When starting up a business, there are a plethora of tasks to complete before one even thinks about flipping on the “open” sign in the window and anxiously awaiting the first customer or client to stroll through door. The never-ending list includes, but is not limited to, creating a business plan, figuring out financials, choosing a name for the business, setting up an accounting system, etc. While this list may seem overwhelming, we are here to lessen the burden by reviewing a few of the most popular accounting programs on the market and providing some insight as to which may be best suitable to the industry in which you are building your business.
A business owners first instinct will be to record everything in an Excel spreadsheet. While this is certainly not incorrect and will suffice in the short-term, a more organized approach to your financial records will be a necessity in the near future. The sole purpose of any accounting software is to record and process transactions through core modules such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, the general ledger, billing, inventory, etc. Below are three universally used accounting programs for small to medium sized businesses and some of the features they offer.
The most widely known accounting software for small to medium sized businesses is QuickBooks. The software prides itself in being very user friendly which is a plus for start-up businesses. QuickBooks offers all of the essentials that a start-up small business needs including cash flow management, tracking your expenses by linking your bank account, inventory, invoicing, taxes (such as sales tax and even payroll). QuickBooks also offers several other features. For example, setting up on line payment options for customers, which guarantees fast payment to boost your cash flow in the long run. Another plus is QuickBooks offers an online version that is cloud-based. This allows multiple users to be on the software at one time.
Intacct is a newer software on the market that is quickly becoming a favorite of business owners around the globe. Intacct prides itself on being a cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and the first-choice accounting software for businesses that are outgrowing their current accounting program, such as QuickBooks. Being cloud-based, one can access all financial data and reports from anyplace, anytime, which is ideal for businesses with multiple locations. Intacct also features project accounting that makes managing project finances, contracts and job costs all visible in one place which is very useful to project based companies such as government contractors. Intacct also integrates with Salesforce, one of the most trusted and popular CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software out there, to increase productivity with both projects and clients. Once your company begins to expand Intacct is a first-class program that will increase productivity throughout the company.
3. Microsoft Dynamics SL
Microsoft Dynamics SL is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software for project-driven businesses that require project management and project accounting features. SL contains the base core modules that help with tracking expenses and cash flow such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing, etc. Microsoft Dynamics SL provides project based companies, such as construction, with project management modules that will track job costs and labor so one can see how much money the company is losing or gaining on a specific project, and material management to help reduce project delays and improve customer service. Another key feature is its integration with Microsoft Excel and other Microsoft apps such as Outlook. One can import data from Microsoft Dynamics SL to Excel to manipulate and edit data entry.
Keep in mind we’ve chosen to review the three accounting programs that Devine Consulting uses for all of our clients, but there are other accounting software available on the market. Choosing an accounting program can seem like a difficult task for those that know little about bookkeeping, but it is a necessity. Calling a local accounting/bookkeeping firm in your area will help ease the pain of choosing a software that best fits your business and most give discounts on the software if you hire them to do your bookkeeping. Take a look at some of the benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeper here.