Spreadsheets have their place in business, and I enjoy the satisfaction that comes with creating a customised spreadsheet that is easy to use and looks good too.
However, accounting software can be purchased relatively cheap and businesses can choose the level of bells and whistles that they need, depending on the type and size of the business (or non-profit organisation) they are running.
Below are some of the advantages of using accounting software.
- Save time. One entry in your software replaces several manual bookkeeping entries.
- Real-time financial statements at the click of a button.
- Information can be shared with your bookkeeper or accountant without physically having to let go of your business records.
- BAS preparation (for Australian businesses) is faster and, if set up correctly, there is less chance of the errors that can occur when transferring figures with pen and paper.
- Transactions that occur regularly can be automated.
- Fast and accurate tracking of inventory.
- Back-ups of data can be safely stored in the cloud or taken off-site. What would happen to your paper-based business records if there was a fire in your office?
If you are just starting out and are starting small, then spreadsheets may do the job for you in the beginning. If you do choose to use accounting software you will still need a bookkeeper or software consultant to help you along the way at some stage, however a lot of the day to day transactions are well within the scope of the average small business owner. Also, if you choose to hire a bookkeeper in Australia, don’t forget that they must be a registered BAS Agent if they are preparing or lodging your BAS for a fee.
A few of the more popular software companies provide free or low cost trial versions, so don’t be afraid to get in and have a go. I wrote about my experience with trialing accounting software in my post Trying Accounting Software for Free. You can also try a quick internet search for “Free Accounting Software Trial”.
If you have gone from keeping manual bookkeeping records to using accounting software, how did you go? Do you have any tips you can give other small business owners or non-profit organisations?