If you’re in the process of choosing an accounting software for your small business, here are some ways to simplify the process.
I’ve worked tirelessly to make my small landscaping business a success. As such, I fully understand how much time and effort is required to make a small business work. However, the mistake I made was thinking I could do it all by myself. Granted, I have employees who help me onsite at the customer’s location doing manual labor. However, in the beginning I relied too much on myself to track my business’s finance. I was convinced that I could handle everything else that goes along with managing a small business. Ultimately, it was my biggest mistake.
I’ve worked tirelessly to make my small landscaping business a success. As such, I fully understand how much time and effort is required to make a small business work. However, the mistake I made was thinking I could do it all by myself. Granted, I have employees who help me onsite at the customer’s location doing manual labor. However, in the beginning I relied too much on myself to track my business’s finances. I was convinced that I could handle everything else that goes along with managing a small business. Ultimately, it was my biggest mistake.
Accounting was never my strong suit. I found it laborious, time-consuming and I always made errors on my calculations and financial statements. Therefore, I decided to simplify my life by relying upon an accounting software so I could concentrate on other aspects of my business. Ultimately, I came up with a list of tips when looking to make that all-important decision on purchasing small business software. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best accounting software for small business, then this list might just come in handy.
Choose a Cloud-Based Solution
There are guaranteed to be times when you’re out of the office or at your customer’s location. It’s during these times that you want to be able to check upon things back at the office. Make sure whatever software you choose provides the option to access your information remotely via a mobile device, handheld computer, tablet and or laptop.
Sage 50 is an example of a software that remains on your desktop at the office, while also allowing you to benefit from the functionality of accessing that software remotely via the “cloud”. You can also choose the number of users that have remote access to the accounting software, thereby controlling your costs even further.
You can access your account via a tablet, cell phone and or mobile app. This allows you to generate immediate invoices, reconcile sales and inventory counts, while also providing your customer with updated information about their account in real-time. It’s a critical option and one that will allow you to check up on important items no matter where you are.
At one time all my invoices were done manually. As is often the case with manual paper processes, my invoices almost always had an error somewhere. Then I started to rely upon excel sheets. Unfortunately, one single error in a single cell completely ruins everything. Nobody has the time to check each cell every time an invoice is generated and I certainly didn’t. It was only later that I found out about the error and it was often my customers that pointed them out to me. You never want that to happen. The best accounting software for small businesses should have the option of generating immediate invoices at any time.
If you own a small business like I do, being able to generate those invoices in front of your customer is a huge plus. They’ll know exactly how much they owe and when they should pay. Inaccurate invoices are costly as they delay the time it takes to get paid. Delayed payments are hard on cash flow. In fact, being able to have your customer confirm their charges instantaneously is a huge selling point. There’s no discrepancy, no confusion and no ambiguity for either of you. The charges are clearly defined and well-understood for all involved.
One of the biggest mistakes I made initially with my business was limiting my customers’ payment options. The best accounting software for small business should allow you to accept multiple forms of payments. This includes allowing your customer to pay by credit card via your merchant account, by PayPal, by check, with cash, with electronic checks, by wire transfer, or even with your company-supplied loyalty cards and or gift cards. Make sure your customers can pay in whatever way they feel most comfortable with. Your small business software should make it easy for customers to pay and for you to be paid. Some platforms allow you to scan credit cards onsite via a mobile app, which was a huge selling point for me.
Reconciling Financial Statements
I thought that financial statements for a small business would be simple to reconcile. I was wrong. The best accounting software for small business will simplify how you generate your financial statements because it will all be done in real-time. My manual paper processes and excel sheets were only updated when I had time to update them. However, a software will track your inventory counts, keep you abreast of incoming customer payments, while also helping you track your own bill payments.
I learned early on that managing cash flow was a continuous process. I lacked the visibility I needed to properly manage my cash position. The right accounting software will allow you to better manage your finances by linking them directly to your bank account. You’ll have a better understanding of all your expenses, your profit, and most importantly, you’ll know exactly what your net profit is at the end of a given month or quarter.
Nothing is worse than making an error on an employee’s pay. Nothing makes them more nervous or apprehensive than when they think something is wrong with your small business’s finances. Paying employees should be easy. The right software will save you time, money and help you avoid costly payroll errors. You should only have to fill out that information once and never have to worry about its accuracy again.
My small business isn’t as heavily reliant upon inventory as other small businesses are. While I need to properly manage my landscaping equipment, I rarely, if ever, have any extra inventory to worry about. However, I do have multiple spare parts and consumables to purchase from time-to-time. The software I chose makes it easier to make those purchases simply because I knew exactly how much cash I have on hand at any given time. However, if your business sells products then your software should keep track of your inventory counts, while also making it easier to manage bill payments to vendors and creditors.