Accounting and finance management software is a great way to help business owners keep their finances in check. However, implementation can be tricky if you're unsure what to do.
We've created this blog to help business owners make the right decision when switching to software. We cover the five critical steps to keep in mind to help you get started. Let's get started!
1. Don't be afraid to contact customer service
If you find yourself stuck while trying to implement new accounting and finance software, don't be afraid to call or email customer service. While you may feel like hiding when faced with the process of implementing accounting software, getting quality assistance can make your life much easier.
Before you get on the call, make a list of what's not working and where you are facing difficulties. Also, take screenshots of error messages (if any) and note all steps taken leading to the error.
When you get on the call, get the name of the person who's helping you with things. For example, if they work in a customer service department, they may have a specific title, but you still need to know who is dealing with your issue to ask for them when you call back. You can also find IT contractors if you require help with the setup and implementation process.
2. Evaluate your needs
Before selecting an accounting or finance software, it is essential to evaluate your needs. This includes ensuring your software system is capable of importing/exporting data from your accounting or finance application. You also have to consider additional features such as budgets, purchase order management, price books, and journal entry generation.
Once you have determined your needs, you can begin researching software products that best fit them. Try a free trial of the software or schedule a demo with the Sales team to ensure it works for you. Also, look into usage, required upgrades, and support options.
When selecting an accounting or finance management software solution, make sure it can do all of the following:
- Import/export data from your accounting application
- Have the ability to create budgets
- Have the ability to generate purchase orders
- Possess a price book feature
- Generate journal entries
3. Research different software programs
Spend some time researching different accounting and finance software programs before choosing one. There are many free programs that can be downloaded and installed on your computer, but some of these only allow you to track the basics, such as income and expenses. For more detailed accounting support software, you will need to pay a monthly fee for each user, so it may be worthwhile to look into small business accounting software packages before making a financial investment.
Check your compatibility with potential software packages by asking yourself these questions:
- Who needs to use the program?
- How many people need to be able to use it at one time?
- What industry are you in?
You may be surprised that the software you chose for your individual needs might not meet the requirements of other employees or members of your company. However, you can ask plenty more questions before buying any software package.
Ensure you consider all of these issues before you commit to an accounting software program because the last thing you want is to end up with a product that does not suit your or your company's needs. Spending time investigating your options will pay off in the long run, saving you valuable time and money.
4. Compare and contrast the features of different software programs
When making your decision, always spend some time comparing and contrasting software features. For example, when comparing Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200, you should also compare Sage MAS 90 to Intuit Quickbooks and Xero. It is important to look at all of the options so that you can make a final decision about which software would be best for your business.
Some of the essential features of any accounting and finance software are how you enter transactions, how the software generates reports, and what the software is capable of doing.
For example, some people choose cloud-based accounting software because they prefer to enter transactions on the fly. In contrast, others prefer downloading everything to have an entire audit history. Some people like their finance software to create invoices, while others only want to keep track of their expenses.
When you are making the final decision about which software to purchase, it is important that you first consider all options and spend some time deciding what features are most important to your business.
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- Make use of the company's resources
Whenever you implement a new software, it is vital to fully use the available training resources that the company provides. This is to ensure that you are both trained on using the specific software and its available features.
The following steps will help you implement any accounting/finance management software successfully:
1) Ensure that all employees use shortcuts so they can navigate easily through the software
2) Train each employee to use the software
3) Ask employees to navigate through the software while you observe them. After this, ask for feedback or suggestions around the software
4) Prepare a written training plan with all courses of action
5) Conduct more observation sessions over time
Knowing how to select and implement the right accounting and finance software can save your business a ton of time and money in the long run.
The ease of use, the features available, and even the support a software company offers to play a huge role in whether or not you choose them to be your long-term provider. So keep the above steps and tips in mind and make choosing and using accounting and finance software straightforward and painless.