Companies and startups are turning to software-as-a-service solutions for their accounting needs more and more. Plenty of licensed software products exist in the market, but SaaS apps provide advantages that programs like Microsoft Excel can’t. First, SaaS accounting apps are often less expensive thanks to their subscription models and users’ ability to exclude features they don’t need. For smaller companies trying to scale, a low fee for a SaaS app subscription makes more sense than costly licensing for a big-name brand. Here is creating a lean and functional Saas Accounting App.
SaaS accounting apps also offer integration that licensed software often doesn’t. Overall management is made much easier when accounting is integrated with customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning platforms. Good SaaS apps are also compatible across different browsers and operating systems, so there’s no need for software to be installed on every device.
This integration is only possible with accessible data, perhaps the key benefit of the SaaS model. In a SaaS app, anyone who’s a privileged user can access data from any desktop or mobile device. Of course, this can lead to concerns about data security, but industry security standards can guide app developers in creating a trusted, secure end product.
SaaS Accounting App Features
The essential features of a SaaS accounting app will determine whether companies will consider buying it. Licensed software options can be bulky and inflexible, so SaaS accounting apps should only contain necessary features.
Here are 10 foundational features that every accounting app should have:
1. Accounting reports: A cornerstone of any accounting app should be the ability to see financial statements quickly and easily. Balance sheets and profit/loss reports will always be useful.
2. Taxes: For an accounting app, a tax calculator that can handle compound taxes and multiple sales tax rates is a necessity. Companies that operate internationally will also require the ability to figure sales tax in different countries.
3. Expenses: The app should make creating and submitting expense reports easy. Employees should be able to upload photos of receipts and track other expenses. Additionally, reimbursement should also be seamless.
4. Invoices: When clients have an easy way to see and pay their invoices, they’ll be more likely to pay. Accounting apps should allow clients to view open, overdue, and paid invoices (as well as receive reminders and set up recurring invoices).
5. Reporting and Analytics: A good app provides custom reports and data visualization that will help users see trends and distributions.
6. Banking: Linked bank accounts should be a primary feature on an accounting app. With banking information linked to other elements of the app, accounts will be kept up-to-date in real time.
7. Projects: Keeping track of projects is another useful function. Some features could include billed and unbilled hours, hourly rates, task lists, and progress reports.
8. Customization: Users want a customized experience, especially if they can’t afford an expensive software license. Provide the option for users to switch off certain functions and only be charged for the services they use.
9. Automation and machine learning: Accounting is often repetitive, and many tasks can be automated. Offloading functions like auditing and payroll onto capable AI will free up employees for other jobs.
10. Offers: This feature isn’t 100% necessary in an accounting app, but with all the data on hand, it’s easy to implement. Customers and clients want estimates for what they plan on buying, so include the ability to send offers and estimates.
Creating the Framework
Behind the scenes, a SaaS accounting app needs the right framework to support these features. The following are pieces of the architecture that will make your app tick:
• Stateless web servers: A defined, localized system simply won’t support the features required for an accounting app. An accessible, shared database allows several of the functions listed above.
• Application programming interface: Customization is key for SaaS apps. APIs allow users to make your app what they want or need it to be. They also keep costs low. Clients won’t need to contact the app developer to ask for changes — they can just make those changes themselves.
• Customer support: Of course, not every company will have the technical expertise to make changes, diagnose problems, and create solutions within an app. Some clients might need help, even on basic tasks. That’s why a 24/7 customer support team is necessary.
• No hard coding: Because integration and compatibility are such vital parts of a SaaS app, it can’t have hard-coded values (like IP addresses). A considerable number of connections will likely exist, and they must all be flexible without any hard coding that will break in a different situation.
• Single sign-on: Accounting apps present a paradox: They should be easy to access but also secure. A single sign-on allows users to enter the app, and secondary authentication ensures security.
• Blockchain: Any app that features blockchain technology will stand out from the rest. The security and compatibility offered by blockchain lend itself well to the functions of an accounting app.
When creating any new software, it’s critical first to consider your customers and their needs. The clients subscribing to a SaaS accounting app want something different from a tired spreadsheet. Build an app with the right features — underpinned with solid architecture — and it’ll be a success.