With so many choices available to small business owners today, it can be difficult to decide what kind of accounting system you need. Should you use a desktop version of the software like QuickBooks so you don’t have to pay monthly fees or should you go with an online accounting system that will give you access to your information anytime and on any device?
Here are a few things to keep in mind that might help in the decision making process. I am all for using the system that fits your needs and make your workflow as smooth as possible.
Service Based Business
If the only thing you do is provide services and bill your clients, you may want to go with a really basic service like FreshBooks. You can create your invoices wherever you are and send them to your clients and also get paid by credit card. You can also track your expenses. If you bill customers the same amount every month, you can automate the process with recurring billing. Your invoices will then go out automatically each month which can be a real time saver and help so you don’t forget to bill your clients.
Product Based Business
If you manufacture or sell products, you will need something with more features.
QuickBooks Online will work on almost any device, and it does more than FreshBooks. It will take a little more time to learn. I personally have found it to be frustrating at times to work with from a browser on my desktop because it takes time to go from screen to screen and also because it isn’t as streamlined as the desktop version of the software, but it really works for business owners who spend as much or more time out of the office as they do in. It works especially great on tablets and smartphones.
If you spend most of your time in your office and you don’t need a mobile solution, the desktop version is not only easier and faster to work with than the online version, but you can save money over the long run, because you can buy it once and keep it for a few years before upgrading, whereas with online systems, you pay a monthly fee.
If you need help making a decision, you might want to test the trial versions of the online systems or ask someone for advice.
Point of Sale Systems
Some of my clients use POS systems in their stores, but then have me keep their accounting in QuickBooks. The nice thing is that these systems can export sales information to the bookkeeping software which helps to keep the books accurate and in balance with the POS system. There are a number of POS systems such as Square or Lightspeed that can be used in retail stores, shops and restaurants.
These systems help you manage inventory, product ordering, employee hours, sales, sales tax and more.
Whatever system you use, be sure to take advantage of any training provided to learn all you can about the software. You want to be sure you are getting the most for your money by taking advantage of every feature they have that can make your business run smoothly.