In case you missed the memo, it’s not just the ecommerce world that’s undergone major developments in the last decade or so: Accounting, the oldest profession in the world has also come of age. The digitisation of the industry means that most accounting software operates in the cloud, integrates with other platforms and offers mobile options and add-ons such as apps.
What Is Accounting and Accounting Software?
Accounting is essentially:
- accounts payable (what you owe)
- accounts receivable (money you are owed)
- general ledger (individual accounts relating to your assets, liabilities, owners’ equity, revenue and expenses)
- trial balance (a balance of all ledgers in debits and credits, usually needed at the end of an accounting period for financial reporting)
All of these modules work in the background of accounting software and you as the user, process through a friendly and intuitive interface.
Within accounting software there are also a number of types of accounting systems ranging from basic billing and invoicing systems to payroll management systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and time and expense management systems.
So How Do You Know If Your Business Needs Accounting Software, and Which Is the Right Choice for Your Enterprise?
To be honest, the shoebox system never works no matter how small your business and how organised you are. At the very least, you should be entering everything into a spreadsheet, but that can also become ungainly.
So the next step is accounting software, which will not only reduce the time consuming tasks of bookkeeping but also help keep you tax compliant and off the ATO’s radar. Your accounts contain a wealth of information, which will also give you a more transparent view of your business through trends and patterns and allows you to forecast and develop strategies for your future.
When it comes to selecting accounting software for your ecommerce business, there is quite seriously an endless list of choices.
MYOB is a name that even the non-accounting literate would likely be familiar with. It’s been around for decades and is known throughout the world, and while it was a little slow in getting on board with cloud software, it’s finally there now with MYOB Essentials.
For years it has been the go-to choice for accountants but now offers a more user-friendly application for business owners. You’ll also be able to work collaboratively with other team members, your bookkeeper or your accountant. It offers a range of plugins and apps to streamline your business, including PayDirect Online allowing customers to pay directly from online invoices.
For ecommerce businesses, it also has point of sale, freight and ecommerce add-ons. And yes, Neto integrates with MYOB Essentials. The program works with both Mac and PC and will help manage your GST, PAYG and BAS through creating and lodging reports.
Packages:Starter - $27 per month
Payroll for one - $45 per month
Unlimited payroll - $55 per month
Less well known but still an option to consider is Saasu, one of the first cloud-based accounting systems on the scene. They pride themselves on simplicity and minimalism and offer a strong suite of accounting features together with reporting and cashflow forecasting. It’s also unique in that it includes an unlimited number of users on all package plans and it has a comprehensive range of inventory management, purchasing and supply-chain tools, perfect for ecommerce businesses. As for add-ons, there are over 1,000 to choose from including Neto. But if you like to have the backup of a telephone support person who can talk you through any issues, Saasu offers only online support so might not be your best bet.
Packages:Small - $15 per month
Medium - $40 per month
Large - $70 per month
The newest accounting software to the market, and the one that’s really shaken up the industry is Xero. They are masters of branding and have bought a sense of excitement and a little bit of cool to an industry that had previously been more renowned for its dreariness than its innovation. They’re essentially a software company that has reinvented the accounting platform to be intuitive and easy to use. They are well known for their customer service backed up by roadshows, podcasts and a library of guides and resources and it works well with both Mac and PC so Mac users won’t be frustrated by reduced features. Plus it integrates with almost anything, so it’s perfect for managing your ecommerce (including Neto), inventory management and point of sale. All this does come at a cost though…
Packages:Starter - $25 per month
Standard - $50 per month
Premium 5 - $60 per month
Plus $10 for one user, $7 for additional users per month (across all packages)
Last but not least, Quickbooks Online is another industry veteran who has moved with the times to create a software solution that’s easy for business owners to use and interact with, while still be very familiar to your accountant. You’ll be able to perform all your required accounting functions easily and it also integrates with PayPal, so if you’re not quite ready to set up a payment gateway, this provides a way that you can still receive credit card payments. It also features a GST snapshot so you know exactly where you stand with the ATO at any given time.
The software offers extensive automated and time saving features backed up by several customer support systems including phone and chat. Just keep in mind that if you start out on a self-employed plan, it doesn’t upgrade to small business plans. Quickbooks Online integrates with hundreds of third-party applications such as Neto (via Onesaas), allowing you to automatically import, export and sync data. Their Plus plan also includes a purchase order and inventory management module.
Packages:Simple Start - $15 per month
Essentials - $30 per month
Plus - $35 per month
Does Your Accounting Software Integrate?
All of these accounting software options will do your basic accounting functions, however with an ecommerce store and all the requirements that go with inventory management, you’re best to look for a program that has or at least integrates with the features you need. And by integrating we mean seamlessly transferring and syncing information from your ecommerce platform (orders, invoices, sales) directly to your accounting software and vice versa. No double handling of data, and hours upon hours of data entry and reconciliation saved, (as much as 20 hours a week, according to Neto retailer, Port Mac Guitars.
While you’re weighing up your options, don’t be afraid to ask other businesses and your accountant for advice. And most of all, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions of the software companies themselves.
Focus on whether the software is designed for your industry, how it can be customised, how it can automate processes and whether it will grow with your business.
This discovery process will also give you a fair idea of how good their customer service is too. And last of all, every software application offers a trial period so you can really get a feel of how easy it is to use and understand.
With Neto Connect, you can integrate seamlessly with accounting software Quickbooks, Xero, MYOB and Saasu as well as inventory management system Unleashed and data integration tool OneSaas.