If you are thinking of investing money in a new finance/accounting software then this article is designed to help you ask the right questions before you buy. The global market place and technological advancements mean that business have to be agile and proactive if they are to stay ahead.
These changes probably affect the finance function more than others, particularly as the finance department is required to plan ahead and to share more information to support decision making in a holistic way. There is software out there that help provide solutions to top management of a business, but how do you know which one is right for you?
Every business will have different priorities but there are some things that are on every to do list no matter the size of the business. E.g.
1.Growth and profitability – for the most part growth is always something that businesses plan for and when this happens it’s essential to understand how this growth is affecting your business and what to do to maintain growth. Making sure you are tracking costs on new and existing projects/products/services is critical to maintaining profitability long term.
2.Improved efficiency and productivity – this has the benefit of reducing costs and increasing profits and when it comes to an accounting system you want something that will reduce the number of data inputs and input times. Sharing data is a good way to increase productivity e.g. sharing real time information with your sales director can help to achieve or excel sales targets. Automating processes such as delivery of management reports improves decision making.
3.Risk management – in today’s fast paced environment the importance of risk management within the finance function is key. Having centralised data in one system allows a holistic view of the business which in turn allows control over strategic vision. Visibility is key.
4.Mobility – working from home or on client site creates flexibility in the workforce. The ability to work on key financial operations on the go allows streamlined processes and the ability to monitor key metrics. Sending sales invoices while on site and updating your accounting system at the same time is invaluable to having an agile workforce. Giving people the ability to update their expenses and time sheets on the go, allows real time monitoring and control of project costs.
5.Real time information – getting the right information to decision makers at the right time can make the difference of success or failure in taking up opportunities to grow the business or improve profitability
Here are some things to consider before you spend any money on a new accounting system:
1.Can you make improvements to the system in the months or years ahead? Over time businesses change the way they do businesses so it’s important that you have the ability to tweak the system to your needs as your business grows.
2.Do you know your user requirements? This may seem like a silly question but if you don’t know the reasons for why you want a new system it will difficult to establish whether it’s fit for purpose.
3.Does your provider provide any support? – you are likely to have lots of questions so you want someone who is going to help you and be responsive to your particular needs.
4.Is the system easy to implement? If you require a huge team to come implement this isn’t a good sign as it’s likely to cause considerable disruption to your business. You also want to make sure that your new system can integrate with your other systems if any. Cloud solutions are normally easiest to install and implement. You should also consider the supplier and question if they will grow with your business or you might be left with a system that isn’t fit for purpose in a few years.
5.How user friendly is it? – Learning something new will always cause some disruption but if you have to wade through reams of literature that’s a problem. To reduce the stress of learning its best to get “hands on” experience before you purchase.
6.Are there any hidden cost? – gather as much information about the total cost of ownership before you purchase. Other than the need for possible “add on software” for the most part Cloud solution are the most cost effective e.g. software upgrades, data backup, antivirus are included in the cost
There is always a cost associated with inaction. The Finance Equation Ltd are ProAdvisors with Xero and QuickBooks, both industry leaders in the field of Cloud Accounting / Online Accounting. We can assist you to migrate your data to an online accounting system. Contact us to transform your business.
The Finance Equation Ltd is a company registered in England & Wales. Company number 05116983.
Business address: Finance Equation Ltd, 334 Ley Street, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4AF.
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