Seven types of software that are necessary for an accounting business

Looking for ways to save time and be more efficient? Here are seven types of software that are necessary for an accounting business.

When it comes to software, accountants are spoiled for choice. While the profession used to be resigned to the abacus, now, there are such advanced options that untold hours of manpower have been saved. (Let alone pencils, erasers, and scratch paper.)

Some of the best options for accountants include spreadsheet software, accounting CRM software, ERP software, and other custom options. Seven of the most crucial categories are compiled below.

1) Free spreadsheet software

This first category of software is where most humble accountants will get their start. Accounting spreadsheet software is generally the same as what is used by the public. The only difference is that an accountant probably knows a few more formulas than your average user.

In addition, free options have greatly improved in quality in recent years. Some of the better free options include Wave and Google Sheets.

2) Accounting CRM software

While some may be more familiar with customer relationship management (CRM) from its use in other business and marketing circles, fewer are aware that CRM software specifically designed for accountants already exists.

Accounting CRM software can be used to help keep all of a firm’s data on a client in one central location. Not only does this make it easier for the team to access, but it also helps new team members get up to speed on a project by providing an easily auditable history of each interaction.

Accounting CRM software can be great for any business as it helps firms uncover crucial data, such as which clients are the best and worst performing. It will also bring automation to some of the more tedious aspects of the job, such as client data retrieval.

In addition, the best CRM software will automatically prompt clients for necessary data and will continue to remind them until it is received. Needless to say—such software can free up many labor hours for other tasks.

3) Service-based software

There are several service-based options for accountants. One of the best options comes from intuit and is available entirely online, QuickBooks.

This is a great option for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that need some advanced features but won’t need granular details that more advanced software provides access to. However, SMBs should remember that a fee will come with continuing to use such bookkeeping software (usually after a trial period).

4) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software

While Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software doesn’t have to be used by accountants, it certainly can be. There are several features that a full suite can offer that any firm can find helpful in capturing data about a client’s day-to-day operations, compliance, company-wide performance, supply chain status, and more. Much of this is data that an accountant usually wouldn’t be privy to.

And this is in addition to providing advanced financial reports on an institution’s health. Though many think that an ERP is interchangeable with financials, in reality, financials are just one part of ERP. ERP commonly captures other aspects, including supply chain data, inventory management systems, EPM, and additional vital non-financial information. Oracle is one of the foremost providers of ERP software for accountants.

5) Client specific software

Specific industries will need specialized software to get a handle on the data that they produce. This requirement is usually true for enterprises with much more significant amounts of data, complex data, or numbers that aren’t easily captured using more conventional accounting software.

One example of a client requiring specific software would be a warehouse or logistics company with an enormous inventory to track and catalog. In such particular cases, good accounting software that is also capable of inventory management would be ideal.

One such piece of software to check out would be AccountingSuite. Although the software can take some time to get used to—especially for those with zero inventory management experience—still, after a while, it becomes intuitive.

6) Bespoke software

Sometimes a job will require a brand-new approach to data collection or analysis. In such instances, partnering with a software provider offering customizable applications can be a good idea. While this type of software will be pricier than software picked up off-the-shelf (OTS), such solutions may be the only option in some circumstances.

The benefit of this increased cost is that custom software should be much more efficient and save on hours worked thanks to its more specific nature.

There are many custom and bespoke accounting software providers, so shopping around is always a good idea. When searching for partners, be sure to know what exactly is needed that can’t be technically done on the software you may already have. For example, what data point is unique and needs to be captured by this new software?

7) Microsoft Excel

Finally, we have Excel, a program almost everyone is likely to be familiar with. While not specifically designed for professional use, this program still has a surprising amount of versatility in what it can do. So if an accountant takes the time to learn a few Excel tricks especially useful for accountants, they will be well on their way to unlocking the true powerhouse of Microsoft’s Office suite.