There are many different bookkeeping packages available for computers these days but the problem with many of them is that once they are installed on a single PC, all the work has to be done on that machine. The development of online applications circumvents this issue and allows accountants and bookkeepers to work from anywhere where there is a computer that is connected to the internet.
Whatever type of accounting software you choose, it will still need to be robust and error-free in order to make keeping track of your company finances a simple task. For sole traders, a package that has been designed to be used by people with no specialist knowledge of accounting is preferable as the longer it takes to learn how to use a piece of software the less likely you are to use it.
A good bookkeeping application will provide the user with the ability to perform all the basic tasks that any company needs to address such as issuing invoices and credit notes, reconciling bank statements and producing reports. Online accounting applications that are capable of importing and exporting data to and from different systems are particularly useful as they do not present any compatibility problems for firms that need to send their accounts to an outside team of accountants.
The fact that your accounts are accessible online means that it is not necessary to arrange a special time for your accountants to visit as they can be given permission to use the software and hence look over your books whenever it is convenient for them. It also means that if your company is too small to justify employing a bookkeeper full-time then it will be much easier to find someone who is prepared to do the work on a part-time basis as they will be able to work from home.
The other difference between applications that are based online and those that are bought and installed on one or more machines is that the initial cost is usually much lower. Access is charged on a monthly basis so there is not normally any large licensing fee to pay upfront which makes it an attractive option for smaller concerns that wish to keep their outgoings to a minimum.