4 Tips for Utilizing Accounting Software to its Fullest (Guest Blog)

You didn’t get into business to drown in the tedious chore of accounting, but keeping the books straight is often the difference between success and failure – and it’s always the difference between running a dysfunctional ship that’s barely clinging to solvency and being at the helm of a well-run, well-oiled machine.

Your accounting software is your first and best chance to make sure you know where your dollars and cents are. Follow this guide to getting the most out of your accounting software.


Keeping your books straight is paramount in any business.
Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles

Don’t Overbuy

The first trick to getting the most out of your accounting software is to purchase the right program in the first place. That almost always means not buying too much. There is a common misconception that it’s smart to get as much as you can afford – that it’s better to have it and not need it than walk away with too little. This is largely due to clever marketing cooked up by the people who sell the expensive software. Don’t be fooled.

Just Enough

The fact is, once you get past the free, entry-level, web-based products such as Mint and Outright, accounting software is not only expensive, but comes with a steep learning curve. An overly complicated program that you don’t fully understand is one that you’re not going to utilize completely, will likely become frustrated with and will almost certainly lead to costly errors. The right software is the one that has all the features you need – and no more.

Get Educated

Your software will come with a fairly comprehensive tutorial. This tutorial will likely have an academic, textbook-type feel to it. While this is a good jumping-off point, you need to be fully acclimated with your software before you trust it with your sacred financial data.

Your software is not a robot that is going to do everything for you. It’s a powerful tool that, when utilized to its fullest by an educated master, can make the grind of bookkeeping infinitely more tolerable.

Find the Best Teachers

No matter what software you buy, there is a community of people who are really into it. They gather on blogs, forums, and message boards. Not only do their websites have tons of ready-made information, but they’re almost always willing to help newbies with legitimate questions, debunk myths, and reveal shortcuts.

The company that makes your software probably has a blog, which you can access from their website. Start by finding the moderators or frequent posters to this blog. Click their profiles and see what external blogs or sites they operate. That is where the true gems of information will lie.


Utilizing your software to the fullest is key to a maintaining a healthy piggy bank.
Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles

When it comes to utilizing your accounting software, you have to buy the right package, learn how to use it, and implement it well. Although all of this requires research, it’s well worth the investment. Not being your software’s educated master means not being in charge of your money – and you’re in the business of making money.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about small business management and accounting software.