Purchasing accounting software represents a major commitment and investment. The first thing to be considered in purchasing accounting software is to determine your budget – how much money are you able to spend on an accounting software package. This will limit your choices, since in general the accounting software with the most capabilities will carry a higher price tag.Since this is such a very important business decision, you should be sure of the facts and compare accounting software before you make your purchase. You certainly don’t want to buy accounting software and then discover, a few months later, that the software is unable to handle your business as it grows. Nor do you want to be fooled into purchasing cheap software and then discovering that you need to make upgrades to get it to the level of effectiveness your business requires. And of course you wouldn’t want to buy software which comes with little or no support backup.In researching some of the options available we went to a website which has accounting software comparison of various popular accounting software packages for small businesses, and we learned the following. The most inexpensive software sold for $90, and the most expensive cost $1500. However the three most popular systems were by no means the most expensive, selling for $250 to $300. Most software packages offer the most important accounting capabilities; however it was interesting to see that the most expensive software package did not contain some of the capabilities offered in less expensive software. You might be surprised, however, to learn that there is some excellent, inexpensive accounting software out there designed expressly for small businesses. For example, Access accounting software is both inexpensive yet has a rather complete set of modules including financials, manufacturing and job costing, customer relationship management, POS, ERP, Stock, Business Intelligence, CIS, and payroll capabilities.Another question to ask is whether the software is user friendly. In order to curtail the downtime involved in training your staff to operate the software, it has to be simple to use in the first place. Check for simplicity regarding initial installation; setting up; and navigation. The next consideration is asking whether the software has all the accounting and reporting modules which your business will need now and in the future as it grows. The basic modules include accounts payable and accounts receivable; and also modules which enable you to easily create and print out reports such as receivables reports, forecast reports, cash flow reports, etc. But it is often wise to invest in a more expensive software package which has expandable features which make for easy adjustment as your business grows, such as adding new product lines or more employees to the payroll.
What is a computer software category? There are three types, or categories, of computer software:Application software
Programming software / MiddlewareApplication software is what most people think of when they think of software. It is a program or set of programs that fulfills a business requirement, such as Word processors, Excel, payroll software, computer games, graphics and music.System software is any computer software which manages and controls computer hardware so that application software can perform a task that enable the end-user to perform specific, productive tasks, such as operating systems.Programming software, or middleware, usually provides tools to assist a developer in writing computer programs in a more convenient way. The tools include text editors, compilers, interpreters, linkers, debuggers, etc.Application software is a subclass of computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly and thoroughly to a task that the user wishes to perform. This should be contrasted with system software which is involved in integrating a computer’s various capabilities.Typically the software does not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. In this context the term application refers to both the application software and its implementation. Multiple applications bundled together as a package are sometimes referred to as an application suite.Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, and iWork 08, which bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, and several other discrete applications, are typical examples. The separate applications in a suite usually have a user interface that has some commonality making it easier for the user to learn and use each application.Often they may have some capability to interact with each other in ways beneficial to the user. For example, a spreadsheet might be able to be embedded in a word processor document even though it had been created in the separate spreadsheet application.User-written software tailors systems to meet the user’s specific needs. User-written software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, graphics and animation scripts. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is.In some types of embedded systems, the application software and the operating system software may be indistinguishable to the user, as in the case of software used to control a VCR, DVD player or microwave oven. It is important to note that this definition may exclude some applications that may exist on some computers in large organizations.