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 SME accounting software and everything runs like a well-oiled machine. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll break the bank — literally.
This article will cover important factors like what questions you should ask as you conduct your search, how new accounting software will impact your business and which vendors offer the best solutions for small businesses.
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Here’s an overview of where we’re headed:
What You Need to Consider When Choosing Your Accounting Software
Before you even start the process of gathering information, keep these 10 questions in mind:
- How many users, if any, will need access to the software? And is there the option to restrict access for specific users?
- Is desktop sufficient or is the mobility provided by a cloud-based program necessary? (More on that below)
- What are key features essential 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? And 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 upgrade 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 not aligned with your businesses requirements.
How Accounting Software Keeps Your Business Afloat
SMEs, or small to medium enterprises, are the backbone of any economy. In fact, 99.9 percent 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 accounting software brings some considerable benefits. Here are a few of the top:
- 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
It’s no wonder professional accounting software for SMEs is in such high demand. To ensure steady business growth, you need to take advantage of professional accounting help.
Because let’s face it: you don’t want to become one of the 50 percent of businesses that fail within the first five years, or the mere 33 percent 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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Top Accounting Software Options for Small Businesses
Luckily, technology advancements have made professional accounting software much more accessible to small business owners, providing most of the same functions as traditional accounting help.
Naturally, companies have capitalized on the demand, leading to a plethora of choices. Hop on Google, and it’s not hard to find an SME accounting software touting its services. Each business has different needs, and to accommodate the variety, accounting software solutions offer a diverse range of features, such as billing management, distributed order management, payment processing and supply chain and inventory management to name a few. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to find a solution that fits your exact needs.
With all the different accounting software out there, how can you know which is right for your business? We’ve put together a handful of the best cloud-based accounting systems for SMEs. Let’s take a look: