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How to choose the right accounting software for your business

Like any other purchase, it’s always a good idea to think about why you’re buying the item before you go and see what’s out there.

 

Have you ever gone to buy something and just thought ‘what am I even looking for?’ Yep, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there at some point. There are so many choices when it comes to accounting software for your business, where do you begin? Hopefully, these simple steps should help to add a little clarity.

 

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Your role is changing, has your software?

A recent ACCA survey found that 81% of CFOs of Fortune 1000 companies felt that the wider business saw their finance function as a ‘strategic business partner’, meaning that they should become less concerned with ‘transactional services’ and more concerned with ‘analytical services’.

I’m sure this is nothing new to you, but you may have noticed your current accounting software is holding you back.  To know for sure, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are your processes inhibited by your system’s inflexibility?
  • Do you struggle to get the information you need, when and where you need it?
  • Are you having to report on data from multiple systems and marry them up manually?
  • Have you recently restructured impacting your business processes?
  • Is your current system too complex for budget holders to use without training?

These aren’t unreasonable requirements. After all - it’s a pretty big purchase – so make it future proof! Have a think about what’s happening in your sector now, and in the future. You want to be absolutely sure that your new system will accommodate future demands. This is actually easier than it sounds, so here are a few pointers to help you on your way.

 

Time To Define Your Requirements

 

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1. Get the gang together

Deciding on the right accounting software certainly isn’t a task to do on your own. So before you do anything, think about who will be using the system. These days, it won’t just be your finance department, chances are you'll want management teams and budget holders throughout the business with direct access to dashboards and reports. So grab a few other people from across the organisation, have a coffee, and chat through what’s needed – get their input. Pull together a ‘selection team’ of individuals who you’d like to be part of the decision making process.

 

2. Time to talk tech

The first thing you need to do is stop thinking about functionality (we all know what finance software does). Think about how your organisation works, rather than what the software does.

If your business already wastes time re-keying data in from one system to another – and you’d rather have your finance team crack on and provide insight and analysis, then think about integration or interoperability. According to a recent survey financial analysts spend 77% of their time on admin tasks, and just 23% on the value-added stuff, so it’s a key point to discuss with your selection team!

Does remote working look like it's here to stay for your business? Then no doubt a cloud-hosted option will be essential. But if team members need access on the go as well, clear and intuitive mobile and tablet interfaces should also be on your list.

 

3. Think about who will be using the software

Let’s talk roles! Who do you want to use the system,  and what do they need to do? Your core finance team of course, but a devolved system means delegating some finance tasks to other departments. Why not let people access their own budgets and free up the reliance on the finance team?

Think about personalised interfaces, workflows and reporting dashboards for senior managers and directors, giving them direct access to key information when they need it, without getting clouded by the nitty gritty details.

 

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4. Look for a partner, not just a supplier

You could have all the bells and whistles – but if the voice at the end of the helpline fills you with dread or frustration, then it’s all for nothing. It’s not just technical support – you want your supplier to...

  • Be upfront and reassuring through the implementation process, so you know exactly what’s happening, when, and how long it’ll be.
  • Be responsive and offer you solutions throughout the time you work together.
  • Fit in with you! Having a supplier that’s fundamentally different in their cultural approach will never work – you want a long term relationship – a genuine partnership.

 

A Handy Checklist

Before progressing any further in your selection process, make sure you can honestly answer yes to these 4 points:

  1. Selection team confirmed
  2. Technology needs discussed
  3. Potential users and their roles defined
  4. Supplier culture considered

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Start your search

All that's done, now what? The search is on! Have some initial conversations with suppliers, and find out what’s out there now, and what’s planned for the future. At this stage, it’s best to focus on simply getting up to speed with the market place, building your understanding, and checking out who’s helpful, and who’s not.

Once your ‘wish list’ of suppliers is finalised, it’s time to demo! You can see all the clever stuff in action, and if there’s something you particularly like, ask for a video so you can have a look later and remind yourself.

It’s then time for you and your selection team to deliberate. Remind each other to consider if it’s a good fit both culturally and functionally.

Then, ideally, you’ll all come to a collective decision, knowing you’ve chosen the right supplier whose able to provide you with a solution to work with your organisation for years to come.

 

What about bluQube?

Once you've defined your requirements, get in touch with us via the form below. We'd love the chance to show you how bluQube can help.

 

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