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Before You Buy Accounting Software For Your Small Business

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Accounting software can be a great tool for your small business, allowing you to keep track of all your financial data, and easily produce reports for effective planning. (Read more about the advantages of small business accounting software.)

But because you'll be using your accounting software frequently, it's important to ensure that you pick the accounting software that's right for your business and your needs.

Accounting Software Suitability For Your Business

Out-of-the-box accounting software is most suitable for small and medium-sized businesses that have standard accounting needs. If your business needs unique data reports, make sure the accounting software you choose offers customizable reports. If you run a service-related business, check to be sure the accounting software includes features such as a time and billing module.

Accounting Software Ease of Use Features

Does the accounting software allow you to print or electronically send cheques, purchase orders, and invoices? Does it have 'Net connectivity so you can bank online? Is it integrated with other software that you often use, such as Microsoft Office? Is it able to convert data from other accounting programs or databases? In other words, will the accounting software be able to meet all of your needs, now and in the future?

Accounting Software Learning Curve

All accounting software claims to be "user-friendly", but you'll still need to invest some time in learning how to use it. Take a close look at the accounting software before you buy it. Is the user interface intuitive and comfortable? Will you (and your employees) be able to sit down and learn it, or will you need a further investment in training?

Accounting Software Support

In terms of the learning curve, online help makes the program. Does the accounting software have features such as screentips, a searchable help index, demos, and example accounts to get you started? Are there print and online manuals available? And how accessible is the company's support? Talk to others who have used the accounting software if you can.

Accounting Software Scalability

Is the accounting software networkable? How easy or expensive is it to move from one user to multi-users? With some accounting software, adding new users is just a matter of buying the appropriate number of user licenses; with others, you have to purchase multiple copies of the accounting software program, which is much more expensive.

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