Okay so what we're going to do in this article is look at pros and cons of accounting software. And, instead of just seeing the pros first, then the cons, we're going to mix it up a bit and alternate instead. The idea here's to help you get that more rounded and informed perspective you're after to see if it's a good investment. Hint: it so is! Enjoy.
Pro #1: Ensures accurate Financials
When you're just winging it without a structured set of tools that help you manage your money, the odds of wasting resources are incredibly high. It's all about efficiency and utilizing what you have to its highest potential.
Con #1: Can be difficult to use
Right, so depending on the software you choose, you may or may not find it challenging to get used to. Some accounting software is very simple, catering to those without much savvy or desire to learn. Others are very comprehensive and cover just about every aspect all in one secure cloud-based area.
Pro #2: Huge Time-Saver
Once you get the hang of the software, or whenever it's being implemented, you'll find lots of extra time on your plate thanks to its ability to crunch numbers, present all sorts of data-sets with a click, etc. Two easy examples are budgeting and forecasting.
Con #2: May have hidden fees & charges
You find this in every industry. While popular providers like FreshBooks or Xero have ZERO hidden fees and charges, other providers out there that are smaller or now as well known may have some iffy fine print. This is where Googling around for reviews and testimonials comes in handy.
Pro #3: Automation
Wow, accounting software really kicks the automation level of your biz of a few notches. Once you streamline your business bank accounts and debit/credit cards, it's smooth sailing from that point. All it takes is curating the specific sets of data you want to focus on.
Con #3: Maintenance is a must
Over time software tends to grow and evolve. Expect that with most providers there may be occasional downtime, updates, hot fixes, etc.
Pro #4: Cheaper than an accountant
Sorry all you flesh and blood accountants that have no other choice but to charge good rates. As the years tick by accounting software is taking more and more of your jobs away from you. But, to be frank, that's happening everywhere so join the club.
Con #4: Too many/Little features
While shopping around be absolutely sure you know what you need. If you don't know exactly what you need, find out first before investing or bombarding yourself with new software. This way you can pick the right service packages. It's just as troublesome to get a monster platform when all you needed was payroll and basic accounting. On the other hand, it sucks to have needs pop up your current software doesn't cover. Remember to think ahead too!
Pro 5: Higher productivity
This is demonstrated across the board: when a company integrates great accounting software that syncs well with their platform they see a pretty decent uptick in productivity. The reasons should be obvious: automation, less waste, more resources, etc.
Con #5: Lame Customer service
Another big reason to do your homework and check up on what people/users are saying is to see what their customer service is like. Some are far better than others. Some have devoted a ton more resources to this part while others haven't.
Pro #6: Easier invoicing
Whether you’re a business owner or freelancer, invoicing is essential because it's how you get paid. Sometimes, manually doing this can be tiresome and slow. If you want customizable/brandable invoices which you can send in a click, using an accounting software would be appropriate.
Con #6: Can Get Slow
Something you hear a lot from users is that when they process or send or interact with huge files things can slow down. Sometimes it's going to be the providers fault, for sure, but let's at least consider the computers/mobile devices these people may be using.
Pro #7: Payroll management made easy
Employee management gets a ton easier with accounting software, at least when it comes to finances and compensation.
Con #7: Hackers & Internet Security
Technically, and this is no difference with banking but...if you work with online or cloud-based accounting software then technically your data could be compromised. It happens to even the largest most secure companies, or at least that's what they tell us. Paper can be just as vulnerable.
What you should know
1) MAKE SURE THAT THE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE IS EXPERIENCED AND HAS PROVEN TRACK RECORD.
Like any other company that offers services, you need to assess whether the accounting software has been in the industry for an ample amount of time to know all the ins and outs of online accounting.
To be able to do this, you have to conduct a little research on every accounting software, see and understand their services and narrow down your list based on the most experienced ones. You can read reviews and user testimonials as well. Track record is everything when it comes to choosing the best accounting software.
2) PICK AN ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE BASED ON YOUR ACCOUNTING NEEDS.
Majority of accounting softwares have more or less the same features, however, there are some that have unique services which may not be present in the other. To be able to choose the best accounting software, you have to evaluate what you need first. From that, you can assess every software if its services will actually fit what you need.
These are some of the most practical features that you need to look for if you want to end up with the best.
Time tracking tool
Expense tracking tool
Customer support service
Automated financial reports
It would also be good if the accounting software has a free trial or a money back guarantee in place so you can immediately obtain a refund if you’re not satisfied.
3) CHOOSE AN ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE THAT’S WITHIN YOUR BUDGET.
To start on the right foot, you need to know how much you’re willing to spend. Once you make up your mind, you can start from there. Search for accounting softwares that are within your budget and choose one that has the best services.
It’s important to look for an affordable software most specially if you’re still starting out. But you have to remember that quality is more important than the price, it won’t hurt if you spend a few extra dollars for something that can truly serve its purpose.
Looking for software options?
So let's say you like what you're reading and are convinced that accounting software is the right direction for your brand. Here are our top three suggestions to check out as they are currently the leaders in the space.
FreshBooks is comprehensive and modern accounting software used by over 5 million entrepreneurs and considered one of the best with unique features such as a payment history, a download tool, daily dashboard, a mobile application and so much more. Very user-friendly as well.
Xero is amazing and also widely used by legions of business owners and individual contractors. Definitely caters to small to mid-sized businesses. Has a number of notable features, some of them include inventory management, bank integration, built-in time sheets and tons of other useful resources.
3) QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online is the most popular and experienced accounting software with over 15 years of solid experience. Used by business owners, organizations, freelancers and biz professionals. Has practical features which include share & collaboration, multiple-user interface, free accounting plan upgrade and automated financial reports.
Who Do We Use?
Startup Savant actually uses Xero to run our numbers and help us conquer our financials so we can continue to help entrepreneurs and startups achieve the potential they set out for. Here's to a great and prosperous year ahead.