Accounting software has evolved a lot in recent years and there is now a wide range of options from which to choose. So how do you decide which one is right for you? What do you actually need? Which criteria must you be sure to satisfy? We’ve come up with a clear five-step guide and a checklist to help you make the right choice!
Start-ups, SMEs, VSEs: whether you find it exciting or daunting, choosing an accounting software is a key decision for a company that can significantly boost performance.
However, the sheer plethora of choice can make it feel like an uphill battle, especially since the latest features bring many criteria into play, going further than just accounting (design, mobility, integration etc.).
Here’s a simple guide and a checklist of questions you vneed to ask to find out which software will perfectly fit your needs!
1. Why is it crucial to have good software?
The right software will allow you to professionnalise your accounting management, bringing you to a higher level of management that is optimised, accurate and reliable.
The advantages this brings are many, including:
- Centralisation and traceability of financial records (easy-to-use management dashboards)
- Mitigate risk of error (errors are sometimes introduced in manual data entry)
- Streamlining of processes (billing, estimates, tax reports etc.)
- Legal compliance (so no risk of penalty)
Consequences: you get better visibility over day-to-day company activities, which is a real help for strategic decision making, not to mention the time you can save thanks to process automation.
2. How do you start looking for the perfect software?
Your Excel file has become completely unsuitable, you’re overwhelmed and understand the importance (or urgency!) of getting good accounting software. But where should you start?
First off, ask for inputs!
- Your chartered accountant will offer great advice, knowing both your needs and what software is available. But don’t limit yourself to his opinion since he’ll likely steer you toward software that best suits his working methods.
- Don’t hesitate to ask your professional network, business partners etc. about what experience they have and choices they’ve made with regard to accounting and management.
3. Which software for what kind of company?
There are several types of software depending on your profile:
- VSE with a chartered accountant: simple software with basic features for accounting and possibly billing and estimates.
- Companies with internal accounting management: comprehensive software including all accounting processes (VAT returns, tax reports, expense reports, etc.).
- SME/large companies that opt for an ERP: software that centralises all data, going beyond simple accounting management. This is often tailor-made to meet specific needs.
- Companies in specific sectors: some software solutions are specially adapted for specific fields (for example construction or the restaurant industry)
To help you get a clear picture, here are the Top 4 software solutions that’ll make you… enjoy accounting (yes that can actually happen!).
4. The indispensable checklist of questions to ask yourself
|Size of your company|
|Chartered accountant (do you have one or not?)
- if you do: clarify his level of responsibility (access to accounts, importing/exporting data etc.)
|Operating system used (Mac, Windows)|
|What currency you operate in|
100% general accounting or more comprehensive software
Supplementary components (HR and commercial management, etc.)
|FEATURES to check|
|Integration with third party apps/adds-on (Paypal, Spendesk, Stripe, Prestashop, etc.)|
|Level of data protection/security|
|100% cloud or not|
|Number of users|
|Capacity to assign different rights to various users|
|Use: level of accounting expertise required|
|Assistance/training on offer|
|Partnership with Order of Chartered Accountants|
|Handle both national and international banks to integrate banking|
|Editable writing templates|
- Take a long-term view! Are you experiencing rapid growth? Take that into account so you don’t need to change software in a few months time.
- Choose a well established software provider so you can avail of guarantees (updates, regulation, support etc.).
- If you opt to manage your accounting with estimate and billing software, be sure its compatible with the software your chartered accountant uses (with regard to data integration).
- Choose a tool that complements your expense management software, as you're going to use them in tandem.
5. Try it out... and learn!
Now you have everything you need to find the right accounting software that’ll allow you to save time and help spur your company’s growth.
The introduction of many new features in the sector in recent years has diversified software products. This innovation shows no signs of slowing down, with the introduction of chatbots and increasingly easy integration with third party apps to name just two developments. With the right software, you can enjoy accounting!