Accounting software is a competitive market, and companies seek to add value to their products by automating repetitive tasks, reducing redundant data entry by integrating with other business programs, and taking their software to the cloud to give you anytime, anywhere access to your financial data.
Although desktop accounting software is still available and its proponents tout richer features, this distinction is disappearing as more companies move their programs online and improve them. In addition to your financial data being accessible from anywhere you have internet, many accounting systems offer mobile apps. Some even have apps for smartwatches.
Automated features that eliminate or simplify repetitive tasks are increasingly popular in accounting software. For example, many systems allow you to schedule recurring invoices, automatically send payment reminders as a due date approaches or when an invoice is past due, and send thank-you emails to acknowledge received payments. Some systems offer smart bank reconciliation tools that suggest transaction matches for you to approve, and these tools increase in accuracy the more you use the software. Others can be set up to automatically send purchase orders when your inventory falls below a set threshold.
In addition to syncing with your business bank accounts, many accounting systems offer integrations with other business programs that use or generate the data you need in your accounting program, saving you the time of manually entering or transferring information from sales and other activities. Some accounting applications natively include ancillary features, such as time tracking and project management.
Is Online Accounting Software Secure?
The best online accounting software uses bank-grade data encryption to protect your account. Further, it should either require or allow you to use two-factor authentication, giving you another layer of security. Because the software is in the cloud, your data is safe even if your computer is stolen or destroyed.
If you have employees or an accountant accessing your accounting program, you can control what information they see by setting user permissions. The best accounting software also includes a detailed history, or audit log, that shows what changes were made to your records, on what date, and at what time by which user, giving you additional insight and control over any changes or entries in your accounting program.