Best Accounting Software for Small Manufacturing Businesses

March 15, 2021

It’s wise for a manufacturing accountant to follow shifting customer trends as a change in demand could drastically alter the cost landscape for the business. These include things like rent, asset depreciation, marketing, and office expenses – all of which may be necessary to operate a manufacturing business. Materials and production labour make up the bulk of a manufacturer’s direct costs. Manufacturing supplies, wages for non-production staff, and overheads like fuel or electricity can also all be considered direct costs.

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with experience in your industry can provide valuable financial insight and ensure you meet your tax obligations. As a result, your manufacturing company may get to choose between using cash or accrual accounting. While the cash method is often easier to implement, it’s not always the best way to organize your financial records. It would help if you had a manufacturing software solution that allows you to deal with the extra complexity of calculating inventory and the cost of your manufacturing goods. This software can be used to extract data and analyze trends, improve efficiency, and make the best business decisions.

  • Manufacturing accounting involves tracking the cost of goods sold, production costs, the efficiency of the manufacturing process, and the margin of profit.
  • The job order costing method calculates costs per manufacturing project or unit, making it useful for make-to-order manufacturers, construction manufacturers, and the like.
  • Usually, if receivables exceed payables, the cash method will allow more income to be deferred than will the accrual method.
  • This ultimately impacts profitability and also provides clarity on the various tax rates that apply to the stages of the production process in the manufacturing firm.

Any taxpayer is eligible to claim this credit if they are not a “foreign entity of concern” and have not made an “applicable transaction” during the taxable year. Our mission is to empower readers with the most factual and reliable financial information possible to help them make informed decisions for their individual needs. Our writing and editorial staff are a team of experts holding advanced financial designations and have written for most major financial media publications. Our work has been directly cited by organizations including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Investopedia, Forbes, CNBC, and many others. Our goal is to deliver the most understandable and comprehensive explanations of financial topics using simple writing complemented by helpful graphics and animation videos. We follow strict ethical journalism practices, which includes presenting unbiased information and citing reliable, attributed resources.

These details enable the production managers to attune production practices to ensure the business remains efficient in production and saves costs while maximizing returns from sales. A relevant exception is inventory valuation which generally needs to conform to local jurisdictions for taxing purposes. Manufacturing companies often use data from the manufacturing accounting process to compile compliant financial reports. Capable inventory management and MRP software systems also automatically compile manufacturing accounting data into readily usable reports. The accounting cycle is the same in a manufacturing company, merchandising company, and a service company. Journal entries are used to record transactions, adjusting journal entries are used to recognize costs and revenues in the appropriate period, financial statements are prepared, and closing entries are recorded.

Your manufacturing business is as creative and unique as you are, so it goes without saying your accounting software should be too. Manufacturers will often seek out a modularized all-in-one solution, where every facet of the business, such as inventory, tracking, production, and planning, are combined into one system. These highly extensible systems are known as enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms. Manufacturing businesses have to account for their raw materials and processing costs, but they also have to work out the value of the finished items they create.

Connect Xero to manufacturing apps

Learn about common tax and compliance challenges you'll face as a growing business, and discover actionable tips to overcome them. Lean manufacturing is all about minimising waste while maximising productivity. The following T‐accounts illustrate the impact of the closing entries on the special closing accounts and retained earnings. Learn more about Rootstock Financials by visiting the product page and watching a webinette about Rootstock financials.

Keep track of assets, stay on top of cash flow, and streamline your business with easy-to-use online accounting software. This will be an accumulation of the money you have spent on direct materials, direct labour costs, and manufacturing overheads on each work-in-process item in your inventory. Process costing for manufacturing is generally used by manufacturers who produce standardized goods using similar or the same processes. Each customer receives identical or similar products manufactured using identical or similar processes.

Great! The Financial Professional Will Get Back To You Soon.

These documents are important when the manufacturing business needs to showcase its credibility and financial performance to investors or funding partners when raising capital. This form of accounting is also useful when the company undergoes regulatory checks and inspections. Financial accounting allows businesses to assess overall monetary health and manage finances in the business, making it a crucial aspect of manufacturing bookkeeping processes. Both offer greater tax-planning flexibility, allowing some businesses to defer taxable income. Newly eligible businesses should determine whether one of these methods would be advantageous and, if so, consider switching methods.

Figure 1.9 presents an income statement for Fashion, Inc., a retail company that sells clothing. Also, the schedule of cost of goods sold is simply included in the income statement. Many companies prefer this approach because it means they do not have to prepare a separate schedule. An integral component of manufacturing accounting lies in efficient inventory management.

One big difference is that rather than simply selling stock or services,... Manufacturing accountants also keep an eye on other important areas of expenditure to ensure the budget is followed throughout the financial year. This depends on whether the labour requirements of a particular job change as you add more volume. Manufacturing costs can also be categorised as either variable costs or fixed costs.

Direct labour costs

Effective cost management lies at the core of the manufacturing sector’s financial stability and long-term profitability. By implementing sound strategies and prudent practices, you can optimize financial performance, enhance decision-making processes, and safeguard your business against potential risks. Standard costing is an accounting system where you establish standard rates for materials or labour used in production or inventory costing. The weighted average is generally the least common cost flow assumption for manufacturers. In fact, the IRS previously dismissed this method as inaccurate, only allowing businesses to use it for tax purposes in 2008. Because manufacturing businesses carry an inventory, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires them to use the accrual basis of accounting.

Cost of Goods Manufactured

With numerous accounting methods and costing strategies that manufacturing businesses can use, it is always important to ensure that cash flow is maintained to avoid hiccups during production. Manufacturing business owners can also consider financing options such as invoice factoring to maintain a streamlined flow of money in their operations regardless of the market outlook. The above methods will also help businesses choose what suits their operations the best, ensuring production performance is optimal and profits are commensurate with expectations. Employing job costing enables businesses to assign costs to each production run or batch of products, facilitating a comprehensive tracking of expenditures specific to each job. The resulting data can then be leveraged to make informed pricing decisions, optimize production processes, and allocate resources effectively.

Manufacturing accounting requires three inventory accounts

Manufacturing accounting software helps you track your financials in real time using cloud-based technology and multi-platform integrations. Accounting for manufacturing overhead costs requires more effort, and can be more challenging compared to other costing efforts because of the difficulty in assigning them to specific products or outcomes. The chart of accounts is a record of the valid accounts you assign to the business units within your company's reporting structure. When you set up your chart of accounts, you define the location of the accounts using automatic accounting instructions (AAIs) that indicate which number ranges represent assets, liabilities, and so on.

The overhead cost of a cost pool is then divided by the number of units in the activity to arrive at the activity rate – a fixed amount that is added to each unit’s cost. The job order costing method calculates costs per manufacturing project or unit, making it useful for make-to-order manufacturers, construction manufacturers, and the like. C This is actual manufacturing overhead for the period and includes indirect materials, indirect labor, factory rent, factory utilities, and other factory-related expenses for the month. In Chapter 2, we look at an alternative approach to recording manufacturing overhead called normal costing. Raw materials used in production shows the cost of direct and indirect materials placed into the production process. Cost of goods manufactured represents the cost of goods completed and transferred out of work-in-process (WIP) inventory into finished goods inventory.

Many small-manufacturing business owners think they can only get the functionality they need in their accounting software by using a desktop-based product. In retail and most service businesses, labor and overhead costs are considered operating expenses. In manufacturing, though, these costs are separated into direct costs and burden costs. NetSuite could be a little too robust for small and emerging manufacturing businesses, individual mandate definition creating complexities where simplicity would benefit the business owner more. NetSuite is also not as widely supported as QuickBooks products, meaning you could have difficulty finding an accountant or bookkeeper to support it. Now that we have gained a deeper understanding of the theoretical foundations of the manufacturing accounting process flow, let’s explore how it functions in real-world scenarios.

Our Values

Get started

Your first point of contact

Would you like to know more about what life’s like at MIT ? Chat with one of our staff to hear about the experience.
Additional information, brochures and forms can be mailed to you upon request.
Request information

Interested in becoming an MIT student?

We have a rolling admission process.
Check out the entry requirementsApply for admission 


We hold frequent informational events for parents and prospective students.
See our calendar of events
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram