When working with small businesses, many accounting firms look to products like Microsoft Excel. This may seem like a simple “go-to” option for clients that have less volume, especially given the comfort most people have with such tools and the negligible cost.
There are, however, some overlooked advantages to using official accounting software with small business clients. To offer an analogy, imagine you’ve asked a large real estate firm to help you sell your home. Because the firm specializes in larger, commercial real estate, instead of using their existing tools and processes to market your home, they piece together a new process just for you. This new process may suffice, but it won’t sell your home as quickly as the other.
This same scenario plays out when we reserve our accounting software for only large clients. Here are six reasons you should use accounting software with small business clients as well.
1. Developed by Accounting Professionals
Most accounting software is developed and designed by experts who live and breathe accounting. When you use accounting software, you’re not going to be designing and developing your own process for each small business client. You’ll be able to keep all of your work consistent, which saves time and conveys integrity to your customers.
2. Access from Multiple Devices
The days of working from a desk and clocking out at 5 p.m. are dwindling. More professionals are using mobile devices to work “on the go,” both because of the obvious convenience and to maximize productivity. You will need to be able to access your client’s information from any device (not just your desktop), as will any other associates in your firm who require visibility into that account. Additionally, your client will want to be able to access their information as well. When you’re utilizing accounting software, there is no need for a “master” form as is necessary within a tool like MS Excel.
3. Make Audits Easier
Accounting software automatically provides an audit trail. This lets you know who made changes and updates to a client’s books, what those changes were, and when they happened. In the event of an audit, this information can be simply and easily retrieved, which takes the guesswork out of compliance. Automated workflows also reduce the risk of costly human errors.
4. All-in-One Capabilities
Rather than using a separate system to create, send, and receive invoices, accounting software lets you process invoices from the same place you already do most of your work. When you’re doing ad-hoc projects, you might have to create one process to manage client books and another to manage their invoicing. Why not bring all of those accounting functions into one place?
5. On-Demand Reporting
Small business clients are no different when it comes to wanting reports quickly. Without the use of an accounting software tool, you’ll have to create those reports manually, by analyzing data, crunching numbers, and creating your own visualizations. Software tools can generate several kinds of reports in just a few clicks, providing your client with the most up-to-date information possible.
6. Client Engagement
Accounting software isn’t just for accountants; you can also share access with decision-makers in your client companies to improve visibility and trust. When a small business client is engaged with your accounting process, they develop a better understanding of their finances and with accounting “jargon” that would otherwise be confusing. That means they can be more confident with the accounting side of their business, rather than looking at is as a necessary evil.
The reasons for using accounting software with small business clients aren’t terribly different from the reasons for larger clients. Making accounting processes run more smoothly and engaging your clients in a positive way provides a win-win for both you and your customers. If you're looking for more advice, why not take a look at this blog that highlights 8 important features to look for in a retail accounting software.