Signing up for new software is great. You’re excited to get going and streamline whatever task it is you purchased the software to handle. But then … oh no ... you remember you have to set things up first.
It’s easy to panic and, in turn, procrastinate the software setup process, especially if it’s accounting software.
But when it comes to getting your clients set up with their accounting software accounts, you can’t afford to procrastinate. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to show you what types of reports and information you may need for a pain-free accounting software setup.
Before you set up your accounting software...
If you haven’t picked out an accounting software system, that’s your first step. When shopping for new software, consider key factors such as:
- Software capabilities
- Learning curve
Before locking into a new software package, keep an eye out for free trials. A free trial can give you a feel for how it’ll be to use the software day in and day out. Not to mention, you can look out for any red flags. You may also want to opt for a system with month-to-month pricing to avoid long-term contracts.
Once you’ve decided on your dream accounting software, you can start gathering and entering information into the system.
Gather this information when setting up accounting software
When you’re first getting your new software account up and running, you need to pull some information.
If you’re setting up the account for your accounting firm, pull your information. If you’re setting up accounting for a client, pull their information.
Accounting software providers may differ on what information they need from you so you can start using the system. But, most providers need some basic business and financial information, such as:
- Company information
- Bank account
- Beginning balances
- Customer information
- Vendor information
- Outstanding invoices
1. Company information
As you might have guessed, accounting software users must first add some company information before moving on to the actual accounting side of things.
You may need to enter your or your client’s:
- Tax filing name
- Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
- Phone number
- Email address
Again, the required information may differ by system. But the more you can provide, the more thorough your records will be.
2. Bank account
If you want to take advantage of automatic bank imports, you must provide your bank account information. Automatic bank imports streamline the process of making sure your bank transactions show up in your accounting software account.
Depending on the system, you might be able to simply:
- Search for your bank’s name
- Enter your bank login credentials
- Enter any additional authorization information (e.g., authentication code)
Or, you may need to enter your:
- Bank name
- Accounting number
- Routing number
3. Beginning balances
When setting up your software, you should determine your beginning balance date. When do you want to begin tracking transactions in your new accounting system?
After selecting the date, it’s time to add your balances. This includes all the appropriate debits and credits on your or your client’s most recent trial balance. Your debits and credits should be equal.
4. Customer information
When it comes to setting up a new accounting software account, you don’t need to start from scratch. Gather and enter customer information into your new system. You might be able to automatically import this information using a spreadsheet.
So, what kind of customer information do you need? You may want to pull each customer’s:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Email addresses
5. Vendor information
Like customer information, you might also want to enter any vendor information for you or your client. This includes vendor names, business names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
6. Outstanding invoices
If you or your clients have any outstanding customer invoices, enter them into the accounting software. These are the unpaid invoices on or before the beginning balances date. These totals should match any Accounts Receivable you or your client have.
Enter outstanding invoice details such as the:
- Due date
If you or your client has outstanding vendor bills, enter the details in the accounting software. Like outstanding invoice details, you should include the:
- Due date
Keep in mind that the overdue bill totals should match any Accounts Payable you or your client have.
Setting up accounting for a new business? Here's what to do
Now, what do you do if your accounting firm or your client's business doesn't have any information to enter?
If you just started your accounting firm or have a client who started a brand-new business, you don't need to worry about gathering most of the above information ... because you won't have any.
Instead, you can mark that it is a new business in the software. Enter ‘0’ for beginning balance information. Skip over customer and vendor information if you don’t have any to enter.
Enter company information and, if applicable, bank account information … and voilà! You’re ready to start using your new accounting software system (and streamlining this key business task).