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Startup Flight Checklist Item #10: Accounting and Finance December 19, 2011

Posted by Jim Price in Business, Entrepreneurship.
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Now let’s take a look at Flight Checklist Item #10: Accounting and Finance.  As with every other element on our checklist, let’s keep our eye on the ball:  our purpose here is to keep things as simple and inexpensive as possible.

Because remember the whole point of the Flight Checklist: With the tech- and cloud-based tools and services available today, designing and launching a robust new business can be quick, easy and inexpensive.

Now, while as with any mature application space, accounting software has numerous full-featured competitive offerings, Quickbooks from Intuit is the dominant player and the class of the field.

A few very robust, stand-alone accounting app alternatives to Quickbooks include Sage Peachtree, Bookkeeper from Avanquest, Sage Simply Accounting Pro, and AccountEdge from Acclivity.  Quickbooks and most of these stand-alone accounting packages are available on a one-time purchase basis as well as (in most cases) in cloud-based forms

The following are the integrated functions you will look to accomplish with your small-business accounting software:

  • Setting up and maintaining your general ledger
  • Doing your daily bookkeeping
  • Accounts payable (A/P)
  • Accounts receivable (A/R)
  • Reconciliation between your books and your bank account
  • Financial statements
  • Budget management – plan vs. actual

In addition, with Quickbooks, you can electronically coordinate through Intuit to automatically manage payroll transactions with your bank, including automatic deposits for your employees and automatic handling of tax withholdings and payments to the appropriate government agencies, etc.

What you’ll typically find is that if you’re using Quickbooks, which has become very much of a small-business standard, it’s easy to exchange Quickbooks-formatted files with your part-time bookkeeper, account, tax preparation accountant, and so on.

An interesting alternative to Quickbooks or other stand-alone accounting packages is NetSuite, which is a cloud-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) application suite that includes ecommerce and CRM (customer relationship management) apps in addition to the accounting and financial apps, all integrated together.  This is far more to bite off for a brand-new startup than Quickbooks, and significantly more expensive than virtually any of the stand-alone apps.  However, if you think your startup is going to grow big fast, it’s worth a serious look to establish this kind of integrated infrastructure – still quite cost-effectively – from the outset.

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