There are well over 100 different accounting and management software packages available in Australia, and choosing the right one for your business can be difficult.
Outlined below are some of the key points you should keep in mind when choosing an accounting software package.
Is the software produced by a reputable company?
There’s no point in investing money in a product if the company that makes it isn’t going to be around in a year. Make sure you investigate the company you are buying from, and find out what services they provide. You need to be sure that they offer good support and training facilities. Find out whether they offer support outside office hours, and what the cost of support will be. Make sure they have people available in your area for training and assistance with setting up, if necessary. Check that they offer regular upgrades to their products – tax requirements can change, and you need to make sure that your software can adapt to these changes. Speak to other users of the products and find out their experiences in dealing with the company.
Is the software appropriate to your needs?
With so many products available, you can usually find one that meets your specific needs. If you run a retail operation you may require stock control and payroll facilities. Some packages operate just like a cash register, and so are fairly easy for staff to learn. Service industries will need less – perhaps just invoicing and record-keeping facilities. Building companies could benefit from job estimating and time tracking, and so on. Before you begin looking at different software packages, decide exactly what you want the product to do for you, and don’t forget to plan for the future. Many packages offer extra modules that you can add on as your business grows, for example a payroll system for when you start hiring extra employees.
Is the software tax compliant?
The GST means that businesses have to keep track of each and every transaction, both sales and purchases. Your accounting software should have reporting facilities that will easily provide you with all the information you need to prepare your monthly or quarterly Business Activity Statement. The new tax system has also made significant changes to payroll records and has introduced the Pay As You Go system. Check with your accountant to make sure you cover all the necessary tax codes.
The main accounting software companies in Australia for the small-to-medium business market are MYOB and Quicken. They both offer a wide range of accounting packages to suit everything from a small, home-based business to much larger-scale companies.