Accounting Software – Should you go for Free or Paid

There are many different accounting software packages available these days, and many of them have different functionalities and features, depending on your specific business requirements. In this article we will discuss the pros and cons of free accounting software packages and explain why a paid accounting software package is probably your company’s very best bet.

The pros of free accounting software

One of the obvious reasons why some companies opt to use free accounting software is the cost saving. There is no need to fork out money to purchase the software or having to deal with monthly fees. There is no need to dip into your company’s cash flow for the benefits of automated software to handle your financial transactions and other bookkeeping related tasks.

The cons of free accounting software

Is anything ever completely free? -What you should realize is that nothing is ever completely free. Somewhere down the line you will need to pay in one way or another, be it for upgrades or ‘paying’ for the flashing banners and ads that you have to deal with. If something is completely free, the first question that would come to mind is how are these companies that offer these free packages benefiting? Also, what if the free package or service suddenly discontinues because it is no longer financial viable for the providers to offer the free service? Should you decide to opt for free bookkeeping software, make sure you research the options carefully and ask yourself whether the software is likely to still be around, five or ten years down the line.

Are you not just using the trial version? -Are you sure that you are not dealing with a trial version that you will need to start paying for at some point? Imagine how much time and energy will be wasted in terms of learning how to use the software only to find out that you are unable to keep using it unless you pay a subscription or licence? You also need to make sure that the package you use is not a so-called ‘lite’ version, where some of the vital functionalities that you need to make your accounting run smoothly, is only unlocked after you make a certain payment.

Why paid accounting software is your best bet

The bottom line is that free accounting software is hardly ever a very good idea for your business. Paid accounting packages provide solutions for businesses of all sizes, from small companies that are just starting out to established medium and large businesses. These packages are generally simple to use and provide a lot of added functionality such as costing and purchasing functionality, item quantity tracking and so on.

Paid packages are very user friendly and intuitive and enable you to manage business expenses, credit cards and bank accounts with confidence and ease. These packages grow with your business and are usually also easily integratable with most other bookkeeping software packages. They are available for use by a single person, to up to 1.000 users, catering to a large spectrum of requirements, from simple transactions to more customisable functions and features. The packages are usually powered by one central database and can be integrated across multiple businesses and across various branches. Some of the paid accounting software packages also include full HR functionality.

Sage Pastel is South Africa’s leading developer of accounting, payroll, ERP and business software for the small, medium and large enterprise markets. Sage Pastel has many years of experience and is the preferred choice of South African businesses .