Accounting Software 101 – The Best Options On The Market
No matter the size or industry of your business, you absolutely need an accounting system, whether that be old-school or made easy with accounting software. At Smartie, we believe that having the right accounting software for your business needs is the best way to ensure you are running your business effectively and smoothly.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is accounting software?
Accounting software programs allow businesses to balance their books, run accounting reports, and perform other tasks like managing contacts, invoicing customers, and ensuring all payments are processed correctly.
What are the main benefits?
- Keep finances in order
- Manage your clients, customers, sales and more
- Makes tax time bliss
- Invaluable insights
Invest in your business processes:
Accounting software can be free, depending on how small your business is, but most of the time there is a monthly fee so you can access all of the features you require. If your business needs a more in-depth accounting software program, the fees are likely to be higher but are generally worthwhile if your business turns a decent profit each month. Not only will you gain access to the benefits above, but you will be able to customise your accounting experience and have more support from customer service.
What do you need your accounting software to do?
Knowing exactly what you want out of the software is the key to ensuring you don’t overspend or invest in the wrong program.
Here are some key functions a basic accounting software offers – consider which ones you need;
- Basic invoice automation (like recurring invoices)
- Basic invoice customizations
- Contact management
- Vendor management
- Expense tracking
- Bank reconciliation
- A customizable chart of accounts
- Accounts payable
- Time tracking
- Project management
- Journal entries
- Sales tax
- Multi-currency support
- Importing & exporting capabilities
How Much Accounting Experience Do You Have?
Carefully consider how much you already know about accounting. What is your experience with accounting? Are you just get started or are you a seasoned expert? Your level of accounting experience significantly affects which software you should choose.
If you own a business where you will employ someone to work the accounting software for you as part of their role, ensure to ask them which programs they are familiar with as well. The better they know a certain program, the less time will be spent learning how to use it. For small business owners who don’t know much about accounting or balancing the books, you’ll want an easy to use software that has good customer service and lots of support resources to help answer your questions. For business owners who are very familiar with accounting, you may want something that sticks more closely to true accounting and gives you more features and control.
One of the best ways to tell if you like the software is by signing up for a free trial. Almost every accounting software app offers a free 30-day trial or a demo of some kind. Be sure to use this to familiarise yourself with the software. Ask yourself if the organization of the software makes sense, if you like the features offered, if the customer service is easy to reach, and if you like using it overall. If you don’t like the software, then it’s not for you and you can move on to find a better option.
How Important Is Mobility To Your Business?
If you run your business on the go or from multiple locations, you’ll want cloud-based software with strong mobile apps. Check customer reviews on the App Store and Google Play to see how the accounting software’s mobile apps rank. Another thing to check is whether your accounting software can be added to your POS system for easier syncing and usage.
Do You Need Specific Integrations?
Does your business currently use any other business programs like MailChimp, Salesforce, TSheets, Gusto, or WooCommerce? Do you process payments using apps like Stripe, PayPal, or Square? When considering a potential accounting software, make sure the software integrates with your existing business apps. If you don’t currently use integrations but would like to, especially for accepting invoice payments directly from customers, make sure the software you choose has plenty of add-ons and payment gateways to cover your business’s needs.
How Much Does Good Accounting Software Cost?
Prices vary for accounting software, so there’s something for every budget — even if that budget is $0. There are good free accounting software options, and well as many affordable small business options. Many accounting programs use the SaaS pricing model, meaning you pay monthly for the software, although there are a few that use yearly subscriptions instead.
While each accounting software has its own unique pricing, here are the prices ranges you can expect for each business size:
- Freelancers: $0 – $20/month
- Small Businesses: $0 – $30/month
- Medium-Sized Businesses: $30 – $50/month
- Larger Businesses: $50/month +
- Enterprises: Up to thousands of dollars a year depending on number of staff and what it is to be used for.
We understand that there are so many different options on the market, so instead of sifting through each one, we have picked the top 5 for you to consider.
The main contenders:
- Xero: This online accounting software connects you to accountants & bookkeepers, your bank, & helps get you STP compliant. A free trial is available and pricing starts from $12.50. Xero is an easy to use platform that has an app for easy access.
- Reckon One: Easy & affordable accounting software with features to run every aspect of your business, prices starting from $8. More advanced plans allow you to manage employee expenses and more. They also offer a 30-day free trial.
- Rounded: Rounded makes accounting and invoicing straightforward with the tools you need to get organised and get paid. This software is perfect for freelancers and self-employed individuals who want to keep their finances in check.
- MYOB: As one of Australia’s most popular and powerful accounting software providers, MYOB can handle anything your business needs. Whether that be, saving time, automating admin or helping you grow your business, they have plans for everyone. Prices start from $10 per month.
- Wave: Free invoicing & accounting software with credit card processing & payroll services. Every Wave product you use brings you closer to a complete picture of financial success. A free plan is available as well as a more comprehensive pay per user plan.