When choosing a new accounting solution for your business, it’s not a simple matter. Not only are there many feature sets for different software to consider, but you also need to take into account what your existing accounting team will be comfortable using. Here are four key considerations when trying to pick an accounting solution.
Cloud vs Desktop Software
While traditional accounting packages were all software based that were installed on work PCs, this has changed in recent years. Now most accounting software is cloud-based, which makes it easier to access the information from various locations – not necessarily just the PC it was originally licensed to.
Adding users and accessing advanced features is no trouble now either. There’s a hot debate going on between Xero vs QuickBooks Online as two of the best cloud-based packages, but there are also people who stick to the tried and true.
Offline software for accounting is still available from some providers, but there are not as many as there used to be. However, with some old school accountants coming on-board who still prefer software that they’re familiar with over a SaaS-based solution, their preference is going to be clear.
What Training Will Be Required?
With any accounting package, there’s a learning curve. This applies whether it’s cloud-based or software that operates primarily in any offline environment.
Newer software will have fewer accounting staff who are familiar with it. This leads to a situation where several staff members may need to be trained together on it and struggle along for a few weeks while they get up to speed.
Perhaps a package that the team has greater familiarity with – even if it has fewer features – is a better option? That isn’t always the right decision though, but it can seem correct at the time. Delaying procurement of a new accounting package might be better than finding an immediate solution that is insufficient for the department’s needs.
Critical Security Factors
The security present within the accounting software is important too. There needs to be multiple levels of access along with individual logins for different users. This protects access to information that staff should (or should not) have.
Two-factor authentication is useful at the higher levels to ensure only accountants in the company can see the financial accounts. It can also provide a log of who’s accessed them recently.
Backing up the data should also be considered part of security because if the data gets corrupted, the company will be in real trouble.
What Support is Provided?
The level of technical support needs to extend beyond the usual “How do I find this feature?” to more detailed matters that are will be needed by accountants in the performance of their role.
Therefore, it’s useful for the software developer to have actual accountants on staff or that the support team understand the unique requirements of accountants when completing the company’s financial statements.
Getting the buy-in from the top people within the accounting team when choosing a software solution matters. Otherwise, they’ll be deeply unhappy. Bring them into the decision-marking process to ensure they’re content with the final choice.