Best Accounting Software

Accounting software assists users in managing and automating an organization’s financial functions and transactions. Get the details about their features, usage, and pricing before you start selecting the software for your organization.

Accounting Software Prospects

With a high-level idea of a balanced pool of potential systems, it’s time to take things a little further by exploring areas of importance and merits you may want to bear in mind before you commit to any of these systems.

How Our Selection Process Works

We begin by using multiple software ranking services to ascertain the top 50 to 100 products.

Using multiple experts and end-user reviews, we list key metadata and top features, followed by exploring demos of the product and reviewing recorded ones.

With expert user experience reviews, intent and trend data collation, and the insights we mentioned above, we then establish a score and rank the systems.

The Verdict

The idea of the “best accounting software” must always speak to what it offers to the end-user. How can it take an existing accounting process and revolutionize it, such that the client can see the value in the purchase?

For example, you cannot expect a large system built for a multinational to be well-suited to becoming small business accounting software. The design and use case contexts are completely different.

For us to have established a definitive ranking, we would need to have reviewed systems in terms of broad appeal, as well as targeted features that serve intended markets effectively.

After all, we did spend the time to evaluate, test, and browse reviews of up to around 100 different accounting software suppliers.

Therefore, we are confident that we have managed to ascertain the best options for various use cases.

We would advise you to get the trial experience before you settle on a purchase. Vendors often offer proof of concepts, demos, and whole test subscriptions to allow potential clients to get a feel for what a system would look like before deployment. Even bearing our recommendation in mind, take advantage of these kinds of offerings.

Now, let us review the individual and essential elements that led to our conclusion.

Accounting Software Overview

Accounting software can mean different things to different entities. For example, small business accounting software may require simpler entries and lighter process automation than an accounting program for a larger corporation.

With that said, here’s a look at what accounting software is from a comprehensive standpoint.

What Is the Best Accounting Software

If you want to identify what the best option is for your firm, begin to think about the combination of areas that require software intervention.

For example, automation was already highlighted. Additionally, you may find tax processing particularly difficult, especially if you are made to keep manual track of all the transactions the business undertakes to accurately determine how much you owe.

Your software system of choice may include a highly developed taxation module, meaning it takes care of your calculations and even helps you to file your returns more accurately.

Some of your tasks may even require reporting, and it’s always good to know that relevant reports are included, and if not, that you are given the ability to create custom views.

Here, you want to maintain a tunnel focus on the elements of accounting that the team handles and try to improve on as many of them as possible using features that the software provides.

How Does Accounting Software Help Me in My Business?

This is where you start to think about applicability to your strategic needs, beyond feature set appeal, which was described above.

For example, you may have an operational objective to improve job enrichment. Perhaps with the reduced time spent manually handling accounting, your staff members can then enroll in a mandated self-development course.

You could then create value for the business through a motivated workforce.

The idea here is fundamentally simple. Consider your vision and long-term objectives. They could be revenue, time, workforce, or even expansion-based. To what extent can you see the proposed solution contributing?

Accounting Software Meaning

This concept speaks to a program meant to undertake various elements of accounting processes and their associated transactions. These may include accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, journal entries, general ledger functionality, etc.

Apart from serving an information system purpose, these programs are meant to provide some level of automation to the financial arm of the business.

Main Features of Accounting Software

Though evaluating based on your specific needs should be at the fore, you also want to ensure that several general features are present to offer that sense of completeness to the system.

Here’s a look at some of the main ones you want to bear in mind:

  • User-friendliness. This one goes without saying. Training is necessary, but intuitiveness is mandatory.
  • Data security. It helps to understand how the confidential and sensitive information flowing through the system is stored and the kind of security protocols in place to help prevent breaches.
  • Relevant reporting. Reporting is a key part of the accounting process, especially when presentations are to be made to stakeholders. The more a system can eliminate the manual intervention needed to piece a report together, the more suitable it is.
  • Integrations. Being able to find a program that integrates with existing systems from other functional areas reinforces the business’ ability to work as one unit.
  • Scalability. Small business accounting software may be relevant for you initially. To what extent can your selected system scale as you grow?

Benefits of Using Accounting Software

Before a business moves on any kind of software purchase, a cost-benefit analysis is essential. This often begins with looking at the use case to ensure that the system chosen most closely matches it.

If you are looking for an accounting system, then you are likely attempting to leverage technology to streamline your accounting processes.

Streamline Your Accounting Processes

For adequate management of your books, your team must consider and adequately manage a slew of moving parts. This involves ascertaining source documents including invoices, purchase orders, receipts, etc. 

From these, journal and ledger entries are likely on the horizon. Additionally, there are balance sheets, profit and loss statements, etc., that the team must prepare at certain intervals.

The use case for a business that would benefit the most from accounting software has these processes and others that need to be automated. 

With that said, let us look at five of the major areas of improvement in which such a use case can benefit.

Taxation Filing

Record keeping and standardization are two of the biggest hurdles here. With a system that maintains records and provides proper templates and categories for data, ascertaining what you owe and filing your return are that much easier.

Time Savings

There is no getting around the level of automation that these software systems bring to the table and what it means for mundane tasks. One of the obvious benefits is that the length of time accountants would usually require to carry out the designated processes is drastically reduced.

That’s because there are built in-functions and processes that can be efficiently completed with no human interaction. 

Of course, this means that there is more time to focus on other areas that can contribute to the building of the business.

Payroll Simplification

Calculations including base pay, deductions, bonuses, etc., are taken care of automatically based on established parameters. Some accounting systems even go on to generate payslips for the workforce.

These may even be generated and sent electronically, meaning concerns about recreating lost copies or about the waste paper are eliminated.

Professional Reporting

Compiling reports is a huge part of the accounting equation. Not only do they advise the business where it stands, but relevant stakeholders can also make adequate projections for the next financial period.

Having these pieces of documentation well-formatted and easily understood makes this process more straightforward. The automatic addition of graphs and dashboards alongside text also makes for a more attractive presentation method.

Which Companies Should Buy Accounting Software

Unless operations are incredibly minuscule and no formal accounting is at play, there is always a need to incorporate accounting systems into the daily financial processing workflow.

Small, medium, and large-scale enterprises all benefit from these implementations.

Small Business

Small business accounting software brings implicit expertise and bolsters the workforce. Recall that these systems perform automated tasks that eliminate the need to do them otherwise.

Therefore, with an assumedly small accounting team, being able to eliminate all areas of the workflow possible is a desirable outcome.

Medium Enterprise

At the medium enterprise level, there is still a benefit to reducing the workload on individual team members. More importantly, keeping the larger team working towards the same goal without disarray becomes desirable.

Thanks to multiple login profiles and access to shared data, this concern becomes easily alleviated.

Large Enterprise

Large enterprises benefit even more greatly from what the medium-sized ones do. At this level, companies also want to be embracing integrations to create one consistent workflow between accounting programs, CRM, service ticket platforms, etc.

What Does Accounting Software Cost?

A couple of factors determine the pricing you’re looking at. First, there is the term. Long-term licenses are a lot less common these days, so you’re much more likely to end up with a subscription license where you pay monthly per user.

The cost can be free and can even run up to $1,000 or more monthly. It highly depends on the feature set, the reputation of the manufacturer, and the number of licenses you want. Often, you find that the more users you purchase licenses for, the lower the per-user cost.

Types of Accounting Software

The software is available in different flavors, and you want to pay attention to what separates each from the rest, as doing so can guide you in purchasing the one that aligns best with your organizational needs.

Commercial

These speak to commercial systems and are geared towards medium-sized and small business accounting software needs. Typically, there is high flexibility and a generally comprehensive feature set that spans most basic functionalities that a business may want.

You often find that there are specialized modules available as additional purchases.

Enterprise

Enterprise systems are geared towards larger companies with highly complex operations. At this stage, you find that there are a host of integrations with other systems provided by the same manufacturer, as well as third-party applications.

Licensing tends to be available in bulk and many of the essential features are offered as a part of the standard package.

Custom

These are sought after when the commercial and enterprise options available are missing very specific areas that a business needs. In this case, internal or external developers may be engaged to build a customized piece of software that is highly specialized to serve targeted purposes.

Sometimes, these are even used in tandem with existing solutions.

The software system that you may have chosen five years ago could be very different from the one you select now, and it has nothing to do with a change in feature requirements.

Instead, internal or external factors may give rise to trends that shape the way you work or the software purchases you make. Some of these trends are:

  • Remote work. For a plethora of reasons, it becomes increasingly common for a distributed workforce to be the order of the day. Therefore, if you have a multiuser system, you need it to either be able to accommodate a VPN or be hosted in the cloud to accommodate connections over the Internet.
  • Data compliance. Data compliance laws seem to be ever-changing, and it’s in your best interest to select a system that conforms to existing policies and is flexible enough to allow for adjustment to new ones.
  • Process automation. Companies have increasingly begun to see the importance of automation in creating greater efficiency and more value-driven solutions. Therefore, you are more likely to select systems that either have built-in automation functionalities or can be integrated with existing ones that you may have.
  • Cloud computing. This was slightly briefly mentioned above. The overhead cost centers associated with data center maintenance are a big part of the argument to migrate as many systems to the cloud as possible. Accounting software is no exception.

Which is the Best Accounting Software

It’s very easy to see why we indicated that this is a difficult choice to choose the best accounting software. There’s a lot to consider based on business requirements, trends, features, pricing, and more.

The best approach you can take is to use free trials, demos, and the like to try various systems, eventually settling on the one that suits you best. Thankfully, we have established a list of those that rank the highest based on our scale for you to choose from.

How to Choose the Right Accounting Software

First, keep in mind that we are here to help you find the best accounting software. After all, that was our reason for putting all this information together. Now, you at least have a working idea of where your thoughts should be as you aim to improve your accounting process with a piece of software.

Make a note of the platforms that check the most boxes based on your needs, and you also want to keep track of features you didn’t realize you wanted that you are also getting.

Your priority is to choose the one that ticks the most boxes, but if you can balance it with getting the best value-added solutions, then you’ve done well.

Summary

We have presented you with a working list of the best accounting software options out there. Additionally, we scoped the search for one of these systems, allowing you to make it easier and more relevant to achieving your strategic objectives. 

With that said, you should now be able to select without experiencing post-purchase cognitive dissonance.