1. Is the product simple to use?
The first question you should ask when evaluating accounting software is, “Is it user-friendly?” If you are uncertain, download the software and enter some expense receipts and income statements; if the process requires a dozen steps, something must be fixed.
Count the times you must refer to the help screens or manual if one exists.
If you frequently need to remember how to do something because it is too complicated and constantly refer to the help pages, the software may NOT be simple.
2. How much time will the software save me?
Business accounting software will save you time in the long run, as it can perform all calculations and generate simple reports that are easier to use than a calculator.
However, I am referring to the software’s day-to-day use. Can I use this software as quickly as I would if I were creating a paper report?
Consider the following: If I handed you a paintbrush and instructed you to paint the entire house, how long would it take, one year or two years…? Why use this brush when you could use a natural paintbrush? Your software should reduce your workload.
Most of our time is spent using this software to enter expenses, record income, and generate invoices. Ensure that the tasks that consume the most of your time are more efficient than a simple set of paper invoices.
Remember that if you can enter the date, item details, and amount on a piece of paper in a matter of seconds, the software should allow you to do the same.
3. Do I require experience in the past?
It is vital to determine if the prior experience with the software is necessary. I refer to more than just accounting experience. To use many programs on the market, you must also complete a course. If you don’t believe me, pick up a copy of your local newspaper and count the number of vendors offering this software because it is so difficult to use.
I’ve discovered that many software vendors offer a training course along with the purchase of the software, which is a real slap in the face: first, you purchase the software, and then you must purchase the course and attend weekend classes to learn how to use it.
Would you purchase a new car and park it in the garage if your previous experience with a vehicle wasn’t satisfactory? You do not need a lengthy training course to enter a few receipts because it is merely a computer program.
4. Does it comprehend all of my requests?
It would help if you also considered whether or not all these extras are required. Do you require the additional 100 reports and all other features of the program?
On the market, I encounter numerous software programs that claim to be superior because they offer more reports and features. But at the end of the day, all these extra features tire us out and waste a great deal of time on pointless tasks.
I work in an environment where lawns are mowed. I mow a predetermined amount of grass each week and make a predetermined number of purchases. At the end of each accounting period, I can formulate a simple equation to determine my taxable income.
Total income minus expenses equals taxable income. How does a program generate hundreds of graphs and reports from such primary data? In the end, the same report is presented in different formats.
Every small business is unique, and every business owner has different requirements. The most important aspect of the software is that it provides essential information at the click of a mouse and enables you to keep the accounting for your small business straightforward.