What are the Different Types of Financial Software?

Brendan McGuigan

One of the early uses of computers, especially personal computers, was to keep track of finances for businesses. In the intervening years, financial software has improved drastically, as computing power has increased, and there is now financial software for almost any imaginable purpose. Not only large corporations can use financial software to improve the flow of their finances, both small businesses and individuals can also get a great deal of benefit out of many packages currently available on the market.

Payroll software may enable users to print checks to pay employees.
Payroll software may enable users to print checks to pay employees.

For individuals, perhaps one of the most beneficial types of financial software to really come into its own in the past few years is tax software. These special programs walk individuals through handling their own taxes, saving them money and time on having to go into an accountant. While of course accountants can still be useful in many circumstances, for a great number of people tax software is just as useful. Modern suites offer suggestions as to deductions and ways to think about finances, and use easy-to-understand language to make sure the filer doesn’t make any big mistakes. In fact, using these programs one can even file and pay electronically, making the entire process of filling out, submitting, and paying your taxes something that can be done in just a few short hours.

Some POS systems use barcode scanners and financial software to track receipts and tally inventory.
Some POS systems use barcode scanners and financial software to track receipts and tally inventory.

Tracking finances is another area where financial software can help a great deal. Many very affordable software programs exist that can help people manage everything from credit card debt, to savings and checking accounts, to mortgages and car payments. By manually entering data, this type of financial software allows people to keep an easy eye on their finances, generate reports with a single click, and delve as deeply as they want to into where there money comes from and goes. Many of these programs can even reconcile automatically, by simply inputting login information for bank accounts or credit card accounts, making the entire process of tracking finances as seamless as possible.

Of course, businesses still find many uses for financial software. Programs designed to help small businesses manage their finances abound, and many are extremely affordable, or offer free pared-down versions. Some of these software suites are specifically catered to a type of business, helping them to give exactly the tools that business type needs to thrive, and allowing them to offer useful suggestions on what to do to improve finances.

For example, many restaurants use a point-of-sale system which is built into a computer. In addition to handling the actual ordering of food or drinks, these systems also include robust financial software that can help track revenue and expenses. By allowing reports to be generated simply and quickly, this type of financial software lets the business owner or manager have a much better understanding of where money is going, allowing them to make stronger, more informed decisions.

For larger businesses or corporations, out-of-the-box financial software may not offer all of the services needed. For this reason, a number of companies exist that can provide custom solutions. These may take the form of modules that lock in to existing financial software, or in completely custom-built software packages designed exclusively for a single company.

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