Here's what you need to consider when choosing accounting software:

  1. Auditing features. These might include a map mode, annotation of formulas as text notes, and annotations using text boxes attached to the corresponding drawing layers. The user should be able to display antecedents and consequences of formulas.
  2. Data import/export. Spreadsheets should be able to import or export files in a number of different database formats.
  3. Database screens. You should be able to develop customized data entry screens, to search for and replace data, and to sort, query, and analyze extensively.
  4. Recalculation. If your spreadsheet can do several different types of recalculation and also do recalculation in the background, you will save a lot of time.
  5. Formatting. Your spreadsheet should allow you to create defined numeric formats and custom currency symbols.
Other important spreadsheet features to look for are two- and three-dimensional chart support, text file support, macro recorders, model building, printing, and timed backup and other security features.

If your business has more than $500,000 in annual revenues, consider the following features:

  1. Customization. Users should have customized menus, data entry, and lookup facilities. Vendors should provide source code.
  2. Support. General ledger should support intercompany postings, perform allocations, and perform and report on multiple currency conversions and transactions.
  3. Payables. Accounts payable should be able to flag 1099 items, post intercompany vouchers, and allocate eight characters to a vendor number. It should also be able to calculate commissions.
  4. Ordering. The order entry module should be able to place orders by using your customers' part numbers, allow drop shipments, and track customers' request dates as line items.
  5. Inventory control. Inventory should report slowly moving or obsolete items, price items by classes, and track items by serial number or lot number. Inventory modules should support all necessary costing methods and report on unit costs and reorders.

This material was excerpted from Chapter 2 of Financial Troubleshooting, by David H. Bangs Jr. and Michael Pellecchia.

Copyright 1999 Goldhirsh Group Inc.