Imagine what would happen to your business if you woke up one day, started running through your balance sheet and discovered huge discrepancies. (Houston, we have a problem.) Accounting is a fundamental part of running a successful business and accounting software for SMEs – small and medium-sized enterprises – can often mean the difference between business bang or bust. Use the right accounting SME software and everything runs like a well-oiled machine. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll break the bank – literally.
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This article will cover important factors like what questions you should ask as you conduct your search, how new SME software will impact your business and which vendors offer the best solutions for small businesses.
Here’s an overview of where we’re headed:
What to Consider When Selecting Software
Before you even start the process of gathering information for your ideal bookkeeping SME software, keep these 10 questions in mind:
- How many users, if any, will need access to the software? Is there an option to restrict access for specific users?
- Is it desktop sufficient or is the mobility provided by a cloud-based program necessary? (More on that below)
- What are the essential features to run the business? E.g., if you have inventory, you’ll need a way to track it or if you have employees, a payroll option is essential.
- Is the software designed for a specific industry such as manufacturing or construction?
- How can the program save you time and hassle with options like automatic tax calculations and recurring invoices?
- Are any fees added to the base cost? Is a free trial version available?
- What types of customer service and tech support does the provider offer?
- How is data protected? Are there security measures like encryption and authentication in place? How is data backed up and restored?
- Can you add features or upgrades as needed to enable the software to grow with your business?
- Is the software compatible with your bank so you can download transactions?
Asking these ahead of time will make your job a lot easier and help weed out options that are not aligned with your business requirements.
SMEs, or small to medium enterprises, are the backbone of any economy. In fact, 99.9% of all the companies in the US are small businesses, which means you’re not alone in facing some of the most difficult challenges in your day-to-day operations. Challenges such as targeting new customers while retaining current ones, raising brand awareness, finding competent and motivated employees and more. And you have to do all this while keeping a finger on the pulse of the current trends and technologies in your industry.
Still, one of the biggest problems your business can face is cash flow issues. While sometimes that’s a result of economic downturn, more often the culprit is poor planning or lack of a thorough, organized accounting process. That said, the right software brings some considerable benefits. Some accounting SME software reviews list these as some of the top benefits:
- Avoid penalties and take advantage of discounts by having full control over your accounts payable, and make sure you get paid in time with enhanced control over accounts receivable.
- Gain new levels of insight into your cash flows and payment processes.
- Track all transactions with seamless scaling and implementation of new products or services, and find new ways to improve overall efficiency in the process.
- Receive alerts when your invoices have been sent, seen and paid by clients.
- Send electronic estimates and quotes that can transform in invoices when clientele approve them.
- Obtain real-time insights on bills and KPIs so you’re never in the dark.
It’s no wonder professional accounting SME software is in such high demand. To ensure steady business growth, you need to take advantage of professional accounting help. Let’s face it: you don’t want to become one of the 50% of businesses that fail within the first five years, or the mere 33% that survive the first 10. Your goal is to maximize your chances of making it where others don’t and implementing the best practices for managing your funds is a vital part of the process.
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Is Cloud or Local Better?
A key consideration is whether to choose a local or cloud-based solution. It’s no secret that the cloud is the way of the future (and the future has arrived in many cases). So, what makes the cloud a better option for SMEs?
- Mobility and Ease of Access: Track changes on the go, from anywhere using any device.
- No Upfront Commitment or Investment: Cloud-based software often uses a subscription model that’s relatively easy to understand and affordable to install.
- User-Friendly: Vendors usually design systems with small business owners in mind. The non-technical terms and easy-to-use interfaces mean that even with limited knowledge in accounting, you can learn the intricacies of the software in a short time.
Of course, without an internet connection, cloud-based software can’t function, and while it’s unlikely your provider’s servers will go down, it’s still possible. Also take into account that with a subscription model, you pay for the software for as long as you use it, whereas the costs for local software tend to decrease after the initial onboarding phase. However, local solutions require maintenance, so both options produce expenses in the long run.
Both local and cloud-based options have their advantages and drawbacks, and as always, keep your requirements in mind during the selection process. But the ease of use and core functionality of cloud-based solutions make them the better choice for most small businesses.
According to accounting SME software comparisons, there are common features as well as unique modules made by a particular seller. Take every accessory with a grain of salt — just because it’s popular, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily ideal for your SME accounting practices. These components are:
- Inventory Management: Receive instant updates and insights on the quantities of your merchandise in stock with this feature to avoid inventory shortages or overstocking.
- Bill Management: It’s feasible for you to manage all your bills and payment deadlines in one place thanks to an exemplar bill management tool.
- Reporting: Receive thorough KPIs including profit and loss, customer balance summaries, accounts payable and accounts receivable aging summaries amongst others with a proper reporting tool.
- Sales Tax: This module automatically ciphers and establishes the proper sales tax rates based on or outside of your location.
- Invoice: Draft personalized invoices and review when your clients see and pay them with this apparatus.
- Estimates/Quotes: A proper estimate or quote appliance establishes thorough estimates and quotes including payment terms, discounts and other line items.
- Bank Reconciliation: An epitome bank reconciliation module allows you to efficiently connect, upload and reconcile bank transactions to ensure accuracy across the board.
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