As an accountant who works predominantly with small to medium businesses, I am often asked to recommend an accounting software program to my clients.

Choosing the right accounting software to best suit your business is surprisingly difficult. Advances in technology over recent years have created both huge advancements in efficiency, but also a complexity that can be overwhelming if you are not technologically minded or financially adept.

The first step is to identify the important factors that will affect your choice, because the recommendation will depend on the characteristics of your business. Please note that my knowledge of the available programs is limited to my experience, and despite working with many programs for over 10 years now, I still do not claim to know them all inside and out. But here’s my tips:

  1. Do you have a good internet connection? If not you should choose accounting software that can be used on your desktop. Cloud software like MYOB Essentials, Xero, SAASU, Wave Financial etc. will not work well if your internet drops out, or if your connection is slow. If you can’t rely on your internet connection, my recommendation would be MYOB AccountRight. This product can be used on the local computer with no internet, and can also be uploaded to the cloud when needed so you can work with your accountant or in other areas where internet is available.
  2. Are you technologically and financially savy? I have found that business owners who already have experience with using accounting software and who have the knowledge to use a program to its greatest extent tend to prefer MYOB as there are more reports available and in a superior format (in the MYOB AccountRight products, but not in MYOB Essentials). On the other hand, if you are just starting out and learning how to use a product, most people seem to find Xero the most user friendly. I also like SAASU which is a bit cheaper and provides a much larger number of transactions on the basic package.
  3. Is cost important? Prices vary between different products and within product ranges. The cost of a subscription is dependent on how many transactions, number of employees, cloud or desktop, other features required like inventory, stock on hand, multicurrency etc. If you have a very simple business and just want the cheapest option have a look at Wave Financial. This is a cloud based software from Canada, but available in Australia. They do not charge a subscription fee, but rather charge a commission on sales that are paid for through the software. If you prefer a flat subscription fee the best value software I have seen is Intuit QuickBooks online. For $15 per month you get unlimited transactions and invoicing and payroll for up to 10 employees. SAASU is also good, but you only get payroll for 1 person on the $15 package and limited to $1,000 transactions.

If you are just starting a new business or looking to improve your record keeping you can book an appointment at FAJ for advice on accounting software by calling us on (08) 9335 5211. Our bookkeeping team has experience with all of the software products mentioned above and are also able to manage changeovers from old products, new business set-ups and training for business owners.

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Author: Heather Cox