From the April/May 2010 Issue
At a glance, helping your client choose an accounting software product that will suit their needs may not seem difficult. An array of choices is available, with products found in every price range and level of difficulty. But as you actually start looking a little more deeply at the various products, it becomes more and more difficult to find the right one.
That’s because today’s small business accounting products contain more features and functions than ever before. Years ago, a core accounting system consisted of solid GL functionality, along with AP and AR capability. If you needed anything else, you had to step up to the larger products, which contained a flurry of features that the majority of smaller businesses would never utilize.
Then along came products like QuickBooks and Peachtree, which offered small business owners many of the features, on a smaller scale, that were found in these high-end, out-of-reach products. To remain competitive, other software vendors found themselves adding more and more features to their products, as well. The result is a win-win for your clients, as there are more feature-loaded products available than ever before.
This year, to make your search just a little easier, we’ve decided to take somewhat of a different approach to our review process. We’ve broken down each category into sub-categories, which should simplify the identification and review of the common functions within each category.
This review covers small business accounting products that are considered “on-premise products.” In other words, these are products that your clients will install on their computers. as opposed to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products, which will be reviewed in the June 2010 issue. For our purposes, we have defined small business accounting products as being priced at $5,500 or less for the core accounting system (GL, AP, AR & Payroll) for a single-user system. However, all of these products offer much more than just the core module set.
Using this new review format, we hope to gain consistency throughout the review process and note when a product exceeds our expectations, or explain why it does not. In the meantime, those in the market for a new accounting software product can look for the desired features and quickly determine if the product performs those functions and how well it does so.
As with most things, not everyone will agree with the results of this process, and it is not meant to be the final word on a decision to purchase a financial software product. Rather, it should be used as a resource when researching different products for your short list. Along with this review, I highly suggest you visit the vendors’ websites, view demos and download trial versions of the products that interest you. Only then, can you make an informed, educated decision on the product that is best suited for your client’s needs.
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