7 Things to Consider Before Buying Small Business Accounting Software

The world of small business accounting software can be a minefield for any business owner. However choosing the right package is one of the most critical business decisions you will make.

Here are the seven things you must consider before making a purchase that will help you achieve your businesses goals.

1. Scalability

Businesses change over time so it’s critical that the small business accounting software you choose can change too. Some

things that often change are the number of products and services offered and the number of employees. When you choose your package try and imaging the business in 5 years or 10 years time and how different it will be. Use this information to guide your purchase decision. It may well be better to pay a little more now for the software knowing that it can be easily

upgraded when needed with minimum disruption and cost to your business.

2. Support

It is important that any software has great support for when something goes wrong (and it always does). Most major companies

offer support but you also need to think about support in your local area. It’s often much easier to have someone locally

come in and do things you need done with your software than have someone trying to help you over the phone. Make some

enquiries with other businesses about the package they use and who helps them.

3. Accountant Interface

It’s most unlikely you will handle every aspect of your businesses accounting. Your accountant is an important factor in making the right decision. What software are they used to working with and what do they prefer? Can you easily supply them data and reports from your package without the need for any extra work (which you’ll have to pay for). Don’t be afraid to ask their opinion as they live and breathe this stuff.

4. Best Value For Money

Once you have selected the right package for your business you may as well get the best value. Shop around as the price can

vary greatly and the product is exactly the same. Online merchants such as Amazon may offer better pricing because of the sheer volume of products they sell. However price is only one part of the equation so if their is great merchant locally with support or installation assistance this may be far more valuable.

5. Major Brands

There are two major players in the small business accounting software market. They are QuickBooks and Peachtree. Microsoft is expected to enter the market soon. I recommend choosing a major brand so that you can get regular updates and you know the company will be around as long as your business needs them.

6. Ease of Use

Ease of use is a personal thing but it is worth trying the software before you buy it if you can. Remember to get the person who will be the main user to test the software as well. Also consider how well the package can interact with other software you use. This is an advantage the Microsoft package may have when it’s available.

7. Features Needed

I touched on this earlier when talking about thinking ahead as to where you business will be in 5 or 10 years time. Most

accounting software packages come in several different versions. If you don’t need certain features now and can’t see a need for them in the future then don’t buy them. The major differences are usually – number of users allowed, inventory management capability and number of reports available.

To sum up think ahead when planning your purchase of small business accounting software. You will make a much smarter

business decision that will save you plenty of trouble and money in the future.

Is It Easy to Change From My Current Accountant to Another Small Business Accountant?

When you run a small to medium business, your accountant plays an important role. As well as helping you stay on top of your BAS and tax obligations, your accountant should be able to help you create a plan to grow your profits and secure the future of your business.

If you do not feel as though your accountant is giving you the right guidance to optimise your financial performance and financial position, you may want to consider changing accountants. You can change accountants at any stage during the financial year.

Why change to another small business accountant?

Your accountant plays such an important role in your business and should be working with you on the below:

  • Business forecasting – To help you plan ahead and create budgets and cash flow forecasts
  • Profit dissection – By examining your revenue streams, your accountant can identify where to focus on increased income
  • Expense analysis – Break down the costs of running your business to see where you can potentially save money
  • Asset advice – Which areas of the business should you spend money on and how can you make your assets work for you?
  • Liability analysis – What parts of your business are holding you back financially?
  • Regular financial health checks – A good accountant will keep in touch with you throughout the year, not only at tax time, to make sure you are on a budget and on track to achieve your goals
  • Education – To allow you to clearly understand what is going on with your numbers
  • Future planning – You and your accountant should work towards forming a strategy for the business in the long term, including selling the business or winding it down so you can retire

If your accountant is not covering the points in the above table, it is likely there are a number of areas where your business could be improved financially. In this case, it is a good idea to consider a new accountant.

Before you look for a new accountant, take the time to do some research. As well as meeting the above criteria in terms of the day to day management of your finances, there are some things to ask yourself about what you want from your accountant:

  • Communication requirements – Do you expect your accountant to respond to your calls quickly?
  • Expertise – are there areas of your business you need your accountant to focus on?
  • Reliability – will your new accountant meet deadlines for deliverables?
  • Technology – does your accountant use software which will integrate easily with your systems?
  • Values – what are the values of the accountant? Are they aligned to yours?

How to switch small business accountant

Before you move to a new provider, ideally you want to tie up all your loose ends with your current accountant.

Select your new accountant before you move on as they will need to communicate with your previous accountant.

From there, it is time to break the news. You may choose to give your current accountant a call and explain that you’re moving on. If they are professional they will part with you on good terms and wish you all the best.

It is the responsibility of your new accountant to get in touch with your previous accountant to request a transfer of your financial information. In Australia, it is ethical best practice for your old accountant to comply and hand over the information.

Once your new accountant has your figures and financial statements, make an appointment for the both of you to review your business. Now is the time to explain your trouble points. Talk about your business and personal goals so your accountant has a clear picture of what you are striving for.

Starting a relationship with a new small business accountant can feel daunting, particularly if you know your finances are not in the best shape. However, there’s no time like the present to get on the right track and set yourself up for financial success in the future.

Cloud Accounting Systems: Best Solution for Small Businesses

Over the past few years, how small businesses manage their invoicing, accounting & Bookkeeping, have gone through radical changes. Today, an increasing number of businesses are opting for cloud-based accounting systems to streamline their core processes. If you own a small business, you may be on the lookout of a way to make business record keeping a bit easier so you can build your brand and grow your business.

In fact, you have many reasons to choose a cloud-based accounting software like Xero. Quick Books Online (QBO), MYOB for your small business. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons.

1. Easy Access

With a cloud-based invoicing app, for instance, you can access your figures no matter where you are. Since all the info is hosted on a remote server that is always up, you don’t need to download and upload anything.

You can use your mobile/smart phone to view your files from anywhere. There is no need to sit in your office. Accessing your accounts will be a piece of cake even when you are on the move. You just need a smart mobile device with internet access.

2. Up-to-date Files

All your business data is hosted on the cloud. So, you can always get an up-to-date view of your business financial status. This can help you make informed decisions to make your business stronger in terms of finance.

On the other hand, in case of the traditional accounting system, you have to scroll through tons of pages to view the reports. With a cloud accounting system, you can check your finances in real time.

3. Simultaneous Access to files

Business owners need to keep in touch with their accountant for updated financial records, especially when it comes to filing tax returns at the end of the year. You know that this process takes a lot of time, and costs a good deal of money. Small businesses can’t afford to spend that much.

A cloud-based accounting, on the other hand, you and your accountant can view the same records in real-time, which means you can enjoy a more valuable experience. There won’t be any need to exchange files through email. The same files can be accessed by several people simultaneously.

4. Cost effective / Less Costs

With the development of cloud based accounting solutions, small business accounting system had been reduced drastically, i.e. individual business do not need to have their own computer equipments, networking, software and IT professionals to maintain their system. They pay small nominal monthly payment for these services, and rest is handled by cloud based accounting solution.

5. Reduced Clutter

It can be a challenge for you to keep your paperwork in order. Over time, invoices, receipts, and expense mount up. A cloud-based accounting app helps you import your paperwork and check all the figures at a glance. As a result, there is almost no chance of manual error. Plus, you can manage your records without the need to handle a lot of papers. So, if you want to get rid of all the clutter from your office, using cloud accounting software is a great idea.

Long story short, this is the right time to switch to cloud accounting software. We are not in the era of desktop-based software anymore. So, if you are an ambitious small business owner, we suggest that you give a go to cloud accounting in order to keep on top of your finances.

6. Security

Above all security is the most prominent for these types of services. Provider of CBAS has got Iron Clad type security equivalent to internet banking security.

7. Being Topical

This is the latest technology and the business owner and their staff will be happy to handle this technology and enjoy the benefits on the go/on the fly.