In order to operate efficiently and make the largest profit, every business needs to invest in the best business software for their industry. Even though there are industry specific software programs, every business needs certain software to communicate, store data, protect data and function within the World Wide Web. Check your software library to make sure that you have software to cover each of these areas.
Backup and Recovery Software – Misplacing an important document will ruin your day; however, losing all of your computer files will devastate your business. In order to protect your files, you should invest in a business software program for backup and recovery of data. NovaBackup 11 Professional ($50) provides the best features, is easy to use and is inexpensive. Nova Backup provides both local and offsite storage for extra protection, allows for individual file and whole system backup and provides virus protection for all backups (updates for the virus feature are free). The software is extremely user-friendly which means backing up your data is quick, easy and efficient.
Accounting Software – When I started with my previous law firm, their idea of accounting was checking off items on the bank statement and tossing it the file cabinet. Checks and deposits were handwritten, accounts payable were “file folders” and a white board on the wall was the accounts receivable list. My first purchase was Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro ($160) because it is one of the best software programs for businesses. I taught QuickBooks to myself because it is that easy to learn. QuickBooks handles all businesses finances under one program and provides forms and reports to track cash flow as well as assets. Managing employees, vendors and customers is easy. Online banking options are a definite plus with this software.
Office Suite – My previous office was stuck on WordPerfect and the attorney refused to let go of that software. WordPerfect is an excellent software; however, Microsoft Office ($150 – $500) has moved far ahead and is close to be the industry standard for most businesses. Word, Excel and Outlook are indispensible in most businesses to keep track of data, perform word processing and stay connected through email. PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher are other components of Office Suite that can push your business forward.
Virus Protection – In order to protect data, files and records, a business must have an excellent antivirus software. In the past I have used Norton, McAfee and Trend Micro; however, after using Kaspersky Anti-virus ($40) I will never use another virus protection software again. Kaspersky was so easy to install, set up and maintain that it almost seems more like installing a game than dealing with virus protection software. For our small business we use Kaspersky Business Space Security because they features provide superior protection of all our data.
Offsite Access – When I was working from home after surgery, I discovered GoToMyPC and immediately suggested that the firm purchase this valuable software tool. More employers are using virtual employees or telecommuters who work from home in order to cut overhead costs (space, furniture, etc.); however, access to the office can be an issue. GoToMyPC offers a solution for business by providing access to files, programs, emails, network systems from anywhere. Secure remote access gives your employees the ability to work from anywhere as if they were sitting at their desk in front of their computer in your office. In addition, GoToMeeting provides an excellent way to conduct your meetings with staff in many locations.
Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro – Adobe Reader is free but you will pay for the full version of Acrobat ($450) but it is worth it. Acrobat is a good business tool because it allows you to create and protect PDF documents that are customized to your business. You can convert Word and Excel documents to PDF forms with fillable fields and export data from PDF forms to Excel spreadsheets for quick analysis. Because of the new laws regarding the protection of certain information, Acrobat provides tools to redact information.
If you are unsure about what software you need, consult an IT person specialized in your industry.