If you’re in business for yourself, you need bookkeeping software. Not only do you need a bookkeeping program, but you need the best accounting software possible.
The days of the handwritten ledger are, thankfully, long gone. There are a million programs for a million different kinds of businesses, and when you find the one that’s right for you, keeping your books straight will become less of a nightmare than it’s ever been.
Here are just a few benefits of investing in bookkeeping software.
It’s Not Much of an Investment
Depending on the needs of your business, you can get good software for very little money. In its purest form, bookkeeping software keeps track of money coming in and going out.
If you don’t do a lot of invoicing, there are good, reliable, easy programs like Outright that don’t require a download and are free to use.
Good bookkeeping software does more than keep the books. Good accounting software can make life easier for everyone. Invoicing, payroll, inventory, pricing, and employee records can all be integrated into the same system with most modern accounting software.
Mistakes Are Costly
Getting paid is the best part of being in business for yourself. Counting the beans is among the worst. Mistakes — whether they’re in the payroll department, accounts receivable, shipping, or receiving — are easy to make and can be hard to catch. A skilled accountant can keep the books straight with almost no errors. Good financial software can keep the books straight with zero errors.
Among the biggest benefits of quality bookkeeping software is that it makes tax time less, well, taxing. By keeping track of income and expenses, as well as calculating deductions and reminding you of quarterly payments, your software will prepare you for April. Many programs even let you scan in receipts and records for write-offs.
In case of fire, theft, flood, computer crashes, or whatever else can and eventually does happen to every business owner, good accounting software backs itself up on a remote server. There was a time when records had to either go in a fire- and flood-proof safe at a remote location. Now, you just log off and go home.
Accounting software can tell you, at a glance, how things are looking. By providing a clear, easily understood picture of your business’s financial situation, you can make much better decisions on future dealings with vendors, employees, and creditors.
There are times for a business to cut corners and try to save a buck. Bookkeeping software isn’t one of them. If you’re a small operation, you can probably get away with paying little or even nothing. If you’re a more sophisticated business, you’ll have to invest a few hundred bucks — but it’s money well spent. After all, if you can’t keep track of your money, why are you in business in the first place?
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about small business and personal finance.