Let’s face it, you can find accounting software fairly easily these days, whether you purchase it from a local accounting software professional, research and purchase on the Web, or simply walk into a chain store and purchase it off the shelf. And while accounting software may be easy to find and purchase, what really matters most in your decision are two things. 1. Are you able to enter your data into the program easily and in a way that is meaningful? 2. Are you able to pull out the information you have entered in such a way that it allows you to make good management decisions for your business? Here is why.
- Are you able to enter your data into the program easily and in a way that is meaningful? A business typically has transactions to be entered on a daily basis. The system you use should allow you to enter these transactions easily and intuitively. Be sure that you are able to easily find the correct account code for entering the transaction, so the data will be accumulated into the correct ‘income or expense bucket’. If your business accounting software system is not intuitive or is just plain difficult, you will find mistakes being made, and this will make the analysis of the data extremely difficult, if not impossible. If mistakes are made, be sure there is a way to easily fix them with an audit trail to track those changes. Without an easy to use entry system, the entry of your data will be a difficult and frustrating effort.
- Are you able to pull out the information you have entered in such a way that allows you to make good decisions about your business? The number one reason for having an accounting software program is for viewing information that allows you to make important management decisions. Do we need to cut the marketing budget in order to stay profitable? Why did we spend three times more than budgeted in sales last month, and how will this affect us? These are just a few of the questions that can be asked if the data is analyzed. Without the ability to review the data and ask such questions, you are left to make decisions that are not based on good, accurate financial data. By using your accounting software and data in the correct way, you are ensured of making better, more informed decisions, thereby improving your business’s profitability in the short term and for years to come.
Surely you are busy managing your business, and as you are chugging along, a nagging voice keeps saying, “Why don’t you have a Web site yet? You should get one. Everybody says you need one…”
I know, I know, creating a Web site can be a daunting task! But, there are some real benefits, even for the smallest businesses. Here are some reasons you DO need a Web site for your business.
- People can find your business. Where are people going to find your business? Sure, they may look in the yellow pages or ask a friend, but let’s face it. These days people can quickly do internet searches, even from their phone when they are out driving! If your business doesn’t show up when they are searching, you just lost business. Having a Web site can help those people find you.
- People can learn about the products and services you offer. A Web site is an excellent place to show people what your company does. Sure, you already have your company catalog but people cannot search through it at their leisure while sitting at home, drinking a cup of coffee (unless they happen to have a copy of it at their home). By listing all of your products and services on your site, customers and prospects both can learn about things they didn’t know you offered. And, this means increased sales for you.
- People may perceive your business as old-fashioned without a Web site. I know business owners who say, “A Web site does no good for me. I get all my business from word-of-mouth advertising.” While this may be completely true, that same person doesn’t even know the business they are missing out on because they have never had a Web site. If people go searching for you on the internet by your business name and no results come up, it can leave them wondering if your business is old-fashioned or unprofessional, or even out of business. Even a simple Web site that is informative can make a big difference!
Red Wing Software has been in business since 1979, and some of you were even here for the grand opening! And, now we are blogging. Who would have guessed it? We’ve all come a long way, haven’t we?
This is Red Wing Software’s official company blog, and it is meant to provide you, our readers, with information to help you improve your business, whether you are a customer or a prospect.
For this inaugural blog, we decided that a good subject for all readers would be a useful list of things to consider when choosing accounting software or payroll software. We hope you enjoy it!
Ten Crucial Points to Consider when Choosing Accounting Software or Payroll Software for your Company
Choose a company with experience and a proven track record.
There has been a lot of change in the accounting software industry over the past ten years. If you or a company you know of has endured your software company’s being purchased, you know that the process can be painful. The software’s support, enhancements, training and other aspects of the company’s service can all be affected in the changeover. You want your business to run smoothly, and that’s why it’s important to choose a company who you feel is stable.
Choose a company with on-staff experts to help you decide whether their software is a fit for you.
During the software selection process, the most difficult part is trying to maneuver through a software system with which you are unfamiliar, in order to determine whether it’s a fit for you. Check to see whether there is a staff or partner available who will listen and understand your needs, and then clearly show and prove to you whether their software fits for your company. Some companies have experts on staff or partners who can guide you through this process. Some do not charge for this valuable service—take advantage of this service when available. It will take half of the burden off your shoulders, and your time invested will pay off greatly in the long run.
Choose a software package that will grow with your company, considering your goals for the next ten years.
The average company changes software every ten years. As a company grows, so does its business accounting software needs. Look at your company’s goals for the next ten years. Will you need to open and manage an additional warehouse? Will you need to add another product line and see its profitability separately? Will your sales commission payment scheme need to change as your profit margins change and you add more sales reps? These are important considerations, and having a system to handle them will keep your business running smoothly instead of becoming a stumbling block. Be sure to communicate these anticipated needs clearly in order to ensure your needs will be met as you grow.
Choose a company who provides excellent support.
Whether you are learning how to use a new function of your software, trying to streamline processes with it, or even trying to troubleshoot, it is crucial that you have a team of experts to help you through it. By accessing the software company’s team of experts, your company can save time and money. Check into the software company’s team of experts—their support department. Does the company outsource their support, or handle it in-house? Be sure they can clearly communicate with you, and also that they are easily accessible to you. Be sure you know what their guaranteed response time is. In times of need, it will become crucial to your company.
Choose a company whose updates are meaningful, and include customer feedback.
Have a look at the company’s most recent version update. Ask a company representative how those enhancements were chosen for the update. The answer should include customer feedback as a primary component, which in turn creates a software package constantly being shaped and formed by its own users.
Be sure the company’s training options will meet your company’s needs.
No matter which software package you choose, you and your employees will need training. The more time invested on training at the start, the more successful your company will be at implementing the software and moving forward with it. Does the company offer training that will meet your needs? Perhaps you cannot have all of your employees gone at the same time to attend training, so you need to have web training available. Maybe you don’t have a high-speed connection so you need to have the training done in person. Or maybe your needs are so specific, the training must be customized and done at your facility. Be sure to choose a company who can accommodate your training needs.
Choose a company who will provide you with references for you to contact.
By speaking with references, you can get a third-party, unbiased opinion regarding the software’s performance and functionality. If the software company can provide references of similar businesses to yours, even better.
Find out whether there is a local partner.
Do you prefer to have a representative local to you? Ask the company if they have a representative near you, typically called a ‘partner’. If so, get the partner’s information and contact them. Partners can provide a wealth of services, ranging from implementation, data transfer, training, and may also offer other valuable services. If the company does not have a partner near you, check out what services the software company can provide you directly.
Choose a software company who has proven itself helpful in moving its customers forward to newer products.
Technology is always changing; hardware is constantly being improved. Be sure your software company is also changing with the times. Check out what they have done over the years to be sure they have constantly improved their products. By choosing a company who keeps up with technology, your company can always choose to take advantage of the newest technology available.
Choose a software package that, with its value proposition, can pay itself off within a year.
Accounting software is an invaluable tool for providing you up-to-date financial information. In addition to providing financials, many software packages also offer tools to help companies streamline their processes and improve efficiency. Choose a software package that provides these tools. When considering all of the tools available, get a general feel for how much time and money your company can save within one year. This amount of money should exceed the cost of the software within one year. Your sales representative should be able to help you determine your potential savings.
Choosing an accounting software package to fit your company can be a long and complicated process. By following the above key points, you can ensure that whatever software package you choose, the company will be there to stand by your side and grow with you for years to come.