Why You Need To Compare Accounting Software Carefully Before Deciding

Starting and growing a small business can be satisfying and rewarding. However, when it grows too big and too fast, you can start to lose control of the financial details. Before you know it, you can be in serious trouble. Small business financial software can help you regain control of your business to ensure growth continues, but how do you begin to compare accounting software?

There are many quality accounting solutions available in the market, and even from the same companies. You can also get the same functionality by installing software on your computer, accessing it online, or paying a hosting company to serve it for you. To compare accounting software for your company, you need to take some time to gather and review information from the different providers. Don’t get hung up on a feature list; you must first consider your company’s needs and look for financial management software that meets those needs when you compare accounting software. Even the smallest of companies need the ability to print invoices, track expenses, receive payments, print labels, and manage products and services; but be careful not to buy more software than you need. Consider the following areas as you compare accounting software.

Ease of Use

Accounting is difficult enough without using a complex software solution as well. Compare accounting software solutions that require minimal training so that users can be productive quickly. The user interface should be intuitive with standard controls and navigation techniques. Desired functionality should be quickly accessible and execute easily.

Help and Technical Support

If you’ve never implemented and configured accounting software, you may need help. Compare accounting software vendors’ technical support offering. If possible, look at the User Manual to see that it is well written and logical. Review the application’s help files and FAQs. Many providers offer only limited technical support, even during warranty periods.

Accounts Receivable/ Accounts Payable

This is standard functionality found in every accounting software solution and includes the ability to invoice, create purchase orders, cut checks, and ship product. There are solutions that customize these features for specific industries, so keep it in mind when you compare accounting software.


Compare accounting software for its ability to transact with your bank, including automatic and direct deposits, check printing, and completion of deposit forms.


A comprehensive accounting program will include functionality to manage employees and payroll.  The software will calculate hours worked, benefits earned, standard and optional deductions, and employment tax reporting. Many programs enable you to print checks or initiate electronic payments.

Inventory Control

For manufacturing and distribution companies, managing raw material and finished goods inventory is a critical service that needs to be considered when you compare accounting software.  Typical functionality includes tools to track products by CPU or SKU numbers, store by bin number or location, and alert management as stock levels are reduced.

Job Costing

Specialty manufacturers will want job costing functionality to control and manage the costs associated with each job order.  Knowing costs lets the company price product and bids accurately.

Fixed Assets

Your company may want to track fixed assets, such as office equipment, company cars, and computer systems.  The accounting programs calculate operating costs and depreciated costs of the asset.

Upgrade Ease and Cost

If you plan to migrate to a new application, compare accounting software installation and upgrade requirements to identify unexpected costs and eliminate difficult products


Reports are the output that makes accounting software so valuable. Most leading solutions offer many great reports, so confirm that every report you need is included as you compare accounting software. Also note whether the program allows you to create custom reports.

It may seem like there is a lot to consider when you compare accounting software, but plenty of information is available and most vendors offer free trials of their programs. Just jump in and start researching. The best solution for your company will be apparent shortly.