Most small business owners would agree that keeping track of finances using appropriate accounting software not only helps them meet legal record keeping requirements efficiently, but such software is also extremely useful in terms of keeping them informed about their company's financial status on an ongoing basis.
Basically, if a small business is not profitable at the end of the day, it might have to close down or the owner might need to make substantial adjustments in order to help make the enterprise a more worthwhile endeavor for them to operate and invest their time and money in.

Key Considerations When Selecting Accounting Software

One of the primary considerations for most small businesses when it comes to choosing accounting software is the cost involved. Fortunately, the leading brands of accounting software that would be appropriate for smaller companies are quite affordable, and tend to cost only around $300 to $400 per installation, although some software might involve additional support or upgrade costs. If that expense seems prohibitive, then online accounting software can be obtained on a low monthly charge basis.

Another important aspect of selecting account software for a small business involves how easy the system under consideration is to operate. Looking over customer and independent expert reviews can be helpful in case the software developer does not offer a demo version.

Furthermore, if a small business owner is not yet familiar with how to use computers or operate basic computer software, then they might need to factor in the cost of taking a crash course to help them get up to speed or of hiring an expert to assist them with their electronic bookkeeping. Otherwise, most of the popular accounting software packages tend to be relatively straightforward to operate for those with some basic accounting experience.

Industry Leaders in Small Business Accounting Software

With respect to accounting software packages for small businesses, the following two basic options exist:

Desktop Accounting Software

Probably most suitable for a centrally operated and maintained small business. Packages are typically purchased and may involve ongoing support or upgrade costs. Industry leaders include:
    • Quickbooks by Intuit - The industry standard accounting package for small businesses allowing the maintenance of customer, vendor and employee data. Easy to use and obtain reports from, but involves a significant monthly or yearly support cost. This product can be tried out with a 60 day money back offer.
    • Peachtree by Sage -Another popular accounting software package that interfaces with MS Word and Excel, and does just about everything a small business owner requires. Also offers a 60 day money back trial.
    • AccountEdge by Acclivity - A less costly solution for Windows or Mac platforms to Quickbooks that allows small business owners to manage their company's finances and includes sophisticated inventory management features. The developer offers a 30 day free trial and a substantial rebate for Quickbooks users.

Online Accounting Products

Suitable for a more geographically distributed business that requires such things as: remote accounts entry, information storage and analysis tools, mobile account access, and the electronic distribution of invoices and quotes. Access is typically billed on a monthly basis, and online accounting can help reduce data entry by electronically accessing accounts. Industry leaders include:Quickbooks Online by Intuit - Have online access to your financial accounts and management tools, and also you're your accounting data backed up remotely.
    • FreshBooks - A leading product for online invoicing that is especially suitable for freelancers and other online service providers.
    • Outright - Easy to use online tool for maintaining and organizing small business accounts that greatly reduces the need for data entry by linking up various accounts electronically.