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How Do I Choose the Best Automated Accounting?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are a number of reliable accounting software options for a company looking to do some or all of its accounting work in-house. Your choice of the best automated accounting system will be based on your individual needs and how much accounting work you plan to handle in-house before forwarding the information to an accountant. Also, you might consider what programs your accountant uses and whether the program you plan to use is compatible.

Automated accounting is a computer-based software system that can handle anything from basic bookkeeping to invoicing and advanced accounts payable and receivable tracking. There are a range of software options that offer different slates of features. What you should select depends, first, on a needs assessment.

Some companies have an accounting department with dedicated, full-time staff. Other companies simply keep track of revenue and expenses for bookkeeping purposes and transfer the data to their outside accountants. Where you fall between these two extremes will determine the group of software options you should evaluate. The first scenario includes software that can do double-entry accounting and other complex tasks, such as processing payroll and generating invoices, and is often integrated with the sales process to make ordering and payment tracking a seamless process.

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Second is the category of automated accounting programs that only keep revenue and expense ledgers. This is a bare bones option that automates the number crunching without any of the bells and whistles. These programs often have limited functionality, integrate mostly with your bank accounts and cost a lot less than the more robust program options.

Once you decide which category of programs meets your needs, there are certain features you should evaluate to find the best automated accounting system for you. Chief among the important features for evaluation is the system interface, and whether it is easy or hard for you to use. Accounting requires consistency. If a program is difficult to navigate, it increases the likelihood that people will misuse the system, recording information improperly.

Secondary features include whether the automated accounting system is installed locally on your company's servers or is a browser-based application that lives on a software developer's servers. The latter allows your staff to access the system from anywhere with an Internet connection. Also, most companies work with an accounting firm at some point, to prepare taxes or to do a yearly audit. The best automated accounting system for you can be the one that is most compatible with the system your accountant uses. Often, if you use the same accounting software as your accountant, the software allows him to give his clients a copy of the software for free.

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