Accounting & Finance Software Guide
What is Accounting & Finance Software?
Accounting and finance software is any tool or solution that enables businesses to automate processes and functions related to bookkeeping and accounting. Businesses use these software products for basic bookkeeping and more complex tasks, including generating financial reports based on which they make informed decisions regarding the growth and progress of the business.
Accounting and finance software offer tools and features that businesses can use for managing their payments and invoicing, accounting and budgeting, tracking expenses, and tasks related to a wider scope, such as tax and risk management and fraud detection. Keeping track of finances is an integral task for any business, to ensure compliance and reduce the risk of irregularities.
Most Popular Accounting & Finance Categories
How to Choose Accounting & Finance Software
Crucial features of accounting and finance software include automation of basic tasks, such as bookkeeping and accounting. Handling these tasks manually increases the risk of errors and discrepancies. This is why accounting and finance software products include features that enable businesses to create financial reports and keep track of the money coming in and going out from the business automatically. Some types of software offer more comprehensive features, covering payroll functions and inventory management.
In most cases, the top accounting and finance software solutions cover each of these functions and processes. Some software applications also offer integrations with bank accounts and in some cases, handle currency conversion. A majority of vendors offer customization features for their software, and hence businesses can choose the features and tools they require. The software, thus becomes a central solution through which companies can manage their accounting and finance tasks, regardless of the complexity of the process.
Using comprehensive software shouldn’t mean that you have to spend extensive time and effort on learning to use it. Software should be simple, regardless of the task you perform. This is particularly important for tasks that are data-intensive, such as investment management, fraud detection and loan management. This is why it is important that the software you select is equipped to handle large volumes of financial data, thereby giving you a better chance of automating the processes that you usually handle manually.
Last, but not least, you need to select accounting and finance software that offers a clean and clutter-free interface. This not only makes the software easy to use but also delivers a higher ROI. The end product will be financial reports that you can base your future decisions on, hence the software should be equipped to deliver said reports.
Subcategories of Accounting & Finance Software
- Accounting: Accounting is among the most crucial tasks a business has to perform. Accounting requirements vary from basic, such as crediting and debiting accounts, to advanced, such as generating income statements and balance sheets. Accounting software solutions automate processes in line with the relevant accounting rules and regulations and according to the relevant standards. Using this type of software, businesses can handle accounting in a convenient and organized manner. Accounting encapsulates a number of subcategories mentioned below, including tax management, payments and invoicing, as well as financial reporting.
- Budgeting & Tracking: Budgeting and tracking expenses is an integral part of running a business. Businesses have to project the amount of money they will spend during a particular financial period. At the same time, they have to track the amount they have spent at different stages. Budgeting and tracking solutions enable businesses to automate and organize their budgeting process. They can conveniently create tables and charts to keep track of their expenses through an accounting and finance software. Every aspect of budgeting will fall under this subcategory.
- Compliance: Businesses have to comply with a wide range of tax laws and regulations when preparing their accounts and financial reports. Compliance solutions for accounting and finance software ensure that the reports the users generate are not only accurate but also legally compliant and reliable. Some of the common compliance issues include sales tax and income tax. Anything related to compliance with accounting and finance laws falls under this subcategory.
- Financial Reporting: Financial reporting is a legal requirement for businesses. Businesses have to maintain a record of their finances, including the money they earn and spend during a financial period. Effective financial reporting requires compliance with the relevant accounting laws and standards and an accounting and finance software should provide the tools necessary for effectively generating financial reports. Every aspect of financial reporting will be categorized under this heading.
- Fraud Detection: Accounting fraud is a major concern for businesses around the world. Particularly with the rise of online tools for accounting, detection methods have improved significantly. Efficient accounting and finance software should incorporate features and tools that enable quick fraud detection by pointing out inconsistencies, anomalies and irregularities in a business’s financial records. Fraud detection is a specific subcategory that needs attention.
- Investment Management: Investment management involves a great deal of speculation, calculation and estimation. The accounting and financial reports have to be generated in line with the current and future investment returns the business expects, either for its own investments or when handling investments on behalf of their clients. Investment management solutions can simplify the process.
- Loan Management: Managing loans effectively is crucial for businesses. Any oversight or mistake in handling a loan can lead to legal sanctions and loss of reputation, and effectively ruin the business’s credit rating. Top accounting and finance software solutions tend to incorporate the necessary features for effective loan management, regardless of the number of loans a business is managing at a particular time.
- Payments & Invoicing: Payments & invoicing is the lifeblood of a business when it comes to accounting and finance. Without effective payments and invoicing management, a business will not be able to track its income and expenses. At the same time, they will lose track of the cash flow. At its core, payments and invoicing seems like a routine function the business can handle without hassle but the intricacies of the task coupled with the frequency at which it occurs make automation necessary. Virtually every accounting and finance software offer solutions for this particular function, enabling businesses to tally their payments and invoicing, including handling debts and following up with clients that have not honored their commitments. Each aspect of payments and invoicing will be considered under this subcategory.
- Purchasing & Expenses: Purchasing & expenses is a vital part of the day-to-day operations of a business. Businesses have to purchase inventory and supplies to be able to deliver their products and services to clients. Purchases lead to bills that the business has to settle. Since purchasing is an ongoing function, it has to be tracked all the time. Simultaneously, businesses have to track the expenses they are incurring, including the cost of purchasing. Accounting and finance software provide solutions through which a business can keep a complete record of their purchases and expenses.
- Risk Management: Risk management is an integral part of modern business. When a business plans to invest in a new venture for example, it performs significant risk assessments and audits to analyze the level of risk to be managed over the course of the project. Risk management involves constant monitoring of the major factors that will determine the financial success or failure of a project. Accounting and finance software that provide risk management solutions can make this task easier for businesses.
- Stock Trading & FX: Stock Trading software helps business keep on top of their equity portfolios. Many solutions provide a trading environment and offer data / market analyses to streamline investment processes. On the other hand FX solutions allow you to track currency exchange rates and to mitigate FX related exchange risks.
- Tax Management: Businesses have to file taxes at the end of each financial period. They also have to keep track of their employees’ income tax and other tax liabilities that are applicable to the business. This type of accounting and finance software enables businesses to calculate the taxes due at the end of a financial year and file them accordingly.
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