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Web registrar GoDaddy has announced plans to make an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that will raise them USD 418 million and increase their market capitalization to almost USD 3 billion.

GoDaddy has filed for an IPO last year with the "GDDY" ticker symbol but it has yet to set an exact date for the IPO. The internet company based in Arizona which offers webhosting and domain registration has updated its filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to Cheyney Group Marketing.

Around 61 million Class A and 90.4 million Class B stocks are expected to remain with the company after its public offering. Each share will range from USD 17 to USD 19, and with about 22 million stocks planned to be offered, the company has the potential to gain USD 2.88 billion in market capitalization.

This is not the first time the internet company has planned to go public though -- it was first rumored to have an IPO 6 years ago but it did not go through. Then in 2011, Technology Crossover Ventures, Silver Lake Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company acquired the firm which was valued at that time at USD 2.25 billion.

Should it successfully go through with listing on the NY Stock Exchange, it's reported to be valued now at almost USD 3 billion. However, since an IPO opens up a company's financial condition, it was revealed that GoDaddy lost USD 143 million out of its USD 1.4 billion revenue in 2014.

Experts from Cheyney Group Marketing are in agreement that 2015 is still a good year for internet firms to go public, and with the brand recognition that GoDaddy already has, it could prove to be popular with investors.

Since it was founded as Jomax Technologies in 1997, it has served around 12.7 million clients. It currently manages almost 60 million domains, making it the largest web registrar in the world.
Dear QuickBooks,

I am breaking up with you.
It isn’t you.
It’s me…
I have grown.
I am not the same small business I was when we met.
I have different needs, expectations and ambitions.
I appreciate everything you did to organize my payroll.
I thank you for every balance sheet.
You made me a better small business.
It’s just…
I am not a small business anymore.
I know there is a new small business out there waiting for you!
I will never forget you…

Fast Growing Business

Breaking up with QuickBooks…

Realizing your business has grown beyond the functionality and capabilities of QuickBooks is bittersweet. You realize you need a better way to create consolidated financial reports and the flexibility to format reports to meet your requirements. You admit your invoicing is too simplistic and needs to be upgraded to accurately reflect your services. You are running most of your reports in Excel, not QuickBooks, and you are spending too much time on manual entry of data into multiple systems.

You’re a growing company and want to keep it that way, but your auditors are consistently complaining – begging you to keep tighter internal controls and do a better job at tracking expenses. You are seeing the increasing need for real-time visibility into your financials. Plus, your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can’t communicate with QuickBooks, resulting in yet more manual inputting – and a less comprehensive overview of corporate activities.

You can deny it no longer.

The time has come…breaking up with QuickBooks is inevitable.

Good news, it doesn’t have to be painful!

Graduating from QuickBooks to cloud financials and accounting can be done by transitioning to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution designed with financial management functionality. The move to life with cloud-powered SaaS alternatives can boost productivity by giving 24/7 access to financial documents, reports and milestones.

You will find you will improve cash flow by automatically capturing billable time and expense – plus accelerate billing. You will decrease errors and boost operational productivity by integrating project activities with project accounting.

A departure from life with QuickBooks, cloud accounting solutions allow you to access your true cash flow any time of the day or night – 24/7. You can take better control of your accounting by reviewing your real-time finances. This means you can manage your finances on the go and never miss the opportunity to correct an issue, send an invoice or monitor accounts payable.

Best yet, you can easily collaborate with colleagues and accounting professionals in real-time on financial reports. Many cloud accounting software solutions integrate with other business apps too, allowing you to use a variety of tools to run your business better. The access to real-time data afforded by cloud accounting software gives you total financial management and tracking power over your cash flow – with up-to-date views of daily financials at your fingertips. With time-consuming, manual tasks removed from the equation, you and your team can be more productive and focused on the most important task at hand – managing and growing a great business.

So, if the time has come for you to break up with QuickBooks, do not worry. Moving on with a robust, cloud accounting solution will help take your business to the next level. You are going to love having real-time views of your financials and the perks of cloud collaboration as you share documents and review reports 24/7 with colleagues and accounting professionals. QuickBooks served its purpose for your growing business. Now, it’s time to power your financial reporting with technology solutions and cloud-based accounting alternatives that can graduate your business to higher levels of productivity and administrative performance.
After tabling discussion last month, members of the Montgomery County Board unanimously approved spending $57,875 on new financial and payroll software as part of their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday morning, Feb. 10, at the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro.

Board members Mike Webb and Bob Sneed were absent from the meeting.

Finance Committee Chairman Megan Beeler said she tabled the motion last month because she felt there were some details that still needed to be ironed out. This month's motion featured an approval to purchase both the financial and payroll software from Zobrio, but the committee decided to hold off on the human resource and time keeping modules. Zobrio has agreed to lock in the same price for up to six months if the county decides to add the human resource or time keeping modules.

Board member Heather Hampton+Knodle asked if that price lock was included in the contract, and Beeler said it's not because it's not part of the proposal. Dave Penrod of Zobrio was present at the meeting and guaranteed to board members he would offer them that same price.

Board member Ron Deabenderfer asked about the advantages of the new software program. Beeler said the county is currently paying for a software system, and this one will improve the county's accounting ability and improve efficiency.

"It offers better payroll and inventory tracking," said Treasurer Ron Jenkins. "It brings us out of the Stone Age."

Board Chairman Roy Hertel said the county employees tried two new software companies and they preferred the Zobrio software, and Jenkins added that it's very user friendly.

Board member Mike Plunkett said the software does have an annual maintenance agreement, but will cost $9,000 a year less than maintenance on the current software.

"Basically, it will pay us back in six years," Plunkett said.

He added that the board budgeted $80,000 for the project and will come in well under that.

Consent Agenda

Under the consent agenda, Supervisor of Assessors Ray Durston reported he hired a new GIS technician, Cassidy Younker of Stonington. Durston said she is catching onto the new job very well and will attend training next week.

County Clerk Sandy Leitheiser said her office has been collecting fees under the Rental Housing Support Program. The state charges $9 for every recorded document and the county has collected $430,326 since the law's inception in August 2005.

"The intent was to serve low income housing," Leitheiser said. "I have been trying to advocate to get those dollars returned to Montgomery County."

She said that the CEFS program and CEO Paul White applied to receive some of that funding, and has brought $117,168 back to Montgomery County since 2012.

"We'd like to see it all come back here, but this is a good start," Leitheiser said.
Saba Software, a troubled cloud-computing firm based in Silicon Valley, has agreed to be taken private by Vector Capital for about $300 million.

Vector, a private equity firm that had previously provided a loan to Saba, will pay $9 a share for Saba, which was delisted from the Nasdaq in 2013 and is currently traded over the counter. Including debt, the deal is valued at about $400 million.

Vector’s offer price was just below Saba’s share price until Tuesday afternoon, when trading in Saba shares picked up and leveled off at $9 a share.

Saba was delisted from the Nasdaq after it was forced to restate earnings following an accounting fraud scandal. Also on Tuesday, two former chief financial officers of Saba agreed to return nearly a half million dollars in bonuses and profits from stock sales that they received while the company was said to be misstating earnings.

After the scandal, Saba hired Morgan Stanley to explore strategic alternatives.

“Over the course of Saba’s comprehensive review, the board of directors and our advisers evaluated a wide range of strategic alternatives, and engaged with a number of parties,” said Bill Russell, Saba’s nonexecutive chairman. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Vector, which provides significant cash value for our shareholders.”

Saba makes cloud-based software that helps companies with hiring and talent management.

Vector, a firm that specializes in technology, has in the past also invested in WinZip, LANDesk Software and Register.com. Vector recently sold SafeNet to Gemalto for nearly $900 million.

“Vector, along with some of the world’s premier financial institutions and investors, is excited to help Saba move beyond its financial restatement process and put the focus squarely on the company’s innovative cloud talent-management platform and its blue-chip customer base,” said David Fishman, head of private equity at Vector Capital.

Saba received financial advice from Morgan Stanley and legal advice from Morrison & Foerster. Shearman & Sterling provided legal advice to Vector.
Venezuela has verified last week that its economy has indeed entered into a recession as domestic inflation stays the highest in the region.

President Nicolas Maduro, leading the socialist administration has been blaming the opposition for the market's poor performance.

Hugo Chavez's apprentice, Maduro won the election in 2013 and one of the problems he was faced with is the damage done in their economy largely dependent on oil. His placing the blame on his political rivals did not help but instead resulted in tragic street protests last year which resulted in 40 people dead on all sides.

Maduro said in the press conference, "Despite the protests and economic war during 2014, Venezuela's economic indicators have improved. This economic war, this fall in the oil prices, is a great opportunity for economic change. 2015 is the year of opportunity, for great change in the economic model."

Meanwhile, the opposition are saying that the nation's crisis in economy came as a result of more than a decade of socialist policies initiated by Chavez.

Various regional organizations, banks and economists have already predicted that Venezuela could be poorest performer in the region in terms of economy last year.

A statement from their central bank just confirmed that forecast even prior to Maduro's press conference where the economic changes were announced.

In a statement made by the central bank on Cheyney Group Marketing, it said, "These actions against public order blocked the correct distribution of basic goods to the population, as well as the normal development of production of goods and services. This resulted in an inflationary spike and a fall in economic activity.

Moreover, the GDP (gross domestic product) fell in all 3 quarters last year while inflation reached 63% by November while poverty decreased to 5% and unemployment was down to almost 6%.

Venezuela also had a recession from 2009 to 2010 so it leaves doubt as to its ability to turn its economy for the better especially with the low oil prices. Apparently, during Chavez's term, policies were greatly supported by the public leading to improved social indicators despite a low GDP.

A number of Cheyney Group Marketing experts have already suggested changes like an increase in gas prices and the unification of the country's 3-tier currency control. However, Maduro seems to be unwilling to adopt them probably because of the expected public backlash., 
Nike, the largest provider of sporting gear in the world has slid the most in the last couple of quarters after orders has failed to measure up to analysts' forecasts, mainly because of the slow demand from emerging markets.

A primary factor which contributed in the fairly high expectations is the good performance of Nike shares in the previous year. According to Cheyney Group Marketing's statement, orders for Nike gear have previously been on an upward trend, hence the 11% gain that was predicted by analysts. As they say, when you're already in such a high place, it's not enough to just rest on your laurels -- you have to plan how to surpass your own records.

In Nike's biggest market alone, orders increased by 13%, but still slightly under the 13.1% forecast while in Europe, they also rose by 13% but significantly lower than the 15% estimate. Moreover, orders coming from other markets only rose by 1% compared to the 7% estimate.

Not only did the NKE shares slide as much as four percent but also those of retailers that offer its products such as Finish Line and Foot Locker.

Meanwhile, net income on the last quarter increased by 23% or 70 cents per stock which just about fulfilled the prediction of Cheyney Group Marketing analysts. On the good side though, its revenue has increased by a whopping 15% while beating forecasts of analysts.

Such orders were observed closely for most investors see them as a foreshadowing of how the brand will sell in the future.

Though NKE shares did drop because of last week's unfavorable results, they increased fairly well on the first quarter of 2014 as the brand's athletic wear finds its way into mainstream fashion and casual outfits through the "athleisure" trend.

Meanwhile, Nike's close rival, Adidas, has consistently exceeded expectations of analysts by posting favorable profit and sales numbers -- perhaps owing to the fact that it has reduced its profit estimate due to weak demand in sports gear.


 
Simple and rudimentary bookkeeping measures will go a long way to maintain your small business’ viability for years and keep your investment growing. It will also help you prepare early on for filing a realistic tax return. Take a look at these following tips:

1. Hire a bookkeeper

Small-business owners normally take more roles than they can handle, for instance, as manager for accounting, sales and marketing all-in-one, in order to save on salaries. At times though, getting a full-time or part-time bookkeeper might be the better and wiser option as the task requires a deeper and more extensive understanding of accounting books. A freelance bookkeeper can help you save on salaries more as you pay only when you actually need the service. Nevertheless, the U.S. Small Business Administration can likewise help you manage your expenses on your own to save even more. Or you can avail of free accounting software from GnuCash.org and do it yourself as efficiently as others might do it.

2. Separate your accounts receivables and borrowed funds

This seems obvious; but many fail to practice this simple step. Small-business owners require financial assistance to cover their start-up capital or operating expenses and other initial business expenses. Make sure you use software that does not incorporate income with your loan proceeds. The goal is to always know what belongs to you and what does not. Unlike magnets, positive and negative funds do not attract or mix. Keep your eyes on the former (Be Positive!) in order to cover, that is, remove the latter.

3. Follow-up on clients who have payables

Receivables look good on paper; but they are useless until you have them in your bank account. Make your clients pay regularly, as much as possible. You can enforce this by not delivering materials or services until outstanding balances have been settled. Your personnel in charge with collection have to stay firm and uncompromising in order to keep your business viable.

4. Itemize your daily expenses for the coming weeks

Detailing your expenses on a daily basis (taxes, professional fees, advertising, utilities, etc.) will help you become more aware of what is happening in your finances. That is the role that accounting does for business. So, instead of the bi-weekly computation of salaries, daily or weekly itemized expenses will let your budget ahead more accurately and prepare you for any unforeseen expenses or deficits.

5. Determine a reasonable monthly profit

It takes great effort and patience to operate a business and to maintain a proper accounting system. Develop an efficient accounting strategy which will monitor your expenses and payables in order to compute for an acceptable minimum income on a monthly basis. Stick to that minimum profit target for your business. Once set, you can concentrate on what needs to be done to achieve that goal on a regular basis.

These are tried and tested steps any beginning small-business owner can put into good use. A simple, well-maintained and practicable accounting system is all one needs to learn the essential tricks of the trade and grow from there to more fruitful gains.
Many of us have that recurring nightmare of being in Accounting 101 class in college on the last day of the term for the first time — and it happens to be final-exam day! You suddenly wake up sweating and panicking and realize you have never been that good in your own financial accounting. You feel like the unfaithful servant to whom the master says, “Give an account of yourself!”

Dreams have an uncanny way of mirroring life. Perhaps, there is a way to change reality by making our dreams more to our liking. In my friend’s case, he never had an Accounting unit his entire student life; so he went on to change his dreams by reading and studying about Accounting and Finance until he gradually overcame his financial woes.

Here are 5 tips (or principles) he shared to start having a practical and efficient personal financial discipline:

1. Have a budget

This is essential! No matter how little money you have, having a budget is a must. But if you do not have money at all, there seems to be no sense in having a personal budget. Wrong! Zero is the least money you can have. If you do not have a budget, then you will never have practice when you get some money eventually. Truth is, we all have some money, no matter how little; and knowing how to manage your money is a vital habit every person needs to develop.

2. Start with how much you need, not how much you have

For years, my friend made a yearly money plan starting with how much he needed to support himself and to implement his projects. After many years, he finally found enough income to rent a decent apartment, buy appliances, travel more often and start living his dreams (and reduce his nightmares). Being positive, especially during those times we are really down, is not mere pretending but practicing a lifetime of hopeful anticipation. As they say: Dreams are free; so, get dreaming!

3. Next step, obviously, is to have a realistic budget

Having a workable budget can often be depressing. (This is when you really need optimism!) Workable means allocating as much money for all essential expenses. You know you will need some more money to fill in the deficit and sourcing it is part of the Accounting problem. Realistic, ironic as it may sound, means figuring in what you need to overcome your deficit. This may mean a lot of waste of time; but it is an exercise in optimism and practice for the fat years ahead. The next step further explains what realistic means.

4. Every budget must include a deficit budget and a plan for filling the deficit

A plan for sourcing out the money you do not have is the best part of a personal budget. It draws out the creative juices hiding within you. It could be that business plan you have had for years for a small venture that will give you the impetus to go ahead and take out a loan and do it finally. Or, you can take an extra job to raise the funds you need for the needed capital. Work your plan.

5. It is all about discipline

Little or much, money is all about stewardship of something we do not own ultimately. People who presume too much and think they can do whatever they want with money lack the discipline and are not qualified to teach others who need budgetary discipline. And those who do not have enough money and think the same way will have a hard time acquiring the discipline they need to get over their financial problems.

Discipline is ultimately about perseverance and seeing our dreams come to fruition by the day.

Counting money and using it wisely, whatever is there left after all the necessary expenses, is a primary human activity most people still need to handle properly. And even those who have much of it have so many obligations they probably have more nightmares than those who know next to nothing about Accounting.

In the end, losing sleep over money is counterproductive. And so is losing money because you lack sleep. It is always better to be content with what you have and strive to be happy over other things money could not buy for money does not guarantee us happiness or peace.

A happy budget, remember, is one that you make because you are happy to be alive and have enough to last till the next pay day.
When I was in college, I supported myself by starting my own small business on the side. I still remember collecting all of my receipts and business documents in a plastic bag, and then handing everything off to my bookkeeper at the end of the year.

That was so dumb. If anything happened to that bag, my business would’ve run into some serious problems.

But that’s no longer the case today.

Today’s businesses have access to a wide array of online, electronic bookkeeping applications which make this job so much easier. Especially within the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of important advancements in technology which have made bookkeeping easier.

- Credit card transactions can be automatically added to the books.
- You can use a camera phone to upload a receipt.
- You can collaborate with business partners through a single application.

Bookkeeping is so much easier now than it’s ever been before. Even if you don’t understand accounting, you can still manage your own books.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of the top 20 online bookkeeping applications that are available from a Software-as-a-Service delivery model.

Zoho Books - Zoho books is the ideal accounting software for small business. Zoho books is easy to use, and lets you share and collaborate effortlessly. And since it’s part of the Zoho suite, you know it’s a great system.

Outright – The automated approach to bookkeeping. It lets you say goodbye to old-fashioned accounting.

Kashoo – Kashoo helps you become more organized while also saving you money on accounting fees with their collaborative, tablet-friendly accounting software.

Pavintheway – Manage your entire company from this full-featured robust online accounting package.

Clear Books – Time-saving online bookkeeping software that’s in use at thousands of British companies.

Accounts Portal – Manage your entire business from a single handy and easy-to-use accounting system.

Yendo – With a Web 2.0 approach to finance, Yendo plays nicely with mobile devices and third-party cloud services.

Xero – This is an incredibly easy accounting application that makes finance a pleasure.

Netsuite – Good friends of the blog. This fast-growing company offers CRM, accounting, ERP and ecommerce software… all from a single source, and all from the cloud.

NolaPro – Allows you to create your own online accounting site, or rent the hosted version directly from them.

Merchant’s Mirror – This is the next step in the evolution of online small business accounting software.

Envision Accounting –  An online accounting suite that’s specially designed for project-driven companies. Incorporates accounting and project management into a single suite.

Quickbooks Online – QuickBooks is one of the best-known and most trusted brands in accounting. And this is their hosted online product offering.

Wave Accounting – Easy to use with a high degree of automation. Get your accounting out of the shoebox, and into this simple, well-organized, secure solution.

Skyclerk – Skyclerk offers dead simple accounting that’s elegant, reliable and secure.

Perfect Books – Spend more time focusing on your business with the help of this free, paperless and automated online bookkeeping application.

Financial Force – A cloud-based financial suite that’s affiliated with SalesForce and UNIT4.

Freeagent Central – A stress-free online bookkeeping service that’s used every day by thousands of companies.

Less Accounting – Less Accounting believes that accounting should be easy. Why do more accounting when you can do less accounting?

Intacct – Award-winning accounting software that’s used by over four thousand organizations.

Want more? Visit Cheyney Group Marketing Blog for more articles.

It used to be that keeping "the books" for a business was literally a paper-based process, involving a ledger, lots of columns, and a pencil to record a business' essential financial data. In the digital age, however, even the smallest business can benefit from a wide variety of small business accounting software products on the market. Accounting software can not only help you reduce human errors in your calculations, but it can help you gain insights into your business that you couldn't see in paper form -- such as generating sales forecasts for the next quarter, determining which items are overstocked, and pinpointing your least profitable service.

Business accounting software can be the source of all this information. But finding the best accounting software program for your business can be a challenge, with an explosion of shrink-wrapped software products and online application offerings. In order to choose a business accounting software program, you need to understand some business accounting basics, take a good look at your business and its accounting needs, and assess the products available today.

"It's real important to get this right. In a lot of cases, it can make the difference between businesses that are profitable versus not profitable," says Mike Budiac, president of Find Accounting Software, an independent website affiliated with CPAOnline. The website allows you to complete a two-page survey about your software needs which it will match to qualified vendors. "I think it's pretty essential for everyone these days. And the product prices are so low in some cases, that the smallest businesses can be helped by using software. As they grow, larger the impetus to do it is even stronger."

How to Choose Business Accounting Software: Business Accounting Software Options

Types of accounting products available

The range of accounting software products available for small and mid-sized businesses has been growing steadily. Right now, there are a few general categories to choose from: small business payroll and accounting packages, more full-service business management programs, online Web-hosted applications, and free programs. Here is a run-down of each category and some of the popular products available for small to mid-sized firms:

Small business payroll and accounting. There are several top-selling accounting software programs you can buy off the shelf, or over the Web, that will meet most small business needs by providing the accounting tools and reports you need to use your financial data. These include the best-selling QuickBooks series by Intuit, which is available in a variety of tiered editions and for which there are add-ons, such as a cash-flow calculator. Other popular products include the easy-to-learn drag-and-drop formatted Simply Accounting by Sage Software, which is available in up to 20-seat licenses. Sage also makes Peachtree Complete Accounting Software, which comes in tiered offerings serving from 1 to 40 users and has targeted modules for construction, distribution, and manufacturing businesses. Other popular options include Cougar Mountain Software and MYOB Accounting.

Business management software programs. These are higher-priced and more full-features accounting programs that may also include other financial functions you need to track in your business, such as point of sale, inventory control, customer relationship management (CRM), billing, purchasing and even enterprise resource management (ERP). Some popular picks in this category include Everest's Business Management Software, which integrates all business processes into one solution, and NetSuite -- the latter of which boasts that it's "everything you need in one powerful solution."

Web-hosted accounting applications. A new breed of online financial management applications has emerged in the last few years, taking advantage of the growing confidence that businesses are developing in the Web as a safe business environment. Now that entrepreneurs are indeed becoming comfortable with the 'software in the cloud' model and the inherent benefits it offers, they are in growing numbers starting to look beyond e-mail or office productivity to more sophisticated and sensitive applications like financials. The heavyweight of small business accounting, Intuit, has launched an online alternative called Quickbooks Online. Peachtree also has debuted a well featured online version. Some vendors offer online-only accounting packages, including Clarity Accounting, Less Accounting, NetBooks, and NetSuite, which has a more comprehensive business management package online.

Free accounting software programs. Most small businesses need to be skeptical of "free" programs, particularly when it deals with the financial data of your business. But a free version of QuickBooks lets you create invoices, print checks, handle payroll, and manage up to 20 customer accounts. There are plenty of free bookkeeping tools on the market, but QuickBooks is the best option for growing companies, because it's easy to step up to the paid version, which lets users track more than 10,000 customers.

How to Choose Business Accounting Software: Understand Your Accounting Needs

The first step you need to take in choosing accounting software for your business is to undertake a good needs analysis, which will address both managerial and financial needs. It should be broad, exploring both obvious questions and ones that really make you think. Take your time with this important step, since the last thing you want is to have to repeat this process within the next two years. If you experience unexpected growth that forces an upgrade, terrific, but good planning at this stage can help you avoid having to change software too soon. Get some help before you buy anything.

What you need to know about your business

The first step you need to take before deciding on accounting software is to make sure that you are somewhat financially literate. "One of the mistakes businesses make when they buy accounting software is in believing that they don't need to know anything at all about financial accounting because the software will just take care of it for you," says Linda Pinson, author of Keeping the Books: Basic Recordkeeping and Accounting for the Successful Small Business(Kaplan Business 2007). "They need to understand small business accounting."

There are several ways that an entrepreneur or small business executive can become proficient in understanding what data their business needs to keep (in order to make better business decisions) and what reports they need to generate (for the Internal Revenue Service and state tax authorities). You can read books. You can take classes. You can do research on the Internet. "You can't use any accounting software if it's like garbage in and garbage out," Pinson says. That's what the result is "if you don't understand what you're putting in."

Another consideration is the type of business you operate. Several different sectors have specialized modules or add-on packages because they need to keep specialized data. If you are a manufacturer, for instance, then you may need to have an understanding of inventory and handling of parts and labor. If you are a retailer, you may also need to have an understanding of your inventory through a point-of-sale program. A doctor's office needs specialized programs for billing insurance companies, although many may farm this function out to middleman and/or consultants.

Talk to your accountant and staff

If your business has an accountant -- either an outside consultant or an in-house accountant -- you would be wise to consult that expert before you take the plunge into accounting software. Your accountant may be able to recommend software that works with programs they have. In fact, Pinson says, some accountants may help you set up your accounting software so that it gathers the data that they need to help you file your taxes, as well. "They know what kind of business you have and what you need," Pinson says. "Most accountants work with a particular software. Frequently it's QuickBooks. They'll want you to use that same accounting software."

Your IT department is just as important as your accountant. You also need to understand your hardware situation. Business accounting software packages use big databases, usually consisting of many different data tables all working together, so take a good look at your disk space. As your accounting data grows, which happens quickly, the more room it will need. This is the most important item to review, but not the only one. You will need to evaluate the age of your system, as well as your back-up procedures and storage media.

How to Choose Business Accounting Software: What to Know Before You Start Shopping

Know your budget limitations

A key consideration is your budget. Off-the-shelf software, such as QuickBooks, Peachtree, and MYOB, are all very affordable. However, when you start focusing on industry-specific accounting software, also referred to as vertical software, the costs go up and up and up.

Most vertical business accounting software is sold through a value-added reseller (VAR), so they can demonstrate the program and assist you with the installation, set-up, and training. The software has a higher price tag since it has a smaller market than generic accounting software, and annual maintenance fee are required for you to receive updates and upgrades as they are produced. You also have to pay for the VAR's services. These costs need to be factored into your budget, if you go that route.

Reach out to other businesses and software consultants

Find out what everyone else is using in your industry. Okay, maybe not everyone else, but a least a few of your competitors. Business association meetings are a great place to chat about this, and you can also ask your accountant, since they should have at least one other client in your industry.

There are also consultants and/or services that will help you narrow down your options for the best financial accounting software for your business. FindAccountingSoftware.com operates independently of any software vendors but will help match your business needs with suitable software programs after you fill out an online questionnaire. The site promises to get back to you within days with appropriate selections. "We work with about 1,500 different companies in the U.S. and Canada. They are sometimes software resellers or software developers," Budiac says. "What we try to do is be the grease between the wheels."

You may also want to check software product review websites, such as CNET and PC Magazine.

Create your wish list

Now that you have gotten a lot of input, it's time to sit down and document what you want the business accounting software to do for you. Of course you probably won't find a business accounting software that meets every item on your list, so you should also decide which ones you can live without.

It is important to balance the information you have received from everyone you have spoken to with some factual information and objective views. Software vendor websites, such as QuickBooks.com or Cougarmtn.com, will include detailed lists of features and functionality, and objective reviews can be found at trusted sites such as Inc.com.

Some business accounting software can be used on a trial basis, giving you a feel for the interface and the functionality. Some of them are full programs that either allow a limited number of uses or a limited number of days of use. Other programs offer limited functionality in their trial versions. In either case, it's great to be able to try before you buy. But Budiac points out that it can involve a lot of work to test out an accounting product so be sure to only trial products that have made your final cut.

Make your business accounting software decision

Now it's up to you. The journey ends here. You've talked to many people, inside your organization and out, and you've read vendor literature and third-party reviews. You have used a few of the programs, or a least had a tour of the screens. So what is the deciding factor? That's up to you. Prioritize your needs analysis and make sure the software you choose meets most, if not all, of the features that are important to you. There is no 'best' business accounting software package, but there is one that's best for your business.

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