Accounting programs are both vital and easily accessible for most businesses. This is because accounting software provides your computer with the ability to handle basic book keeping tasks such as invoicing, payroll and cash flow monitoring. Moreover, many pieces of accounting software are available online in basic or demo forms for businesses to utilize for free!
However, free accounting programs will primarily only be useful for small businesses. Larger corporations that handle complex business transactions on a daily basis will need accounting software with more functionality, which often means a slightly higher price tag. This should not be a cause to panic, because plenty of more complex pieces of software exist that are capable of performing fully integrated automation and organization management features.
So, what type of accounting software will best benefit your business? The types and uses of various programs are:
1) Free Software: This type of software often provides basic features with limited functionality. Small businesses will benefit from invoice management, bill pay, cash receipts, account reconciliation, and budgeting features contained in these types of accounting software. Generally, only one employee at a time will be able to manipulate data in these free programs, and these programs are often only able to process cash based income flows. Support for these free programs is limited, if available at all, and some of these free programs are merely watered down versions of more expensive, premium accounting programs.
2) Micro Business Software: This type of software usually sells for under $100 and includes the benefits of basic accounting software, with additional features and technical support. Generally, this type of accounting program can handle inventory management, CRM functions, project tracking and development, and more. This type of software is great for transportation companies or real estate companies that consistently deal with defined data and customer sets.
3) Small Business Software: Software for this type of business can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the type and functionality of the program. Often, this type of accounting software allows multiple employees to utilize the software simultaneously while provided added features and great technical support. This level of accounting software can often be customized for a specific type of business, and is capable of handling large amounts of data such as inventory flows from a warehouse or storage facility.
4) Mid-Market Software: This type of software can range from thousands to half a million dollars. This software type provides extremely flexible levels of functionality, and software providers will often be willing and able to tailor the software to a specific type of business.
5) Large Business: Generally, mid-market software exceeding half a million dollars can be upgraded to support multinational corporations. Technical support is generally all inclusive and an ongoing relationship exists between the software provider and the multinational company.
While there are numerous options available and multiple factors to consider when choosing the appropriate accounting software for your business, keep in mind that you want to balance the most cost effective option with the potential to expand in the future. In other words, do not simply get a free program just because that is all your business may need at the moment, but consider that your company may need more functionality within a few months. In other words, purchase the most affordable software that meets your needs, but leave room to expand in the future.
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