Time of the year is near and auditing period is here again. Challenges faced by accountants and businessmen are always understood. In this issue, we inspect the need of using web-based or online accounting system as compared to desktop accounting. We will also look into factors to consider before implementing web-based accounting system or online accounting solutions.
Here, we are talking about desktop accounting where you buy boxed software off the shelf, install onto your computer and use it. Web-based accounting system will have you login to your system using Internet Explorer and process transactions via the Internet.
Let us first examine desktop accounting. Fast, really simple, easy-to-use and comprises of all basic features of accounting. Anyone can simply buy the software off-shelf and use immediately. A majority of account clerks are familiar with desktop accounting, making it easier to implement such system. Come auditing time and ending financial year, accountants and auditors will spend time examining full year accounting records, do currency realizations for the full 365-day period, check on records and authorize financial reports. One-system-fits-all as accounting principles is quite similar. So, if desktop accounting is meant for your business, continue using it until there is a need to upgrade. Allow me to shed lights into why “higher grades” of accounting systems are needed.
When companies grow larger and expand, one system does not fit all anymore. Even companies in the same industry may have different accounting practices. Example, a company allows a post-dated cheque to be included as credit limit but another company may think otherwise.
Understanding different needs in accounting, we figure out a few key points to look at when purchasing a web-based accounting system. 1. Up-front costs 2. Implementation Speed 3. Security and Accessibility 4. Configurable and Scalability 5. Support and Training
Implement a “ready-made” web-based accounting will be more affordable and quicker to deploy compared to writing your own accounting software. While programmers and software developers can write codes, too seldom an Information Technology expert could also understand accounting and financial terms unless he is well-trained and experienced in both fields.
Web-based accounting systems host your data in a server. Therefore, utilize services like data replication and backups. Also find out if data can be saved or exported to a file format you could use, such as a spreadsheet. Most vendors charge extra for these services, do ask for the pricing as well.
You have the flexibility to access a web-based accounting system anywhere and have overall control even if you have multi-companies in multiple locations. Contradicting this feature, you will want that a web-based accounting system allows security in restricting access – you do not want everyone to access your accounting data everywhere.
Also ensure that the system can be configured to your needs. First list down requirements for your accounting needs and find out if the system could fulfill your needs. Ensure that the system is scalable – can be upgraded and integrate with other modules easily. You normally look into implementing a new system because your business is expanding. So, if your software does not support your business expansion, do not rely on it.
Desktop accounting system is simple enough to deploy due to its simplicity. Not in the case of web-based accounting system because its flexibility and additional features also makes it somewhat more complex to learn from. So, you will want to ensure vendors include on-going after-sales support and trainings.
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