The layout of an accounting software package is much more important than the aesthetic benefits that it provides. Although some argue that accounting software reviews give too much attention to the layout and user interface of a software package and should pay more attention to the software’s functionality, do not overlook the importance of having software that is easy to use and understand.
In fact, having accounting software with a clean layout that is easy to use is probably more important than other software that the business uses and should be one of many factors that you consider when choosing new software.
Having a clean layout is important because accounting is complex and difficult to understand – especially for individuals with minimal accounting experience. Even the terminology – credits, debits, assets, and so on get confusing to some and can be the kind of things that turn people off from accounting, despite the importance of it. This is why it is important to find software that makes entering information easy and possible without knowledge of what kind of transaction was just completed (in accounting language). Once the info is in the system, the software also needs to be able to generate reports that can be understood by someone without an accounting background.
This is not to say people that use accounting software are dense. Quite the contrary. However, in most cases, businesses do not want to spend time doing something that is complicated that they may not completely understand if there is software available to do it for them. Reviewing financial reports is imperative to success of a business and is an ability that all companies need. Having to create those reports, however, is not the kind of thing that most companies want to spend time on as it doesn’t contribute directly to their profitability.
For most small businesses, therefore, the ideal accounting software is something that is easy to use but powerful. Information should be easy to input and reports should be easy to understand. The heavy lifting that is done in the background by the software is important in the sense that it must be done correctly (which it will be) but it is not important that the business necessarily understand how those calculations were made.
It is also important to note that a clean interface does not imply software that is less powerful. In some cases it does, but it does not have to. Instead, a clean interface should make the software easier to use and translate in to more efficient analysis of costs and revenues.
For example, most accounting software will include an invoicing feature. Some software will begin with the accounting ledger and give users the option to create a custom invoice from the ledger. However, this is not the easiest method to complete this task for most users.
An easier manner to create the invoice is to create the invoice and have the software automatically update the ledger. Therefore, as the invoice progresses (issued, sent, paid), the ledger will automatically be updated by the software. Since the invoice will need to be processed anyway, eliminating the need to interface with the general ledger saves time and makes the entire process more efficient.
If you’re searching for new accounting software, check software review sites and look at screen shots of the software’s interface. This should give you a good idea of how easy to use the software will be for you. If the interface looks complicated, chances are that it is and you should look for a better solution.
The goal of getting a new accounting software package should be to save time, and consequently money. Therefore, the easier the software is for you to use, the less time it will take the more you will benefit from the software.
Finally, keep in mind who will be using the software. If you find the interface simple but know that you won’t be doing the majority of the interfacing with the software, get input from the end-users before selecting new software. In nearly all cases, new software will require some training, so remember to factor those costs in to your budget.
New accounting software should add value to your company. Make sure that you choose a package that will not be so cumbersome to use that it takes time and money away from revenue-creating tasks.