Accounting Software Buyer's Guide

2024 Accounting Software Buyer's Guide

No matter the size of your organization, Accounting software can vastly improve the manner in which money, assets and other financial aspects are taken care of. Fortunately, there are many Accounting Software programs offering an array of powerful, effective tools to support your business.

Selecting or switching to the perfect Accounting Software system for your company involves deep business examination and thoughtful research and analysis of the features and system capabilities that will best suit your business now and scale with you as you grow. These factors can make selecting the Accounting Software for your business seem overwhelming. 

However, this guide will provide insight and tools for selecting your perfect Accounting Software.

What is Unique About Modern Accounting Software? 

Thanks to AI and machine learning, Accounting software no longer simply automates mundane tasks and operations in your business, but now offers vast applications across many more aspects of your business. It "thinks" and helps make predictions about your business, based on your unique data and analysis of how your business is performing. 

This level of insight is key for business leaders to assess the health of the business and plan efficiently for the future, and modern solutions also streamline the work of accountants and auditors immensely, all in one system.

Using a modern Accounting software solution (or upgrading to one) is bound to reap a whole host of benefits for your business. With a system that can think for itself, integrate with other applications, automate data entry, reconciliations and more, AI-powered Accounting software is becoming a business must-have.

How to Conduct a Thorough Business Accounting Review

Before you begin searching through all the Accounting Software options available in the market, it is important to take the time to complete a thorough business review. To begin, you should gather together a variety of people within your company who are responsible for business decisions and any others who will represent dedicated users on the Accounting system that you choose to implement in your business. By having a mixture of people within your organization participate in this discussion, you are more likely to gain a deeper insight into what your company needs from your Accounting system to communicate effectively and drive growth initiatives forward.

Once you’ve gathered the key people for this discussion, it’s important to dive into your business needs and discuss what gaps or holes may exist in your Accounting processes or systems. Be specific, and keep a detailed list of all the things that you’re looking to improve and how various Accounting Software offerings can help you accomplish these goals.

What Questions Can You Ask to Guide Your Business Accounting Review Process?

Before you delve into determining what type of Accounting software is best for your business, encourage yourself and your team members to answer the following questions:

  • What are the most pressing problems that your Accounting team is experiencing right now?
  • Are there too many steps involved in performing Accounting functions, and do you wish to simplify these processes?
  • Is it difficult or cumbersome to retrieve data once a query is made?
  • Oftentimes is there a difference between the facts and figures your employees and suppliers state, and what your system reveals?
  • Is your current system too complex for employees to use, with no flexibility for customization?

How to Build Your Accounting Software Budget

After you’ve conducted a complete review of your business needs and have a strong understanding of your Accounting Software requirements, it is important to figure out the budget you can allocate towards purchasing or upgrading your Accounting Software. Using the list you prepared while reviewing your business needs, you can determine how much value will be created by using an Accounting Software solution, and prepare your budget accordingly.

There are Accounting Software solutions available along a sliding scale of prices that are affordable for almost any business, so when you create your budget for this purchase, you should give yourself spending limit as well as a range of pricing models including one-time installation costs or monthly fees.

While there is no ballpark figure when it comes to deploying the right kind of Accounting software for your business, prices can range from as low as $5 a month (for inexpensive subscriptions) to thousands of dollars for a tailor-made product. Several factors weigh in on determining how much you will eventually need to shell out.

Of course, software systems custom-developed to meet your company’s Accounting requirements shall be most expensive. However, low to mid-tier systems (while comparatively less expensive) may require paid add-ons, which could drastically increase your bills over time.

Here are some other factors that may influence your budget for an Accounting software:

  • External hardware, especially if you opt for an on-premise software solution
  • Periodical payments for subscriptions or renewal if you wish to use a SaaS platform
  • Regular maintenance
  • Customizing your software with more add-on features, as opposed to an off-the-shelf package

What to Consider for Accounting Software Deployment

As you plan for your new Accounting Software, you will also need to think about which deployment method makes the most sense for your business. The main deployment options available include: On-premise and cloud-based solutions.

On-Premise Deployment
If you wish to buy or lease the equipment and hardware necessary to operate your Accounting system, and if you want 100% ownership of your Accounting data, then you will want an On-Premise Deployment. If you choose this option, you will need to have adequate space onsite to house the hardware as well as knowledgeable IT staff to manage and maintain your Accounting system. With this type of Accounting Software system deployment, you can expect a more significant upfront cost, but if you run a large company, this solution could very well make more sense financially in the long run.

Cloud-Based Deployment
Cloud-based Accounting Software deployment is very popular for business use, and operates in a hosted data center which in turn operates in the cloud. Cloud-based Accounting Software solutions are typically much more cost-effective because there is no need to invest in buying, leasing, or maintaining your own hardware. The system operates through the internet, and most providers have affordable plans available for any size of business, based on features desired and number of users on the system.

How to Think About the People in Your Company Who Will be Using Your Accounting Software

An important step in selecting the best Accounting Software solution for your business is to consider the people who will be using the system the most. Gathering this knowledge ahead of time will help you select the best option for your business, complete with all the tools, features, and support needed without overextending your budget or selecting an Accounting solution that does not fit your business.

As you think about the Accounting Software users in your company, think over these questions to find the best fit for your teams:

  • How many users will be using the system?
  • What levels exist in your users? (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • What are the needs of each group of users?
  • What type of support will users need as they learn and use the Accounting Software?

What are the Top Features and Tools Your Accounting Software Must Offer?

The features offered by Accounting Software providers are the tools that will help enhance your companies’ Accounting processes. While your business needs, users, and budget will all work together to help you choose the best Accounting Software for your business, there are a list of core features offered by most Accounting Software providers that you will want to make sure are included in whichever option you choose.

Features of Accounting software include but are not limited to:

  • Invoicing and billing
  • Payroll management
  • Tax calculation
  • Stock and inventory management
  • Sales and purchase orders
  • General ledger
  • Financial reporting

How to Integrate Accounting Software with Other Business Systems

This is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to Accounting Software. Ultimately, your company’s bottom line matters the most, and making your Accounting Software be part of a fully-fledged ERP system will help you learn about various financial aspects pertaining to your company, all from different angles.

Fusing your Accounting Software with other departmental automation systems such as human resources, customer relations, marketing etc. can help you gauge the profitability ratios of your company – both independently as business units or as a whole.

How to Research and Compare Multiple Accounting Providers

Once you have a firm grasp on all the things you need and want from your Accounting Software, and understand what you have to invest, then you can begin researching and comparing Accounting Software providers.

There are many excellent Accounting Software providers on the market, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to find your perfect system if you take a bit of time to really look into what each provider offers and compare your top choices against one another to determine which is best for you and your business.

As you compare your options, make sure to keep your list of key business needs and required features handy so you can reference them and keep yourself on track as you absorb all of the information and create a short list of viable Accounting Software options.

What to Look for in Your Perfect Accounting Software Provider

As you meet with various Accounting Software providers that you’re interested in working with, you should do some due diligence in researching their reputation before you commit to purchasing their services. Some of the key things you should look for in your perfect Accounting Software provider are prominence, reviews, and support.

1. Industry prominence and popularity

While you should not choose an Accounting Software provider based on popularity alone, a provider’s standing in the industry can signal what you can expect from their services. Make sure that the provider you select has prominence in the industry and is popular among other companies with similar Accounting needs as yours.

2. Reviews from current or past system users

One of the best ways you can easily research for an Accounting Software provider you’re considering is to look for reviews given by current or past users. Reviews from current companies using the Accounting Software can give you great insight into how the provider treats customers and how companies value their services and features. Past reviews can establish a history of service values, and give you a snapshot into how the provider handles business over time as well.

With Wheelhouse, we present you with the confidence to search, compare and select the right software for your business – through reputed and credible ratings, reviews and sources from industry experts. This in turn also helps you save the time and effort you would otherwise dedicate to individually scrutinizing different software products, and/or speaking to your personal connections.

What Accounting Software Support is Offered?

Upon purchasing and implementing your Accounting Software, there may be instances when your team may require additional support to learn new skills or troubleshoot in the event of a technical problem. Before you make the final call of purchase, ask your vendor about after-sales support available, to know what you can expect.

How to Set up Meetings or Demos with Accounting Providers on Your Short List

Once you’ve created a short list of three to five Accounting providers that you’re interested in implementing, it’s important to take your preparation and research one step further and get in touch with each provider. Most providers will happily set up meetings to discuss your Accounting Software needs and requirements, and can demonstrate all the key features for you.

Before you participate in a meeting or demo with an Accounting Software provider, make sure that you refresh your memory on all your business and feature needs. It is also a great idea to provide your lists to the provider prior to meeting, so they can put together the custom options and pricing they have available that will meet your needs. This will make your time much more efficient, and also give the provider a clear understanding of exactly what you require.

1. Firstly, discuss the problems your team in Accounting face, and what would be ideal solutions. Reserving a budget based on what you can afford shall also be an important factor to consider during this stage.

2. Reach out to reputed software vendors by hitting a search online, or by asking colleagues for personal recommendations. You can also visit the Accounting Software comparison page to search and compare multiple Accounting Software options for your business.

3. Make sure to generously experiment with different software solutions via demos, before you make your final call.

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