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Choosing to migrate from a paper-based check register to electronic check register software can help prevent identity theft and make it easier to identify mistakes with recorded checks. For all its advantages, however, it is a big move that requires much consideration. Things to weigh when choosing such software include price, check details, special features, and whether you need new software or can use an add-on with existing software.
The price of this software can vary, depending on the number of features it has and its power. Free software tends to have fewer features and would be better for home users or those who infrequently use checks. Paid software tends to be more robust. The best thing to do is to decide which features you need, find software that has those features, and then decide if the asking price is one you're willing to pay to get what you want or need.
Some check register software comes as an add-on for word processing or spreadsheet programs, while other programs come as a completely separate package. The former is usually cheaper but may come with fewer features. The latter is more expensive and requires that you check to see if your computer fits its minimum requirements and is running the correct operating system.
The amount of details that the software can record is important for accurate bookkeeping. Most comes with a field for basic details such as check number, date, and check amount. Other fields you may find — fields that will be useful for business accounts — will provide space for the name of the person who wrote the check and automatic fields that compare your budget against the checks written.
The main selling point of most check register software is the special features. Special budgeting features, such as being able to compare your checks to your budget, will help ensure that you never spend more than you have. Some software can also run reports to show your spending history so that you can track savings and expenses.
Another special feature allows you to enter custom fields, so any information can be entered into the software. The ability to have several users is another special feature that allows multiple people to access the records, which can help if more than one person needs to use the program. Exporting the reports in different file formats is another special feature that allows you to view reports and information in different programs.
Those who run small businesses should certainly purchase a package that features an electronic check register. Not only is it easy to keep up with checks with one, those are great for budgeting -- simply assign different checks to different budget categories and it's easy to see if someone is staying in budget with expenses or is straying outside of it.
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