One of the things it’s easy to lose sight of in any business is that your business exists to make money. While that might seem like a strange thing to say it is all too easy during the day to day grind of solving problems, meetings, product design, and everything else that is part of running a business you can forget to actually sit down and make sure it’s making money.
Thankfully, there are hundreds of financial software applications available to help your business keep track of things. Not only that, but there is personal financial software available for keeping track of your personal finances. One person who had never used a financial software program before was astonished after he started tracking his spending using financial software to find he was spending over a quarter of his income on fast food tacos. These are the kinds of things that are hard to notice day to day but can have a massive impact on your bottom line.
Financial software comes in a few different flavors. There are financial software applications that are for a specific task, such as tracking employee payroll or tracking income and expenditures. Another variety of financial software program is a full-solution product that handles everything that you could need to do with finances, either personal or business. Some personal financial software even handles retirement planning, helping you decide how much money you need to put away each month to meet your retirement goals.
As with any software however, it is important to keep in mind not only the costs and features of any financial software product, but what your needs and experience level are. It does you no good to purchase a several thousand dollar financial software program that you do not know how to use and has dozens of features that you will never need. Instead focus on the features you need. A company with only two employees probably doesn’t have any need for financial software applications to handle union dues or payroll for 500 employees. On the other hand, if you do have 500 employees an entry level product isn’t going to do you any good.
When it comes to personal financial software, it is much more common to find products that are of the all-in-one variety as most people have similar needs in financial software. As with the man and his tacos above it can help anyone determine where their money is going if they can keep track of all their income and expenditures in one place. A more common feature of a financial software program is the ability to generate charts and graphs of your spending to make it easier to keep track of them. Some financial software applications will also connect directly to your bank or credit card and download your transactions, meaning that your personal financial software will automatically fill in previous transactions and you just need to verify them.
The importance of knowing where your money is going can not be overstated. By using financial software to keep track of your money you will be able to know, minute by minute, where your money is going and how much of it you have. A good financial software program will also allow you to make better long range plans. If you find out using financial software applications that you are running a certain amount in the black every month, and you know that you have a large purchase of a certain price you need to make, then you can make those plans and know with fairly good accuracy when you will be able to make that purchase.
It is important to note however that as with any software, and particularly with personal financial software which may not be getting looked over by an accountant, that the quality of what you get out of your programs is only as good as the information you put into them. Filing everything except rent and utilities under “misc” isn’t going to tell you anything useful, and defeats the purpose of using any financial software at all. By making sure to only put accurate, thorough data into your financial software program you will get the absolute most bang for your buck, and that’s the whole point.
Financial software applications can help quite a bit, but they are no substitute for fiscal responsibility. Spending vastly more than you have coming in and borrowing against lines of credit are only viable in the short term. What good personal financial software and even business financial software can do however is help you make sure that income always exceeds expenses, and plan for getting out of debt if you happen to have already walked that particular dark road. It’s your money, and a good financial software program will help you make the most of it.