How to find the best accounting software for your growing business
The most basic accounting software will help you track expenses and send invoices, but the best accounting software makes it easy to manage complex financial transactions at scale while giving you full visibility into your company’s financial health. It will support your company’s growth through mergers, acquisitions and the addition of new entities or locations.
With so many options that each sound similar on the surface, finding the best accounting software for your medium-sized business can feel like a daunting quest. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive checklist of features to consider as you evaluate your options.
Multi-entity expense tracking
As your company grows, your accounting processes become more complex. You’ll need to consolidate multiple locations or multiple companies in one system. Often each entity has its own chart of accounts, customers, and vendor lists on separate spreadsheets or databases, creating islands of information.
The best accounting software makes it easy to unify them all in a single database and makes data transparent throughout your organization.
You can distribute expenses between multiple entities with inter-company transactions, and run consolidated reports from a single screen. You can also share master files, vendor information and customer chart of accounts records between entities or keep them separate, granting access to specific users based on their role in the company.
Bank book management and reconciliation
Any accounting software system should make it easy to track transactions, but the best ones track multiple bank accounts and multiple credit cards in one bank book.
They also allow you to aggregate data, import transactions from any bank account or credit card and automatically reconcile them. For instance, you should be able to automatically reconcile checks if the check amount and the check number are the same.
Support for multiple currencies
Not all accounting software is designed for companies outside the United States or companies in the US that do business globally. If your company does business internationally, you need a solution that accepts multiple currencies. Many systems allow you to track currencies but do not allow you to consolidate companies that are using different home currencies. Look for an application that allows you to report all companies in a single consolidated chosen reporting currency.
Easy budget planning and forecasting
If you’re accustomed to using Microsoft Excel for budgeting, it can be intimidating to think about recreating everything in your new accounting software. The best solutions make it easy to transfer budgets from multiple departments or entities, consolidate them and create new financial forecasts with confidence.
Built-in business intelligence
A picture is worth a thousand words — and having a full picture of your company’s financial performance helps you make more data-driven decisions. Real-time business intelligence makes it easy to see how each entity is performing and where there’s room for improvement. However, BI tools can be difficult to implement and expensive. The best accounting software solutions have business intelligence built in. BI tools make it easy to access the financial performance of each business entity.
As your business grows, your investments become more diversified. You may be a family office or private equity firm with multiple companies and sources of income, including fixed assets, real estate and other private investment companies. Regardless of your industry, your goal is to expand your portfolio and grow your wealth. The best accounting software solutions make it easy to track and record investments, manage purchases, sales and both realized and unrealized gains and losses.
Optimizing your inventory becomes more critical the larger your organization becomes. Having too many supplies or products on hand can lead to significant waste and storage costs, while not having enough leads to downtime, delays and lost opportunities. Look for an inventory management system that makes it easy to track and manage products across multiple locations. It should also give you an accurate gross margin analysis so you can make the best purchasing decisions.
Purchase order management
Knowing what to purchase is half the battle, but keeping track of every vendor and purchase order is nearly impossible for a growing business without a good software system. Look for a purchasing system that can help manage vendor on time performance, aggregate purchases for better pricing and identify when shipments will be late.
Sales order management
An efficient sales order process is essential to growth. With software that gives you full visibility into customer orders and fulfillment, you can streamline your business operations. An efficient sales order process will help ensure your business is keeping customers happy by properly managing inventory levels, exceeding service goals, and delivering on time.
Demand for cloud-based software solutions has been steadily increasing for years, and the pandemic only accelerated it. The cloud computing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.5% by 2025, reaching over $832 billion worldwide. Cloud accounting software is experiencing similar popularity as companies recognize the value of accessing their data anywhere. With software-as-a-service accounting solutions, companies pay providers a subscription fee to cover licensing, maintenance, upgrades, and security. This reduces the upfront capital costs of building an on-premise system and having a dedicated team to maintain and upgrade it.
Cloud solutions can also be more secure and reliable since all data is stored and managed at data centers with strict security protocols and redundancies.
If your small or medium-sized business is experiencing rapid business growth, you need an accounting solution that grows with you. You should be able to add users as needed without having to reconfigure hardware, or add additional features like fixed assets, job costing, revenue recognition, subscription billing, and time and billing for instance. You may also want an accounting system that includes customer relationship management (CRM) and workflow automation.
Even if you don’t need these features at first, the best accounting software for mid-sized businesses will include flexible options that makes it easy to add functionality at a later date.
A PwC 2019 report reveals an alarming 71% of cyber attack incidents were the result of criminal threat actors. And in 2020, 86% of cyber attacks was due to cyber criminals. A data breach can cost your company millions of dollars and compromise your brand reputation.
That’s why the best accounting software should come with the following security features:
Actively managed data center 24/7, 365 days a year
Pre-defined security roles to provide all users access to the appropriate level of information
Full audit trails so you can keep track of all changes each user makes
Virus protection, including robust firewalls and anti-virus programs to prevent your system from viruses and malware
Data backups to ensure a quick restoration of all information in the event of a natural disaster
Integration with other business software
If you are upgrading to the latest accounting software, you need a solution that integrates seamlessly with other business software. Choosing accounting software without considering the implications it will have on your other operations can disrupt productivity and lead to costly inefficiencies. Consider each application your company uses and how your accounting software will integrate information to it. If you use specialty applications, such as a field ticketing system, will each ticket create an invoice in your accounting software, or do you have to manually enter the same information twice? For a small business, these workarounds may only take a few minutes, but as your company grows, you could potentially have dozens of tickets and invoices each day.
You should also consider how your software will integrate with outside systems like EMR for healthcare, POS for retailers, or payment applications like Bill.com.
As your company grows, nearly every business process becomes more complex. You likely have multiple layers of approvals for purchases, bills that apply to all entities or individual locations and many vendors submitting invoices each month. The best accounting software solutions allow you to create and personalize workflows without a developer.
You can even have workflows that define rate escalations, for instance, you can notify managers when a purchase over $500 requires approval. Workflows can notify you when a customers credit card is expiring or send automatic reminders when bills are past due. Automated workflows will make your team more efficient, giving them time to spend on value added operations.
Training and support
The best accounting software should be easy to use. Before you purchase a new solution, ask your vendor what resources are available to implement and train your team.
Support is another crucial factor. Even the most user-friendly software requires some level of system support. Ensure the support team is easily accessible in multiple ways, even during non-business hours.
As a small business or a growing medium-sized company, you have to be budget-conscious about every decision. Choosing the right business accounting software is no exception. Some cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions can cost $8,000 per user on average, according to a recent analysis by Software Path. These systems are typically expensive because they cover nearly every aspect of your business operations when you may only need a system to handle your finances.
Look for a provider that offers pricing by user, this allows you to scale easily as your operations grow. You may only need a few users at first, but your provider should make it easy to add new users at a reasonable price as your business grows.
Why Gravity is the best accounting software for medium-sized businesses
Your growing business needs more than basic expense tracking and financial reporting, but your company isn’t large enough to justify an expensive enterprise system. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between a system you’ve already outgrown and one you can’t afford.
We understand the challenges of managing multi-entity businesses, and we saw a significant gap in the accounting software marketplace. That’s why we developed Gravity SoftwareⓇ, a robust cloud-based accounting software system designed specifically to meet the needs for mid-market businesses. Built on the Microsoft Power Platform (aka Dynamics 365), Gravity has all the accounting features you need to monitor your financials and operations without the high price tag that comes with large ERP systems like NetSuite or Sage Intacct.
Our software makes it easy to manage transactions and reporting for all your companies and/or locations from a single screen. You can speed up processes in the most efficient way to achieve financial success across your entire organization. With robust features and the ability to create personalized workflows and dashboards without a developer, you can uncover meaningful insights and make a positive impact on how your company operates. You can also add more advanced features to manage customer relationships, fixed assets, job costing, subscription billing and revenue recognition to name a few. This allows you to experience the power of enterprise resource planning without the high price tag of a full-scale ERP system. At the same time, you can be confident your data will always be secure with Microsoft’s best-in-class data security protections.
Your business may be experiencing growing pains, but making the transition to a better, smarter accounting software should not be painful. Gravity is built on the Microsoft Power Platform, allowing for seamless integrations with other applications your company is already using. Our robust multi-entity capabilities and intuitive business intelligence gives you better control over your business.
See why more companies trust Gravity to manage their growing business. Schedule a free demo today.
Better. Smarter. Accounting.