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.
Check out CPA Practice Advisor Technology Editor Isaac O'Bannon's list of tech gifts and latest gadgets! I am personally partial to the anti-shock iPhone case.
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By Adam Bluemner of www.FindAccountingSoftware.com
Adam Bluemner is the Project Specialist Manager with FindAccountingSoftware.com, a company specializing in helping businesses find the right software for their needs. In his free time, Adam avidly follows his favorite Wisconsin sports teams and is working on convincing his daughters to do the same.
Let's be honest. No one really likes having to find a new accounting software package. It can be time-consuming and tedious. But that doesn't change the fact that it is one of your most important purchase decisions.
FindAccountingSoftware.com has been helping companies make the right decision on software for over 12 years. We've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. The following 3 software selection tips may not guarantee you'll make the right decision. Your own careful and thoughtful evaluation will have to do that. But, these 3 tips will get you a long ways toward the goal of finding a great accounting software solution.
Eliminate the idea that accounting software is a commodity
Buying accounting software is not a commodity purchase, it's an investment.
It's human nature to view a good purchase as the one that costs the least amount upfront. But that thinking can take you in the wrong direction. Really, the goal isn't to spend the least on the tool. The goal is to spend the least on the job, as a whole. In this case, the job is your accounting and financial management. If you purchase an insufficient tool, the reality is your labor costs will simply increase to overcome the insufficiencies of that tool. For most companies, the labor costs far outweigh the investment in the software tool. They're just harder to see because they are spread out over time.
Your accounting software investment is in large part an investment in automation--in long term savings. This is where a good software vendor can help. Where can you create efficiencies? How much will it save your company if you are 20% or 50% more efficient running payroll, processing checks, creating quotes and invoices, or putting together key financial reports?
Don't be shy about posing these questions directly to your prospective software vendor. They need to provide you with these answers. Then, you can not only find the tool that costs the least upfront, but the one that is most successful in lowering the bottom line. And, that's what any good business investment is all about.
Utilize your vendors to your competitive advantage
There are lots of reasons your company may have started its software search. Perhaps you are addressing a lack of functionality. Maybe you are looking for increased data integration. Or, you could just be replacing a now unsupported product.
Whatever the reason you've started your review, make sure to look beyond just that motivation. Software vendors can be a resource here. How often do you really get an objective, 3rd party look into your key business processes? Likely, not very often.
Your software vendor, on the other hand, has the advantage of seeing what's working and what's not in the market at large. Actively seek out their input. Are there new ways of receiving payments, managing inventory, tracking key performance indicators, accessing emerging markets? Your software vendor can and should offer you these insights.
Become a reference
Every software provider wants to ensure you that you will be their highest priority as a client. But, how can you ensure that happens?
Offering to be a customer reference or even a case-study is a great way to ensure top-notch service. What business isn't looking for a customer eager to be a reference? If your clients offered to be a reference for you, wouldn't you jump at the opportunity? Further, if you know that one of your clients is going to be a great reference for you, wouldn't you work just that much harder for them? Software vendors will too. Sure, it's a simple suggestion, but the best ones often are!
Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on those things we are thankful for! I would personally like to take this opportunity to say that I am thankful for my job here at Red Wing Software. I look forward to coming to work here every day! I really appreciate the way every single employee at Red Wing Software is considered a valuable asset, and we are always treated that way.
I am also thankful for Red Wing Software customers. I am fortunate to be able to talk to some of you on the phone now and then, and it’s great getting to know you a little better. I appreciate the loyalty our customers have to Red Wing Software! Thank you so much for being a Red Wing Software customer and allowing me to work for a great company.
So how about you? What are you thankful for?
Are you wondering whether employees are really there when they say they are? Does your payroll staff spend time re-entering hours instead of pulling them in electronically? If so, then your company may be ready to implement a time clock, and integrate it directly to your payroll software. There are several distinct benefits your company can enjoy by doing this.
Eliminate double entry.
With the implementation of a time clock, hours worked are entered directly into the time clock by the employee, eliminating the need for hand-written time cards. This can eliminate the confusion of unclear or inaccurate handwriting. When it comes time to process payroll, the time worked is pulled in electronically from the time clock, eliminating the need for somebody to re-enter hours. This not only saves a significant amount of manual work, but also ensures better accuracy.
More accurate tracking of hours worked.
Do you wonder whether employees are actually working the hours they recorded by hand? This worry can be drastically reduced or eliminated with the implementation of a time clock. There are various methods provided by time clocks to ensure the employees are actually recording their own hours and not ‘buddy punching’, a term which refers to people punching in and out for each other. There is a wide variety of clocks providing different methods of verifying time worked, such as the biometric clock, which verifies employee identity based on their actual fingerprint.
Integrating your time clock with your payroll software makes your whole payroll process faster and simpler. After all, if you have to re-enter data from the time clock into your payroll software system, you are losing out on a great deal of the benefits you were meant to have. Be sure the time clock you choose will work together with your software application; this will guarantee much faster and simpler payroll processing for all involved.
By implementing a time clock, your business can gain more accurate pay information and streamline payroll processes. Make the most of your time clock with a direct interface to your payroll software, and you’ll be on your way to a much simpler and smoother payroll processing system.