Sage Simply Accounting v. Office Small Business Accounting

Introduction

Computer systems have had tremendous influences in the modern world. These technologies have been utilized in many areas including the field of accounting where many computerized financial accounting systems have been developed over the last decade. Accounting software programs automate the bookkeeping process, therefore, assisting businesses in their accounting tasks. There are many accounting programs currently in the market. Being able to select the most appropriate software is important for a business. This report will provide critical analysis of Sage Simple Accounting and Office Small Business Accounting and offer recommendations as to which software is better.

Overview

Sage Simply Accounting

Sage Simple Accounting (Simple Accounting) is a Canadian-made accounting software program specially created for small businesses. The program is built to provide for almost all the accounting needs of small businesses. CPA Firms (2009) assert that since the Sage Simple Accounting Company has been operational for over 2 decades, their products have matured and can meet an expansive range of client needs.

Simple Accounting assists the user in the learning process by providing screen tips that offer instructions on what a user can do. The program also has a drag and drop functionality making it intuitive for the user. Simple Accounting provides for greater levels of customization. The program offers users definable fields making it possible for the user to customize the records to suit their needs. Simple Accounting offers several highly customizable reports making it easy for the user to make suitable reports for their business. The flexibility and customizability offered by Simple Accounting give it an advantage over most other accounting programs.

Office Small Business Accounting

Office Small Business Accounting (Office SBA) is an accounting program developed by Microsoft. Although this software has had a relatively short time in the market (less than 10 years) it has all the basic accounting features that help a business to manage its sales, inventory and create invoices for its suppliers. The program also enables the user to perform banking and administer the payroll. Office SBA also contains tools for carrying out detailed business analyses such as cash flow forecasts (CNET 2006).

One of the greatest strengths of SBA is that it is easily integrated with other Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel, and Outlook. Kawamoto (2005) asserts that office SBA can integrate data with other Microsoft office programs in a way that no other commercially available accounting software can. In terms of usability, the screen interface of Microsoft SBA is structured after that of the Microsoft Office suite making it easy for users familiar with Office products to recognize tools and menus. Because Microsoft’s Office products are the most commonly used all over the world, it will be easy for a person to familiarize himself with Microsoft SBA due to exposure to other Office products.

Comparison between Simply Accounting and Office SBA

Both Simple Accounting and SBA provide a full-time audit trail ensuring accounting integrity since all transactions are kept in memory and the user is not allowed to erase them. The audit trail function provided by Simple Accounting provides a paper trail of all the transactions engaged in through the program. This helps to ensure that the business complies with GAAP (CNET, 2006). As more people use the internet, e-commerce has become an important aspect of conducting business.

Both software applications provide features that support e-commerce. The two account programs allow their users to engage in online banking. Office SBA allows users to engage in PayPal invoicing therefore increasing their flexibility in an online environment.

Simple Accounting provides a wide array of starter templates that the new user can select when creating a company profile. With more than 100 business types provided through Simple Accounting, the likelihood of a person finding a specific template that suits his/her business needs is increased (TopTen Reviews, 2011). One reviewer contends that Simple accounting has all the reports and features that a small business can ever need. On the other hand, Office SBA offers a limited number of business templates for the user to choose from. The probability of a business finding the most suitable structure for its business is therefore significantly lower when using Office SBA.

Users of accounting software packages might require professional assistance as they use the program. Both Simple Accounting and Office SBA offers comprehensive help documentation through the help menus. In addition to this, users have access to online help making it easy for the users to be assisted on various topics. However, the technical support provided by Microsoft comes at a steep charge making it undesirable for many small businesses. In the contrast, Simple Accounting offers online support through timely email at no cost (TopTen Reviews, 2011).

The speed of transaction processing is an important aspect of any software program. Simple Accounting makes use of the powerful MySQL database making it fast and efficient. In addition to this, the database design makes it possible for data expansion to take place without causing a major slowing in transaction processing speed. In addition to this, Simple Accounting offers a more robust and detailed inventory system compared to Office SBA.

While the program offers an inventory function, the sub-categories are not as thorough or detailed as those of other mature accounting programs. Simple Accounting has many features to help in inventory management: for example, the user can create a location in the inventory field and group items into categories in easy steps (TopTen Reviews, 2011). The payroll system provided by Office SBA is weak and provides for fundamental payroll functions. The employee records function is not detailed, and the depth of job costing is rudimental.

The tight integration with other Microsoft Office products presents a major hindrance for Office SBA. CNET (2006) asserts that this tight integration makes Office SBA undesirable for people who do not use Microsoft Office products. Non-Microsoft Office product users will be forced to purchase Microsoft Office word processors and spreadsheets to benefit optimally from Office SBA. Simple Accounting is not tied to any proprietary program and the user can benefit from the many features offered by the program without being forced to use any specific spreadsheet or word-processing program.

Recommendation

Deciding on the best accounting software for a business is a challenging task but with a review of the various programs available, one can choose the best application to suit his/her business needs. From the discussions provided in this paper, Simple Accounting provides the greatest number of benefits to its users. Simple Accounting is more user-friendly and provides a greater array of functions for the user. Because different businesses have different needs, Simple Accounting’s ease of customization enables the company to efficiently adapt the program to suit their specific needs.

The greatest advantage of Office SBA is that it allowed users to reuse data already available in their other Microsoft Office programs. However, this strong relationship between Office SBA and the Office Suite of products acts as a demerit for businesses that are not already using Microsoft Office. Simple Accounting would therefore be the preferred choice for a business that wants to derive optimal benefits from the effectiveness and efficiency provided by computerized accounting.

References

CNET (2006). Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006: Review. Web.

CPA Firms (2009). Sage 50 Canada (Simply Accounting) Review. Web.

Kawamoto (2005). Microsoft Plays Numbers Game. Web.

TopTen Reviews (2011). Simply Accounting Pro 2011 Review. Web.