With the startup of a new business comes a wide range of choices. Often, accounting software is not the most top of mind concern. However as a company grows, the need for a more robust accounting software package becomes evident. The basic software package that was installed upon startup lags behind and cannot keep up with the complexity of the growing business. Here are five main ways that basic accounting software packages differ from more advanced (or mid-range) accounting software.
Customizability: The longer you are in business, the more you realize that your business has a unique set of needs. For example, you want to show a special field on your invoice, or you want to start tracking information by sales category or by project. With a basic accounting software package, there is limited customizability, and therefore you must make due with a system that is made for the masses. Advanced accounting packages recognize that your business develops its own specific needs over time as it grows, and therefore allows for customization.
Data Limits: This is a major different between basic and advanced accounting software packages. A basic system will only allow for a finite number of things like inventory items, concurrent users, transactions, accounts, etc. Often this is the main reason for needing to upgrade to a more advanced system. When your business starts to require additional data storage, this is when a more advanced system can really make your life easier. Reporting: Again, for the sake of ease of use, basic accounting programs provide a limited set of reports for you to run. Yet your business may really need to see the data in its own way. For example, perhaps you want to include a line that shows the subtotal per item with tax. A more advanced program will allow for revisions to be made, and the reports can then be saved for later use, so that you can view the information in a way that is more helpful to you and your accountant.
Data drill down: How easy is it to view all of the details of a transaction when you are looking at your business numbers on a report? In a more basic system, you will likely need to close out the report and go searching through layers of information to find the details. By contrast, a more advanced system will allow you to view the transaction details that make up the number with just a few clicks, and will even allow you to edit the information on the fly.
Service: As with any product available today, the end result of paying too little means your service will be less as well. Many basic accounting software programs will defray service expenses by outsourcing their service to an overseas call center. More advanced programs provide more complete support services, with a variety of contact methods, and technicians with years of experience.
When choosing accounting software for your business, be sure to consider all of the above points so your system will grow along with your business.