By Alex Hamilton

For small businesses, software is one of the most vital and fundamental tools for running your business successfully. To be a successful business owner, you need to be on top of all inbound and outbound accounts. Losing track of your accounts can often lead to late payment penalties, loss of income and poor future planning.

One of the most important software programs you need in your business is accounting software. Accounting software provides you with ample information, vital to the successful operation of your business. There is a variety of different brand’s offering different accounting packages, so I’ve put together a guide to help you invest in the right accounting software and support for your business.

Know Your Options

There is a vast catalogue of different software providers, each with their own user interface, features and capabilities. Your first task should be to understand which accounting software providers are out there and what products they can provide. Some of the most well-known software providers include:

  • Xero: Practice Manager
  • Sage: HandiSoft
  • AIMS Securities Tax Manager
  • MYOB: Accountants Office, Accountants Enterprise
  • AusKey
  • Attache

Once you have narrowed it down to a single provider or select few, you should then consider the different types of accounting software they carry. Look for a supplier with vast experience in a wide range of accounting software that can also provide expert advice and support. Discussion with experienced providers will give you a better understanding of what options are out there.

Work Out What You Need from Your Accounting Software

Your accounting software is one of the most fundamental parts of running a successful small business. As business owners know, having user-friendly and comprehensive software lowers administration time substantially, giving you more time to focus on the day-to-day operations.

Make a list containing what you will be using your accounting software for. For example, you might need a few of these key features to help with running your business:

  • Payroll
  • Inventory management
  • Tax reporting
  • Budgeting capabilities
  • Ability to track sales
  • Ability to manage customer contact information or integration with your current customer contact management software

These are only a few features available in different types of accounting software. What you need will be completely unique to your business and the industry you are in. Understand the features you need now, and will likely need in the future to ensure you are only paying for the necessary essentials and not wasting money on unused features.

Get Some Advice and Ask Questions

Once you’ve found a reputable accounting software provider, it’s important to ask them for their professional advice on which software is right for your business.

A few of the most important questions to ask include:

  • Will the system calculate all payroll requirements such as annual and long service leave?
  • Does the system have the capability to handle multiple bank accounts?
  • Can the system operate with multiple foreign currency amounts?
  • Why is this accounting software right for my business?

There’s are only a few of the most common questions you should ask your supplier. For some more great questions, head over to this list at the Business Know How blog.

Set Up Your Systems

If you don’t have any previous experience in setting up accounting software for your business, it can often seem quite overwhelming. Accounting software can be complicated and requires a substantial amount of time and effort to ensure all necessary information is inputted into the system.

The best way to ensure you have a smooth transition from set-up to the daily operation is to stay in touch with an expert support team. While setting up the system, speak to professionals who have set-up these systems thousands of times and ask them any questions you need to be answered. Good support teams will provide a fast response making your efforts much more stress-free.

Ensure You Get Expert Support

During the set-up and when using the software moving forward, you will likely come across hurdles. It is important to ensure you have the right support to received expert advice on how to overcome them in a timely manner.

You might not fully understand how to use a key feature, or wondered why the program is not performing to your expectations. Quick and educated advice ensures you can solve the problem fast and get back to more important tasks involved in running your business.