Choosing the right business accounting software is a big decision. There is a lot of factors involved, and with so many options to choose from, the task can seem overwhelming. So, it’s no surprise ”which is the best business accounting software for me” is a question we hear often from potential clients. The short answer is, “it depends.” Because there are so many businesses and their needs differ, there’s really no one accounting solution that is a perfect fit for all.
But, before you get frustrated and hit the back button on your browser, let me clarify. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a best accounting software system for your business. In this blog post, I will show you some things to look for when searching for your business’ personal answer to the question, “which is the best business accounting software.”
When just beginning the search, many people assume choosing the best accounting software is all about finding the right set of features. While this is part of the equation, the reality is you‘re very unlikely to find a perfect match between a system’s features and your needs.
Keeping this in mind, the next most important things to look at when trying to answer the question, “which is the best accounting software for me”, is flexibility. The best solutions will adapt to your company’s overall needs, and the way your accounting department likes to work.
You want the system to adapt to fit your needs, not the reverse. It should make a user’s job easier, not harder. The good news is, over the last decade, accounting software has come a long way with flexibility. Many of the best business accounting software solutions on the market today allow you to adjust the system to fit your needs, with no programming knowledge. So, users can be more productive, without needing help from a developer.
Sometimes, having the latest and greatest technology is best. But, in this case, maybe not. Since your accounting system is so important to the success of your business, you cannot afford to overlook the vendors stability and track record. You want to make sure many organizations are already using the solution you choose. Hopefully at least some of these will be in your own industry.
That’s not to say by choosing a mature accounting software package, you will not get to take advantage of the latest technology. Leading ERP companies put a lot of time and effort into keeping their solutions updated. With time, the cool new features being offered by those brand-new accounting packages will come to the tried-and-true options. Experienced accounting software vendors like to make sure new features have proven themselves in the market before adding them.
The Software Provider
You should go into your accounting software buying decision thinking of the vendor you choose as being a long-term business partner, not simply a supplier of a product. You must check into their financial stability. It’s important to find out whether they have the resources to support the product in the years to come.
Also, you’ll want to look at their track record. Have they won industry awards? Do they have testimonials and case studies from current customers? Looking at these resources is an important part of the accounting software research process. Use them to get an insight into a vendor’s client satisfaction rate and learn whether their solution can truly solve the business problems it claims to.
Also, once you’ve put together your short list of potential accounting software vendors, it is always a good idea to ask each vendor for references. They should be able to supply you with the name and contact information for one or two clients you can talk to directly. Ideally, these organizations will work in the same industry you do. Ask them what problems they were trying to solve with the software and whether it helped. Also, this is a good opportunity to find out what the vendor is like to work with. Find out what the implementation process was like. Did they run into any issues? If they did, what did the vendor do to resolve them?
Other useful questions you’ll want to ask:
- If the company were looking for accounting software today, would they choose the same vendors/product?
- What advice do they have for another organization in their industries who is considering this accounting software?
- What do they know now, they wish they had known before buying or before the starting the implementation process?
- Would they recommend this vendor to others? Why or why not?
The next important factor to consider when answering the question, “what is the best accounting software for me.” is community. Look for user groups, discussion forums, conferences, blogs, knowledge bases, created both by the software vendor and users/partners. These things are good signs the vendor has a lot of satisfied clients and is commits itself to the future of its product. Talking to people in these communities before you buy is also another great opportunity to get an outside perspective on the quality of the software, its outlook for the future and the support offered by the vendor. If you can’t speak to references as I suggested above, this is another way to get the same information. Either way, the more people you can talk to, the better.
Aside from helping you make a smart buying decision, an active community offers an additional layer of support. When you have a question about your new software, they can be a goldmine of (free) answers.
Truth in Advertising
Does the product offered for the price seem reasonable, or too good to be true? If the answer is the latter, beware. The accounting software market is a crowded, very competitive one. In order to capture market share fast, some vendors may promise low upfront costs, but then leave you surprised with the lack of support given after the implementation is complete.
As with most things, it is smart to be wary of the lowest bid. When comparing vendor proposals, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Ask each one for information on ongoing costs, not just upfront costs. This is key to understanding what each solution will cost you over its foreseeable lifetime and will help expose any hidden costs before it’s too late.
There you have it. These are the most important things our experts recommend you consider when trying to answer the question, “which is the best business accounting software for me.” Now you’re armed with this information, I hope choosing the right accounting package just got a lot less scary.
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Have questions? Need expert help to choose the right accounting package for your business? Contact us! Our friendly experts have over 25 years’ experience helping businesses, of all shapes and sizes navigate the complex world of business accounting software.