Accounting software is used the world over to keep track of finances, record funds coming in and bills being paid, create and follow a budget and much more. Everyone can benefit from using software for accounting, from individuals who want to track their household budgets and do their own taxes, to small businesses who want to track their payables, receivables and payroll, all the way up to major corporations who want to do all of the above plus implement enterprise resource planning and generation complex reports for business intelligence integration. There’s an accounting software program available regardless of the size of the client or their needs.
When considering accounting software for the private sector, most people only think about tax programs like Turbo Tax or H&R Block’s TaxCut Pro. These are great programs that can take the struggle out of filing taxes, to the point where users can submit tax forms online right from these applications. There is more to home accounting software than tax programs, though.
For home users, software for accounting is available for working on the family budget, including recording paychecks, tracking bill payments, categorizing expenses and more. Quicken Deluxe is one such home-level accounting software program. There are also programs available for home users who want to do more, like track an investment portfolio and do other advanced financial planning.
For a small business, every dollar counts. Small business accounting software must be affordable and must have all the features a small business owner needs to organize the company’s finances and save money. Software for accounting in the small business realm allows small business owners to cover the general accounting functions of the business. A lower-level accounting software program like Intuit Quickbooks Pro covers the areas of accounts receivable, accounts payable, customer invoicing and other basic functions. Quickbooks and other basic packages are typically listed between $100 – 200, which is an attractive price point for small businesses.
Those businesses that are too big to be small but are not yet enterprise-level have their own set of unique needs when looking for software for accounting. These companies need accounting software that can cover the basics, like A/R, A/P and invoicing, but they also have individual needs that may be hard to match to one certain accounting software program. Because of this, mid-size businesses often turn to accounting software that covers the basic core modules, including payables, receivables, general ledger, stock and inventory, purchase orders and more, as well as additional features such as:
- Processing of electronic payments
- Additional debt collection tracking
An accounting software program like Microsoft Dynamics, or other packages like Peachtree and some of Quickbooks’ higher-end offerings cover some or all of these additional modules. Midsized businesses need to evaluate their accounting software program needs and find the best application that matches them.
Enterprise-level businesses and accounting firms have advanced needs that need to be met when it comes to choosing software for accounting. In additional to basic needs like general ledger and cash receipts, and advanced features like payroll and expenses, these big companies have an even bigger set of requirements. Some of these advanced accounting software features that corporations and accounting firms might need include:
- Enterprise Resource Planning
- Private and public audit
- Sarbanes-Oxley compliance
- Business Intelligence integration
- Job costing
- Multi-currency tracking and conversion
Much like mid-size business accounting software packages, big businesses and public accounting firms need software for accounting that fits their basic needs while covering specialized features as well. Again, careful evaluation of needs and a thorough assessment of each accounting software program is crucial in this field. Some enterprise-level and account firm grade accounting software packages include:
- NOSA XP
- SAP ERP
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV
These are just some of the high-end accounting programs that large corporations and accounting firms may choose, depending on how these packages’ features match their needs. There are even specialized systems depending on the market, like Thomson Reuters’ Engagement CS, designed specifically for public audit firms.
Accounting software can be beneficial to everyone. Homeowners looking for better control of their budgets, sole proprietors who want a better idea of A/R and AP/P, mid-size businesses with specialized needs and even corporations who need a fine degree of control over resource planning can call benefit from software for accounting. If you’re auditing a big business client or just auditing your checkbook, there is an accounting package for you.