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Accounting Software Review

Accounting Software - Don’t Start Without it.

For small businesses starting out whether you are importing goods from China for resale or you want to be a professional photographer, getting an accounting software package can make a huge difference in saving you time and make you more productive.  Here is an  Accounting Software Review to simplify your decision process.

Accounting Software Review:  QuickBooks Versus Sage 50

In the United States, QuickBooks and Sage 50 US (formerly Peachtree Accounting) are the main accounting packages available to the small business owner.  QuickBooks and Sage 50 Canada (formerly Simply Accounting) are the main products in Canada.  These products are available at your local office supply retailers, electronic retailers, online or directly from the manufacturer.  

Common to all these brands is that there are different products within the product line ranging from <$100 to $400+.  They all will do your basic bookkeeping tasks but the advanced ones will allow you to do more things especially if you have an operation that is more complex.  For instance, a furniture manufacturer will have more things to keep track of than a service type business such as decorating.

Accounting Software Review - QuickBooks is Easy to Use

From basic to more advanced, the QuickBooks lineup is:

QuickBooks users like this product line because it is easy to use.  All three products will allow you to track money coming in and going out of your business such as paying bills, sending invoices, and track your sales.  

The QuickBooks Pro version will allow you to track inventories and it has multiple country currency capabilities.  If your business needs either one of these capabilities, then the Pro version is better for you than Simple Start.

Moving up from QuickBooks Pro to QuickBooks Premier will give you more advanced features such as sales forecasting, creating a business plan and developing industry specific reports.

Accounting Software Review - Sage 50 Accounting Gives You Valuable Insights

For Sage 50 Accounting, the product lineup is also similar (from basic to more advanced):

Sage 50 Accounting users like their Sage 50 Accounting because the product gives them valuable insights into their business. If you appreciate numbers and what they can do for you, then Sage 50 is a good choice.  

Similar to the QuickBooks lineup, the entire Sage 50 lineup will assist you with basic bookkeeping tasks such as billing customers, paying your bills, printing checks.  Even at the entry level package, Sage 50 Pro Accounting will allow you to conduct financial analysis and competitive benchmarking. Sage 50 Pro version will also allow you to manage payroll, and track inventories.

Moving up one more level to the Sage 50 Complete will allow you to track inventories and manage fixed asset depreciation.

The advanced Sage 50 Premium version will allow you to consolidate finances from more than one company.  If you have two or more gift stores, this will become useful.  You can also have financial statements by department or budget centers.

At the top of the Sage 50 lineup is Sage Quantum which provides in depth accounting features and licenses for up to 40 users.  It is a great solution for those businesses that are getting large but do not need an expensive and complex custom designed accounting software solution.

Accounting Software Review - Special Industries

For the Sage 50 Premium and QuickBooks Premier, there are industry specific versions of the software such as construction, nonprofit and manufacturing.  They are worth investigating if your business is in any of these industries.

There are super versions of accounting software called QuickBooks Enterprise and Sage 50 Quantum.   Such products are not sold in store at office supplies chains.  They can be purchased directly through the manufacturer or through third party partners.  For the average business owner just starting up, you most likely won't need the power of these two versions.  Keep them in mind as your small business grows larger and more complex.

Getting Accounting Software, Cheap

The great thing about QuickBooks and Sage 50 is that you can download a trial version for free, conduct a test drive and see which one you like the best.  

For the ultimate cheapskate, keep an eye for promotions at your favorite retailer.  The lower end versions can be purchased for free after in store discounts and manufacturing rebates.

Getting an accounting software package will never guarantee that you will succeed, but it sure helps.  Given the demands of the new small business owner, the accounting software will minimally make you more efficient in conducting your bookkeeping tasks.  If you use any of the financial statements such as cash flow, balance statement, and P&L to manage your business, you are well on your way to improving your operations.  

Even if you like to and can do it, who wants to spend hours creating their own financial statements?  Most accountants don't manually create financial statements anymore.  Why should you?