.
Compete with the Biggest in Business - You’re competing with the biggest brands—but you don’t have their economies of scale. Modern best practices are built into Oracle’s cloud applications for finance, putting you on a level playing field with enterprise competitors. Leverage the built-in best practices of Oracle ERP Cloud to standardize operations, add digital capabilities, and support future growth. Oracle's modern, integrated cloud applications deliver the functionality, analytics, security, and collaboration tools you need to run your business.
Reflex Enterprise Solutions is an on-premise or cloud hosted Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for the construction industry. It is designed for small to mid-sized companies and offers a full suite of applications geared towards land and construction management, manufacturing and distribution verticals. All fully integrated with financial fixed asset management, HR/payroll, dashboards, web portals and more.
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.
SAP Business One is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small and mid-sized discrete and process manufacturing companies. This all-in-one manufacturing solution provides the accurate, real-time information that growing manufacturing companies need to effectively run their day-to-day operations.
NetSuite ERP delivers the proven, comprehensive financial management capabilities required to grow a changing, complex business. NetSuite ERP takes your business beyond traditional accounting software by streamlining operations across your entire organization and providing you with the real-time visibility you need to make better, faster decisions.
Sparkrock is an all-in-one solution for large and midsize Nonprofit organizations. It offers Finance Accounting, Workforce Management, Payroll, Employee Scheduling and Donor Management. Each module can be purchased separately or over time and all work together integrated. Sparkrock offers Nonprofit Human Services specific finance features such as Fund Accounting and Grant Management. Workforce Management features include certification and training tracking, scheduling DSPs and Case Workers across multiple locations, time and attendance tracking and overtime pay controls. Donor Management features include managing pledges, campaigns and tax receipts.Sparkrock’s self-service portal gives managers and employees secure access to information in the finance (budget analysis, expense claims, purchase orders) and workforce management (Pay stubs, Tax forms, vacation requests) system on any device, anywhere.Built on the MS Dynamics platform, the solution is available on premise or via a cloud subscription and integrates with other elements of the Microsoft suite.
Bring agility and efficiency to your manufacturing by using an integrated solution that optimizes production planning, project management, operations and activity scheduling, and cost management. Create your ideal manufacturing mix and support your manufacturing processes throughout the supply chain. Optimize manufacturing principles for each product family, including make to stock, make to order, pull to order, configure to order, and engineer to order.
Sapphire Systems is a gold partner of SAP that builds, extends, sells and develops solutions for SAP. The organization is well-suited for global businesses in various industries. The reseller also offers assistance with aspects such as consultancy, project management, implementation, cloud deployment, support services and technical development.SAP Business One software itself is an effective option for small and medium-sized businesses. It’s available for deployment both on-site and through the cloud. A variety of add-ons are available for the program, meaning it can be tailored to meet a company’s specific needs.
Tipalti provides the world's most powerful mass payments management solution, automating the entire process of making payments to global suppliers and partners. Tipalti provides one cloud system that includes white-labeled supplier onboarding, W9/W8 tax form collection and validation, payment method and currency selection, global remittance, early payments, payee payment status communications, payment reconciliation, and 1099 / 1042-S tax filing preparation reports.
Connected Enterprise Accounting ERP offers powerful set of tools to manage all aspects of a growing business in a multi-user environment. Connected Enterprise builds on the Core Accounting product with powerful inventory and job costing options additions.Like the core product, data can be shared by both Mac and PC users. Key sectors that Connected Enterprise is focused on are: Distribution, Manufacturing, Not for Profit, Medical or Food Supplies, Service Organizations, and Importing/Exporting.
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.
Acumatica ERP delivers adaptable cloud and mobile technology with a unique all-inclusive user licensing model, enabling a complete, real-time view of your business anytime, anywhere. Acumatica provides the full suite of integrated business management applications, including Financials, Distribution, Manufacturing, Project Accounting, and CRM. There is only one true Cloud ERP platform designed for mid-sized customers – Acumatica. EQT Partners, which owns IFS AB, purchased the system in June 2019. The companies now share resources, a chairman and capabilities.
Acumatica delivers industry specific business application suite for medium size companies around the world. From online accounting to feature-rich ERP + CRM applications, the flexible and integrated solution include: Financials, Distribution, Manufacturing, eCommerce, Construction, Professional Services, Field Services, Business Intelligence, and CRM. Acumatica can be used in a variety of industries and is easily customized to fit your companies needs without coding. Each component is fully mobile to allow access from anywhere on any device using a common browser. Acumatica offers flexible licensing and deployment options and is easily expanded for a growing business. Acumatica can be implemented on your existing servers or in a modern cloud hosting environment, saving you significant upfront hardware costs. And since Acumatica is priced by resources and not by number of users, you never pay extra to add more users, encouraging collaboration inside and outside the company. The program was acquired by the owners of IFS, EQT Partners in June 2019. The companies share a chairman and leverage shared resources to improve capabilities.
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