Keeping track – how you can save on accounting software
It is extremely rare to spot someone using a ledger to record a payment or expense.
In business, practically everything today is digitised. We send emails, we hold conference calls on Skype. And we also do our bookkeeping through accounting software.
As Revenue continues to steer us more in the direction of filing our returns online, we can expect that offline bookkeeping may soon become extinct.
But when it comes to managing your business's finances, are you paying over the odds for bookkeeping software you don't need? There are some significant savings that can be made. To this end, we're looking at one of the market leaders – Quickbooks Pro 2014 – and suggesting some other solutions to your accounting and finance needs.
QuickBooks Pro 2014, cost: €295 (ex-Vat)
Pros: it's easy to use, produces detailed accounting reports, available on Windows and Mac and integrates well with third-party applications. Also, your accountant probably already knows about Quickbooks.
Cons: it doesn't extend to a customer relationship manager (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and is missing a few industry specific features. It also has a lack of key reports outside of accounting and file sizes can be an issue.
Summary: QuickBooks is an accounting software package for small and medium-sized businesses developed and marketed by Intuit. Accounting basics are what QuickBooks excels at. You can also generate reports and expense forecasts as well as keep track of inventory and its costs.
Budget alternative 1: TurboCASH Accounting, cost: free
Pros: it has an easy-to-use interface, relatively full set of features and is available in multiple languages. It has comprehensive point-of-sale reporting and analysis and its open source code means it can be adapted to your business's needs.
Cons: if you're not familiar with accounting software it may take some getting used to. It's also only available on Windows and customer support is limited. Finally, it's a desktop-based application and hence not ready for the cloud.
Summary: TurboCASH is a free, open software accounting software package. Aimed at the small to medium-sized business market, it's placed between being a home finances package and being an ERP package.
It has all the usual standard functions: stock control, invoicing, debtors, creditors, general ledger, Vat accounting and balance sheet and income statements, as well as plenty of reports functions. It has been continuously developed since April 1985.
Budget alternative 2: Odoo (formerly OpenERP), cost: free
Pros: this easy-to-use application is straightforward to implement and has a mobile app available. Because it's web-based, it can be used from anywhere on any operating system. It has extensive third-party extensions available for industry specific implementations, with support available from local partners and Odoo in Belgium.
Cons: It has a lack of online tutorials and user manuals, while it may not be suited to all businesses out of the box and may need to be customised.
Summary: Unlike the other two products mentioned above Odoo (formerly OpenERP) combines CRM, inventory management, point of sale (POS), retail and distribution and e-commerce elements to provide businesses with a detailed insight into the functioning of their businesses.
Depending on requirements, a company can pick and choose which elements they use and discard the rest. Its open source code allows you to customise the software.
Rohit Thakral is a DIT graduate and chief executive of Dublin-based Target Integration. www.targetintegration.ie