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Are your books in order? Do they balance each other out? These questions can be terrifying for any business, especially for those unprepared during tax season, untimely audits, and financial forecasting. Gone are the days of the myopic accountant strapped to his desk, installed with a green visor, black armbands and an adding machine, toiling over bulky balance sheets filled with rows and columns of handwritten figures. The digitization of record keeping and accounting has streamlined the process and manifested in sophisticated business accounting software.

Today’s accounting software can more reliably and accurately record and process transactions, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, payroll, purchasing, invoicing, inventory, and accounting, from the office and remotely from the Web. The type of industry and the number of employees are determining factors in the choice of software and the number of associated functional modules. Organizations large and small, from ERP-based enterprises to SMBs, can develop their own programs in-house or purchase multi-functional on-premises, hybrid, and cloud-based packages from a software vendor.

Propelled by the storage and cost advantages of the cloud, the accounting software market is expected to surpass $19.5 billion by 2026, according to Mordor Intelligence, which added that the trend of small and medium-sized businesses collaborating with E-commerce players, as well as integration with other online applications, are expected to further drive the adoption of accounting software.

Plus, advanced accounting software features like AI and analytics bring static numbers to life. Businesses can gain insights and predictive results that improve strategic intelligence, operational workflows, risk management initiatives, employee engagement, and customer experience.

Balancing the books shouldn’t be a balancing act. It should be more science than art. Taken together, digital automation, process integration, cloud, AI, analytics and scalability have transformed the one-dimensional mundane tasks associated with “counting the beans” into a multi-dimensional financial force impacting all aspects of a business.

This handbook explores the features and benefits of business accounting software, including the range of accounting applications available – from simple to complex, regardless of business size – and key factors to consider. account when choosing the right software package.