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Setting Up Your Home Office - A Checklist Of Software You Need Have

Apr 24, 2008
Starting a business is a labor of love. Great quantities of time and money are invested and endless forms are filed. Sometimes the sheer number of tasks involved can be paralyzing, as the new business owner becomes overloaded and is unsure where to begin.

Setting up the home office is an excellent place to start, as the software can then be used to create checklists of the other tasks on your list. Once your hardware is in place, you can begin to think about software.

The software you need will depend on the type of business you plan to run. Many businesses require certain industry-standard programs. Those programs are often quite expensive and are available only through limited suppliers, so be sure to purchase and install them first.

Probably the most ubiquitous programs for any business are a word processing program and an email account. You most likely already have both. Now is the time to determine whether the ones you have will meet the needs of your business. The current standard file extension for documents is .doc. This is the standard format for Microsoft Word; however numerous other programs are capable of saving documents in this format. If you have a program other than Word, ensure that it has .doc capability. Otherwise you run the risk of your clients being unable to open files that you send.

You must decide for yourself how you wish to set up your business email account. A professional image is important, so using your personal email address may not be the best choice. Microsoft Outlook is included on most personal computers, and is used by many companies. However, it is not particularly user-friendly, and it is known for its security vulnerabilities, so it is not necessarily your best option. If you will have a website, you can opt for hosting package that includes from one to five email addresses. Your email will then be sent from yourname@yourcompany.com, adding an additional look of professionalism to your email.

Many word processing programs come in a bundle with other applications. Usually a spreadsheet and database program are included, and sometimes multimedia and graphics applications as well. These programs work well for the average user. However, if your company is in the business of graphic design, web layout, or multimedia, then you will need to invest in a dedicated program. Your work must be of the highest quality, and those programs that come bundled, while good, do not offer the key functions required by a graphic artist.

You will need accounting software to keep your company's financial records. Whether you choose a personal finance tool, a freeware accounting program, or a dedicated business accounting package will depend largely on your individual needs. If you have a lot of inventory or new office equipment, and plan to maximize deductions while figuring your own taxes, the investment in top-quality tax software is advised. If your needs are less, then your software requirements will be as well.

Software is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of starting a business. However, taking the time to acquire the proper software for your needs is important. Utilizing the right tools for each job will save time and money in the long run, as well as ensuring that your company always projects the most professional image possible.
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