Released in 1986, Tally is one of the first software solutions that originated in India. When first released, it was a simple collection of accounting functions. Now, it is a cohesive product that allows large companies, small businesses, and conglomerates to plan resources accordingly.
The software hit its stride in the early 2000s and engulfed a huge portion of the market share after creating functionalities like barcode integration, email integration, and more. However, Tally is not without its own set of shortcomings – some of which are not easily ignored.
Many new resource planning and accounting software suites are now available in the market. With the advent of the internet, it is easy for software providers to sell their product as a downloadable package. Here is a brief introduction to Tally and its various alternatives.
- Who Should Use Tally?
- What are Some of the Problems with Tally?
- Top 5 Alternatives to Tally
- Which Accounting Software is the Best?
- Some Final Words
Any business owner – large or small, will need to use some sort of accounting software such as Tally. In today’s diversified and interconnected world, it is virtually impossible to keep track of company accounts using pen and paper.
The stakes are too large – especially when the various payment channels, vendors, taxes, etc. are taken into account. One of the main strengths of Tally is its simplicity and power. Despite being almost 40 years old, the software has managed to stay current on all kinds of policy changes. It can also work with technological upgrades like UPI payments.
Today, businesses all over India, South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East and Africa use Tally as their primary accounting software. Lately, the conglomerate has made its way into the world of resource planning.
To suit the high velocity requirements of modern businesses, Tally teamed up with Amazon Web Services in 2022 to make the Tally Prime software suite available to users over the internet.
Despite being the primary choice of Indian businesses and business-owners for over thirty years, Tally has its fair share of shortcomings. Here is a succinct summary of the reasons why Tally is not the number one choice of many Indian business owners
1. Inadequate Data Security
There is no backup or redundancy feature built into the Tally ERP system. If you lose the password or if your system gets corrupted, then you can use a lot of valuable data. The password protection system of Tally is also not sophisticated enough to endure the sustained efforts of modern cybercriminals.
2. Unintuitive and Not User-Friendly
Tally was originally designed to be a DOS program by a mathematics graduate with no experience in design. Despite the strides made since then, Tally still has a clunky and unoriginal interface. It cannot be used intuitively and the learning curve is steep – making it seem intimidating for today’s tech-savvy users.
3. Single Window Software
Tally is a single window software, which means that the application can only be used on a single computer. Even if a business has a license for Tally, they can only view and manipulate a ledger from one device. In today’s competitive and fast-moving business landscape, this is a very annoying problem.
4. Unrealistic for Multi-Branch Businesses
\Before the AWS update, Tally was not worth investing in for businesses with multiple branches. The ledgers of each branch would have to be synced by installing expensive infrastructure such as dedicated LAN servers and routers. This is a major shortcoming that has led to Tally being unpopular with large businesses.
5. No Customization Available
A major drawback of Tally is that it is rigid – it cannot be customized to meet the unique needs of your business. Once a journal or a ledger has been created, it is impossible to make any modifications. If you want to modify anything, then you have to delete the ledger and recreate it entirely from scratch.
6. Lack of Updates
The last major update that Tally received was in 2022, when it was integrated into the cloud through a partnership with AWS. Before that, Tally was updated when the GoI announced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017.
It is also very difficult for existing versions of Tally to update to the newer versions automatically. This feature has disillusioned customers in India from using the software.
7. Lack of Central Support
Last of all, one of the primary drawbacks of Tally is its lack of a centralized support system for users. If you run into any issues with the software you will have to troubleshoot and fix the problem yourself.
There are training manuals available – however, these are written by enthusiasts and academics. There is no official consensus on problem solving and support from the company’s side.
This has been a succinct brief of all the reasons why Tally is lagging behind other ERP and accounting software alternatives available widely in India. Let’s take a look at some of the best alternatives that your company can explore.
Top 5 Alternatives to Tally
One of the biggest advantages of ProfitBooks is the cloud-based interface. It is like Tally but it has significantly more functionality built into it. It can be used from the web browser and it is perfect for small and medium-sized businesses. There is also a dedicated support line that will be able to solve any issues that come during its usage.
Established in 2012, ProfitBooks will allow you to manage purchases, inventory, and customer relations. It is one of the most dedicated ERP and bookkeeping platforms that you can use today. You can also integrate bank services, taxation, and other features directly into the software system.
Zoho is another Indian company that provides services similar to Tally and ProfitBooks. It specializes in customer relationship management (CRM) and bookkeeping. Zoho Books is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-learn bookkeeping softwares that you can find.
It is easy to integrate a lot of functionalities into the platform directly, making it ideal for small businesses. They have a free pricing plan, which is an attractive option for firms that are just starting out. However, their paid versions have a complicated pricing plan – which can be rather difficult to navigate initially.
A popular bookkeeping software Indian businesses frequently use is Busy. Like Tally, it is a little primitive. However, it has a lot of integrations and functionalities that make it a better choice. Apart from all the basic accounting features like accounts payable, audit trail, billing, etc. you can also conduct inventory tracking at the POS.
However, the problem with Busy is its high cost. The inflexible pricing plans make it less attractive for small businesses who don’t have the liberty of enjoying economies of scale. However, the forecasting functionalities are powerful and can be used to generate very insightful reports.
4. Marg ERP
Marg ERP is a powerful alternative to Tally that can take on all the business administration needs of your small business. It is an all-in-one comprehensive solution that can handle a lot of different functionalities. In fact, it is recommended for large businesses with multiple branches since their multiple GST compliance feature is very well-designed.
It also provides an integrated system that will allow you to transfer data securely between various branches. However, it is not customizable which can make it difficult to adapt for specialized businesses that have extremely specific needs.
If cost reduction is your main focus, then ERPNext is a great alternative that you can explore. Since it is open-source and free, it is a cost-effective platform that is robust and customizable despite not being rich in features. There is also an API available which makes it easy to implement for businesses that are always on the move.
It is also supported on multiple devices – your bookkeepers will be able to track changes and make updates from their phones. As mentioned before, ERPNext is not rich in some of the basic features. Some of the taken-for-granted accounting features are not present in the latest updates of the software.
Which Accounting Software is the Best?
This is a very subjective question – and if you ask industry experts from all over, their answers will vary. However, objectively speaking, the best software is one that strikes a healthy balance between features, functionalities, pricing, and integrability. If you weigh the pros and cons of all the alternatives presented here, then ProfitBooks is the most obvious choice.
It is a robust system with tons of amazing features and integrations that are mandatory for businesses in the era of the internet. They also provide a free startup plan, which makes them attractive to businesses that are just starting out. Check out the features and pricing of ProfitBooks to see if it suits the specific needs you have in mind.
Some Final Words
This has been an in-depth look at accounting software like Tally and the reasons why many businesses are choosing to move past the product. Some reasons include a lack of support, infrequent updates, and an overall lack of flexibility.
We have also discussed five of the best alternatives to Tally that you can consider. Go through the features, functionalities, and pricing plans to make an educated decision about the business management software that’s best for you!
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