This year, make a crucial change to your business operations and switch to computerized accounting software. If you are using a manual accounting system, on paper or in Excel, you are wasting time and even putting your company in jeopardy.

According to a recent survey of 700 small business owners by Sage, business owners who do not use accounting software are more likely to struggle with accounts receivables, accounts payable, and invoicing than entrepreneurs who use computerized accounting. Shaquela Tracy, CPA, of Chicago accounting firm The Meekins Group, says that using pen and paper or spreadsheets is often a “complete and utter disaster.” Finally, maybe as soon as 2015, some states will require every business to manage its books using an accounting software, so why wait if you can enjoy today all the additional benefits?

If that’s not enough here are five additional reasons to start using small business accounting software today:

Efficiency
Using a software accounting package will save you tons of time that would have been spent on tedious calculations. Once you’ve learned the basics, it’s infinitely faster to look up past transactions and data and to run reports for loan applications or taxes. Sharing data with you bookkeeper or your accountant is also a breeze.

Accuracy
Having a computerized system means fewer mistakes. Most systems can sync with your bank accounts, so you can make sure all entries are correct and capture every expense item. Moreover, even if you’ve made a mistake the software will either alert you that there’s something wrong, or at least will make it a whole lot easier to find the mistake and correct it

Automation
It’s simple to generate reports with real-time data on the state of your business’s finances. Depending on the program, you can create checks, invoices and budgets with the click of a button. Additional services such as Payroll services, collection services and travel expenses reports can generally be added for reasonable additional cost.

Backup
It’s much easier to back up your data using computerized software, especially if you can save it to the cloud. Then there’s no risk associated with losing your paper-based system due to theft, fire or just wear and tear. Even better, when your data is in the cloud you can access it from anywhere.

Cost
You can purchase accounting software at a remarkably low price, or even utilize a free online service. In the end, the time saved can be reinvested in growing your business. And having clean, accurate financial records will make it easier to make sound business decisions and acquire financing.

“Using accounting software saves you a lot of time and saves you from a lot hassle at the end of the year. It’s important to be as accurate as possible, because you never know when the IRS may call and request some type of report. You never know when you may have to get audited.” – Shaquela Tracy, CPA

So, how do you pick an accounting program that’s right for you? Find out more in our next post: Choosing the Best Accounting Software for Your Small Business.

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