Why your accounting software needs to be the right fit

“Too often I hear “I’ll have what she’s having”

Sadly, that might work when ordering dessert or choosing a cocktail…but the same should not be said when choosing your accounting software.

So many people, especially those new in business, do a shout out to friends when it comes time to choosing their accounting software.  They may be trusted friends, but do they understand all the behind the scenes facets of your business that your accounting software will need to cope with?

New business owners ask people in vastly different industries (or those who don’t even run a business) what they have heard about, they ask people with different knowledge and skill levels for advice, and they just throw it out to the wolves and take the majority rules verdict as the best software to suit their own business. And there you go – decision is made.

What…why would you do that? Have you even looked at what the software is capable of before signing up? Have you looked at it to see if you can even enter a transaction without cursing and kicking your laptop. And have you got buy in from the people in your business who will be using the software?

“Software, of any kind, no matter how good peer perception is, is useless if you can’t understand it or if you don’t use it properly”

So do you want some tips on how to narrow down the ever seemingly growing list of accounting software choices?

  • What do you need the software to do? Sounds obvious right…but for example in this day and age, people often make their sales via their online store, so raising invoices may not be required. Similarly, for a service business, sales might be raised via an online time management system so again, invoicing may not be a huge priority. Assess what you need before looking at options.
  • Do you employee staff? Then you simply must have software with an inbuilt payroll function. Calculating payroll, superannuation and tax manually is not only difficult and time consuming – but it is just a waste of resources if the software can do it for you.
  • Think about where your business will be in five years time. So inventory, staff, multiple locations to keep track of, etc and ensure the system you choose now can handle these possible features (or has scope to expand the subscription to include these features). You don’t want to be changing software each time you business grows to that next level.
  • Who needs access to your software? Do you have sales staff that need to raise invoices, do you have a bookkeeper that needs access, do you have a payroll admin person to help out? Look at software choices that will not only let you have the number of users you need, but also limits the access to only those sections in your data file that they ultimately need.
  • Do you need help and training setting it up or on an ongoing basis? Then you need to make sure you are not using some obscure system that nobody has ever heard of as finding quality help is going to be difficult.  There is a reason that the prominent software players have certified advisor programs – so that bookkeepers and accountants know the software inside out and can help you quickly and easily if any problems arise.
  • Support system. There will be times when you need a question answered so look at what the support options are if you wish to do the bookkeeping work yourself. If the support offered is based overseas, getting accurate and timely responses can be at times difficult and a huge frustration. However there are players that have Aussie based support centres (and yes they are real humans) that can help via telephone.
  • Based on your skills – what programs do you understand? If you are choosing to do the majority of the work yourself then this really should be given a huge priority. Take a trial of a program and if you can’t enter a sale and a purchase within 5 clicks…..think about how long it will take you to enter this data each and every single week. Time is precious (and so is your sanity).

Once you have got your golden Wishlist…..and taken a few for a test drive..and worked out who your trusted advisor will be should their be any SOS calls for help, go forth and conquer knowing that this software is right for your business.

“What accounting software others are using is not, and should not, be the deciding factor”

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