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Accounting Business Software - Samples and Considerations for Accounting Business Software

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High demand and steady technological improvements have put a wide range of accounting business software on the market. At present, software developers offer more than two hundred possible solutions for the universal business need of recording financial transactions. They vary widely in price and special features, dependent largely on the complexity of business tasks required.

First, there are free products available which function quite well for homes and some small businesses. Mint dot Com, for example, provides an online ledger which accesses bank statements, records data, and even processes it into simple charts. As an online service, Mint and products like it provide a built-in back-up—even losing a home computer will not wipe an online ledger.

Free software also exists for users who do not like the idea of storing their information online. The Free Download Center offers at-home accounting through a series of spreadsheets and math utilities. Back-ups for this software must be done manually, making the risk of data loss more pronounced, but it has the advantage of being able to be installed on even non-internet capable computers.

Though serviceable, free programs do not enjoy the same product support, special features, and promise of security as purchasable programs. In particular, free programs only track budget—they do not allow budget interface. A professional program has not only the ability to track numbers, but also the ability to network with banks, print checks and invoices, and more.

Quicken is the most well-known accounting business software. Offered in many software packages, Quicken can be purchased for between $60 (for Quicken Deluxe) and $150 (Quicken Rental Property Manager). Their product is Microsoft Money compatible, allowing for rapid data transfers between the two programs. The Quicken Mobile program allows for database access from a cellular phone, and automatic back-ups provided by the company insure that figures will never be lost. Programs increase steadily in complexity, making Quicken a viable solution.

Intacct is another popular accounting software. Like Mint, Intacct is hosted online, but as a tenured service Intacct enjoys a reputation for security which free softwares cannot fully match. Intacct is internet savvy as well, allowing for automated or manual bill payments from its program, accessible anywhere with internet.

Lastly, Sage Peachtree features one of the more intuitively designed interfaces available. Nested windows for customers and sales, vendors and purchases, inventory and services, employees and payroll, jobs, and banking let users write and print checks which are then automatically deducted from a running ledger. Other miscellaneous features allow for automated backups, year end wizards (especially useful on April 15th), journal entries, web synchronization, and more.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather takes a quick survey of some major accounting business software options and the features which distinguish them. These products range in intensity from free products which merely help arrange records to professional products that allow for rapid financial transactions, automation, and intuitive number crunching. Regardless of which product a customer should choose, the purpose remains the same: to improve upon pen and paper bookkeeping and save time and money through speedy, efficient organization. Style of interface, internet accessibility (or lack thereof), cost, automation, transaction capability, and security all factor in to determine which accounting business software the end user will prefer.

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