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7 Ways Accounting Software Surpasses Spreadsheets for Ease and Efficiency

5 Important Ways to Save on Your 2014 Business Taxes

Excel spreadsheets are unquestionably popular for basic accounting tasks, like tracking income and expenses, but are they the smartest choice for a growing, diverse business? Not anymore! Today, spreadsheets are being nudged out by accounting software – and for good reason.

Whether you’re a small business looking to spend less time managing the books, or an accountant encouraging your clients to make the switch, here’s why accounting software outsmarts spreadsheets:

1. Expands as your business does

Spreadsheets may be fine for a startup, but they can’t keep pace as a business increases its customers, vendors and transactions. Software is designed to be flexible, scalable and easily customized to meet the changing needs of a business. A quick learning curve that doesn’t require accounting expertise makes software even more appealing for the first-time user.

2. More accurate

You’ve heard of operator error. Well, spreadsheets are only as accurate as the person inputting the data, with a greater chance of mistakes the more complex or detailed the spreadsheet. Common spreadsheet shortcomings, such as errors with manual data entry, copy/paste techniques and worksheet calculations, are eliminated with automated software that doesn’t require special formulas or programming.

3. Supports your business priorities

Software can be a powerful tool in running a business. Accounting software typically coordinates with other programs, such as invoicing and project management, for more efficient operations. Plus, while it’s easy to miss critical patterns and trends in spreadsheet data, accounting software uses tools and reports to analyze valuable business information.

4. Saves time through integration

Creating multiple spreadsheets that meet every administrative need is extremely involved and time-consuming, if even possible. Software can ease this burden, offering more robust, time-saving features and consolidating transactions to one central location. Mobile applications, third-party integrations and various cloud-based tools expand the options even further.

5. More secure

Sensitive data is out in the open with spreadsheets, with a chance for fraud depending on who has access. Software lets a business owner control the users, while also creating an audit trail that shows who made changes to transactions. And because software runs backups in highly secure, offsite servers, it provides extra protection and peace of mind.

6. Around-the-clock availability

Spreadsheets reside on a desktop, so accessibility is limited to time and place. Cloud-based software, on the other hand, allows permitted users to access real-time data anytime, anywhere.

7. Allows efficient e-filing

Financial documents are always up-to-date and easy to share when they’re managed in software. This is a perk if you’re a business that needs to import data for electronic tax filing, or if you’re an accountant who needs to pull certain financials to prepare your clients’ taxes.

Keep in mind: The best time to switch from an Excel-based system to online accounting software is the end of the fiscal year. This timing allows you to reconcile accounts, complete year-end reports and make any final adjustments. During the initial transition period, it’s a good idea to run both systems together until you’re ready to switch completely to software.

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