As Accountants, we spend a lot of time working with accounting software programs and also working with our clients in trying to resolve their accounting problems.
And one of the most common questions that people ask is:
What is the best accounting software for small business in Australia?
Business owners have a number of problems with accounting software:
- The first problem is that most small business owners are not accountants. They generally have had no formal accounting training and the guides as to use of the software is usually shrouded in technical accounting jargon and definitions.
- The second problem is that a majority of questions to their accountant are related to bookkeeping issues rather than questions about their business, how they can improve and solutions to the problems that they face.
- Most business owners will put off doing their books until absolutely necessary such as when BAS returns are due. As a result, the accounts reflect where the business has been rather than where it is now and the value of the accountants in providing meaningful and valuable business information, insights and data is lost.
- Traditionally accounting software is desktop based, that is it is installed on one machine. In order to correct simple bookkeeping problems, their accountant would have to talk them through the problem over the phone and how to correct it or alternatively send a copy of the data file to their accountant. The data files would invariably be too large to send by email and therefore would be sent on a thumb drive via the post. The process is slow, cumbersome and unnecessarily expensive to resolve simple bookkeeping issues. The flip of this is that business owners do not ask for bookkeeping help from their accountant (due to cost, time etc) and send a messy set of accounts at the end of the year. There is then additional accountancy costs in correcting the bookkeeping errors.
- Due to the delays in producing up to date reliable accounts, accountants found it difficult to provide the up to date meaningful business and tax advice.
- It is cloud based software – meaning that you access it via your web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and that you can access it from any computer at anytime. This also means that it is multi-user, so you can see the same screen as your accountant, and your accountant rather than talking you through the problem can fix it there and then whilst the problem is still fresh.
- It has daily bank and Paypal feeds. Your bank statements are automatically loaded into your accounts every day – no more poring over bank statements entering in each entry. All you have to do is say which account it has to go to. Xero also remembers what that transaction was posted to last time and will prefill the account for you. You just have to click OK.
- All this means that you can have the holy grail of accounting systems – Real Time Accounts. Big business will spend millions on systems to deliver real time accounts and Xero now offers real-time accounts for small business.
The advantage of real time accessible from any computer at any time, means that we, your accountant, can now deliver you up to date meaningful advice about where your business is going rather than just where it has been in the past.