You already know how vital it is to forecast the money flowing in and out of your business. Well, it’s just as vital that you figure out a system to track these receipts and expenditures as they happen and generate reports from which you can build strategies and action plans.
As we see it, constant number-crunching can actually be a great source of sanity and provide sense of control over your business. By managing those numbers on a daily basis, you’ll be able to anticipate everything from sales decisions, to purchasing, hiring, time off, and more.
There are a number of ways to track your transactions. For some, this means using the latest software package that’s got all the bells and whistles and handholding how-to’s included. For others, it’s a simple spreadsheet system with accounts payable, accounts receivable and overall cash flow. For yet others, it’s time to dial the bookkeeper and have it handled for you. A good accountant can counsel you on what the right solution should be for your business need, but here’s an overview of the options for your consideration.
There’s no lack of accounting software out there to choose from. Intuit’s QuickBooks is the most-used program out there by small businesses, and its costs range from just under $100 to up $3,000, depending on your needs. Microsoft’s Accounting Express offers a free version for business owners and another more advanced release for just under $150. Sage Software’s Peachtree is another popular choice, ranging in price from just below $70 to $500.
All of these products also offer online solutions that allow you to do your books from anywhere, on the Web. Also, many software programs have links to major banks, so you can merge the data with your online-banking accounts. This is a significant convenience and time saver.
Everyone has a different opinion about which accounting software works best. If you decide to go the software route, it’s important to pick a program that is easy for you to use, so that you can track your finances with minimal difficulty. It’s also very important to sync up with your accountant when using these solutions – you’ll want to make sure that all of the methods your accountant needs you to adhere to are indeed adhered to. The last thing you want to have is an extremely efficient year of a software package only to find that it creates an even more complex tax filing situation for your accountant. That’s an easily avoidable nightmare with a little dialogue at the outset.