Do I need Accounting software?...

The accounting software industry has flourished over the last decade with start-up companies and SME’s investing in online, easy to use accountancy tools that can be accessed on the go.

But, is this something your business needs?

With the introduction of the Making Tax Digital initiative by Government, all companies will ultimately be required to make their returns electronically using commercial software, to ensure tax is calculated correctly and submitted on time. So, sooner or later you will need to move from manual systems to digital technology.

That means the question is not ‘Do you need accounting software?’, but more, ‘Why are you putting off using a software package?’ If your time is spent chasing invoices, sorting out payroll and trying to align the accounts at month end, instead of running your business, then why not invest in a software package that will do all the jobs for you and allow you to reinvest that time more profitably?

Today, software packages include a whole host of tools such as payroll, invoicing, purchase orders and expenses to name but a few. Many online software companies have packages tailored to suit your requirements, but you can pick and choose which ones best suit your business

Before investing in a software package, it’s a good idea to identify what you need it to do. The following questions are a good starting point?

  • How many monthly transactions do you have?
  • Do you need it to manage sales and purchases?
  • Are you dealing with stock or simply selling a service?
  • Are your reporting needs simple or do you like to slice and dice your data?
  • Are you only working in GBP sterling or multi-currency?
  • How many companies do you operate?

Another key thing to take into consideration is how you take in information. Are you a visual person or do you shy away from anything online? Of course, you can still print paper-based reports from all the software packages, if that is how you prefer to review figures, but most are now designed for on screen presentation with various filters and column sorting options making analysis faster and easier and avoiding rekeying data.

If you have put off moving to accounting software because you think it will require someone to manage it for you or you feel overwhelmed by IT, then don’t worry. Even with Making Tax Digital, it will be possible to still use applications like MS Excel for managing your accounts, as long as they have the ability for direct submission to HMRC, via a bolt-on connector. But you also don’t need to be tech savvy to use accountancy software. It helps to be confident with online tools but the majority of software packages have ‘how to’ guides and video tutorials online and help is always available at the end of the phone. Because many accounting functions are repetitive, it won’t be long before you find your rhythm with any system and begin to expand your knowledge.

One of the biggest benefits our clients see from making the move to accounting software is the fact that everything can be saved in the cloud. This reduces the amount of paperwork and gives you access to your accounts whenever and wherever you are. As a result, invoicing and therefore payment of invoices is faster, which aides cash flow and we all know how valuable that can be.

So, don’t put it off any longer. Change is coming and with any change, it is best to be ahead of the curve and make decisions which are right for you and your business in your own time.

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