Accounting Software: Usability Factors to Look For

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A large number of business owners use accounting software to manage their business’ finances. Greater efficiency and accuracy come with using this type of software, but an accountant is still required for tax filings and financial statements. 

Accounting software providers are rushing to release online versions so they can get a cut of the market. With so many choices, it’s tough for small business owners to determine which product is right for them.

One big factor in your decision should be usability. A reliable accounting software package will help you work more efficiently than doubling or tripling your staff. The following are five usability factors that should be taken into account when choosing an accounting package to best fit your company needs.

Ease of Use

Accounting software may require a long learning curve if the user interface is not intuitive or cleanly laid out.  Before purchase, take time to use a demo version of the software and try doing common tasks to see if you can accomplish them easily. 

Be sure that it is easy to obtain help quickly from someone familiar with the interface – consider having an accountant or other individual familiar with your business run through some basic tasks so they can answer any questions you may have.

Data Security

It is important to consider the safety of your stored business data.  Make sure your accounting software uses encryption technologies and rigorous backup methods so that customer information and financial data remain safe from cyber criminals. 

Look for a vendor with a high security standard – you can check out their security measures by exploring their website, checking reviews online and speaking with a representative about their security features.

Continuous Updates and Support

Frequent updates should be included as part of the full package for any accounting software you purchase, but it is important to know what those updates will cost you. 

Some vendors only offer free upgrades for a certain time after purchasing. Others have upgrade packages that range from a few dollars to a few hundred per year. Also, you can buy support packages that range in price depending on available phone or chat time and the type of user manual or help files included.

Inventory Tracking

As a business with inventory, it is important to make sure your accounting software offers proper tools for tracking your company’s stock on hand. 

Make sure to explore the software’s inventory features thoroughly before making any decisions. If your business operates internationally, make sure that functions like foreign currency exchange and product returns are properly handled by the accounting system.

Ease of Integrating with Other Applications

Finally, before purchasing an accounting package, check to see if it can integrate with other programs you use in your business. 

Integrating accounting software with customer relationship management (CRM) programs, sales invoicing tools and inventory tracking applications will streamline your data collection system to save time and money.