How to build accounting software

One of my clients was looking to add features and functionality to their accounting software for their small business clients, but didn’t have time to develop them. They wanted the new features, but did not want to spend the time or money building them. So I developed a set of plugins for them which grab data from free web services like Google Docs and spreadsheets that generates a lot of value for the clients.

Accounting software is a system that helps you keep track of your business’s financial information. It can be used for a variety of industries and businesses, whether you are a small business or a large corporation.

There are several steps involved in building accounting software:

  1. Identify the features that your software will need to have to meet your needs.
  2. Decide what type of interface you want for your users and how it should look and feel.
  3. Create an outline of all the pieces that need to be included in the software and their purpose, including any reports or other outputs that will be created by users when they use it.
  4. Develop an architecture plan that lists all the different parts of the system and where they will go on disk so they can be easily found when needed later on down the line during development time.

Accounting software can be built using one of two approaches.

The first approach is to build a custom accounting software application from scratch. This is the most expensive option, but also the most flexible and powerful one.

The second approach is to use an existing accounting software platform as a base and then customize it with additional features and functionality. This can be done by either building upon the framework provided by the original platform or by integrating the features into a new application that runs on top of an existing platform.

What Is Accounting Software?

Accounting software is a program designed for bookkeeping and fiscal accounting. Such a program usually allows you to issue and print invoices, control payments, count taxes, make reports, control account balances, etc. It takes care of encryption during data storage and exchange and provides strong protection against hacker attacks. Advanced accounting tools may offer online consultation with a financial expert. So, if you need urgent advice on some issue, you can quickly contact a person with appropriate expertise.

An accounting app is an essential part of business automation. It aims to optimize business processes, minimize errors, and reduce costs. Today, the bookkeeping module often comes as a part of the ERP system. However, we believe it makes more value when designed as a standalone solution. This post will consider the creation of pure accounting software. We will see what features it should include and how to make it secure.

Types Of Accounting Software

Company needs vary greatly depending on the business size and field of activity. If you are a small firm of 2-3 people, you do not need a catch-all program with all sorts of bells and whistles. At the same time, a minimalistic solution with a basic feature set is not suitable for a large corporation. Next, we will look at the main types of accounting programs to choose the way to move further.


It is essentially a table into which you can enter digital and text data. Spreadsheets allow you to carry out the simplest operations: add, subtract, multiply, divide, and manually set formulas to calculate specific indicators. Spreadsheets cannot be called full-fledged accounting programs. Instead, they are means to do individual assignments and non-permanent tasks. Perhaps you can use the spreadsheet in the early stages of the activity, but you will need a more advanced tool later.

Examples: Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheets.

Commercial accounting software

Such programs are designed for small and mid-sized companies. Typically, they contain all the needed tools to calculate, audit, and report things. With out-of-the-box solutions, users may face a situation that available functionality doesn’t fully meet their business needs. Often report templates are inappropriate, and some features are missing or redundant. All this makes businesses opt for custom development rather than redo third-party services.

Example: Sage Accounting

Enterprise accounting software

It is usually a separate module of a comprehensive ERP system. It easily integrates with other corporate tools providing a seamless experience for finance management and overall company control. The custom programs offer more opportunities in this matter. They easily fit into a current enterprise ecosystem and are prepared for specific third-party connections.

Example: Xero

Types of accounting software

Types of accounting software

Deployment Types

If you decide to develop a custom accounting program, you should choose where it will be deployed. Today there are three options: local server, web program, and cloud infrastructure. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

On-prem program. Such a program runs on a local server owned by the company. On-prem software is available only on the computer where it is installed, so employees can work with it only from the office and only at certain hours. This solution is somewhat out-of-date in our time when the remote form of work is gaining more and more relevance. Therefore, we suggest that you pay more attention to the following two options.

Web-based software. It assumes buying hosting, on which you deploy your app yourself. The web-based tool is more flexible because it allows users to log in on any device whenever needed. However, it may not be practical if you do not need to make changes or add features constantly. You will need to pay a monthly fee to use the servers, which is quite expensive.

Cloud solution. Account software placed in the cloud is easy to deploy, scale, and support. It differs from a web-based app in that you rent not just a server space but a complete IT infrastructure. Leading cloud providers usually offer a variety of tools for devs, testers, and data science experts. This approach is called software as a service or SaaS and is the best way to start developing quickly and at the lowest cost.

Custom Accounting Software Features

Owners choose custom software because it allows them to fill the program with any features and fully adapt them to business needs. To get a unique product, you need to discuss all the details with the dev team during the discovery phase. However, there is a basic set which any accounting program needs. Let’s review it below.

Taxes. Built-in formulas help accountants quickly determine the amount to be sent to the government. Calculation patterns minimize the error chance and speed up the work of financial specialists.

Salaries. Account software can calculate the amount to be paid to each employee for a certain period. For that, you should enter the rate per hour, day, or month and indicate the type of taxation. The program will show the total sum minus taxes and taking into account bonuses and surcharges.

Invoices. Accountants can store, send, and receive invoices directly from the app. You can also save customers’ addresses and names and select the needed ones from the drop-down list when making an invoice. Placing the company logo on docs will grow your brand confidence.

Reports. In a custom program, you can generate reports for both external authorities and internal needs. You can create as many templates and fields as you want and produce reports that are of value to your organization.

Analytics. Deep analytics in absolute and comparative units will help you track financial situations and make timely decisions. Built-in visuals highlight strengths and weaknesses and add value to your reports.

Banking. Linking bank accounts is a must for an accounting program. It helps track the money movement, download statements, and use them to explain transactions to partners and customers.

Payments. You might want to enrich your accounting system with in-built payments. They will enable you to make mandatory payments right from the app while maintaining payment history and receipts.

Accounting software features

Accounting software features

How To Make Secure Accounting Software

High security of the finance software is a must. It spills over into the data storage and transmission levels and ensures secure access to the system. Like other dev methods, security measures are selected, adhering to the project nature. 

If, for example, you make an on-prem app, you need to take care of the physical server security, not to mention the protection of the software. In a web app, you are responsible for the secure dev infrastructure. And with the SaaS platform, you mainly rely on the provider’s tools. In any case, you need to pay attention to the following points to build a secure accounting program:

  • Strong network firewall. It protects your tool from malware and hacker attacks.
  • Robust app logic. It takes into account all the nuances of financial calculations and reduces security gaps.
  • High-level encryption. It protects data at all levels of information exchange.
  • Multiple access rights. It prevents software from unauthorized access of not allowed users.

Build Accounting Program With Softensy

Today, no business can do without an accounting program. Both small and large companies need an effective tool to manage finances, make reports, and forecast things. Custom software considers all the enterprise needs and implements required features only. If you want to develop an accounting app, start with drawing up a dev plan. For greater efficiency, contact experienced devs. They will provide you with a rough estimate and approximate deadlines. If they work well for you, you can proceed with further cooperation.


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