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How to select Accounting Software

Selecting New Accounting Software 

When it’s time to replace your current software solution we can help you select the best program for your companies needs and budget. How do we do that? We take into consideration several factors.

•             Specific Features Desired
•             Number of Users
•             Number of Transactions (Invoices, Payments, Journals, Purchases, etc)
•             Integration with other software
•             EDI Requirements
•             eCommerce Requirements
•             Mobile and PDA computing
•             Remote Users
•             Customizations
•             Ease of Use
•             Business Sector (Manufacturing, Distribution, Retail, Construction, etc)

Special Features Desired

Of course the “Specific Features Desired” is a very broad requirement. That is why one of our consultants with implementation experience will evaluate your core needs to gain and understanding of what you need or think you need.

During this process we will also uncover special features that may not be as common in accounting software programs. For example if you have two companies that share a common inventory most accounting software and inventory manager systems will not support this without customization.  If these special features are not available then our options are reduced to accounting software that is customizable or has source code available.

Number of Users & Number of Transactions

The number of users is important because the lower priced accounting software programs like QuickBooks, Peachtree and Microsoft Small Business Accounting cannot handle a large number of users effectively where as programs like Access Your Biz SQL, Microsoft Dynamics and Sage Software’s Epicor and Vista can. The same is true for the number of transactions that you will be generating. If you process 100 invoices a day, with an average of 5 line items on the invoice, then you are generating 500 invoice transactions a day, or 2500 a week which is 130,000 transactions in one year. If you want to keep 3 years of history and you grow 10% a year you are approaching a half a million transactions. Many of the low end accounting software programs like QuickBooks either cannot handle this or they do it very poorly which results in data file corruption. Another symtpon is poor performance. Especially with programs like QuickBooks that actually calculate your Customer Aging report on the fly. The performance gets slower and slower as your data grows.

Integration with other software

If your accounting software must integrate with another program you will need an open accounting system that will make integration work reliably and can be automated. This is important if you want to avoid double entry and manual importing and exporting of your data from one system to another. QuickBooks has some good tools for this, so does Microsoft’s accounting software solutions. If a program has program source code available, like Access Your Biz accounting software, this obviously provides the best options for integration with your program.

EDI Requirements

EDI programs have very specific requirements. If your accounting software solution cannot speak its language and export data in a proper format, then double entry will be required.  Double entry of any kind is inefficient, prone to error and often problematic. Avoid this at all costs.

eCommerce

Another component in the selection of accounting software is eCommerce. Many programs have an eCommerce add-on program or module and others require a customized solution. The add-on option is good because it is very easy, but sometimes it has limitations and will only work with specific shopping cart solutions. QuickBooks works with an Add-on solution as do many others. Access Your Biz has a separate Module for this. However Access Your Biz accounting software also has source code available so it can also be customized if you use a shopping cart solution that is not fully compatible with its eCommerce module. Another consideration is how the eCommerce solution brings in your customer orders. This is either done in real-time or on demand. Real-time systems are usually

How to evaluate your needs in comparison to your new software:

The first step is to determine if the software requires any customizations or work-arounds. Since not all accounting software is completely customizable, a work around may be necessary. If you have a lot of these you may have selected the wrong software solution and may need to reconsider your selection. The best way to determine this is to actually step through each of the daily procedures your company processes and attempt to perform them on the new system. During this process you may encounter some shortcomings and may also consider some improvement to what you are doing now. Be careful not to include any new things that you want to do since this will complicate this part of the process unnecessarily and will cause extra stress during the implementation. It may even derail the success of the project. However you do not want to ignore these benefits either. Instead make a list of these and address them in a secondary phase. This does not include minor items that are seamless to the implementation. Also if there is one or two items that are very straight forward and will provide substantial benefit you can consider implementing them now rather than later. This is a fine line, just be careful not to let it drive your efforts. It is very important to stay on track. It is much like building a house on a foundation that is not solid.

At the same time as this is being done you also need to prepare for going live. That means determining the method of getting all of your data in the new system. You have several options:

•             Built in Data Conversion
•             Import/Export
•             Temporary Employees
•             Employee Overtime

The first choice is to use any type of data conversion process. Some systems have that available as a utility. If that is not available then you can look for an import/export routine. The main point is that it is very difficult to enter in all open items and then go live.

Once you know you have a way of getting your data in the system and you have touched on all of the day to day tasks without any issues, you can feel comfortable with moving forward with your new software.