There are more than a few accounting packages out there. Some are good some are not-so-good, but mostly it depends on your tastes and needs. I’ve worked with many different types of businesses, some very similar but with different experiences dealing with the various accounting suites. Years ago I held an Intuit Quickbooks ProAdvisor certification, consequently I am biased towards that as a very simple solution for most small businesses and stand by that. But here are some questions to ask:
- Do you run payroll?
- How many employees do you have?
- Do you have a massive amount of inventory or a very large chart of accounts?
- Is remote access a necessity?
- What software does your CPA use?
The last question first, your CPA is likely going to want you to use the same software they’re using, even if they don’t say it up front. And they’re the place to start when looking for a recommendation for your business. You might need class or cost accounting, advanced inventory controls, integration with time clocks and many other issues that they have or will know someone who has experience dealing with these different scenarios.
The Accounting Suites – Strengths and Weaknesses ~
Quickbooks: Very nice to use, simple and intuitive interface with good reporting and workflows. Can be constricting in terms of lists, employees or other large enterprise needs (even with the Enterprise edition).
Creative Solutions Accounting: Very in depth, but you’d better actually be an accountant to use it. Popularity has been dwindling of late, but it is a full on enterprise accounting suite with very high capabilities.
Microsoft Small Business Accounting: Microsoft’s answer to Quickbooks. It has the familiar layout of Dynamics and Office, so it’s fairly easy to pick up. Good for entry level bookkeeping, but not very scalable beyond small business. Your accountant definitely doesn’t use it. At this time, it’s also discontinued.
Microsoft Dynamics GP: In terms of main-stream, high-level enterprise accounting suites with great support, this is the beginning and end of your search. As much as it pains me to say that about anything Microsoft does. It’s easy to learn, has excellent reporting capabilities, runs on Microsoft’s SQL Server, so it’s fast and massively scalable. It’s also $10,000. You’d better be doing good business and actually need its capabilities.
myERP: This could be the game changer. Fully web-based, searchable, Google-like in function and simplicity. It ties in CRM, project management, time tracking and the like. Payroll can be an issue, really good right now for smaller businesses with one or two employees that spend a lot of time in the field. Excellent to use on an iPad, basic reporting. It has a fair way to go, but for the future, these guys are doing some trailblazing. And your accountant isn’t likely using this either.
So the long and short of it: work with your CPA to determine your level of need. If you’re using an IT provider that has a head that functions outside of techie-land, and is good with analytical thinking, they’re a good source to wrap into this process too. Each of these accounting suites offers different levels of service and caters to different types of businesses and people. The best thing you can have is something you’ll use.
Thanks for reading! As always you can call or email me any time with your questions or for a free consultation.
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