Accounting Software Features

Eight Things to Look For in an Accounting Software (Part 2)

At rinehimerbaker, we know accounting. We also are pretty well versed in accounting software. We recently discussed some of the most important features you should be looking for from a new accounting software, and would like to continue that discussion in part two of this two-part series.

Note: Part one highlighted the importance of having focused software that eases your day-to-day and month-to-month operations, ready to grow with you. See part one of this series here.

5: Implementation

As you look into new accounting software, two of the most complex and time consuming processes you will face—regardless of the vendor or partner—is the implementation and training process. You are entrusting someone to move a lot of information from your old accounting software to your new one and set your company up for success.

In this, it’s important to look for an accounting software that meets your timeframe while still allowing you all of the functionality you will need. Knowing what to expect during the process—timeframes, costs (direct, indirect, and hidden), and more—can help prevent the project from getting derailed.

We’ve discussed some of the key factors in a recent blog, How Long Does It Take to Implement a New Accounting System?

6: Short Learning Curve

In addition to implementation, any end users will need to learn about the software—new features, how to accomplish basic tasks, how to accomplish advanced tasks, and more. This decision can’t be understated, because some of the software options on the market today require a highly specialized skillset to do something as simple as generate or customize a report.

There are many factors that go into how easy—or hard—it is for your team to learn a new accounting software, including:

  • Whether it is a best of breed (only train specific users) or suite (train for every module you implement),
  • The age of the solution (older software is built on older and more complex code—less point-and-click operation)
  • The initial focus of the software (the more bells and whistles, the more training—solutions that grow and become more robust when you need them to be are easier to train)

These are a few considerations and decisions need to be made based on the overall technical aptitude of your team and ability to learn new products. This should be discussed with vendors, implementation/training partners, and customers of the software who are similar to your organization.

7: Integration

As we discussed in our Suite vs. Best of Breed article, integration is one of the key selling points of best-of-breed options, as point solutions are designed to do one thing well and allow other departments to choose what’s best for them as well. Suites often have much more complex (read costly) integrations that rely on hand-coding to operate if you choose to use something from outside of the vendor’s suite.

Whether you’re looking for a suite to handle all of the following or are looking for the best of the best based on your needs with a best-of-breed option, you should be looking for convenient “point-and-click” integrations (straightforward enough not to require IT skills) with commonly used applications such as:

  • CRM and sales force automation, like Salesforce.com
  • Human resources
  • Inventory and fixed assets
  • Project management
  • Payment processing
  • Payroll and ACH

Learn more about some of the options you have in the Intacct Marketplace, a resource for business software purchasers looking to connect applications.

8: Support

Whether you’re purchasing directly through the vendor or through an industry- and location-focused reseller like us, you should expect a knowledgeable, supportive, and focused partner who can walk you through the purchase, implementation, training, and long term operation of the software.

Support from Partners Means Support from Vendor to Partner

A good vendor and partner should be recognized for their reseller/partner program, as quality vendor-to-partner training is the first step in customer success.

Each year, CRN—a magazine for the solution provider industry—ranks channel programs based on a vendor’s ability to prepare their partners for success and only gives five-star ratings to the best of the best. It’s a good way for companies who are considering reselling a specific software to decide on whether or not the investment is worth it, but it’s also a good way for you to learn if your partner will be well-trained and able to help you.

If you love slowly progressing slideshows, you can view the 5-Star vendor guide here. If you’d like us to get to the point, our accounting software vendor of choice, Intacct, received top ratings in the cloud category.

Getting Focused Support: It Pays to Work with Someone in Your Location

If you’re looking for a partner to implement and train, it’s helpful to work with someone who knows you. Some states and locations will have different needs, and it’s important to have a support partner who understands your needs. As a company who started as an accounting firm and expanded to focus on the software game, we know all of the laws and regulations that face your Florida business, and are able to get to know you very well.

Conclusion

Choosing a new accounting software is a tough process that should be done with the input of everyone who will be using it. Knowing not only what to look for but who to work with can separate a successful implementation from a failure.

It’s important to shop around—for both the software and resellers. Think of your accounting software decision as you would a more complex kitchen remodel. You’re not only deciding on whether you want a Viking, a Wolf, or a Thermador, you’re also deciding on the people who have to be walking around your house during the remodel process. The same goes for a software implementation project.

We think you’ll like us at rinehimerbaker. Get in contact with us to learn how we can help you.

Additional Reading

Learn even more by reading the just-released 2017 Buyer’s Guide to Accounting Software and the Intacct Guide, Essential Features of a Modern Accounting System.

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