How to choose the right accounting software

If you own an SME, there’s no doubt that you battle with things like keeping track of invoicing and chasing up on old payments. And, if you’re using accounting software, even the most ‘seamless’ platforms come with their own headaches – especially if you just chose one to get up and running and are not using one that’s suited to your business.

Where do you begin to find the right accounting software for your SME? There are a number of things to consider: here are three key questions you should ask yourself, before signing up for any software.


  1. How much can you afford?

Budget is probably your biggest consideration, especially in the early days. Free software, such as Wave or Invoicely, is more affordable, but comes with the drawback of being generic and having most of the useful features hidden behind a paywall. If your business operates in a specific industry, such as retail or manufacturing, then you could need to spend more on ‘vertical’ business accounting software – i.e. software built for your business. Whilst these packages are tailor-made for your industry, they are often expensive and come with hefty annual fees and no flexibility.

What you really need is software designed to grow with your business. That’s why we’ve chosen Xero. Xero comes with a 30-day free trial, as well as extremely competitive pricing. It allows you to use only what you need. Starting out? Xero by itself is perfect. Expanding and getting overwhelmed with paperwork? Go shopping at the Xero marketplace and pick up Receipt Bank or Hubdoc. Sales are going through the roof and struggling to keep track of inventory? Look at Dear as inventory management systems that plug into Xero.

At YourCFO we bundle your Xero subscription into your monthly retainer to ensure that you get the most cost-effective service. We offer tailor-made accounting and bookkeeping packages to suit whatever your business needs – there’s no point to pay for services you don’t need.


  1. Is it on the cloud?

Welcome to 2020 – the year that nobody should be giving a box of paper to their accountant. All financial and transactional information is captured electronically today and embracing that will save you time, money and prevent hair loss. Accounting should be paperless. It should also not be tied to a physical computer, laptop or server. What do you do if a laptop gets stolen, or a server goes down? Do you want to explain to your customers why you aren’t able to operate?

Your business will grow – and so will your accounting needs. When this happens, if you’re not on the cloud, you’re going to pay more for data storage (if you’re still using physical infrastructure), as well as upgrading the hardware itself. Not to mention the fact that cloud-based accounting software is also more secure and convenient. Cloud-based accounting software lets you automate everyday business tasks, get real-time financials, and run your business – from wherever you are. There’s no hocus pocus – it’s really just the standard of where you need to be today.


  1. Do you need a degree in astrophysics to use it?

Online accounting software needs to be easy to use, even for non-bean counters. If it feels like you’re proving Einstein’s theory of relativity each time you’re trying to raise an invoice, it’s time to make a change.

All the key information you need should be available on a single dashboard. You should be able to log in and access a quick snapshot of your business performance from your phone, tablet or computer. Invoices and receipts should be available in real-time, at the click of a button. It should also allow for automation and full integration with other software, such as payroll or e-commerce.

Choosing the right accounting software for your business can be a minefield, but these tips should help you navigate it. If it feels too stressful, don’t fret – our experience shows that most entrepreneurs simply don’t have the time (or the inclination) to deal with their business’s finances, which includes trying to decide on what accounting software to use.

Want to sign up for an accounting software package that ensures every rand you earn (and spend) is tracked and logged, on the cloud? Need a qualified, remote accountant to handle everything else? Contact us; we’re here to help.