Are you trying to choose the right accounting software for your business? There are a lot of options out there, and while most packages have the same basic core, that’s where the similarity ends.
They all have different strengths and weaknesses, pricing models are wide and varied, support is great in some and almost non-existent in others – and at the end of it all, you just need a simple method of working out which one will be best for your business.
So how do you do this? Well the first thing NOT to do is get your advice from Facebook! A member of a Facebook group I participate in recently asked this question, and everyone had an opinion, based purely on their own experience.
But everyone’s business journey is different, and what works for someone else won’t necessarily be the best answer for you (especially when they know nothing about your business). One of the quite passionate commenters was also eventually outed as the head of bookkeeping at “Vendor” Australia – so that advice wasn’t likely to be too impartial!
The moral of the story is – don’t rely on social media for software solution advice, but break it down yourself and make your own informed decision.
Let’s Break It Down
Here’s how to do it – and while I’m talking accounting platforms, you can utilise these tips for any type of software
1. Think about where the solution is going to live. Will it be online (cloud) or desktop (your computer)? Now, this might not seem like a major decision, but it has a major impact on the pricing model. How much are you prepared to pay for the benefits that you may derive?
2. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of cloud solutions
- Less capital outlay than desktop. No capital outlay for hardware or licence fees. Upgrade costs are included in your subscription.
- Ability to work ‘anywhere, anytime’. All you need is good internet connectivity.
- API Integration. Does this piece of software need to be able to ‘talk’ to other platforms? For example, the payroll program sits external to your accounting program, but you want automatic data feeds. To avoid major customisation costs, this really only works with a cloud solution.
- Real time visibility. The cloud provides real time data. For example, bank feeds mean you know what your position is right now.
- Business wide efficiencies. Think through how many times a single process or document has been built from the ground up because things aren’t saved in a single location – they are on individual’s desktops and not shared – how much does the wheel being recreated cost you?
- Reliable internet. In Australia, internet reliability remains a major hurdle for businesses moving to the cloud environment. We have been promised that the NBN would change this – it has for some, but in many cases, it has set businesses in reverse.
3. Nail down your requirements. Define and document your needs – brainstorm with your team and make sure everyone is on the same page. Think about the features, processes and reports that you need. Put your Wishlist into order of priority and work out what is a ‘must’ versus a ‘love to have if we had unlimited funds’. Talk to other parties in the business where integration would be useful such as sales, payroll, etc.
4. Document your final needs. This process allows you to compare the providers on a level playing field.
5. Research, research and more research. The result of your research should be a shortlist of vendors that appear on first look to provide your business with a platform that satisfies your documented needs (in the step above). The next thing to do is to look for independent reviews – this is often difficult as they are often done by resellers or those with a vendor bias. You can consult social networks at this point and connect users (read the comments – there are often good clues to be found which will show you the support levels). Or utilise the free evaluation tool provided by Wichwon.
6. Focus on what’s right for you. The solution you choose needs to be able to give your business an improved experience on what you have today. Whatever bells and whistles it might have (which often don’t get used), it should deliver everything you need, and not just what someone else thinks you need!
Go In with Your Eyes Open on Pricing
After you’ve done the hard work of assessing your requirements, make sure that you understand what you are going to be paying for and when.
- Upfront discounts. Are they offering a large upfront discount? Is the discount only for a short period of time and then you are going to be hit with large increases in premium?
- Understand the different pricing models. Just when you thought you had a handle on the software, they then throw you another curve ball – all of the pricing models differ between providers. Some of the variations include:
- All-in-one fee.
- Charges based on number of users – additional charges for extra staff.
- Pricing bracket based on estimated annual transactions (quantity)
- Training costs (additional)
- Support charges (additional)
Choosing the right accounting software is not a simple matter, but some objective thinking about your requirements and a lot of research will help you narrow down the options. And remember – no matter what solution you choose, you should expect real efficiency gains, easier compliance for ATO purposes, less manual work and real-time visibility and reporting.
Give Wichwon a go to choose the right accounting package.
Just click here for the easy way to make your best-informed business decision.