Accounting Software Formats

Many firms are looking to upgrade or replace their accounting software.  They look forward to a more efficient system but are concerned about making such a large change and the consequences of making the wrong decision.  In the past we looked at fairly similar features and the higher the price the better the software we found.  Today all bets are off and it’s hard to even compare prices of possible solutions. 

The accounting software ecosystem has changed and there are terms that we may not be familiar with or we may not completely understand.  In this article, I’d like to discuss the options:  cloud applications, hosted software, client-server software, and desktop software.  All of these options are very different and the option you choose will significantly affect your access, functionality, workflow, and costs.

Cloud Applications are programs that reside on the software provider’s servers and they are installed and updated by the provider.  You will not need to maintain servers or take daily backups, examples of such applications are QuickBooks Online, NetSuite,and  Xero. 

Hosted Applications are not really a program but a hybrid solution where you select an accounting solution that meets your needs and it is installed on a server provided by a “hosting” company.  This option allows you to choose a software package that meets all your needs without having to maintain a server and the necessary IT staff. 

Client Server Applications are programs that reside on your server and are accessed from various workstations.  The computing is performed at the server and therefore is faster and does not require as robust workstations.  

Desktop Applications are programs that vary from very basic to advanced software that reside on your workstation/computer,  These applications can be single user or accessed by other users on your network. The computing is performed at your computer and will be dependent upon the speed of your computer (and network if shared with other users) Examples of such applications are QuickBooks, and Peachtree. 

I hope this summary has helped you understand the Accounting Software options and will help you narrow down an appropriate software for your business.  


Year End Strategy to Reduce Taxes and Increase Profitability

Many companies will be closing their books for the year at the end of December.  Although many folks feel the year end activities start in early January with bank and account reconciliations, I believe the process should begin in the fall.   If management and the accounting staff takes the time to review the books 2 -3 months before year end and make any necessary adjustments and corrections, they can give their tax advisor a better idea of the annual income.  Doing this before year end gives the company a chance to estimate taxes, purchase fixed assets, make plans for funding retirement programs, and plan for cash needed in the next year.

I see too many companies go to their tax preparer just before the tax deadline and pay tax when there were purchases that they could have made to reduce the tax burden and increase productivity.  I also find companies that are unhappy with their accounting software and wait until the beginning of the year to replace it or begin the search for a better product.   Keep in mind that before year end is the time to purchase the tools and equipment that will help you achieve or maintain your profitability in the future.  Also this is the time to work with your financial advisor and tax preparer to plan for the best year ever.