The 5 Essential Functions of Accounting Software

All reputable accounting software on the market should cover the basics:

  1. General ledger, sales and purchasing ledger, project ledgers etc. – ideally within a unified ledger design to allow for real-time accounting:
    It should be real time to allow your finance team and management to understand your financial situation up to the minute - and be able to see the implications of any changes before or as they happen, not weeks afterwards.
  2. 'The multis': Multi-currency, multi-company, multi-lingual capabilities:
    Your accounting system should cope with the day-to-day complexity of your business, without difficulty. However, beware - not all handle these areas well.
  3. On-line, real-time enquiry and browsing
    Browsing you accounting data should be straight-forward. For quick enquiries your accounting staff should be able to just query the system and get a quick, and up-to-the-minute result.
  4. Simple reporting and easy-to-use but powerful analysis functions
    Accounting data can be complex, but with modern reporting and analysis tools you should be able to run report and make sophisticated analysis quickly and easily. You should be able to give access to these tools to line managers and budget holders so they can change and run reports themselves, freeing up accounting staff to do other work.
  5. Standard integration utilities, using the latest technologies, like web services.
    Accounting software today should be able to integrate with other administrateive and operational systems, allow you to automate basic processes and to deliver information securely across the organization, across your supply chain, anywhere in the world.

What they FORGET to tell you about accounting software

There's one thing that most vendors and experts in accounting software forget to tell you. The most critical feature of your new accounting system:

6. Ability to cope with change!

Given the challenges organisations face, as we listed at the top of the page, your acounting software must be able to handle change. That means it must let you restructure your business, make new reports, demand different analysis, enter new markets, launch new products - easily. With a few clicks of the mouse. Too any accounting and other business software packages require you to do programming to make changes, which means asking IT or getting external consultants in. That's costly and takes too long.

So find out how the system copes with change.