Questions to Ask About Your Accounting Software
An excellent recent report from Big Four accounting giant Deloitte’s Center for Consumer Insight analyzes the decision-making process of consumers in today’s marketplace. “In many ways the consumer of today is like the consumer of yesterday,” the report concludes, “they are a creature of the pressures they are under, coupled with the choices they have available to them.” The abundance of options for nearly every conceivable product and service—from the shoes on our feet to the entertainment on our screens—is at an all-time high. Business software solutions, including cloud accounting software, are no different.
In such a competitive market, customers benefit from doing research before deciding on a piece of software. Whether you’re a firm serving SMBs or a small business seeking to execute accounting operations on your own, you need to ask the right questions of your accounting software. The tools you use have a direct impact on the success of your business, so it’s not a decision to take lightly. With that in mind, here are our top 5 questions to ask when considering accounting software.
Is it cloud-enabled?
We put this one first because the answer is the most straightforward. If an accounting software is not cloud compatible, you probably don’t want it. Today’s business environment is one where nobody should be tethered to a specific device to their jobs. Any accounting software you can’t access from anywhere is, to put it bluntly, antiquated.
Is it secure?
Doing business online requires being mindful about data security. According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon, the industry-standard document on the state of business cybersecurity, “No organization is too large or too small to fall victim to a data breach. No industry vertical is immune to attack.” While accounting professionals understand why their industry is a target, too many small business owners assume they won’t attract prying eyes.
The bottom line is that hackers don’t only look for major corporations, despite what the headlines about Target and Sony would have you believe. Criminals will exploit anyone vulnerable, and cheap accounting software will make you a prime target for hackers.
Does it meet my specific needs?
Being able to reconcile the numbers alone does not make for feature-rich accounting software. At the bare minimum, you need banking, accounting, and reporting features—but that’s really just the basics. When accounting software comes with added functionality like time tracking, project management, and inventory management, it eliminates the need to purchase multiple software solutions. The more of your data you can store in a centralized location, the more readily you’ll be able to wield that data to provide powerful insights about a business.
In addition to being full-featured, accounting software should be customizable. No two businesses or industries are alike, and they shouldn’t have to rely on cookie-cutter software built with the lowest common denominator in mind. Customizability is always going to come with complexity, but the easiest option is rarely the best one. You have to strike the right balance between ease of use and essential functionality based on your specific circumstances.
Can it grow with me?
It’s always tempting to choose cut-rate solutions that provide the basic essentials at the cheapest possible rates. The problem with that thinking, though, is that businesses want to grow. As they grow, their needs invariably grow alongside them. If you’ve opted for a janky alternative, you’ll more than likely outgrow it in a hurry. Then you’ll be left with the messy and undesirable process of migrating all of your data over to a better model.
Much better is to opt for a solution that offers escalating tiers that can offer you additional features if and when you need them. A software that works for today is good, but one that works for today and tomorrow is great.
Does it integrate with my systems?
While you should look for an accounting software that meets multiple needs, there’s no denying that it isn’t a complete solution. You need banks, eCommerce platforms, POS systems, messaging tools, email, and so many more services. If your solutions can easily and automatically speak to one another, you make your life a whole lot easier.
Let AccountingSuite answer your questions
We may be a bit biased, but we firmly believe AccountingSuite is capable of answering all these questions and more for small businesses and the accountant who serve them. Sign up for a free trial today to let us prove it.