Your Accounting System Can Give You a Range Benefits

Think of an accounting system as having a ticket to ride—only you get to choose the individual stops along the way, and exactly how much time or money you want to invest. From computerized to manual, from big name to a few singly-purchased applications, your accounting system can be a key tool that gets you from “here” to “there” in terms of increasing and managing revenues.

Accounting software for small businesses has been part of a general industry consolidation since the 1990s, and has made significant advancements toward delivering user-friendly modules that help businesses save time and resources. An accounting system can be purchased outright from a vendor, developed by your own team, or a combination of the two.

What should your accounting system offer?

The core modules, of course, will be part of your accounting system.  The top accounting software includes accounts receivable and payable, the general ledger, billing, your business inventory, cash book and a place for future orders.

Other features that may not be standard in an accounting system include applications to track debt collection, payments made electronically, and a module for tracking your team’s expense reports. Payroll can be integrated into your accounting system, as well as timesheets.

If you choose an accounting system that is computerized, it should be able to give you information on all your accounts quickly and simultaneously. An audit trail should be available, especially as changes occur throughout the year to your operations.

Your accounting system should be able to “talk” smoothly, and get along, with your other existing programs, such as Excel. Another important resource an accounting system can provide is the capacity to seek and find errors, like unbalanced transactions – saving you unlimited amounts of time and money. You should also be able to establish your internal controls within the accounting system, across your departments.

In the mid-range of the accounting system, in comparison to the low-range, features begin to be much more customizable. For example, an accounting system in the mid-range may allow you to integrate other business processes simultaneously, like management information, or add special features for handling individual projects.

Industry-standard databases are typical in mid-range and higher accounting systems, like MySQL, Oracle or PostgreSQL. Reporting tools are also usually standardized, like Crystal. You may also have the opportunity to control certain applications, such as utilizing program coding or other defined functions.

At the high end of an accounting system are some solutions like ERP software (Enterprise Resource Planning).  If your accounting system allows ERP, you’ll be managing and integrating things like human resources, your company’s assets and other systems along with your accounting information.

A high-end accounting system can sometimes be put together piece by piece, according to the exact specifications of the user. The time for implementation may be longer, and  the financial investment may be greater, but the payoffs can also be great as your business runs smoothly and you can pinpoint areas for change or growth.

As you’re doing your homework on choosing an accounting system, know that the time and effort it takes means you are providing a smooth flow for your company’s vital information, and setting a foothold in the path for your future success.