The most important small business accounting software features
Your company may be considered a small business, but that doesn’t mean you’re managing a single location in a quaint downtown with just a few people working for you.
The Small Business Administration applies this term to businesses with multiple locations, as many as 1,500 employees and as much as $39 million in annual revenue.
If your company is approaching the larger side of that spectrum, basic small business accounting software won’t be able to keep up as your needs become more complex.
Here are the five most important features that will set up your small business for big growth.
Small business accounting software essentials
Multi-entity accounting capabilities
Choosing small business accounting software that meets your immediate needs but is unable to support your long-term growth goals is short-sighted. Unfortunately, this is what many business owners encounter when they choose a solution like QuickBooks or Xero.
As their business expands to include multiple locations or entities, they find themselves needing to create separate databases for each one. Each time they need to distribute payments that apply across all entities, they need to log in and out of a dozen or more different places and copy and paste the same information.
When it’s time to compile consolidated monthly reports, this becomes even more frustrating. There’s no easy way to create a report that accounts for the revenue and expenses across all entities, so they need to block off their calendar for days just to get it done.
The best small business accounting software is equipped to handle multiple entities with a single chart of accounts. It makes it easy to share customer and vendor information across locations, get real-time insight into the performance of your entire company, manage internal controls with a full audit trail, and report relevant information to each stakeholder.
Cloud accounting software is ideal for any company but can be especially beneficial for a fast-growing small or medium-sized business.
If your small business is large enough for a dedicated finance team, cloud-based accounting software can give them the freedom and flexibility of remote or hybrid work, which could make your business more attractive amid a notoriously tight labor market.
Because your financial data is always up to date in a cloud-native platform, it’s much easier to collaborate with others on your team, no matter where they’re located.
If you're a multi-entity small business owner who's also the CFO (and CEO, CIO, and COO, for that matter), you can handle the finances for one establishment even while onsite at another. If there's still accounting work to be done after business hours, you can do it from the comfort of your home rather than after hours at your office.
Another benefit of cloud-based management is that the provider handles security and software updates automatically, without adding yet another item to your team's to-do list and without system downtime that could disrupt operations.
Seventy-five percent of accountants still rely heavily on manual accounting processes, according to a survey by Deloitte and the Institute of Management Accountants.
Accounting automation improves efficiency while decreasing errors and reducing costs for your small business.
Look for small business accounting software that makes it easy to automate standard processes like accounts payable, currency conversions and subscription billing.
It should also make it easy to create personalized workflows to support operations specific to your organization. For instance, if you’re running a software company where customers can take advantage of entry-level functionality at a lower rate and pay more to unlock certain premium features, you should be able to set up automated rate increases when they cross that threshold.
Robust business intelligence
The right small business accounting software gives you valuable insights about how your business is performing as a whole and at each location. It lets you compare entities side-by-side and drill down to see the data that has the most impact on your business.
If your business is a small chain of grocery stores, inventory control is especially important. With the right software, you can look at how much of a particular product your stores received compared to how much you sold at the same location.
You can also see the bigger picture of how your expenses break down in a simple pie chart so you’ll know if you need to adjust spending in a particular area.
Whatever the problem, you can only fix it if you're aware of it, and that's where the right reporting capabilities fit in.
Easy to integrate with your existing systems
If you want to make business operations as simple and streamlined as possible, look for small business accounting software that integrates well with the technology you already use. That includes billing systems, business intelligence, and other essential collaboration tools like email and meeting software.
Many entry-level software for small and medium-sized businesses requires you to pay independent software providers extra for integrations that should be standard.
At the same time, some enterprise solutions were designed to fulfill every function of a large organization, and they offer much more than you really need. In addition to adding significant costs, these overly complicated systems often require additional training.
Look for a solution that has all the functionality you need without all the extra complexity you don’t.
Gravity: Thorough, yet concise
Ernest Hemingway is considered a literary great not just for what he put on the page but what he didn't. He wrote only what he needed to get his point across.
We took the same approach when we designed Gravity Software on the Microsoft Power Platform. It offers everything multi-entity business owners and accountants need to accelerate growth without overly complex features to slow them down.
Gravity simplifies multi-entity accounting by bringing finances and reporting from many different locations into one place. Because it’s built on the Microsoft Power Platform, it integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365 and many of the features you likely already use to run your business. With Microsoft Power Automate, a built-in workflow engine, you can also create your own workflows to eliminate many manual tasks. Need to set up subscription billing according to specific parameters? Require approvals for purchases over a certain dollar amount? Categorize certain types of bills?
With Gravity, it’s easy. You can also use built-in business intelligence to gain valuable insights and share them with others at your company.
Whether your business has 50 employees or 500, a few entities or a few dozen, Gravity Software is a top-notch small business accounting software that will support your organization today and for years to come.
Better. Smarter. Accounting