General ledger accounting software has been a godsend for me and my career. When I began working in public accounting manual systems were still being used. I still remember the day when I would accompany the CPA partner to a client to do the write up ( cash disbursements ) and reconcile the checking accounts. These records were then brought back to the accounting firm to be posted to a general ledger. The amount of time that was wasted tracking down mistakes is hard to calculate, believe you me it was very frustrating.
Fortunately I will saved by general ledger accounting software which accepted transactions that were automatically posted properly to the general ledger. In order to snag mistakes in bank reconciliation was done where math errors could not be made totaling figures. Had to shift not been made to utilizing general ledger accounting software and computers for spreadsheets and documents I am quite sure that I may have abandoned the field of public accounting simply due to frustration.
Looking on the bright side, understanding debits and credits by utilizing a manual system does assist in getting a clarity of where numbers go in financial records. Past that benefit there is little that can be gained by entering information into a manual accounting system.
General ledger accounting software has matured and grown in capabilities that initially we may have never imagined. It is quite easy to analyze numbers and quickly arrive at the source of entries. Financial records can be displayed and reported upon in the same entity under two basis of accounting, cash and accrual.
The other way that the software for general ledger accounting as matured is in the vertical industries that there are specific applications. Even with an off-the-shelf program you can automatically have a set of general ledger accounts for your specific industry, no longer does a florist have to have the same general ledger accounts as a plumber. In addition specific tendencies and ways of doing business of particular industries are addressed in the use of vertical applications.
The software has also adopted many of the benefits of working on the Internet. Invoices can be e-mailed directly to clients and payments can be received via credit card or PayPal. So the software is not only helping records be kept easily it is also facilitating superior cash flow.
When personal computers were still a novelty it was common to utilize spreadsheets to assist in write up of checking activity and perhaps even posting to a trial balance. What many of us found after words though was that this was lacking in an organized approach, so we suffered in terms of poor audit trail and organization. This is why we were happy to leave the spreadsheets behind when the general ledger accounting software proved to be better for the task.
It is not in the scope of this post to advise on a particular software program simply because for different needs there are better and worse solutions. It really pays to have a conversation about your particular business to find the right match in terms of general ledger accounting software. Please feel free to drop me an e-mail if you have a particular question about choosing the right program.