It has been said that planning is the key to good business strategy; that success follows those most prepared for it. But what happens when that very success keeps you so busy with the day to day travails of your business that you find yourself too busy to focus on moving business to the next level?
Are you too tired at the end of the day to even surf and find advice online? Too busy to shop around and talk shop with other business owners to compare notes and share best practices? Leery of highly-paid consultants and the vague advice you get from so-called business coaches? Quite the Do-It-Yourself kind of manager, are you?
Well we’ve put together a number of tips that may be of invaluable help to you. Since we all place a value on time, taking the time to review your business and accounting basics will definitely go a long way in focusing your search for the perfect accounting software.
While accounting software can help you reduce human errors in your calculations, it can also help you gain insights into growing your business in a way you wouldn’t be able to do via the traditional paper ledger route.
Picking the right software can help you generate your sales forecasts for the next quarter, determine low value products or over-inventoried stocks, pinpointing your least profitable products or services, and improve the over-all profitability of your financials while increasing traffic and increased delight in your products and services.
So go over your non-negotiable, taking note of the minimum expected functions the software you need needs to accomplish for you. Spend time on this step to decide what it is you really want to achieve and make your notes. Once your current business reality and the future-projected business you envision have set themselves apart, showing you clearly where the growth and changes must take place, make plans and put them into action!
Aside from sticking to your pre-set budget, other important parameters to consider in choosing top notch accounting software would be the innate characteristics of the program. Is it a flexible open platform program you want to use; a modifiable, re-programmable package suite of programs or a fully-customized one with full service and support options?
There are several general categories to choose from: simple small business payroll and accounting packages, more full-service business management programs, online Web-hosted applications, and free open platform programs that do the job just right, depending on your business.
Business Management Software packages may be pricey but these offer more full-features accounting programs that include financial tracking software, such as POS or point of sales, inventory control, supply-chain management, customer relationship management, billing and purchasing histories.
Independent sites offering independent accounting software reviews with links to the actual manufacturer’s sites/service provider’s sites are plentiful, browsing just a few will easily give you and idea of what to shortlist.
On Cloud Nine
For businesses that have migrated or started online, a different perspective beckons. Online, a new breed of financial management applications has recently emerged, owing to the growing confidence on the Web as a safe business environment. New online business owners are advised to be aware: it’s not just a plug and play we’re talking about anymore.
While independent web services for credit, purchase and inventories may have cropped up, fully automated systems to manage all these as well as in the real world systems need to be integrated into one platform or service, and many business owners would agree, it should be done seamlessly for business managers and owners, user-friendly and practical.
Software as a service is starting to grow big, and as in recent years, more and more entrepreneurs are becoming comfortable with software “in the cloud” models and many advantages it offers. Infoword.com defines these as “subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities.” If you’ve tried to look everywhere else for a unified platform for your growing business and have come almost to the end of your rope, this would be the best bet.
Since both the simple office suites we have gotten used to and the brave new world of online accounting services have seemed to diverge, take heart! They are still all based on the same sound accounting principles you, your bookkeeper and accountant are familiar with, with many new features that make it a joy to use and cool enough for you to give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. It still starts with knowing what you really want to do with your business, where you want it to go. The tools will basically be the same. Only your perks and benefits will differ.