Are you still keeping your books on ledger paper?  Do you reconcile your bank account on the back of your bank statement? Are all your receipts kept in a shoe box?  Do you groan when you get your bill from your accountant?  If you answered yes to these questions, then you probably do not have an accounting program.

How do you choose an accounting program for your business?  There are several good programs out there that may meet your needs.  Research the specifications for programs and ask other businesses what they are using and what they like and don’t like about the program they are using.

I am partial to QuickBooks and eighty-five percent of small businesses use QuickBooks as their accounting software, so I am going to write about some of it’s features.  First of all, there are several editions to choose from depending on the size of your business, number of users that will need access to the program, and the reports you will need to generate.

  • QuickBooks Pro – This is the simplest of the offerings, but still robust.  One user is included with the price, and two additional users can be purchased.  Several new features are available this year including batching of invoices, four new built-in reports, convenient access to customer or vendor’s balance or transaction history along with other features.  It also integrates with Payroll Services and Merchant Services, both of which are sold separately.
  • QuickBooks Premiere – This version can have up to five simultaneous users. This version has several different industries to choose from when setting up your company file.  Because it is so industy specific, reports can be generated that are also specific to your industry.  In addition to the features of QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premiere forcasts sales and expenses.  A new feature for this year is tracking the balance sheet by class.
  • QuickBooks Enterprise – This version is for the mid-size company who is growing and needs more features than QuickBooks Premiere can offer.  It will allow up to 30 simultaneous users with different security settings for each user.  It will track inventory in multiple locations with Advanced Inventory (sold separately).  You can work in two company files at one time.  You can combine reports from multiple companies files and create professional financial statements.
  • Mac Desktop Solutions – This is a 3-user edition that integrates with Payroll for Mac and Merchant Services (both sold separately).  New features added this year are that job-related mileage can be tracked by mileage or job, export reports to Excel or Report, find transactions faster by sorting by account registers by date, type, number amount, and more, among other new features.

The editions listed above are all desktop editions of QuickBooks and should you need to access your file while away from your computer, you would need to use either the built-in remote access feature in QuickBooks or an online remote access such as Team Viewer or GoToMyPC.   You could also have your QuickBooks hosted from a number of hosting companies if you need to be working in your file at the same time as your off-site bookkeeper or accountant.

Once you have choosen the right product for your business your Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor will help you set up your company file, enter all existing transactions and train you on how to use the features of your new accounting system.  If you are unsure on which product you need your Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor will be glad to help you with that decision.