Long gone are the days when business accounting meant tallying up your finances with a calculator and recording them on a paper ledger.
Today, accounting software is essential to running a successful small business, and the earlier you implement a reliable accounting software solution the better.
These range from basic free accounting software solutions to full-suite small business accounting software with additional features like inventory management.
Some small business accounting solutions are downloadable, but these days it’s more common for accounting software to be hosted in the cloud, which means you can access them from anywhere on any device.
Not sure where to start with accounting software? We’ve put together our top tips for finding the best accounting software for your small business.
1. Make a list of must-have features
Different businesses have different accounting needs, and not all accounting software is designed to cater to every need. With that in mind, make a list of some of the most important features you want your accounting software to have. These might include:
Tracking sales, expenses and profits in real time
Most businesses need to monitor sales, expenses and profits. Being able to do this in real time from any device is important if you’re often on the move.
Creating and sending unlimited invoices
The faster the invoicing is done, the faster you’ll get paid. With the assistance of cloud-based accounting software, you can invoice in real-time, reduce the manual effort and speed up the payment process.
Tracking and managing sales tax
If you’re registered for GST in Singapore, you’ll need to be able to track and manage sales tax on orders via your accounting software.
Most but not all cloud-based accounting systems offer some level of integration capabilities. Depending on your needs, look for a system that can easily integrate with other critical software, including:
- eCommerce e.g. Shopify, BigCommerce
- POS e.g. PayPal, Square
- Customer relationship management e.g. Method:CRM
- Payroll e.g. gusto
- Project management e.g. BigTime
To be successful, you need to be able to track your financial performance and plan ahead. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to look for accounting software with built-in business reports.
Most accounting software providers offer varying levels of support. Some providers offer free support included in your subscription, while others charge extra.
2. Consider tax time & your accountant
If you work with an accountant at tax time or throughout the year, you’ll want to choose accounting software that allows your accountant to access your financial data.
Some accounting software subscriptions will require your accountant to subscribe separately. With other subscriptions, you can designate your accountant as one of your users. Alternatively, as a minimum you should be able to import or export key financial data to share with your accountant.
What software do accountants use?
This really depends on the accountant and their typical client base. Many accountants who work with SMBs use accounting software like QuickBooks Online, which is designed to handle the end-to-end needs of small-to-medium-sized businesses.
Other accountants who work with enterprise-level clients may use software designed to support much larger and more complex businesses and payroll networks.
3. Keep a budget in mind
There’s a huge variation in the cost of accounting solutions, ranging from free accounting software through to enterprise-level solutions that cost thousands of dollars a month.
As a small business owner, you’ll probably want to choose a solution somewhere above a bare-bones free offering but below a top-tier product.
Also remember that many cloud-based accounting software providers offer subscription tiers with varying features – so you can scale monthly costs up or down as your business needs change.
4. Make sure it’s secure
It goes without saying that you want your business’ financial data to be kept secure. Some systems – especially free accounting software – may not be appropriately encrypted to protect your data.
To ensure the highest security, look for a cloud-based accounting software that will store your data in a secure data centre backed by gold-standard encryption technology like 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
5. Do your homework
Last but not least, look at online reviews and case studies from other small businesses before making a decision. Many accounting software providers claim to be the best on the market – seeing what other real-world users have to say will help you separate the best from the rest.
What is the most widely used accounting software?
QuickBooks Online is one of the most widely used small business accounting software solutions in Singapore and globally. With QuickBooks’ cloud accounting software, you can manage your business finances from anywhere, at any time.
Want to try it for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial.