What to consider when selecting accounting software for your business

Accounting SoftwareIn the course of the year at Piligrim Accounting Inc. we deal with a large number of small businesses who need to set up and maintain reliable accounting software that meets their needs.

Companies need to maintain strict records of revenues, expenses, other financial information and data about clients and their accounts.
Having software that allows for access to timely reports on which long-term business growth decisions can be made is vital to your success.

But with so many excellent software programs on the market in Canada, how do you determine which one is right for you?

We advise all our clients to do their research before making their decision. You can only select the right software when you know two essential things: first, what your needs are, and second, if the software will meet those needs.

Six considerations in buying accounting software

1. Determining your needs: It makes sense to start with a needs assessment. With your accountant and bookkeeper, make a list of the key functions the software needs to do. Make sure the list includes the compilation of key reports (list them), the reality of whether it can be compatible with your larger corporate software programs, and what kind of controls you require.

2. Make sure there is room for growth: You are likely looking at a new system now because your current system is inadequate or you are allotting too much time and money into doing things manually. So take the steps as part of your planning process to ensure that any system you purchase now will fill your needs in the foreseeable future. Is there room for your company to grow with this software? Will it work well for you for five or even 10 years? Admittedly with the rapid pace of change in technology, you may be wanting to change sooner than that, but some basic systems don’t change that rapidly. Just make sure that they offer a high degree of flexibility.

3. Ensure there is adequate support: Just as the service department is as important when you are purchasing a car as the sales department, so should you ensure that any software purchase you make comes with an excellent support system. If you are planning to hire a consultant to help you integrate the software and train your staff to use it, involve them in the pre-buying stage so that you can gain more insight on support available and ease of use.

4. Secure the best buy: The software market is highly competitive and prices for identical products can fall into a variety of ranges. Make sure you do your homework and get the best value for your investment.

5. Buy the features that you need: The corresponding advice is to avoid being sold a raft of features that you do not need now. If you aren’t sure about a feature, find out if it is something that can be added at a later date if you need it then.

6. Consider both document and workflow management: Some companies are dedicated to being completely paperless while others have a comfort zone of printed files. Make sure that the system you buy matches your corporate goals in this regard. For example, you will need built-in workflow systems if you are going to go entirely paperless.

Getting the help you need

At Piligrim Accounting, we have particular expertise in the following software programs:
– Sage 50 Accounting – Small Business Accounting Software
– QuickBooks Desktop
– QuickBooks Online
– Sage 1 (Cloud accounting system)
– Wave accounting (Cloud accounting system)
– Freshbooks (Cloud accounting system)
– Xero (Cloud accounting system)
We are part of the professional community for all of these softwares and are proud to be a Sage 50 Certified Consultant, QuickBooks online Pro Advisor and QuickBooks Desktop Pro Advisor.

We can assist you with software setup and maintenance as well as train and support new and existing users of the software program to unlock the full value and potential of the accounting software so you get the most out of your investment.

Piligrim Accounting Inc. also customizes your books within the software for your unique business needs and checks on data integrity and year-end close procedures.

We can also let you in on the tips and tricks that making using your software easier.

Certified professional bookkeeper and certified tax specialist Elena Ivanova is managing director of Piligrim Accounting Inc., a national accounting and tax preparation service based in Richmond Hill, Ont. You can reach her at info@piligrim-accounting.com.

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