If you’re in the process of choosing a small business accounting software, here are some tips.
Every small business owner goes through a period where they come face-to-face with time management issues. While they know they must concentrate on growing their business, marketing it, and reaching a larger audience, they often have a hard time accomplishing those goals simply because they spend far too much time putting out one fire after another. For these small businesses, it’s not a question of commitment. Instead, it’s a question of the type of processes some of them must rely upon.
A number of small business owners still use manual paper processes, timesheets and excel sheets. Not only do these processes require time to fill out, but they also take time to reconcile and track. More importantly, none of these solutions are live, none of them operate in real-time and none of them are accurate. In fact, most business owners don’t even know there’s an error until it’s too late. Accounting for these errors and correcting them is time-consuming and costly.
Putting an end to these aforementioned issues involves choosing an accounting software that simplifies how you manage your small business. The right software will make it easier to focus on growing your business, instead of being inundated and bogged down with paperwork. To help you make that choice, here are some criteria to consider when making a go/no-go decision on online accounting software.
You want a well-recognized, easy-to-use software that is simple to implement, simple to use and easy to manage. You don’t want to struggle because you lack the support needed to work through minor problems. Your choice should include a software platform that provides support via a 24/7 service center, one that allows you to find quick solutions to minor issues.
The best software solutions for small businesses will provide you and your team with training, while also keeping everyone aware of any upgrades. In fact, some solutions provide free-of-charge training. Without this functionality, you and your team will be spending more time working on problems than any of you can afford to. Therefore, make sure you get the support you need.
2. Operating in the Cloud
Why is operating in the cloud an important criteria when choosing your small business accounting software? First, there are guaranteed to be times when you’re out of the office or traveling on business visiting important customers. When that time comes, you want to keep track of what’s happening back at the office. Second, your customers are constantly mobile, constantly on the move and always looking for answers. When you’re face-to-face with that customer, you want to give them the information they need when they need it.
Accounting software solutions like Sage 50 allow you to access your software via any terminal any time. You’ll have access to unlimited technical support, while also being able to stay on top of your cash flow by tracking your receivables and payables. Additional options include mobile invoicing and advanced inventory updates so that you know what you have available in inventory and when.
Mobile invoicing is a fantastic solution if you have field-service technicians or salespeople on the road. They can immediately generate an invoice right from your customer’s location, which means you’ll invoice faster and get paid sooner.
3. Simplifying Payroll Management
The best accounting software for small business must include the ability to manage payroll. This means filling out a single W-2 form electronically and having immediate confirmation that it’s compliant. However, it’s not just about making sure those aforementioned W-2 forms are properly filled out. It’s also about having a software that is up-to-date with the most recent government regulations and labor laws. After all, you’ll be submitting your tax forms once a year and they must be done properly or you could face a penalty for incorrect or late filings.
4. Inventory Management
Every business has to finance its inventory. Your small business is no different. As such, your accounting software must provide you with essential information about inventory counts, incoming shipments from vendors, and expected delivery dates for outgoing shipments to customers.
Replenishing inventory is much easier when you have an accurate inventory count on raw materials and finished goods. Without this essential tool, you’re left with reconciling inventory via outdated information. Your software should help you find a balance between carrying too much inventory versus carrying too little.
Some accounting software solutions allow you to create a bill of materials, generate packing slips, while also reconciling inventory counts in multiple warehouses. Having an up-to-the-minute cost summary of inventory is critical to maximizing your profit on sales and making timely deals with customers. Another benefit is the ability to complete your end of month financials without concern for the accuracy of your information.
5. Better Customer Management
In the end, it’s all about better managing your customers. The best accounting software for small business should provide multiple payment options for your customers. Your customers should have the options to remit payment by credit card, by check, by debit, or even by PayPal.
The more options you provide the happier your customers will be. These options will also allow you to compensate your customers for prompt payments. The best solution is to incentivize your customer to prepay and then reward them for that loyalty with additional discounts on future purchases.
6. Tracking Historical Sales Figures
The best way to manage sales and customers is to rely upon historical sales data. Your small business accounting software should empower you to use historical sales data in order to identify potential seasonal buying patterns. Not only will this help you better manage sales, but it will also help you better manage your inventory. Your sales team will better manage their customers’ requirements, while feeding you with more accurate sales forecasts.
Choosing the best accounting software for small business shouldn’t be a laborious or time-consuming task. It merely involves identifying what your small business needs and why. It starts with putting an end to those aforementioned paper processes and streamlining how your business operates on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, you need a software that puts everything at your fingertips so that you’re never left questioning the validity of the information right in front of you.
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