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Office Accounting Software - Essentials of Office Accounting Software

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The lifeblood of any company runs through the accounting department. Regardless of the nature of the business, no company can stay in business long without a successful accounting strategy. Even the smallest home business or Mom & Pop store needs to have a reliable and accurate method of tracking income and expenses. Fortunately there are many different software packages available for almost any size company or budget that can make the accounting process much simpler. However, it’s important to look for several key features when selecting a software package, as wrong accounting procedures can cause severe problems. For example, the wrong software can produce the wrong tax information, which may end up even forcing a business to close.

At the barest minimum, any software should be able to accurately track income and expenses and produce detailed reports. A few of the essential reports include Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Inventory, Time Billing, Financial Statements, and Banking. Surprisingly, many software packages formerly produced these only in text format. Many consumers report that it makes reading statements much easier if they are produced graphically, and several of the top options have begun to include graphical reporting.

Because every business is a little bit different, it’s also essential that a software package be easily expandable. In most cases, this will take the form of optional “modules” that can be added or removed from the system. Some of the more common modules are Credit Card Acceptance, Product Tracking, Customized Invoice, Invoice Emailing, Recurring Transactions, and various Postal Service integrations. The list of available modules is usually quite extensive, and there are also third-party software companies that can produce custom modules if required. If a business requires a specific third-party module, most software packages will allow a trial time period to make sure that it meets the needs of the specific company.

In today’s global market, one of the most common trouble spots for accounting software is integrating different currency into its interface. It’s important that any accounting software be able to understand different currencies and to calculate exchange rates on the fly, and many newer software packages will retrieve this information for the Internet daily or even hourly, should that be necessary. While this is important for any business, if a business has regular overseas transactions, including any Internet-based business, this feature is almost essential to business success.

Microsoft’s Office Accounting Express was considered the best place to start with a small or home based business. Since it was free to download and evaluate, it was easy to try out various configurations to see if it was adequate to a business’s needs. The Express version also was packaged with Office products, so it became the default accounting software for many users. Unfortunately, Microsoft stopped packaging Accounting with Office 2007 and no longer sells either the Pro or Express versions, and support for them will run out in 2019 in accordance with the Microsoft policy on product lifecycle.

With the end of Office Accounting software, Intuit’s QuickBooks is now the de facto standard for small business. It is designed primarily for business with under twenty-five employees. For mid-sized businesses (between twenty-five and two hundred employees), Peachtree Complete from Sage Software has built in capabilities to upscale from Quickbooks, so it’s a logical step for growing businesses. For enterprise level businesses, PeopleSoft is the accounting software of choice for many organizations including educational institutions and government entities at the local and state level.

When selecting a software vendor, it is generally preferably to select a package that has a proven track record with a business of similar size. For instance, software such as PeopleSoft is designed for large corporate environments, and its cost and large module-base can be quite cumbersome and overwhelming for smaller businesses. In many cases, it is a good idea to get references from other companies that are using the same software and solicit their complaints or good experiences with the software.

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