Gone are the days when paper ledger books were used to help a business keep on track with their finances. These have been replaced by accounting software, which reduces the potential for human error, makes financial data easier to track, create invoices and help assess a business' performance. The cost of using the software can be off putting for small business owners, but the time saved in doing their accounts and the potentially lower accounting or bookkeeping fees if they use either service are well worth considering.
We chatted with accountant Chris Mercer from MBP Advisors + Accountants for expert advice on selecting the best accounting software for your needs.
Top Tips On Selecting Your Business' Accounting Software
In New Zealand, business owners have a multitude of accounting software solutions to choose from including MYOB, Xero, Recon, Cashbook Complete, pwrBooks, Quickbooks, CashManager, LedgerLite, Zoho, Wave and Quantum. It would be fair to say that the main players in NZ are both MYOB and Xero, with many accountants and bookkeepers recommending these options. However, it is your decision as a business owner as to which software option you work with. Here are some great tips (the first four are from accountant Chris) to help you make that decision:
- Choose accounting software which will scale as your business grows,and has the flexibility to support the long-term success of your business.
- Pick the accounting software product which offers the key features you will need to run your business efficiently. Don’t cut out the essentials you need to save a few dollars but likewise, don’t burn money on software with features you’ll never use.
- Ensure any software is well supported and is capable of integrating with your existing systems. The right software choice can save hundreds of hours a year in admin time, but if you need to upgrade or change other systems, you can lose this efficiency and savings.
- Some accountants insist you use Xero because it works best for them. While it is a great solution, you need to choose the software that is right for you.
- Do you want software which is accessed via the cloud, or one which is physically stored on your PC? A cloud based version can be used at multiple locations and by people you have shared access with.
- Identify your budget, as realistically this will play a role in your decision. There may be a yearly fee, a payment option or even a set-up fee to consider.
- What is your skill level at using IT? Some software is easier to use than others. Some also offer more free support via videos or informative articles than others, so check out their level of free support too.
- If you are using an accountant or bookkeeper, which software can they support you with and use? If you use one and they another, things will probably get tricky. But like Chris said, you need to ensure the software is right for you first and foremost.
For further advice on how to select your accounting software, have a chat with a bookkeeper or an accountant such as Chris or one of the great accountancy businesses listed here in our NZ Business Directory.