“Well, it still works, and everyone knows how to use it, but….”
Do these words sound familiar? Many businesses stick with their accounting software far too long for these very reasons. What’s important to find out and consider is everything that comes after the word “but.”
Managers and employees often struggle with systems that don’t provide all the functionality they need, such as being able to generate certain types of reports that could help the company better analyze its financials. Older software might constantly freeze up or crash. In some cases, the product may even be so old that support is no longer provided.
When it comes to accounting software upgrades, timing is everything. You don’t want to spend money unnecessarily if your system is fully functional and secure. But you also don’t want to wait too long and risk losing a competitive edge, suffering data loss or corruption, or incurring a security breach.
Building a knowledge base
The first question to ask yourself is: When was the last time we meaningfully upgraded our accounting software?
Many more products may have hit the market since you bought yours — including some that were developed specifically for your industry. Although most accounting software has the same essential features, it’s these specialized functions that hold the most potential value for certain types of companies.
To make an educated choice, business owners and their leadership teams need to gain a detailed understanding of their specific needs and the technological savvy of their employees. You can go about this knowledge-building effort in various ways, including conducting a user survey and putting together a comprehensive, detailed comparison of three or four accounting software products that appear best-suited to your business.
If it appears highly likely that a new accounting system would markedly improve your financial tracking and reporting, you’ll be able to make a confident and well-advised purchasing decision.
Preparing for the transition
Bear in mind that buying the software will be the easy part. Transitioning to the new system will probably be much more challenging. When changing or significantly upgrading their accounting software, companies have to walk a fine line between:
- Rushing the timeline, potentially mishandling setup issues and not providing sufficient training, and
- Dragging their feet, potentially falling behind on financial reporting.
You might need to engage an IT consultant to help oversee the data transfer from the old system to the new, catch and clean up errors, and ensure strong cybersecurity measures are in place.
It’s a big decision
Moving onward and upward from a long-used accounting system is a big decision. Let us help you determine what software features would be most beneficial to your business, identify which current products would best fulfill your needs, and develop a sensible budget for the purchase.