How to Choose the Right Accounting Software
By Paul Johnson
CPA, CGMA, MBA
Lately, it seems like your financials are making things difficult by demanding more work for less accurate data, and forcing your team to spend hours tweaking spreadsheets to get answers you need for strategic decisions.
But changing to a new software solution can seem scary. How do you choose?
To get you started, here are some tried-and-true ideas to help you find the right software solution that will support your company now, and scale with it as it grows.
Know Your Requirements
The best software in the world won’t do your business an ounce of good if you don’t know what your company needs. Know where your current software lacks performance by asking these questions:
- Do you see higher operating and maintenance costs to support your on-premises software?
- Is staff compensating for the software’s capabilities with too many spreadsheets, or unable to accommodate growth because of software limitations?
- Is your CFO able to get accurate data to make informed decisions and strong business strategies?
Next, focus on your company’s functional requirements:
- Does your business have multiple entities? Complex hierarchy, or require drum-tight GAAP, IFRS, FASB, SOX or other regulatory compliances?
- Is your quote to cash process too slow or do you have a serious disconnection in your time and expense management systems?
- Do you need support for AR, AP, order, project or cash management?
Good cloud accounting solutions can speed consolidations, and offer custom dashboard metrics with real-time data. They can also reduce security risks, lower IT costs, and boost productivity. But beware! Not all cloud accounting software solutions are made alike.
Best-in-class software offers solid customization and integration options, while suite software has more of an out-of-the-box feel, which is something to consider when you start weighing your choices.
Do Your Homework
For as many software solutions out there, you can find more companies who sell them. Not doing your homework can lead to a purchase that may have short-term value but lacks the chops to scale with your company for the long haul.
Consider these key tips when evaluating who to partner with:
- Build an RFP/RFI that includes your requirements.
- Prioritize your wish list into perks and deal-breakers, and focus to avoid unnecessary fluff options that distract from your goals.
- Call references, find out what others say about the vendor online, and check out their infrastructure to be sure they meet your needs and standards.
Next, think about your return on investment. For example, choosing a best-in-class solution like Sage Intacct can potentially save your company $120K a year by ramping up productivity. Listen to what the vendor has to say about the cost-saving benefits up against your current expenses to see how that new software solution may offset them.
We get that choosing a new accounting solution isn’t an easy process. So, if you’re ready to start talking about the right fit, give us a ring. And when you do, make sure to run all your questions by us. We’re here to help your financials behave!