Upgrading Your Accounting System? 5 Things You Must Do First!
Recent headaches have you thinking about upgrading your accounting system, but here are five things you must do first. According to an article written for the Cable News Network (CNN), users expressed similar problems when discussing their accounting programs. Security issues were a huge concern, along with ease of use. Financial experts offer the following advice in regards to obtaining a new system:
1. Make a detailed list
Create a detailed list of the things that bother you in regards to the existing accounting system. People always write down what new items should offer, but they rarely contemplate why older pieces wore out their welcome. Be very specific in your complaints, spelling out if the system did not permit virtual bank transactions or customer support was non-existent. When applicable, consult with every person who uses the system to determine which aspects of the accounting program annoy them. This tangible list of non-negotiable items helps in eliminating certain systems during the selection process.
2. Avoid the bells and whistles
Remember all the negative aspects of your existing system and do not let fancy bells and whistles distract you from the task. Some programs allow clients to access their accounts and eliminate the need for human interaction. Others provide online gateways to facilitate credit cards and other forms of virtual payment. If your company requires said features, then go for it! Just make sure the program meets your other requirements so you emerge slightly enriched. Otherwise, you are stuck paying for useless services and still may have to endure a hellacious customer support system.
3. Construct a budget
Calculate how much you can spend on this system upgrade because accounting software can get pricey. Larger corporations can spend up to $200,000 for a system, but this number differs greatly based on individual client needs. Factors that contribute to pricing include:
- Licensing costs
- Product Add-ons
Other factors that contribute to system pricing include how many people use the program and which edition you select. Businesses with nine people using the most recent software edition will incur more fees than sole-proprietor running bare-bones software. The average company spends a few hundred to $250,000 on their accounting software, so consider your personal needs and annual revenue when devising a budget.
4. Facilitate future upgrades
Plan for future upgrades and purchase a system that grows with the user. According to American Express, conditions that require software upgrades include:
- The need for additional user access
- More internal auditing requirements
- Additional report generating
- The integration of additional processes
- The acceptance of multiple currencies
Your new software program should be able to handle the previously listed tasks, even if you do not initially require them. Eliminate the possibly for misunderstanding by fully discussing all program features with a customer service representative.
5. Perform a background check
Ask for references when considering a particular software system. When possible, talk with existing and past customers to gain a feel for the company. Discuss why clients choose to stay or terminate service. Listen for common themes, including customer service and / or maintenance issues. Make sure you receive the most information possible before spending one dime.
Remember that a well-known company does instantly equal customer satisfaction. Customers who have hands-on knowledge of the program and no stake in your purchase can offer the most objective opinion. Try to stay neutral and consider all viewpoints no matter how much you like a particular program.
With so many options available to business customers, upgrading your accounting software can feel overwhelming. Thoroughly preparing and conducting proper research ensures you find a quality system that can handle any future changes. Find your dream software program with a little expert advice.