Computerising your Financial Accounts

Here is a blog article that James has written for the Sligo Enterprise Board, which provide supports and services to small businesses in County Sligo…

You have already taken the difficult step of setting up a business and are using either manual books or a spreadsheet to record your transactions. You realise that you could be getting better information and that many small businesses use computerised accounts system.

So what is involved and why would you do it? Well, for one thing you will save yourself time as you only have to enter a transaction once into the system.

It is very easy to run a report which will show who owes you money and more importantly for how long. Do you spend much time preparing the Vat return or do you hand it over to your accountant – now with either Sage or Tas you can run a Vat return at the click of a button. Instead of using a word processor you can produce a professional looking invoice or statement with your own logo from the system. You will have a better handle on the overall performance of the business by running regular profitability reports.

As your business expands, your system may need to record sales orders and deliveries and check whether a particular item is in stock. You may need to open a Sterling bank account to deal with UK suppliers or customers. If you have Sales reps you might want them to take orders on handheld systems and download them into your accounts system.

Before deciding which system to implement you should be clear in your own mind what features/modules you want from the system and the benefits you expect it to bring to your business. You should also look for assurances on the following issues:

  1. Is the system proven in the marketplace?
  2. Will the system be capable of growing with the business in terms of extra modules and users?
  3. Can the system provider also deliver training and ongoing support afterwards?
  4. Are references available from other users of the software?
  5. Is the system capable of being backed up for security purposes?
  6. That your staff who will operate the system are buying into it

Once you have chosen the appropriate system (whether it be Sage 50, Tas, Exchequer Enterprise or some other system) for your business, you need to plan the implementation. What date is the system going to start from and have you got all your manual or spreadsheets up to date? It might be advisable to concentrate on getting your customers and sales invoices up initially and follow on with your suppliers and purchases. You will need to consider whether you will attend a classroom training session or get on-site training which will be more specific to your requirements. You will also need to specify the reports which you will need from the system as this will have implications for the set-up. The main thing is to have a plan and get assistance and training from experienced systems providers.

If you wish to discuss computerising or upgrading your accounting system contact James for a free consultation at 071-914681 or email jdoyle@synergynet.ie