The best accounting software is….

…all of them! And none of them! There is no one-size-fits-all best accounting software. What works best for one company isn’t necessarily the best for another – even if they’re the same size and same industry. It’s important to review a number of factors before narrowing down your choices:

  • Desktop or online?
  • Single user or multi-user?
  • Single company or multi-entity?
  • Automated backups required? To the cloud?
  • Accountant access for tax preparation and/or annual reports?
  • For-profit or non-profit?
  • Privately held or public corporation?
  • Basic A/P, A/R, General Ledger, Financial Statements only?
  • Extra modules for Sales, Order Entry, Purchasing, Inventory, Employees, Payroll, etc.?
  • Industry specific modules for construction, healthcare, service-oriented, etc.?
  • Payroll and/or sales tax reporting built-in?
  • Year-end tax reporting, 1099s?
  • Integration with third-party services, SalesForce, ADP, industry specific software?

A Starting Point

That’s just a beginning, some food for thought. Even a small business may need the more advanced options, such as a restaurant using restaurant management software needing integration to the accounting software to avoid re-entering sales, inventory and expense data or a kiosk in a mall using a phone app to accept credit card payments needing integration to the accounting software to record sales, undeposited funds and reduce inventory. For any business with employees, built-in payroll or integration with services like ADP or Paychex becomes critical to manage cash without wasting time re-entering data. And every time data is re-entered, it’s another opportunity for mistakes to creep in, requiring reconciliation between the two services or programs, costing time and money. It may seem that choosing the cheapest accounting software is saving money but if it lacks critical functions or integrations, it can end up being the more expensive option.

What’s the answer for your business? I’ll explore that step by step in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!