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When you want to buy an accounting software

Many entrepreneurs’ are interested in using computerized data processing  for their business activities and start in a small way.
Most popular way to start computerizing  has been to start doing accounting work on computer.  Then with the experience of three to five years integrate invoicing in it.  Slowly they venture into compterising Pay roll activities.  The pay roll activities are generally restricted only upto computing the wage sheet and calculating dues like Provident Fund and over time earned by the employees.  It is observed in most of the cases that these businessmen act only on the experience of others.  Very rarely the decision of adopting automisation is  taken in consultation with the other seniors in the organisation.  This is a very crude, non systematic way to switch over to office automisaiton.  Hardly this process can be accepted as  a serious “Policy Decision”.
It  is always a  good decision to start atomization slowly by starting it from one department at a time then integrating the entire organisation in a planned manner.   Here are certain hints for selecting the stand alone “Off the Shelf” software for Accounting work.
  1. It should be simple to install on your existing system configuration
  2. Check the existing configuration of your system and see if it will not get slowed down after installing the Accounting Software.
  3.  Your other output devises like Printers etc should be amenable to the new software
  4.  It should be user friendly
  5. Not only the operators but the Management personals who need only to view the reports should be able to learn the software
  6. It should be easily understandable to the persons other than accounts departments
  7. Whether existing stationary like Delivery Notes, Invoices etc can be used.
  8. The office staff is used to the existing Documents like Invoices, Debit notes, Delivery challans and therefore the new accounting software should be such that the same formats can be continued
  9.  Whether customization in the ready version of the software is possible? And what will be the cost of customization.
  10.  The ready software provide generalized solutions and it is necessary to customize various functions to suit your requirements.  This must be made possible while installing the new software.
Data Safety, Confidentiality and Availability
  1. Data stored and used in the accounting software should be safe and non accessible to the unauthorized persons. 
  2. Similarly it must be safe, that is not vulnerable to corruption, retrievable and properly backed up.
  3. No unauthorized access should be allowed to the data, it should be properly encrypted, non editable and
  4. It should be available to the users
  5. Proper back up facilities should be provided by the software vendor
  6. Data should not consume unduly large space in the Hard disk or server
  7.  Software should socialize with other software’s used. For example if separate software is used for Excise duty records, Accounting software should be able to share the data with the excise duty record software and vice versa
  8. Audit trail of the transaction
 Proper segregation of duties among the accounting staff should be enabled in the accounting software.  For example, the person handling Purchases, should not be allowed to operate the Inventory module of the software etc. similarly there should be “Maker Checker” facility available to identify the person who made the data entry and his superior who approved the same
  •  Any editing, deletion or addition to the voucher once entered, should be identifiable. 
  •  Proper separation of authorities like Master creation and voucher entry modules should be separate
  • Staff training
    • Vendor should provide adequate training to the staff to operate and maintain the software
    • Follow up and Support
    •  Vendor should provide technical support all the time and also should provide the new releases and patches as quickly as possible, particularly with the changes in taxation laws and other accounting amendments as per the statutory requirements
     Financial burden
  What will be the initial cost, cost of modification in the existing hardware, cost of Upgradation etc should be considered with the economic considerations
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