Friday, November 27, 2015

Should Small Businesses Use Accounting Software?

As a small business owner, I get asked this question by many of my clients. My answer is almost always the same, yes!

"Why? Why should I pay yet another fee for a service I can do with a spreadsheet?"

Well, first off, a spreadsheet cannot do all the things that accounting software can do.  With minimal input, accounting software calculates gains, losses, income, expenses, and your net income. No legwork for you other than inputting some figures and in most cases, just connecting your bank account.

Accounting software can also be used to send invoices to get paid. The invoices can be customized so they look more professional. They accept all major credit cards or services like PayPal, Stripe, and others. They often do all the credit card processing for you (for a small fee). 

Another important feature, is that this software will show you your earnings. It collects all your financial data and categorizes it according to your pre-determined settings. Available to you in your main dashboard is your total income, your total expenses, and your total net income. It's nice to see how much your making hopefully!

The analytics part is also useful. Often pie charts will show where your money is going and coming. This kind of data will help you see where maybe you could save a little, and what percentage of your money is being spent on those particular expenses.
"Where are all my invoices stored?"

This is another great thing about accounting software, everything is stored securely in the cloud!
That means at anytime, anywhere, and on any device, you can access  an invoice or client info from last month, or last year even! It's all there, and easily accessible to you. This can be extremely helpful when you are not in your office or home, and need to access information.

Tax time coming? You can get detailed printouts for your accountant so he knows exactly where every penny is so he can get you the most back on your return.

"But isn't this software expensive?"

I remember when I was starting out. I tried to do this myself. I always had issues with sending invoices and keeping track of them. It was also tedious to calculate my earnings, incoming payments, and outgoing payments.
But there are many companies offering free accounting software for very small companies. 
One such platform is Wave. Wave has a paid or free plan. The free plan will work perfectly for small startups, and will enable you to grow within it. I have been using Wave, and it has made that part of owning my own business so easy. I use it to accept payments, send invoices, and keep track of incoming  and outgoing payments. My clients find it easy to use and there is almost no data entry for me to perform, other than verifying incoming payments.

So whether or not you use a free or paid platform for your accounting, I would highly recommend using something. This software is made to make your life easy, and it does. If you're serious about growing as a business, and looking professional, you need this type of software in your arsenal.

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