Time to upgrade your business accounting software?

The decision to change from manual accounting systems to an umbrella system depends on the same criteria that influence people to upgrade residential infrastructure: old systems are inefficient, cost-prohibitive, appear old-fashioned and need frequent troubleshooting.

Current systems and spread sheets work fine but manual accounting systems generate payroll expenses for office staff, increased accounting fees, inefficient inventory-ordering practices and lost opportunities to optimise leads, leverage social and business trends and uncover waste, theft and fraud.

Clues that you might benefit by replacing your existing system include:

  • Reports and documents contain frequent mathematical errors.
  • Inventory-carrying costs generate cash-flow problems.
  • Loss of data and slow response times scuttle business opportunities.
  • Poor analysis of business trends, contract terms and unavailable contract templates limit sales staff’s ability to close deals in the field.
  • Crucial business data gets lost due to a lack of storage capacity and databases contain out-dated information.
  • Figuring profitability by department, product and employees requires authorising dedicated research projects.
  • Expense creep cuts into profit margins.
  • Security breaches cause you to lose money, customers and the time needed to address the problems.
  • Incomplete or disorganised records trigger financial audits.

Incomplete records that fail to match best business practices make it difficult to get financing for expansion. A new system that offers comprehensive management solutions generates substantial investment costs, but your current system probably costs more in lost profits, waste and inefficient uses of resources.

Upgrading the accounting system helps you position your company for accelerated growth, meet the challenges of global marketing and integrate your business with the current financial practices of most vendors, clients, social agencies and tax authorities.

Before choosing a new system, consider the following points:

  1. Take time to study what you need to do the job. Most systems offer scalable modules that you can add as your business grows, so you need not buy more than you really need. Talk to your production, sales and office staff to get their input on what they need to do their jobs more efficiently.
  2. A complete business audit justifies the time and expense by identifying current needs and IT solutions for immediate growth.
  3. Remember that some accounting systems might require staff training, new or updated hardware and technical advice about implementing them into your business with minimal disruption.
  4. Your wish list should not only include the new features you want but also preserve the bits of the old system that perform well. New systems often cause problems that the old system handled perfectly well.

Your accounting solution will impact every department in the company, so choosing software solutions works better when you make it a group effort. Involving each department manager in the decision will help you find the best solution and encourage loyalty among employees, who often resist changes to systems that have always worked adequately in the past.

The new software should meet the following criteria:

  • The system should improve cash flow by streamlining inventory, empowering collection efforts, reducing fraud and waste and eliminating duplicate work.
  • Accounting software facilitates custom reports that let you track profits, costs, closing ratios, employee efficiency, seasonal performance and other financial information. Choose software or systems that give you complex reporting tools.
  • Programs with cash-management software create more options for revenue-generating ideas and taking advantage of investment opportunities.
  • The system should provide analytical data that helps you and company managers make better decisions.
  • Businesses trade on timely information, so make sure you choose a system that strengthens your intelligence-gathering abilities.
  • Richard Fielder

    Timely article! We’ve been looking at a new accounting solution for our business (in the US). We’re just struggling with timing. Is there a ‘quieter’ period these kinds of upgrades are best done?

    • https://www.horizonbs.com.au Michael Pendred

      Hi Richard,
      Most Accountants would say that the best time is the start of a financial year. This can often be the worst time as businesses take time to finalize year end and it puts additional pressure on your accounts team on top of an already stressful time. If the software that you’re purchasing allows for journals back to the prior financial year, thus providing you with the necessary comparative reports I would say the best time is at the beginning of months just after your busy / peak period. Your staff are functioning at their optimal level, though may be tired, and have time to commit to this type of project. It also means that you have time to refine procedures before you go back into your next peak period.
      I hope this helps.
      Michael