Once you get your small business set up with new accounting software, you may notice rather quickly that you are going to have to add some services, usually with a monthly subscription, to get it to be fully functional. Most programs can help you create checks or make payments, but may require additional services such as payroll to have the checks actually sent out or electronically deposited. In addition, to accept credit card payments you also have to sign up with a credit card service to get them processed. In addition, most accounting software providers do not provide direct support to their license holders for free.
Many accounting software providers offer additional services or work with third-party providers that offer compatible products. Some of these services include:
Payroll Services ($40-100/month)
Most payroll services are online products that can track employee hours, process direct deposits and help with employee taxes. Most of them cost between $40 and $100 per month and may charge more for tax tables and direct deposit.
Credit Card Processing (monthly fee plus percentage, no less than about $40/month)
This is a pretty big expense for most companies. Most credit card processing services charge about $10+ per month for the gateway fee, eight for the statement fee and a little over two percent per transaction. Most also usually require a monthly minimum, if you do not meet this minimum you have to pay the difference. This is why you will notice that many small retail stores will not accept credit card or debit purchases under a certain amount or they would actually lose money. In addition, they also charge a small transaction fee and a charge for address verification.
Direct Deposit (about $1/check)
How you set this up, depends on where your business is located. In some states you can deduct the fee from your employees check (usually around a dollar). In other states you are not allowed to make the employee incur any fees for receiving their wages. Another consideration is that not all states allow you to require direct deposit. So, do a little legal research before you implement direct deposit.
Tax Table Software/Updates (price varies)
Since tax laws are always changing and all states have different requirements most accounting programs require you to download a current tax table update. Prices vary, Bookkeeper charges about $45 for their downloadable version and Intuit offers an online service for taxes and payroll that is about $25 per month and $1.50/ employee.
Software Support Services ($250-350/yr)
Most accounting software providers do not provide free support. Since the software is complex to handle the complexities of accounting, many users need extensive support. Most will provide help files with the software and some information online, but to get phone, email or chat support you have to sign up with a support plan. Some charge a monthly fee, others charge an annual fee. Sage s Freedom support annual plan is $259/ year and Intuit s QuickBooks support plan is $349 for the first year. Some support plans include additional services such as data backup and recovery.
Data Backup ($60-$250/year)
Some software has tools for creating your own backup files on your own servers, though many also offer remote data backup services on their servers. Most providers charge per amount of memory, for example Sage offers 100MB for free, but that won t get you too far. For 20GB they charge about $250 per year.
Online Bill Pay (about $15/month)
This is a cost that might be able to be avoided. You may want to check if your bank will do it for free. The online bill pay services Intuit and Sage use cost $15.95 per month for 20 payments and $6.95 per month for every additional set of 10.
Remote Services (varies)
Some accounting software can be accessed via the Internet from other computers for a monthly fee. Intuit charges only $3.95 per month for access to QuickBooks only or $7.95 per month for access to your entire computer. There are many remote desktop services available, though most only offer file access and not entire PC access.
As you can see, additional add-ons and services can easily add up to hundreds per month and should be figured into your accounting budget. Top Ten Reviews has reviewed many of these additional services and is a good place for you to start doing your research before you subscribe.