All-in-one Accounting Software or Specialized Sales Tax Filing Software?

Finding the right software tools for your company is an important, time consuming, and sometimes stressful task. For many companies, going with the fewest possible tools is a goal. If that’s true for your company, you might be tempted to choose all-in-one accounting software that includes sales tax filing components. This could be a mistake. Sometimes specialized sales tax filing software is a better option than an all-in-one software system that doesn’t fit your company.

One problem you might face is being required to use certain transaction processors for credit and debit card payments. Some software companies require all users to upload their data to be processed at the same time. That can mean long wait times, lots of crashes, or exorbitant costs for processing transactions. While not all business software programs have requirements like this, it’s important to check before you choose. All-in-one accounting software can also have the “Jack of all trades and master of none” problem.

A good basic bookkeeping system, a mediocre payroll function, a fairly good POS system, a pretty good invoicing program, and an okay sales tax filing software option don’t add up to a great piece of software just because they all come in the same box. Another possible issue with all-in-one software is that a program that does more separate tasks will necessarily be more complex than one that does one thing well. More complex software typically means a steeper learning curve, more bugs, and more potential points of failure.

Using a few different programs, each of which does its job very well, can save time. The primary advantage of all-in-one accounting software may be that you use a single dashboard for all your tasks and won’t have to duplicate information in more than one program. For programs you use every day, such as point of sale or inventory management software, this could be an issue. For sales tax filing software — probably not. Sales tax software is rarely the item an all-in-one accounting software solution focuses on most. If you’re using or considering an all-in-one solution, try out the sales tax components before you decide. It’s often worth the investment in specialized sales tax filing software.

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