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NetSuite logo
 
NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive range... Read More
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NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive range... Read More
 
Multiview logo
 
For organizations seeking a solution that conforms to their existing operations, Multiview offers a suite of financial solutions. With Multiview, companies gain visibility over corporate data. The solution includes 14 modules that... Read More
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For organizations seeking a solution that conforms to their existing operations, Multiview offers a suite of financial solutions. With Multiview, companies gain visibility over corporate data. The solution includes 14 modules that... Read More
 
Cougar Mountain DENALI logo
 
Cougar Mountain Software offers a business accounting software for manufacturing, nonprofits and public services organizations. Their flagship product Denali is a core accounting solution with applications for general ledger, accounts... Read More
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Cougar Mountain Software offers a business accounting software for manufacturing, nonprofits and public services organizations. Their flagship product Denali is a core accounting solution with applications for general ledger, accounts... Read More
 
Sage Live logo
 
Sage Live is a cloud-based and mobile ready accounting platform for small and mid-sized businesses. Key features include multi-company, multi-currency, and multi-legislation support, personalization based on user role, bank integration,... Read More
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Sage Live is a cloud-based and mobile ready accounting platform for small and mid-sized businesses. Key features include multi-company, multi-currency, and multi-legislation support, personalization based on user role, bank integration,... Read More
 
Deskera logo
 
Deskera is an enterprise resource planning software formulated to run manufacturing operations. The system is suitable for companies manufacturing for a variety of industries. Textiles, automotive, distribution, metal processing, pharmaceuticals,... Read More
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Deskera is an enterprise resource planning software formulated to run manufacturing operations. The system is suitable for companies manufacturing for a variety of industries. Textiles, automotive, distribution, metal processing, pharmaceuticals,... Read More

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SAP ERP Core Finance logo
 
Over 30,000 companies, spanning 120 different countries, are using SAP ERP Financials to conduct their financial management.  Noteworthy names include General Mills and Office Max. SAP ERP Financials is a part of SAP’s Business... Read More
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Over 30,000 companies, spanning 120 different countries, are using SAP ERP Financials to conduct their financial management.  Noteworthy names include General Mills and Office Max. SAP ERP Financials is a part of SAP’s Business... Read More
 
SAP Anywhere logo
 
SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
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SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
 
Sage 100 Standard and Advanced ERP (formerly Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) logo
 
Sage 100 ERP (formerly branded as Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system for small and midsize businesses. The solution is typically recommended to companies with annual revenue between one... Read More
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Sage 100 ERP (formerly branded as Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system for small and midsize businesses. The solution is typically recommended to companies with annual revenue between one... Read More
 
SAP Business One logo
 
SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite designed primarily to serve small to midsize businesses. SAP Business One is used to address the needs of many industry verticals including manufacturing,... Read More
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SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite designed primarily to serve small to midsize businesses. SAP Business One is used to address the needs of many industry verticals including manufacturing,... Read More
 
Microsoft Dynamics GP logo
 
Microsoft Dynamics GP is a financial accounting system designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize businesses. Microsoft Dynamics GP was originally developed by North Dakota-based Great Plains Software and was acquired by... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics GP is a financial accounting system designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize businesses. Microsoft Dynamics GP was originally developed by North Dakota-based Great Plains Software and was acquired by... Read More

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Exact Macola logo
 
Macola is the ERP and business software that manufacturers and wholesale distributors trust to automate, grow and streamline their business workflows. Macola meets the unique needs of growing SMBs ─ automating and managing core... Read More
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Macola is the ERP and business software that manufacturers and wholesale distributors trust to automate, grow and streamline their business workflows. Macola meets the unique needs of growing SMBs ─ automating and managing core... Read More
 
Microsoft Dynamics AX logo
 
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is an ERP system suitable for midsize to large enterprises. The solution has particular strengths in manufacturing and distribution but is also capable of serving buyers across multiple industry verticals.... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is an ERP system suitable for midsize to large enterprises. The solution has particular strengths in manufacturing and distribution but is also capable of serving buyers across multiple industry verticals.... Read More
 
Epicor Financial Management logo
 
Epicor has evolved from a financial accounting system provider to an end-to-end enterprise solutions company. Epicor Financial Management is is a scalable enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite of accounting applications... Read More
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Epicor has evolved from a financial accounting system provider to an end-to-end enterprise solutions company. Epicor Financial Management is is a scalable enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite of accounting applications... Read More
 
UNIT4 Financials logo
 
Unit4 Financials (formerly Coda Financials) is a suite of global accounting and broader financial management applications. These include general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, fixed assets, budgeting, project accounting and... Read More
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Unit4 Financials (formerly Coda Financials) is a suite of global accounting and broader financial management applications. These include general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, fixed assets, budgeting, project accounting and... Read More
 
Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) logo
 
Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system that serves small and medium-size businesses in professional services, financial services, public sector, and other markets such as distribution... Read More
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Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system that serves small and medium-size businesses in professional services, financial services, public sector, and other markets such as distribution... Read More

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Flexi Software logo
 
Flexi Software is a financial accounting and process-driven workflow software solution for the banking, insurance and financial services markets. The accounting solution is fully integrated, providing single-touch processing, comprehensive... Read More
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Flexi Software is a financial accounting and process-driven workflow software solution for the banking, insurance and financial services markets. The accounting solution is fully integrated, providing single-touch processing, comprehensive... Read More
 
Infor CloudSuite™ Financials & Supply Management logo
 
Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management is a solution suite that provides financial functionality coupled with a source-to-settle supply management offering. The solution is role-based, mobile responsive and delivered in the... Read More
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Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management is a solution suite that provides financial functionality coupled with a source-to-settle supply management offering. The solution is role-based, mobile responsive and delivered in the... Read More
 
Unanet Project Portfolio Financials logo
 
Unanet Project Portfolio Financials consists of one software application with integrated capabilities to manage, plan and track projects, people and financials in real time. Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering or an... Read More
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Unanet Project Portfolio Financials consists of one software application with integrated capabilities to manage, plan and track projects, people and financials in real time. Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering or an... Read More
 
Unit4 Business World logo
 
Unit4 Business World is a scalable ERP solution designed to address the unique demands service organizations face. It offers multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities, and is a fit for higher education, nonprofits and NGOs, professional... Read More
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Unit4 Business World is a scalable ERP solution designed to address the unique demands service organizations face. It offers multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities, and is a fit for higher education, nonprofits and NGOs, professional... Read More
 
Exact Globe Next logo
 
Exact Globe Next is an end-to-end business management solution. It offers accounting, inventory management, billing and invoicing, financial reporting, and more. This ERP system can be deployed either on-premise on a local server,... Read More
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Exact Globe Next is an end-to-end business management solution. It offers accounting, inventory management, billing and invoicing, financial reporting, and more. This ERP system can be deployed either on-premise on a local server,... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Lisa Hedges,
Content Analyst
Last Updated: September 13, 2017


Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is CPA Accounting Software?
Common Features of CPA Accounting Software
CPA Accounting Software Pricing
CPA Accounting Software Deployment
Other Considerations When Selecting a Platform
Evaluating Accounting Software for Certified Public Accountants

What Is CPA Accounting Software?

Since Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) manage the finances for dozens, or even hundreds of corporations and individuals, they need software that can keep up. CPA-specific accounting programs will be designed for payroll, expense and reporting for multiple companies, and will also include useful tools like auditing, tax preparation and time-based billing.

Screenshot of BillQuick user dashboard

Screenshot of BillQuick user dashboard

Accounting software for CPAs isn’t just regular accounting software. CPAs typically need greater functionality and more features in order to handle multiple clients or otherwise ensure regulatory compliance.

In this guide, we'll cover:

  • The functionality CPAs should be looking for when considering software solutions; and
  • Best practices for evaluating CPA-specific systems.

Common Features of CPA Accounting Software

Accounting software for banks, mortgage companies and financial services institutions will include the following industry-specific features:

Multi-company accounting Unlike other industries, professional accountants need to manage the accounting for multiple companies, so the software should allow you to categorize access all their data to keep it separated but easy to recall. Non-accountant-specific programs can sometimes become overloaded by all the records, so it’s critical that your software can handle large volumes of data.
Tax preparation The U.S. tax code is thousands of pages long, and it changes every year. Tax preparation is a major part of a CPA’s job, and CPA-specific systems will contain specialized data to support preparation for all your clients. These will include updated tax tables, automated calculations and electronic filing for individuals and corporations on a state, local and federal level.
Time & billing Time and billing refers to the ability to track the time spent on certain projects and then bill clients based on the number of hours spent. Accounting software for any service provider should include time and billing capabilities.
Regulations compliance The system needs to comply with federal, state and local regulations and statutes like FASB, GASB 34, IFRS and DCAA. Ensure the software you select complies with these regulations and updates it for any changes.
Financial reports Reporting is a critical component for freelance accountants. In addition to standard executive reports, charts and summary statements, the software should be able to build customized reports using an intuitive interface.

CPA Accounting Software Pricing

Accounting software used by CPAs is generally priced one of two ways: subscription and perpetual licensing.

Subscription. The software is priced as a monthly fee, typically based on the number of users. While no upfront fee is paid, an organization might have to pay annual fees for support and maintenance.

Perpetual license. With a perpetual license, an organization pays an upfront fee and then in turn owns the software in perpetuity. The upfront fee is also typically based on the number of users or the relative size of the organization based on its annual revenue. However, organizations will still generally have to pay annual fees for support, maintenance and updates. A general rule of thumb is that an organization can expect to pay 20 percent of the perpetual license fee annually on those other associated fees.

CPA Accounting Software Deployment

CPA Accounting software can be deployed one of several ways: cloud-based, on-premise and hybrid.

Cloud-based. Cloud-based software is hosted on the vendor’s servers and is accessed through a web browser. Cloud-based deployment has become increasingly popular in recent years. Typically, cloud-based software is most associated with subscription pricing.

On-premise. The organization installs and hosts the software on their own computers and servers. Typically, on-premise software is most associated with perpetual licensing.

Hybrid. There are several hybrid approaches out there, but the most common is when an organization licenses a cloud-based platform to have it run on the organization’s own internal servers. This is done so the organization can have the flexibility of using cloud-based software while also having more control over how its data is stored.

One consideration to keep in mind is indeed data security. While cloud-based platforms can be just as secure as on-premise platforms, some organizations will nevertheless prefer to store their own data internally. CPAs might have certain clients who would prefer that their data never leave the CPA’s office, so at any rate it is critical for CPAs to understand where their clients’ data is being stored and how secure it is.

Other Considerations When Selecting a Platform

The strength of vendors offering CPA accounting software can often be determined by how agile they are when it comes to ensuring that their platform is continuously updated to reflect new regulations and laws pertaining to tax compliance. When selecting a platform, be sure to vet vendors’ commitment to updating their platform.

Also consider a vendor’s long term viability. The major players in this space can generally be seen as safe bets, while there can be less certainty smaller vendors. Smaller vendors may more adequately serve a particular niche, and may have more competitive pricing, but there is less of a guarantee as to how long that vendor will be around. As such, it’s important to note that every vendor has its own unique advantages and disadvantages in this regard.

Evaluating Accounting Software for Certified Public Accountants

When evaluating CPA-specific systems, the most important criteria to consider are the nature of your business and the number of clients. Do you primarily deal with tax preparation for individuals, or general ledger and payroll for corporations? Do you have two or three clients or 100?

In particular, CPAs seeking software should ask the following questions:

  • How many individual records will you need access to at a given time? Is the software designed for that level of usage?
  • Do you primarily serve individuals or corporations?
  • Will you need support on regulatory compliance?
  • Do you need to keep track of billable hours?

Free Download:
Accounting Software Pricing Guide

Free Download:
Guide to Evaluating Accounting Software Demonstrations

 

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