Accounting Software Examples
Accounting software allows businesses and individuals to track, monitor, and strategize about their finances without the need for a ledger, calculator, and strong set of eyeglasses. These platforms are able to automate redundant tasks and generate detailed reports in a fraction of the time it would take manually. These software platforms can support everything from check printing to cost predictions to payroll management. But how can you choose the right platform for you and your business? We share these stories and examples of bookkeeping services to help make the analysis and decision easier.
History of Accounting Software
Early accounting software was proprietary for each company, developed on punch cards to be run on computers that took up an entire room. It wasn’t until 1978 that the first ever spreadsheet program, Visicalc, delivered a solution anyone could use on their computer to carry out basic accounting functions. The same year, a platform called Peachtree Software made accounting an option on the personal computer. By 1981, Peachtree included a word processor and spreadsheet platform that were some of the early precursors of Microsoft Office, which wasn’t announced until 1988. However, in terms of Excel for accounting, Excel actually started out as a product for Apple Computers. It wasn’t until the PC became the dominant business tool of the 1990s that Microsoft brought Excel to the PC. Today, Excel is still a commonly-used software for some accounting functions, along with many other on-site installs and cloud solutions alike that empower financial professionals to do their work.
How Many Types of Accounting Software Are There?
There are four main types of accounting software programs you might encounter as you look for the solution that is right for your business. These are spreadsheets, commercial accounting software, enterprise accounting software, and custom accounting software.
- Spreadsheets: Small businesses and solopreneurs often use programs like Excel or Google Sheets to manage and track finances. While these programs make it simple to list basic accounting information like sales or expenses, only very simple businesses can rely solely on spreadsheets to provide data and insights that help guide future financial decisions.
- Small Business Accounting Software: Small business accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero is a wholly adequate accounting software solution for most small- and mid-sized businesses. These include graphs and dashboards that summarize data for you, as well as reports about the financial health of the business.
- Enterprise Accounting Software: Large or complex businesses often need the accounting software to integrate with software from other departments, to capture data and update the books as quickly as possible. These solutions, like Oracle or SAP, may even cross over into enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. On the accounting side, these functions include billing and purchasing, inventory control, and financial reporting. Outside accounting, human resources and customer service functions can also be supported by insights provided by enterprise accounting software.
- Custom Accounting Software: Lastly, there are scenarios where a business ends up creating its own accounting software. This happens when expert employees recognize a solution doesn’t exist to meet the needs of their employer, and so they create custom solutions instead.
The type of accounting software you choose depends on the use of accounting software in the functions of your business. If you have a busy on-staff accountant or bookkeeper, you might choose payroll software to support their efforts. If you have many other departments that also need support, you may choose an enterprise resource planning solution that meets the needs of many stakeholders. There are so many options on the market, one or more platforms in tandem will work for you.
List of Accounting Software
Which is the best software for accounting? Here is a list of the tools we rely on at Milestone to deliver best-in-class solutions to our clients.
- Intuit QuickBooks: This legendary accounting software is tailored for small- and mid-sized businesses to allow them to accept payments, pay bills, and manage payroll functions.
- Bill.com: Bill.com syncs with QuickBooks to help businesses integrate and share accounting data to create and pay bills, send invoices, and get paid.
- Emburse Tallie: Emburse Tallie is an expense reporting software that increases the ease and efficiency of tracking for business owners, corporate cardholders, and frequent business travelers.
- Dext: Dext is a data insights platform for accountants that empowers businesses to get more insights from financial data they are already collecting and tracking for compliance.
- CashFlowTool: CashFlowTool is a platform for cash flow management and forecasting. This platform allows you to see your current forecasted cash flow in seconds and adjust different metrics and variables to see how changes in your income or market could impact the projections.
- Fathom: Fathom is a financial intelligence and performance reporting platform that integrates with QuickBooks and other data sources to provide real-time insight into the overall financial state of the business.
- Gusto: Gusto is a combined human resources and accounting software that allows small businesses to pay, insure, and support their hardworking team.
Take the Guesswork Out of Accounting Software Selection with Milestone
Milestone has chosen the platforms on the list above after decades of experience in accounting and financial services for small businesses. We believe these tools hit the sweet spot of functionality, cost-efficiency, and transparency to provide businesses what you need to unleash the back office. We believe in choosing solutions that enable our refreshingly forward approach to client service and strategic planning. It is always our goal to ensure the platforms we use and outsourced accounting services or fractional CFO services we offer make the lives of our clients easier. We want to work with you not just as a service provider, but as a true partner for the future of your business. Contact Milestone today to source the support you need to advance the progress of your entrepreneurial journey.
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