No two businesses are the same. And so it shouldn’t be surprising no two accounting software selection processes are the same, either.
It’s challenging enough to decide on a new accounting software vendor. Determining what features and services your company needs only adds an additional layer of uncertainty. Ultimately, the final decision your company makes should come down to pain points experienced across the organization.
As your company embarks on the accounting software selection process, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Who will be using the accounting software and where will they be using it?
User licenses are one of the main cost drivers in any software subscription agreement. Being judicious about who in your organization gets a license, however, can be a tall task.
Unfortunately, who gets access is only the first question you’ll need to answer as you review the options in front of you. You’ll also need to consider whether access to the software should be restricted to the office through the use of traditional servers or seemingly anywhere with cloud storage and computing.
Start by thinking about the employees in your organization who absolutely need administrative access to the software and therefore require licenses. Undoubtedly, the head of your accounting department should have this level of access. Upper level managers likely should, as well.
In some cases, administrators have the ability to grant employees limited access to the software without the use of a license. This is an easy way to keep license costs down in your software subscription agreement while also promoting organization-wide data security.
Once you’ve decided on who should receive licenses, you can then begin to contemplate the degree of software mobility your organization needs. We’ve frequently touted the benefits of cloud computing and firmly believe its the direction the business world is headed in. Still, the decision should reflect realities within your organization.
If your company believes flexible work arrangements are the way of the future, you should definitely move forward with cloud computing. But if you’re instead focused on building company culture within the office and separating work from personal life, hosting your software on a server could potentially save your firm money. It all really depends on your company’s software vendor.
2. What features will our company need?
As a company grows, it quickly becomes more complex. Sometimes, this leads to a company outgrowing the accounting software it used in its early days.
Your company’s lifecycle stage should therefore be top of mind. If, for example, you’ve only recently opened and business is steady but not booming, you might only need basic accounting features. Some of these might include invoicing and the ability to generate reports.
But in a growing company, time becomes precious. The time your accounting team spends manually entering customer information into an invoice is time that could have otherwise been spent analyzing financial data to chart your company’s future. It’s a good idea to identify areas within your company in which employees must perform rote tasks on a daily basis. Modern accounting software can, in many cases, automate these processes
Growing organizations also tend to take on more business software vendors. It’s typically difficult to get the full value from these applications unless your team makes a concerted effort to integrate them together. For example, if your company uses Sage Intacct, you’ll likely want to integrate it with Salesforce to manage your finances and customer relationships on a single dashboard. An accounting software’s integration capabilities should be one of your key considerations if you’re a manager presiding over a growing organization.
3. How much will it Cost?
All of the aforementioned mentioned features and add-ons equate to additional costs. While you of course want to maximize the value your company receives from its accounting software vendor, cost should remain at the forefront of your decision-making process.
The good news is if your company is still in its infancy, there are inexpensive and, occasionally, free accounting software solutions available. Oftentimes, these software solutions include the basic accounting features we mentioned before. It’s a great start for any business building out its accounting operation.
“Freemium” software subscriptions such as these also include features businesses can opt into at a cost as they grow. Managers of businesses in growing industries, in particular, should explore these options since they essentially grow alongside the company. As always, it’s best to start a dialogue with your entire team to evaluate your firm’s current and anticipated future needs before entering into any agreement.
Timac Business Systems is here to help with your company’s next accounting software selection process. Contact us today for a free consultation!