Has anyone ever tried to sell you something you were completely uninterested in purchasing? You know, the long and drawn out sales pitch with the salesperson talking non-stop about features, not even stopping to take a breath for fear you will say, “NO.”
It’s times like this when we appreciate our ability to be assertive and walk away. This situation can happen just about anywhere from the car dealership to the perfume counter, or to a work situation. The simple resounding answer to give these tenacious sales people is “NO.” Purchasing software for your company is no different! If you are currently satisfied with the accounting or payroll software for your business, it’s probably a good idea to stay with what you have. After all, switching software involves a learning curve, and your company will need to take the time to adjust.
While the above is true most of the time, there are certain times when a business person believes they don’t need to move to a different software application, yet for the good of their business, they absolutely should. Here are the main reasons a company should consider a software move, even when they don’t think they need to.
- You are still using a DOS based product. There were many excellent DOS products available in the 1980’s. In fact some of them still work well to this day. This leads some people to believe they can keep using the program(s) to run their business indefinitely. If you are using a program that was created in the 1980’s, the upside is that the company you bought it from must be pretty good to have kept it working that long. If you drive a car from the 1980’s you have surely had a lot of work done just to keep the thing running. Nothing can last forever. When it comes to software, DOS based software is a thing of the past and you need to move forward as soon as possible, or at least develop a plan to do so. Operating systems are moving forward and Microsoft has released Vista, with talk of the next system around the bend. Your DOS system probably won’t work on either one. So if any of the computers in your operation crash, you will need to purchase a new one. Where will you be when there aren’t computers available to run your DOS program? Develop a plan now, and you won’t have to panic later.
- Your software product is no longer being supported. If your product is no longer supported, you will not be able to get your questions answered and will be left to handle questions and problems on your own. Updating to something newer will allow you to ask questions and get help when you need it.
- You are spending more time ‘tricking’ your system than simply working with it. This is the kind of thing you don’t realize you are doing until after you change software. Set aside one whole week where you consciously keep track of how much time you or your staff spends manipulating your software to handle the way you need to enter or analyze your data. Are things such as invoice entry or inventory tracking taking you three to four steps when they should really only take one or two? If so, you and your staff could save significant time by moving to a system that can handle your needs.
- You have a hard time finding hardware that will work. Simply put, you should be able to find hardware such as computers, printers, and other devices for your business without much hassle. If you have to search from store to store or on eBay to find a device that will work with your old software system, it’s time to upgrade your software.
- You stay with your accounting software and/or payroll software because you are afraid. Don’t feel bad. There are many business people who simply stay with the software they have even while they know full well they really should move to something different. They know that their security would be better, their processing would run more smoothly, and that they would save themselves and their staff valuable time by moving to newer software. Feeling bad won’t help, but developing a plan to move forward will. Even if you can’t make the switch now, planning it out ahead of time will reduce the worry and stress you are feeling right now.
Everybody seems to be going green these days, and with good reason. As a business, it is important to do what we can to operate “greener”. There are things a business can do with their accounting and payroll systems that will make a large impact on the environment. As an added benefit to your company, while you are going green you will be streamlining your processes, saving processing time, and saving money too.
Send invoices and statements via e-mail instead of via snail mail.
These days nearly every business has an e-mail address. Set up customers with e-mail addresses to have their invoices and statements sent via e-mail. The environment will benefit in many ways, including the savings of gas to deliver the mail, the trees saved from the paper, and the gas emissions cut out. There are added benefits your company. You will save on the cost of stamps, invoice paper, envelopes, printer ink, and the cost of the time to print, mail and stuff the envelopes. What’s more, customers will have their invoices and statements instantly, promoting faster payment! If your business sends 300 invoices per month, that adds up to 3,600 sheets of invoice paper and 3,600 envelopes per year!
Use direct deposit instead of printing paychecks.
Imagine the amount of paper saved if you print checks every week for 100 employees. By paying employees with direct deposit, a company would save 5,200 envelopes and 5,200 checks per year. Save even more by skipping the printing of the pay stubs, and have your employees receive e-mail notifications about their pay, and the ability to log on and view pay data online.
File tax forms electronically instead of printing and sending forms via mail.
Do you order tax forms every year? Think of the time you spend ordering them, the cost, and the impact of all that paper. This year, file your tax forms electronically, and you can save the paper from the forms, the envelopes, and the stamps.
Send and store reports electronically rather than printing.
You likely run financial reports every month, whether it’s an income statement, balance sheet, or a long list of other reports you run for your business. You likely send the reports around to people who view them once, and then shred or throw them in the trash. Send the reports via e-mail, and you will save a significant amount of paper each month. Those who wish to keep the reports for later viewing can either store them in an e-mail storage file, or they can save the documents in a password protected file.
Keep track of handwritten information in a computer spreadsheet.
Sometimes it seems easier to just track things on paper instead of using a spreadsheet on your computer. Some of the things people still track on paper include serial and lot numbers, customer orders, customer pricing, and much more. Most people are shocked to learn how much time is saved by entering this information into a computer system instead of on paper! Most accounting software and/or payroll software can handle the storage of this information. By backing up the information on a regular basis, you can ensure this data does not get lost. Not only does this save on paper, it keeps information more accurate and easily accessible from one location.
As a business owner, it's easy to make accounting software and/or payroll software a low priority. After all, you are busy making sure sales are up, costs are down, profits are high, and everyone is staying productive. Unfortunately, it's so easy to fall behind if you don't stay abreast of technology, and when that happens you can quickly lose the benefits that the software was supposed to provide in the first place. Here are ten reasons why keeping your accounting and payroll software technology current is crucial to the successful operation of your business.
The old dot matrix printer still works fine, humming away in the corner, printing your invoices dot by dot. Hey, you can't hear each other speak over the noise, but you've become accustomed to it. So, why move? This is an all-too-common scenario, whether it's a printer, computer, or a long list of other hardware devices. For a business, hardware is an important component which allows you to print invoices, save valuable files, communicate with customers, and much more. The older your software system gets, the less likely you will be able to keep on performing those functions in a timely manner, and eventually you won't be able to at all. The software you are using plays a huge role in the hardware you are able to operate. Compatibility with new hardware is why it's important to keep your software up to date.
Safety and Security:
The good news is that we are now able to communicate much more quickly within a business, and also with outside contacts such as vendors and customers. E-mail, instant messaging, and a host of other modern technologies make communication much faster! But the downside is that there are also many more security threats. Keeping your software technology current helps keep your data safe from hackers!
If you've been doing things the same way for many years, it's easy to believe that your way is the fastest way available. After all, learning a new system does take time. But in the long run, things like running reports, processing invoices and keeping track of data are generally done more quickly with newer technology.
How do your customers feel when they receive and view your invoice? Is it printed on nice paper with your logo and a custom message? Or is it printed on thin paper with tear marks on the sides, barely legible because of printing issues? Do not discount the fact that what your customers receive from you impacts their image of you. Having newer technology allows you to print documents and perform other functions that look much more professional than they did years ago.
What happens when your customer asks to view all of their sales from you for the past three years? Are you able to help them, or is your historical data limited? This is one example where your technology affects your customer satisfaction. By moving to newer technology, you can improve your customer service and meet the needs of your customer more quickly and easily.
The Green Factor:
Older programs often require the printing of documents such as reports, financial statements, invoices, orders and other documents. Newer technology offers the ability to keep track of and send such communications electronically, saving many trees per year!
If the software technology you are using is extremely old, chances are your program is no longer being updated or enhanced by the company who developed it. You may think your program doesn't require any more updates because it's been around for so many years. The truth is that updates and enhancements help keep your software compatible with everything else on your computer. By not receiving updates, you will experience more and more problems as other technology moves forward. Moving to newer technology can assure you get the updates to keep your company safe and secure.
Support and Help:
Many older programs are no longer supported, meaning there is no help available in case of questions or problems you may have with the software. While you may know the software well, there are always questions that arise with the advancement of other technology you are using. Maybe you installed a new printer or need help getting a time clock working with your software. Or perhaps a new employee started who is unfamiliar with the program and has questions. In cases like these, having support available is crucial to the function of your business.
These days even the government is starting to require companies to have a certain level of technology. Certain government forms must now be submitted online, and no doubt that trend will continue. Older programs often cannot handle the newer tools necessary to stay compliant, and moving to new technology will be needed to meet those requirements.
The Band-Aid Factor:
If you have ever had an extremely old car, you are all too familiar with the process of fixing one thing after another until you are worn down, and your pocketbook is empty. Trying to get anything old to keep working can become tiresome and can also become extremely expensive. Because you are keeping so busy trying to make the system work, you may not even be aware of how much time and money you are spending to hold everything together. Moving to newer software technology can seem challenging at first, but it is typically the best option for your business in the long-term.