Accounting Software For Small Business

Many financial errors can be prevented by construction accounting software. Since the early 1980s small business accounting software, not just for the construction industry, has been on the market. This type of software allows a small business owner, with little or no formal financial training to keep records of accounts receivable and accounts payable. Initially, professional financial advisors were not completely satisfied by many of the software packages being offered to owners of companies unable to afford an in house accountant or unable to pay for an offsite financial advisor.

The reasons cited for their dissatisfaction was a lack of a paper trail for audit purposes and decentralized control, which could legitimately be a safety issue. Also listed as a reason financial professionals did not initially like the financial programs was that they did not conform to standard accounting practices. This non-conformity is important, because many times financial professionals will provide year end services that require information gleaned from the small business accounting software. If the information does not conform, that makes the financial professional's job all that much more difficult. However, over time this sort of financial program is improving, much to the satisfaction of the professional financial advisors reviewing them for efficiency and compliance.

The construction sector faces financial difficulties unique to the demands of that industry. If a company underbids on a future project, it will mean less or no profit for that job. There are programs that can estimate the current and future price of building materials, the cost of labor and other regulatory fees more reliably than most foremen for building projects. Cash flow at a specific time or section of the project can deplete, even if there is enough overall funding for the project. A reliable construction accounting software can safeguard against overspending, misallocation of funds and not correctly estimating the escalating cost of building materials and a seasoned labor force. Small business accounting software can help maintain profits over the lifespan of the project. The building industry is more difficult financially, because investment bankers are almost always involved, as the equity in the building and the owner's own mortgage loan are often the sole sources of funding. Contractors often employ construction accounting software to monitor the speed at which the money is spent over the life of the project. This type of program can also provide a reasonable value to labor and materials, as well as set pay outs at intervals to the other investors, if there should be any.

Modules are used to organize the information entered into small business accounting software so that each piece of financial data can be studied individually. Some of the core modules are: accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, billing, stock/inventory, purchase order and sales order. Accounts receivable is the module in which the company enters the money it takes in. Accounts payable module is the place that the business enters the bills it owes and when it pays the bills. General ledger modules are the company's checkbook or final authority on the financial solvency of the business as a whole. The billing module is linked to the accounts receivable, because it is where all the invoices for the accounts receivable amounts are created, printed and stored. Stock/inventory modules are highly important in construction accounting software. The stock/inventory portion of the program is where the company will keep track of inventory purchased, stored and used. Purchase orders are produced when a company buys inventory. Sales orders are printed and saved when a customer buys inventory from the business.

There are noncore elements in most all small business accounting software programs. Many companies have a module for recording debt collection attempts if there are customers or clients that continue to fail in paying off their debt to the company. If this is not a typical problem for the company, some choose to simply include debt collection with the accounts receivable module. Another noncore module is payroll. In this module, the company records the salaries of the employees separate from the accounts payable, due to the federal regulations, internal revenue service tax requirements and for additional privacy. Money spent by employees in travel and dining is recorded in a separate employee expense module to differentiate it from money recorded in accounts payable and the general ledger. Not necessarily in construction accounting software, but financial programs used by lawyers, marketing and advertising firms and doctors often include timesheets. This is because those industries, and many others, have billable hours. Billable hours are blocks of time that are billed to the client. The timesheet, in essence, becomes the invoice billed to the client.

Implementing and adapting the program or package is a large consideration in choosing the right financial software package. Many times a financial computer program is not going to immediately meet the needs of a company straight out of the computer store packaging. Most companies find it helpful to consult with a financial professional in choosing the program best suited for their specific needs. In addition, many financial programs on the market still need to be altered or adapted to make a better fit for the needs of the business ready to implement them. If a business simply finds nothing on the market to suite the needs of its industry niche and select group of clients, many financial professionals and computer technicians will write a tailor made program to address the specific needs of the business. An employee or group of employees will need to be effectively trained to implement the program, or the consultation and money will be for not. "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds." (Proverbs 27:23)

Small Business Budgeting Software

Taking advantage of small business budgeting software is a good idea for any venture into commerce, whether new or established. Wide arrays of computer programs that are designed to help the entrepreneur come up with a wise financial plan are readily available. These applications can also help owners of businesses monitor their progress and stay on track. Computer programs that cater to larger companies have long been available. The problem with these applications was that they were often too complicated to meet the needs of smaller organizations. Thankfully, many programs have now been designed to help these businesses manage and maintain their budgeting concerns. Software products that take the mystery out of this important element of business success can be found at a variety of price points. Start up ventures can benefit from the ease in planning that these products offer. Established organizations can increase efficiency and profitability through the use of corporate budgeting software. Since these applications can give entrepreneurs the opportunity view their budgets on a continuous basis, all businesses can gain continued insight from these programs as time passes.

Boiled down in simplest terms, a budget is simply a matter of approximating the cost of doing business compared to the expected income. While this may sound easy, it can, in fact, be quite complicated. There are many examples of small business budgeting software that have been created to make this task easier. The steps in setting up a budget can be effectively managed through the use of budget planning programs. An established company can use these programs to look back on the previous year's financial performance and review the kinds of changes in that may need to take place. The ability to quickly see the difference between projected and actual expenses, owners and managers can make the necessary corrections and set new goals for the year to come. A solid financial plan can also help the owners of smaller businesses anticipate future expenses and estimate the amount of revenues that will be needed to make the venture a success or to make changes in outgoing expenses before it is too late. In addition, the ability to continually monitor how the projected financial plan is working out can make all the difference in the success or failure of a company, regardless of size.

Quality corporate budgeting software will take the owner on a step by step process in building a solid and maintainable financial plan. The first step of that plan is to decide whether or not to set the budget up according to a weekly or monthly time frame. Most of these applications will also help the user compile a list of costs that recur on a regular basis and then break these expenses into monthly or weekly components. There may also be a few one time payments that the entrepreneur must make in a given year. Small business budgeting software will guide the user through the process of recording these expenses. For example, if a company invests in new equipment such as a computer, these applications can help the user break down the cost of this equipment and spread it out on a weekly or monthly basis. In addition to these areas of concern, budget programs can help the user calculate income and get an accurate and rolling picture of income compared to expenses. The Bible talks about doing the best work that we are capable of. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

The basic elements of corporate budgeting software can generally be broken down into several specific spreadsheets. Some of the various spreadsheets that could be included in these applications are the expense spreadsheet, the invoice spreadsheet, the time and expense spreadsheet, the schedule manager, the budget sheet manager, and the budget planner. Of course, the names of these spreadsheets may vary, but the categories are generally similar. The expense spreadsheet helps the user maintain an accurate record of various examples of monetary outlay that could include travel expenses or other employee costs that a company must provide reimbursement for. For owners of smaller businesses, recording these expenses for tax deduction purposes is crucial. Many of these applications can calculate taxes for the user and can be customized for the needs of an individual company. Designed to be very user friendly, small business budgeting software generally requires very little special training on the part of the user.

Another helpful tool that might be offered by corporate budgeting software is the time and expense spreadsheet. This spreadsheet helps the user calculate and bill the time and cost of completing a project or a service. An invoice spreadsheet helps the business owner create and track invoices and the income generated. Speed and reporting accuracy are some of the benefits of this tool. Most of these applications also offer an invoice template that makes creating customized invoices a simple process. A schedule spreadsheet helps companies keep activity on task and make sure that employees are performing efficiently. This tool can also help the user keep a list of the names, addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers of contacts. Budget spreadsheets allow the user to easily enter information. The program will automatically calculate the information as well. Some applications will also transform the entered data into pie charts or other illustrative diagrams. Any changes to a company's budget are generally very easy to make with these applications.

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