I Have to Choose an Accounting System! What Now?

October 16, 2013

The other night on the TV show, Bones, they were testing a new computer system and most of the team were experiencing major frustrations with it. At one point Seeley Booth, who is portrayed by actor David Boreanaz, said he was “…kickin’ it to the curb…I hate computers, always have!”  The problem, I think, is that the characters all expected the same thing from this new system: it would be able answer to their questions all by itself.  This caused me some pause as I thought about the parallels between their frustration on the show and those felt by many small business owners when trying to decide upon or use their accounting systems.

Any computer system whether it is an accounting system or some other type of system is merely a tool.  It is a means to an ends and requires human intervention in the form of analysis to form conclusions.  For example, the purpose of an accounting system should be to not only help you understand yesterday, but also helping you to understand tomorrow.

You may be wondering, “How do I know which accounting system is best for me?” Well, first you may want to look at reviews for some accounting systems and see which ones worked well for other small businesses. Now, not all systems are created equal so you may need to do more research on what you, as a small business, need. For example, some small businesses may not want to use Cloud-based systems.

If you are a small business that is just starting out, you likely have a budget you need to follow.  A great way to help in your decision making is to try some demos first to see which one you really like before diving into a commitment with a system that may not work for you. Certain websites have demos for these systems. I have included a couple for your convenience, so you can get a head start on finding that certain system that makes you go “WOOHOO!!!”

Now some of you are thinking, “Why do I need an accounting system?” You would be surprised about how many small companies decide they can do this on their own. Here are couple common downfalls to doing this on your own.

  • Wasting time. You have X amount of time to do all the things you need to do, as well as doing your own bookkeeping. The Intuit Small Business Blog says it best: “An accounting app can post transactions automatically in the background as you create an invoice or write an electronic check.” No more wasting time!! You can do more than one thing at a time and manage the amount of time you have allotted for bookkeeping.
  • No Backups!! : If you have to do the books manually and you need backups, you will have more than one book that you are going to have to fill out for each thing you do. If you have an accounting system it can do this for you automatically! Yup, that’s right; it relieves all that stress and all the hand cramps you would get from doing “the books” all on your own!

Here are some links to help you in your search: