What to look for in your new accounting software

Whether you are starting a new business or changing your service provider, running a business is incredibly tough. There are so many things that you need to consider, such as staff, company identity and marketing, strategic goals and of course, finances. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, or what you specialise in or where you are based, if you don’t have your finances properly managed, your business is far more likely to fall apart.

Since most business owners may not be accountants themselves, they need to hire someone to do this for them. But the accountant you choose is no longer the deciding factor on your company’s financial health – it all comes down to the accounting software you choose to use.

If your accounting system is not up to scratch, you are not going to understand your costs, your investments and how to make money from your time spent on work and services.

On the other hand, if you have a clear understanding of the financial foundation of your business and the way in which accounting and bookkeeping has changed over the past few years, you can use this to make the move to a smarter, technology focused solution.

Here are some important software characteristics to look out for:

Cloud software

This may seem obvious or even overdone at this point, but this is probably the most important thing to look for when searching for an accounting solution for your small business in 2017. There are countless benefits of moving over to the cloud, such as real-time accounting, easy accessibility and the software’s ability to have multiple add-ons. When it comes to small and medium businesses, cloud is the future.

Centralised or decentralised?

We are used to accounting software packages being an all-in-one solution, but more and more businesses are moving towards a decentralised solution for the different parts of their business. There are pros and cons to both solutions. Having all of your needs provided by one program can create a unified experience, but this is also generally unwieldly at the same time because you are forced to do it “their way”. In addition, all-in-one software rarely provides all the features you need on the one hand, and hundreds of features you don’t need on the other. This is why a decentralised solution can be beneficial because you can get a program that suits your core business needs first and in most cases, pay less for the software. Anything you may need to add on can be done at a later stage. Plus, if you find that the program you bought is not quite right, you merely cancel the monthly subscription, “unplug” it and buy another one.

Workflow automation

Look for accounting software that has the ability to use workflow systems. Add-ons such as Receipt Bank, can add ease and convenience to your everyday bookkeeping work. In this case, Receipt Bank uses optical character recognition to scan slips and invoices, eliminating data capture which frees up time for your bookkeeper to add real value to the company in more creative ways.

Accountants are becoming more like advisors

Accounting is changing fast as software developments save more and more time. As 65% of business owners agree that the accountant is the most trusted advisor, the new software developments will free up time for your accountant to be able to provide better advice in more areas rather than spending their time “accounting”. By finding a product that provides this freedom, you will have better information, quicker and with a broader view.

Customisation and personalisation

Every business wants a solution tailored to their specific needs. Although SME-focused accounting programs provide very little customisation opportunities, the newer programs provide more flexibility, particularly in reporting. Look for software that has flexible capabilities in reporting and the ability for other programs to seamlessly integrate with it.

Data analytics

A growing trend in the tech world is the ability to analyse data in order to get real, valuable insights for your business. The standard reports such as income statements and balance sheets will always be important, but what businesses are really trying to achieve are ways to improve their business strategies. Find an accounting solution that can give you deeper insights into your data in order to better your overall company profitability.

In conclusion, the bottom line when looking for an accounting solution is to look to the future. The priorities of software designers and accountants have changed and in turn, so should your accounting software. Find something that works best for your business and keeps you up to date with the industry. Our favourite online software is Xero. Check it out here: https://www.xero.com/za/

Xero – The Best Accounting Solution for your Business

Since we figured out that cloud accounting is the future of accounting solutions, we thought we’d take a look at our favourite online software – Xero.

Xero is an award winning product, making online accounting real-time, user-friendly and extremely efficient. Not only is the software easy to collaborate on and allows for many beneficial add-ons – paperless accounting has never looked this good!

Besides being, in our opinion, the best online accounting software in the world, there are so many groovy reasons to use Xero for your business.

  • Everything about Xero is easy. The software is extremely user-friendly, making accounting simple for anyone in the business to do.
  • Anytime, anywhere access. All you need is an internet connection.
  • Powerful real-time reporting. Compare, share and pull reports at any time by the simple click of a button. Customise your reports to suit your business needs and set up a reporting schedule in a few easy steps.
  • The software has an awesome open ecosystem and can sync with hundreds of third party apps. This makes integrating into your current business workflow super effortless. Check out one of our favourite add-ons later on in the post.
  • It’s really affordable software. Voted the 4th most affordable accounting software by Capterra.com, Xero is worth way more than what you pay for it. This is not only feature wise, but also because the time saved working in it far exceeds the licence saving over inferior competitors. Need we say more?
  • Visually inspiring and beautiful software. Xero has put a lot of effort into making accounting fun, simple and stimulating, taking the chore out of bookkeeping.

One of the coolest and most exciting third party apps that can plug in to the Xero software is Receipt Bank. Designed specifically for small and medium sized businesses, they completely take the manual process out of collecting and adding up all of your receipts and invoices.

Simply snap a photo of your receipt or invoice using their smartphone application or email through an invoice from your scanner or supplier. Receipt Bank uses advanced optical character recognition to process the document and, depending on your auto publish settings, can post it straight into your Xero software without any further human intervention. The software then captures the expense to the correct expense account, correct VAT capturing AND it sends a copy of the invoice into Xero attaching it to the transaction so when the auditors come in, they can see the source document without paging through supplier files. Saving you time, money, resources and improving accuracy.

These are just a few reasons we choose to use Xero as our accounting solution, but don’t just take our word for it.

Check out some of the reviews and ratings that Xero received on Capterra. You won’t be disappointed!

Let’s Talk Cloud

We live in a time where things change at an incredibly fast pace. Gone are the days of backup’s onto tapes and photos being displayed in an album on the coffee table. Our lives live in the cloud.

Most businesses depend on cloud-based solutions for many of their operations. From banking, to storing important data, to sharing company documents and hosting software, the cloud is the way to go if you want to make your business more efficient. So why not your accounting software?

There are some really cool advantages of using cloud-based accounting software for small businesses. Here are a few:

  • You can access your data from absolutely anywhere. All you need is an internet connection and a device with an internet browser.
  • The software and infrastructure requires almost no maintenance on your end. The software is always up to date with the latest release.
  • The system is enterprise grade secure.
  • Cloud-based accounting software can integrate with other online add-ons in your business, such as CRM, inventory management, etc.
  • Cloud accounting software is often the more cost effective option.
  • It allows business owners/managers easy access to accounting data and can be used for collaborative accounting. No more “who has the current backup” frustrations. The auditors can audit live data from their offices.

Cloud-based accounting software has opened new doors for collaborative accounting. In a generation that thrives on instant gratification, businesses have had to keep up with the pace. This technology makes collaborating with clients and colleagues a real-time task. All users can access the software anytime, from anywhere – saving you time, stress and ultimately, money.

Now, let’s talk about outsourcing. Outsourcing and cloud go hand–in-hand. Outsourcing alone has many benefits – it allows you to focus on the core services in your business without having to think about managing an accounting department, it significantly reduces overhead costs and it significantly reduces the risk of fraud in your business.

When using cloud accounting software, it allows business owners to keep up with everything their outsourced partners are managing for them on the software. They have peace of mind knowing that professionals are taking care of their finances and they have the capacity to focus on the growth and expansion of their core business.

The growth in online accounting solutions has been phenomenal and this year is going to be no different.  Companies such as Xero Accounting, our preferred accounting solution, are paving the way for small business accounting solutions. People (even our CEO’s 74 year old Dad) are moving more and more towards cloud-based solutions – and we can definitely see why.