Accounting Software for Small Business – part 2

accounting software for small businessIn our last post we looked at some of the accounting software options for small business. In this post we are going to look at several packages in more detail:

Intuit Quickbooks

The most demanding software to get a set of accounts for small businesses is Intuit’s Quickbooks. Depending on the size of the business, one can opt for the configuration that best fits the business’s requirements.

There are four editions for Quickbooks being basic, pro, online and premier. 2013 witnessed the launch of the professional version that includes features such as customizable vendors, company snapshot, employee and customer centres along with the ability to find any report, invoice or account just by simply searching the Quickbooks search finder box.

Xero

Xero is purely a ‘cloud’ based accounting program that means you must be connected to the internet to use it. Xero says that a benefit is that you can do your accounting from anywhere although a cynic might suggest that the best benefits of cloud based software Xero is for the supplier who has a fixed continuity income in the form of an ongoing subscription.

Xero is marketed very well and is flavour of the month. They also offer accountants unique benefits such as extra reports that are not available to the business owner and thus giving accountants the opportunity to provide additional ‘value’ (at an extra cost) to their clients. Consequently, it is a popular recommendation from accountants as well.

Sage 50 Accounting

Another software program that has been used by various small businesses with positive results, then Sage 50 Accounting software is an option to go for in the market. (It was renamed ‘Sage 50 Accounting’ from ‘Simply Accounting’. For calculation and payment of HST or GST along with QST or PST, this software is highly recommended for Canadian firms. One can file tax returns T-4s, RL-1, ROEs via efiling or government filing. The software is available in two languages- French and English. One can easily translate from one language to another as per one’s needs.

The professional version is more in demand than the basic version for the features it provides. The business firm can create quotes, sales orders and can be used with more than one currency.

Account Edge Accounting

The flexibility of Account Edge Accounting software is something that has made it stand out in the race. The software helps business owners by giving control over their inventory by the use of multiple price levels, kit building and negative inventory. All this occurs with the presence of inventory command center.

The software provides multiple rates of billing for both non-chargeable and chargeable time. The software provides a business owner with more than two hundred financial reports that can be tailored and customized as per the needs of the business owner.

The software is also compatible with Enstore, an online store app and one can even access the software via its mobile app in iPad and iPhones.

Connected Core Accounting

Connected Core Accounting Software has made its place in the accounting software space due to its compatibility to function across multiple platforms, i.e. PC and Mac.

This implies that workers can simultaneously access the same file of data irrespective of whether they are using a MAC platform or a PC platform. The hosting of the files can also take place on any one of the platforms. Microsoft Office can also be hooked into the Connected Core software. Moreover, one can even customize it as per their own requirements.

The software also offers HST OR GST accounting for tax filing. However, the software is only targeted towards those businesses that are small and only need a basic accounting program and not those larger businesses that require job costing and inventory management features.

Sage Business Vision Accounting

Sage Business Vision Accounting software adds a touch of uniqueness to its functions by being available in five different versions. Each of the edition or versions can be scaled or customized to fit the requirements of the business. It comes with the modular design which makes such customizations possible.

This software provides features to help business owners keep a tab on their sales as well as inventory. Its special small business editions aid in meeting the management and accounting criticalities of business. It has a special e Business add on which helps in the fusion of an online selling system into the software.

This makes the software a perfect fit for retail, local manufacturing and wholesale companies.

Though its market price may be higher than other available softwares of accounting yet one must keep in mind the exclusive features that it provides which are unavailable in its other competitive brands.

Microsoft Dynamics GP

Similar to the Sage Business Vision Accounting software, Microsoft Dynamics GP operates less than purely accounting software and more of a business management solutions provider.

It offers supply chain management feature, payroll management financial management features, human resources business intelligence and reporting, along with service, sales, and project management. It can also be integrated with variants of Microsoft software, for example Microsoft Office. It helps you to save your data in the cloud or on site.

The cost of this software will vary depending the package that the business owners wish to ascribe to. If one requires its high level, exclusive fine tuned features, the software can come out to be more expensive than others in the market.

Simplazz 1-2-3

This is pronounced ‘Simple as 1-2-3’ because it is designed to be very simple. It is quite basic in that it tracks receipts and payments, balance to the bank and provides reports but for many small businesses, this is all they need.

The Simplazz 1-2-3 Gold program also has customer and supplier invoicing along with inventory management for goods bought and sold. For a business that wants an easy system that doesn’t require any accounting experience, this is a good choice.

Accounting Software for Small Business – part 1

small business accounting softwareFor a small business owner, keeping a tab on their resources, which in turn translates into money, is the most important feature.

In the earlier days this role was taken care by qualified bookkeepers who kept a tab on the company accounts. But with the passing of time, research has shown that manual labour may be incapable of carrying the burden in such a sensitive area where high levels of efficiency is required.

More over, when one is paying a high salary to these account keepers, one will not expect mistakes or inefficiencies in their books of account.

At the end of every financial quarter, it is these books that reflect the company’s profits and losses, failures and winning streaks, where money is lost and how the business can revive it back. A little mistake here and there can bring the whole system tumbling down making the entire process worthless.

Hence, with the development of the IT space, a number of accounting software solutions that are specifically tailored for small business owners have entered the market.

They are simple, easy to use and fit within a relatively small budget that can come within the affordable range of a small business.

From keeping a check and record on cash flow, inventory management, invoicing, customer relations management and payroll, these programs have proved a boon to small business owners who can monitor their business finances a lot more regularly.

Here are a number of the popular packages:

  1. Intuit Quickbooks

Quickbooks has four editions from basic to premier. They have a huge market share and because accountants are risk averse and tend to go with the most popular product, Quickbooks will continue to be very popular.

  1. Xero

Xero is the new kid on the block and is spending millions on marketing even though the company is yet to make a profit. Having said that, it’s marketing is generating a lot of hype that is gaining it market share quickly.

  1. Sage 50 Accounting

Sage is another major international company that has been around for a long time. It has several versions that vary in their complexity. Sage is very popular in the UK.

  1. Simplazz 1-2-3

Simplazz 1-2-3 is a very easy program at the other end of the spectrum as it is focused on micro small businesses who know nothing about accounting. This is a great program for micro-small business owners and created by Cashflow Manager in Australia.

In our next blog article we will look at these accounting software programs in more details along with some others.

Managing a Successful Small Business

business management rolesManaging a small business is both challenging and exciting. At the initial stage the entrepreneur handles everything. He or she is the accountant, legal officer, marketer, logistics manager, secretary, and the manager. That is the challenge.

On the other hand, the entrepreneur has the freedom to make independent decisions that he believes will grow his business. That is the excitement. When not running on excitement and challenge, good business sense must take over. Here are four important components of managing a small business:

A Mentor:

Mentorship opens the entrepreneurs eyes to common mistakes that can kill the business. It is preferable to get a mentor in the same industry. A good mentor guides the entrepreneur through all the other components of managing a small business. Therefore a good mentor is not far more experienced than the entrepreneur.

An Accountant:

Managing a small business accounts is stressful. Sometimes the numbers do not add up. Unfortunately, the business cannot afford an in-house Accountant at this point. Get a trusted Accounting firm that is willing to handle the taxation, invoicing, payments and all other accounting functions at a pocket friendly rate.

A Lawyer:

Small businesses easily fall into the legal pitfall knowingly or unknowingly. What may be considered a “small” legal matter can ground a business completely. While there are various legal exposures to a business, employees, industry regulations and taxation pose the greatest legal threats. Get a smart affordable lawyer to seal these loopholes.

A Communication Expert:

Communicating with customers, suppliers, creditors and business partners is an integral part of managing a small business. Well thought out messages can convert potential customers into purchasing customers, which a small business needs for survival. Additionally, good communication skills are necessary when negotiating with suppliers, existing and potential business partners, and creditors. Get a communication expert to develop the messages that will grow your business.

Managing a small business is both an art and a science. Every move must be well calculated to achieve the overall goal – make a profit. Any activity that an entrepreneur undertakes should be geared towards growth and sustainability of the business. Fortunately, there are many resources online and offline that can guide the small business owner.

The entrepreneur should be ready to learn, open to criticism and able to overcome failure without closing shop. Creativity to solve problems as they emerge, enthusiasm to serve customers, courage to venture into unknown territory, and humor to lighten up even the longest day go a long way in making management of a small business easy.