If you've considered enrolling in an online accounting degree program, familiarizing yourself with software used in the business world can give you a jump start in the learning process. Companies invest in accounting technology to increase the efficiency of financial computations. Software programs also have built in processes to help ensure that reported financial results are accurate and reliable.
Microsoft OfficeIt's a good guess that any company hiring accountants will power its computers with Microsoft Office software. Microsoft Office is a suite of programs that can be used for business or school work, as well as home computing. This software includes Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program which creates financial and accounting reports; Microsoft Word, a word processing program used for typing and formatting documents and memos; and Microsoft PowerPoint, a program used to create slide type presentations. Businesses that need to maintain large amounts of data use Microsoft Access, a database program. If you are working towards an online accounting degree, you will most likely use Excel, Word and PowerPoint for classroom assignments, so becoming familiar with these programs gives you an advantage. Student and teacher versions of Microsoft Office are available if you wish to purchase the software in conjunction with your associate degree studies.
Recordkeeping for Small CompaniesIf you hope to run your own business in the future, or work for a small business, Intuit's Quicken products are a variety of software packages that assist with the preparation of accounting reports. Quicken, or QuickBooks, are user-friendly. The information stored in the program can easily be transferred to year-end tax preparation software, such as Turbo Tax. Quicken also has a home version available for personal recordkeeping to help you become familiar with the way the program categorizes information.
Larger Companies Prefer Customizable ProductsAlthough many accounting software packages are available, larger companies often implement their own systems customized to different subsidiaries and product offerings they produce. Most large companies use the financial accounting modules of an enterprise resource planning program, also known as an ERP. An ERP is a business management system that incorporates software to manage both the financial and non-financial aspects of a business. The most common ERPs are Hyperion, SAP and Oracle. Understanding the basics of any ERP system is a skill which can be easily translated from one company to another.
Research Skills in Demand in Your AreaFor further assistance in determining which software knowledge will benefit you as an accounting student and a future job seeker, study local job listings in your area. Most employers will specify the type of accounting software applicants should be familiar with to apply. Keep this software in mind as you work through an online accounting degree program, and ask your instructors for recommendations about which software packages they believe are also important to learn. As a future accountant, any financial software knowledge is an instant résumé builder when you begin your job search. Classes in accounting software are incorporated into many online accounting degree programs to help familiarize students with the most current technology before they begin their new careers. And if you find that you enjoy the technological aspect of the business, specializing in accounting technology is another option to consider.