Monday, February 6, 2012

FAQ - How to choose an accounting software?

Some names might readily come up to your mind, like QuickBooks, Quickens, MYOB, Peachtree, DacEasy, Accpac, etc. Google or wiki "accounting software" gives you dozens of options. Yet, often information provided may not be so user-friendly to those working in the accounting field. Here below are some pointers for you to narrow down your search and hopefully help in guiding your search.

1) Do you need multi-currency capability? If your business involves handling transactions in different money currencies, do you want to keep track of them in your software system? Some accounting software DO NOT have multi-currency capablity.

2) Do you have inventory? How do you want your inventory value as well as the related costs to be calculated? Some accounting software provides only a limited number of cost methods, such as only Average Cost. If you like your inventory to be calculated in other ways, like FIFO, accounting software not providing such costing method will not be your choice.

3) Do you have serialized inventory? If your inventory involves unique items with each having a serial number, you need to make sure the software can provide such function and the related fields.

4) Do you need branch accounting, or consolidating company accounts of a company group?  Some accounting software may be quite restrictive or lacking such capability in handling your different structuring and grouping of chart of accounts.

5) Maximum number of digits and characters on certain key fields? It's not uncommon to see, functionwise the software fill all requirements. But at the end proves unusable just because a certain key field is too short in length. For example, the total amount field may provides 9,999,999,999.99,but your business' total transaction amount may exceed this value. Or, the item ID field gives you only 15 characters, but you need 20.

6) Reporting flexibility? Today, most accounting software provides business management capability and gives you certain flexibility in producing reports and forms. Software with such capability, such as equipped with Crystal Reports, can be very useful in financial accounting, busines management and other corporate needs.

7) POS, BOM or CRM capability needed? You may need to look for a special edition of a certain brand of accounting software. Like Peachtree, has a special edition for Manufacturing. Or, MYOB has an edition specially for POS business. CRM capability may not be common or very limited in many  accounting software.

8) Multilanguage interface needed? Multiple concurrent user access capability? Remote access needed? Data size limit? Data security? Sadly, quite a number of popular accounting software are not secure enough for serious users, especially a lot of sensitive and confidential data is stored on your accounting software database. Check how people crack these software' password. A piece of password-cracking software for your accounting software can be very cheap!! But, surely your data is not cheap!!

To implement an accounting system for your company is a serious matter. Learn how to ask right questions is very important to make the right choice!

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