“Software as a service” (SaaS) has become the most widely accepted way of accessing many types of software, including accounting software for businesses.
Rather than what we did in the past, i.e. purchasing and then loading the software you need to your computer (and having to update it as the software changes), we now instead access our chosen SaaS, its accompanying tools, and whatever data you add to it, via cloud-based computing.
Most services let you try-before-you-buy to see if it’s the right fit for your needs.
Below is a list of things to look for in a SaaS accounting package.
Ease of use and fitness for purpose
A businesses accounting tool needs to be so easy to use that it is virtually intuitive, no matter how complex it is ‘behind the scenes’. Business owners shouldn’t have to spend their time learning a complicated system, but instead, focus on what they know best – their business!
Many of Hart Partners’ clients are small to medium businesses. We understand their needs, and when weighing up the different products available, we sought an accounting package that best suited them.
Xero covers all functional requirements, including billing, invoicing, account management, expenses tracking, and BAS reporting.
Xero also integrates with businesses other systems, such as their client relationship management (CRM) system or their inventory system. Being able to integrate smoothly with Paypal as well makes it the perfect accounting system for those businesses who sell products online.
Costs spread over time
Accounting and other SaaS services are more budget-friendly than traditional in-house licensed alternatives, as you don’t actually buy the software, but rather pay to access it, on a monthly basis.
Backups and security
Quality cloud-based accounting tools, like Xero, are considered to be more secure than tools managed in-house on your own computer.
However, if you explore other systems, it’s important to confirm that the software owners back up all of their clients’ data regularly, and store backups in multiple locations. They should have good security measures to keep your data secure and accessible only by you. When needed, you should be able to easily export your data to an Excel or CSV file to use and store as you choose.
Flexibility and responsiveness
One of the big advantages of cloud-based software services is that the service provider should regularly provide updates. Good providers will offer clear paths for clients to suggest possible system enhancements. Great ones will offer clients some way of influencing development priorities, such as a client voting system.
The provider should be responsive to client needs individually as well as collectively. Check that they have obvious and easy-to-use contact points and that they respond promptly and appropriately.
There are many online accounting tools for small businesses. However, at Hart Partners we recommend Xero as the most comprehensive, flexible, and user-friendly product.
We welcome your call or email to discuss further how Hart Partners and Xero can help to keep your small to medium business financials in great shape. We invite you to contact Hart Partners today.
* * * Disclaimer: No person should act on the general information in this article without taking specific advice from a qualified advisor. * * *