10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Accounting Software

A free ebook to help you buy accounting software.

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Top Factors to Consider When Selecting Software

There are many choices when it comes to selecting an accounting system. Noted columnist, Gene Marks will take you through the important factors to consider and ask your software vendor or partner such as:

Use a partner

You should be asking your software vendor to provide a list of recommended partners. Or you can search for a partner on LinkedIn, Guru or generally online. These partners should be certified and knowledgeable about the product. They should have a good amount – a few years at least – of experience with the software and they should readily supply you with references.

Get independent references

You need to speak to current users of the application who can independently tell you the good, bad and ugly about the software and the vendor.

Go to a conference before you buy

The best software vendors do these events all the time. They’re geared towards their users. At the conferences, users can get training. They can go to business building sessions. They listen to well-known keynote speakers. They wander through an exhibit hall where hundreds of third party developers and partners are showing off their wares.

Understand the cloud

With a cloud based system support, upgrades and application fixes can be quickly delivered. There is no scheduled downtime so you’re always up and running. Integrations with other cloud based applications are easier. Customizations, reports, and documents can be created by experts and consultants from anywhere in the world. With the right cloud hosting provider, a company’s data is backed up frequently and can be restored if there are any problems.

Look at the software’s “marketplace”

The best software manufacturers recognize that they can’t do it all. So they build partnerships with smaller firms that create specific add-on applications that are able to perform functions that the core software doesn’t. You can find these partners on a vendor’s “marketplace” or “add-ons” or “partner” section of their website.

Assign an internal owner from the beginning

The owner is the person who is fully responsible for your accounting system. In the end, and despite everything that a software vendor will tell you, your accounting system is nothing more than a big database – actually a big, important database that holds information about all of your financial transactions.

That’s where the owner comes in. All of that data needs to be under someone’s watchful eye. There will be mistakes, bad information, empty fields and out of date details. None of this is the owner’s fault. But it’s the owner’s responsibility to get it fixed and to implement controls to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

Your owner needs to be involved at the very beginning of your accounting software search. Your owner also should be one of the main decision makers when you make your choice because it’ll be the owner who has to live with that system for the foreseeable future.

Begin at the end

As you narrow down your pool of potential vendors you’re going to want to focus on all the output that their system provides. How does their invoice look? Must you print out checks or will the system integrate directly to your bank’s e-payment system? Are the reports in the form you expect to see? Can all this stuff be delivered directly to your customer, you, your accountant via chat, text or messenger? Can you customize the forms that come out of the system? Change the existing reports? Easily create new ones?


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