Many owners and managers of small or medium sized businesses have acquired accounting software to help them ease the burden and monotony of bookkeeping tasks, yet they are overlooking a lot of useful and valuable features of the software. This can include automated financial reporting, financial analysis, and data sharing. These functions are valuable in aiding users and assessing the profitability of their company.
The main value and benefit from computerized accounting software, such as QuickBooks and other similar programs, is that they allow you to manage and handle your business quickly, easily, affordably and efficiently-if used appropriately- and gives a competitive advantage.
This can be seen by the reports that are generated by the programs once data is entered. It allows for analysis in a number of ways. For example, you can easily forecast sales trends by product line, region, demographics, or all three.
In the past, these and other tasks were expensive for many small business owners, but with the help of these types of software, it is now a small cost to gain export reporting on a regular basis.
Some features may vary by program, but they ultimately allow users to generate financial statements and reports in a matter of minutes. As well, they allow all data to be exported to word processors, spreadsheets, tax preparation software, etc.
There are many powerful functions that can help your business control costs, increase revenue, and boost net income. For example, you can use the software to:
- Track sales of individual products to determine whether they should be eliminated from a product line
- Analyze factors that affect revenue and gross margin, such as employee productivity or a product's contribution to the bottom line
- Forecast cash flow and inventory requirements, track real time inventory and start JIT ordering, lowering financing and overhead costs
- Project sales by region and demographics that provide insight into how to boost sales and gross profit on sales
- Develop detailed budgets by department or project
- Generate financial statements and compare actual costs, that can help identify problem areas and improve forecasting abilities
- Assess performance trends, like profits, sales, borrowing, liquidity and assets, and also compare data to other companies in the same industry
In addition to all these features, accounting software allows you to automatically create invoices, generate collection letters, and sync contacts with programs like Microsoft Outlook. All the information entered can help your accountant make tax preparation much easier and headache free for both parties.
Some choices for accounting software in Canada that have multi-user capabilities are:
- Quickbooks- a full featured accounting and payroll program available in four editions that include a variety of helpful planning tools that help you manage your finances. It also accepts & transacts in all major currencies.
- Account Edge (formerly MYOB)-which includes over 200 customizable financial reports, time billing module for service businesses, and a quick feature that gives one click access to MS Word and Excel
- Simple Accounting- includes standard inventory, time and billing, and job costing functions. It allows you to switch between English and French on-the-fly.
With a minimal investment in computer software, and a little bit of time, you can make your life a stress-free approach to your record keeping. Make sure to consult with your accountant for advice on choosing the right software and training to make the job easier.