3 keys to a successful accounting system upgrade

Technology is tricky. Much of today’s software is engineered so well that it will perform adequately for years. But new and better features are being created all the time. And if you’re not getting as much out of your financial data as your competitors are, you could be at a disadvantage.

For these reasons, it can be hard to decide when to upgrade your company’s accounting software. Here are three keys to consider:

Your users are ready.

When making a major change to your accounting software, the sophistication of the system needs to align with the technological savvy of its primary users. Sometimes companies buy expensive software only to have many of its features gather virtual dust because the employees who use it are resistant to change. But if your users are well trained and adaptable, they may be able to extract added value from a more sophisticated accounting system. For instance, they could track key performance indicators to generate more meaningful financial reports.

The price is right.

You’ll of course need to consider the costs involved. As holds true for any technology purchase, project leaders must set a budget and focus the search on products and vendors offering only the functions your company needs. But don’t stop there. Explore add-on services such as free trials, initial training and ongoing support. You want to get the most value from the software, which goes beyond the new and improved features themselves.

You need to integrate.

This is the concept of networking your accounting system with your other mission-critical systems such as sales, inventory and production. For most companies today, integration is essential to maximizing the return on investment in accounting software. So, if you haven’t yet implemented this functionality, an upgrade may be highly advisable. Just be aware that a successful company wide integration will call for buy-in from every nook and cranny of your business.

Sometimes a complete overhaul of your accounting system is not necessary.  We have created partnerships over the years with vendors of various applications that compliment accounting systems.  

For instance, a client with a small accounting office was looking to implement controls and efficiencies in there payables process.  We assisted them with implementing bill.com, a payables automation system.  We had another client that was looking for an easy way to gather credit card receipts that would sync with QuickBooks Online. We helped put receipt-bank in place to track and automatically sync with their QuickBooks.  In addition, we have also used other tools like Mile IQ and expensify to assist clients in organizing their spending.

If a company doesn’t need any major accounting process changes, it probably doesn’t need a major accounting software change either. But if upgrading both will help grow your business, it’s absolutely a step worth considering. It’s time to see how we can help.

Why business owners should regularly upgrade their accounting software

Many business owners buy accounting software and, even if the installation goes well, eventually grow frustrated when they don’t get the return on investment they’d expected.

There’s a simple reason for this: Technology is constantly changing.

Technological improvements are occurring at a breakneck speed. So yesterday’s cutting-edge system can quickly become today’s sluggishly performing albatross. And this isn’t the only reason to regularly upgrade your accounting software.

Here are two more to consider.

  1. Cleaning up

You’ve probably heard that old tech adage, “garbage in, garbage out.” The “garbage” referred to is bad data. If inaccurate or garbled information goes into your system, the reports coming out of it will be flawed. And this is a particular danger as software ages. For example, you may be working off of inaccurate inventory counts or struggling with duplicate vendor entries.

On a more serious level, your database may store information that reflects improperly closed quarters or unbalanced accounts because of data entry errors. A regular implementation of upgraded software should uncover some or, one hopes, all of such problems. You can then clean up the bad data and adjust entries to tighten the accuracy of your accounting records and, thereby, improve your financial reporting.

  1. Getting better

Neglecting to regularly upgrade or even replace your accounting software can also put you at risk of missing a major business-improvement opportunity. When implementing a new system, you’ll have the chance to enhance your accounting procedures. You may be able to, for instance, add new code groups that allow you to manage expenses much more efficiently and closely. Other opportunities for improvement include optimizing your chart of accounts and strengthening your internal controls.

Again, to obtain these benefits, you’ll need to take a slow, patient approach to the software implementation and do it often enough to prevent outdated ways of doing things from getting the better of your company.

Here at Hobe, we see more and more clients ask about new technology for their businesses, especially for accounting software. With so many different accounting software platforms on the market, many need our help deciding which one would work best for them. To help decide, our first questions are geared around their business goals and where they see themselves in two to three years. With how quickly technology updates, we make sure to stay tuned in to a business as much as possible.

Are you in the process of evaluating new accounting software for next year?  Read our Technology Consulting offering and let us know.  We can help you set a budget and choose the product that best fits your current needs.

Bridging the Gap between Accounting and Technology: Having an Interpreter Makes All the Difference

by: Louis Loparo, CPA, CITP

We all know that communication is difficult when you don’t understand the language. When it comes to technology and accounting, business owners face a similar problem.  There is a gap between the services provided by their IT company and the services provided by their CPA.

As running a business (and subsequently handling complex finances) becomes increasingly technology-driven, the need to bridge gaps in understanding between the highly skilled service providers you rely upon can pose a challenge. While the professionals you trust for IT support and accounting services could be the brightest in their respective fields, there will almost always be a knowledge gap that is tough to surmount. It’s a gap that can cause confusion, delays, mistakes and a host of other problems. It’s also a gap that we recognize needs to be filled.

It’s for this reason that we have a specific accounting technology department headed by a rare breed of professional—a CPA that also holds a highly exclusive Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) designation. The CITP credential is a specialized designation that identifies CPAs with the unique ability to bridge the intellectual gap between a business’s finance and technology specifics.  It also signifies that a professional bearing the CITP distinction has met the strict requirements for CPA licensure and has undergone additional rigorous training in topic areas such as “Emerging Trends”, “IT Assurance and Risk”, “Business Solutions”, “Data Analytics” and “Security and Privacy”.

Hobe & Lucas has always been dedicated to understanding its clients’ businesses and specific accounting needs, and the existence of our accounting technology department aligns seamlessly with that vision. We have always sought to improve business outcomes by tapping into a wealth of knowledge, and that knowledge includes not only what financial practices will serve you best, but what technology will most effectively fulfill your needs.

So how can we help in this regard? With a deep knowledge of software, such as all QuickBooks and Sage products, various database systems, Microsoft Office, and a host of other industry-specific software packages , we can assist with challenges such as:

  •       Accounting system conversion, implementation, integration, clean-up, project management and training
  •       Integration of cloud-based accounting solutions
  •       Data mining, analysis and reporting
  •       Development of budgeting spreadsheets, programs and tools
  •       Creation of automated business forms
  •       Assistance with specialized reporting
  •       Provision of cost-effective, technology-driven solutions for everyday problems

For further illustration of how we’ve already assisted businesses in overcoming their accounting technology hurdles, consider some actual client examples.

As many have found, sometimes having an interpreter that speaks multiple discipline-specific languages is the key to getting the most out of your operations and partnerships. We’re willing to prove it, too.

Have technology hurdles or related inefficiencies in mind?  Call us at 216.524.8900 for a free consultation, and our accounting technology professionals will be happy to translate.