When running a small web design business, accounting probably isn't something that gets you very excited. In fact, many web designers loathe this part of the job. However, it has to get done. Choosing the right accounting solution will go a long way in ensuring your financial picture is organized and accurate.
5 Tips for Choosing an Accounting Solution
It doesn't matter your industry, company size, or how much revenue you generate on an annual basis, accounting is something that every business has to do. Failures or shortcomings in this area will not only constrict you in terms of visibility and planning, but could also get you in trouble with the IRS. Thankfully, accounting isn't something you have to do with a pencil and paper. There are a number of different tools and solutions on the market. Here's some advice to help you choose the right one:
1. Give Excel a Try
For starters, you might consider giving Microsoft Excel a try. Most people are familiar with Excel, but they don't realize how much value it offers for accounting. While it's far from perfect, implementing certain tricks and hacks will help you get some serious functionality out of Excel. You'll eventually want to upgrade to accounting specific software, but Excel gives you a nice starting point.
2. Try Accounting Specific Software
The beauty of accounting specific software is that it provides you with mobility and centralization at a cost-effective price point. In other words, you can access your accounting data regardless of where you are with very little friction. It's also overwhelmingly accurate, which is another distinct advantage.
3. Consider the Monthly Cost
Almost every accounting software on the market today operates as SaaS software - which essentially means you pay a monthly fee for the right to access it. With accounting software, smaller businesses will want to make sure they aren't overspending for things they don't need.
"Generally, you pay more for more features in accounting software and if your business grows enough to need more robust financial features, the cost is justified," finance blogger Shelley Elmblad writes. "For smaller businesses, there are now enough accounting software options available that over-buying is unnecessary."
4. Look for the Right Features
Speaking of options, which features do you need? The basic features you'll find in an accounting solution include inventory management, sales tracking, contract management, merchant account support, budgeting, estimates, payroll, and business tax reporting. If you have other features that you want in a solution, you may need to look for industry-specific accounting software that's specifically designed for companies with your needs.
5. Read Reviews and Ask for Referrals
Since accounting is pretty standard for most web design businesses, you have a variety of accounting solutions available to choose from - dozens, in fact. And after weeding through a few of the selections, you'll notice that many of them appear to offer pretty much the same features and functionality. How can you possibly choose?
This is where reviews and referrals come into play. Get off vendor websites and start browsing independent blogs, message boards, and rating sites to see what sort of experiences others have had with the software you're considering. You may be surprised to see the discrepancy between real-life opinions and the biased statements salespeople make.
Accounting doesn't have to be a Pain
Accounting isn't fun, but it is vital to the health and well-being of your web design business. As you look for ways to simplify and streamline how your company handles accounting, consider the role accounting software plays and choose accordingly.