This article was originally written for the Business First publication.

So, you walk into a big box office supply store (OK, Staples) and there you see it.  That piece of technology you’ve been eyeing for months.  Sleek, powerful, wrapped in eye-catching packaging, you just know it’s going to make your life easier, increase your productivity by 69% or whatever.  And look, they’re on half-price sale today.  Snatching up one for yourself and another for your friend, you head off to the checkout.  You’re not really sure what it can do, but you’ve just purchased Simply Accounting.

For quite a few business owners, this is roughly where their relationship with their accounting software ends.  I’d love to know how many shrink-wrapped copies of Simply Accounting and QuickBooks languish at the bottom of desk drawers.  You know those advertisements you see sometimes in magazines?  The one where a smiling business owner assures you that she just paid her bills, finished her employee payroll, and paid her sales taxes, all while sitting at the end of her dock at the cottage in Muskoka?  I don’t want to come across as negative, but this is hardly realistic.  Sure, it’s possible, but I think it creates a bit of an unrealistic image about how a new piece of software will change your bookkeeping.

I’d like to spend a few minutes outlining what Simply Accounting can do.  I actually love Simply Accounting.  I also like QuickBooks, but Simply Accounting and I go back a ways.

First, it will help you create professional looking sales invoices.  Even without customizing a thing, Simply Accounting will still spit out a decent looking sales invoice.  You can personalize it quite quickly, by inserting your logo, maybe increasing the font size, or adding a touch of color.  You can easily email invoices directly from inside Simply Accounting.  Do you ever find yourself wondering if someone has paid their invoice?  Simply Accounting is also good at tracking receivables.

On the flip side, you’ll also want help with knowing what your expenses look like.  You’ll enter all your purchase invoices and receipts into Simply Accounting, and you can see at a glance where your money is going.  Once you have some history built up, you can compare your current period with a previous period.  For example, maybe you want to know what your expenses look like this month compared to the same time last year – with a system like Simply Accounting you can pull up this report in a few seconds.

Simply Accounting has a powerful payroll system built into it.  If you’ve ever spent any amount of time calculating payroll remittances manually, you’d probably appreciate their payroll reports.  And there’s a lot more……bank reconciliations, project tracking, GST/HST reporting, etc.

I’ve seen quite a few Simply Accounting files, and I’ve had the pleasure of helping set up a number of them.  I can’t stress enough the important of getting the file set up correctly.  I’m convinced that the biggest reason people lose interest is that the file doesn’t get set up right.  If you are a bit uncertain how to proceed, do yourself a favour and get qualified help with setting it up.

Simply Accounting works, and it can work very well.  But don’t kid yourself, it’s not going to do it for you, and you’re probably not going to be preparing your next HST return from the end of your dock.

Filed under: Other tips by David Boese No Comments »