Bookkeeping Software Selection Checklist

The one characteristic that all businesses have in common, no matter how big or small they are, is the need to keep track of their money. Modern bookkeeping software is widely available and has allowed firms of every size to move beyond paper  ledgers, but there are so many packages available it's hard to know which one to choose.  This checklist can help you narrow your focus and find your best bookkeeping software solution.

Evaluate Your Organization

  • How many employees does your organization have?
  • Who needs access to financial reports?
  • How much money does your company make in a year?
  • Do you expect revenue to increase in coming years?
  • How many vendor accounts to do you support?
  •  Is it outsourced or handled in-house?
  • Do you need PO support?
  • What is your AP workflow?
  • What is your AR workflow?

Evaluate Your Bookkeeping Software Users

  • How many people will be using the bookkeeping software?
  • Will your staff require extensive training?
  • Will the software users be accountants or lay people?
  • Will upper management be using the software?

Evaluate Your Bookkeeping Needs

  • What bookkeeping software do you currently use?
  • What does your current software do well?
  • What critical needs does your current software not meet?
  • What special features will you need in coming years?

Evaluate Potential Bookkeeping Software Solutions

  • How much will the software and licenses cost?
  •  How much does it cost and how is it delivered?
  • Can you add users without incurring additional costs?
  • Is the software hosted, or does your company need servers and IT staff?
  • Does the license include all available updates?
  • Does the software provide the reporting you need?
  • Can the bookkeeping software work with other applications?
  • Will you need to change the way you do business to fit the software?

Bookkeeping Software Selection Tips

  • Pick a software package that best fits your situation today and can also adapt to your needs in the future.  Don’t become locked into a package with limited features just to save a little money, but you also need to guard against overspending on software with fancy features that your company will never use.
  • Try before you buy.  When possible, spend some time evaluating each potential software package in your own setting, making sure that your key users exercise all of the most important features. Most vendors offer a trial version of their systems for free, though you may have to ask for a trial license key.
  • Talk to peers at other companies or institutions who have recently purchased bookkeeping software to get their insights into which systems they considered and why they made the decision they ultimately did.