6 Steps to Take Before You Tackle the Accounting Software Quote

Business Finance AccountingAre you ready to purchase accounting software for your business? The right software can make accounting responsibilities much more efficient, while the wrong software can create a never-ending headache for your accounting department. Before you start gathering quotes, it pays to do your homework. Let’s look at six essential steps you should take before setting up your first appointment with a software partner.

  1. Evaluate Your Business—Software options will vary based on the size of your business, your industry, and whether you need to keep track of specialized data. Make sure you understand the basics of the accounting process so you can make informed choices and get the most out of your software purchase.

  2. Do a Business Needs Analysis—Perform a detailed needs analysis to identify what features and functions your business requires. Ask obvious questions as well as more detailed, specific ones. These questions should be designed to pinpoint the types of data you track, reports that must be generated, and any modules specific to your industry. Talk to your accounting department to identify friction points in your current system. Take note of any special features that need to be retained and make a list of which needs are the most important.

  3. Create an Extensive Requirements List—Begin with a list of objectives and fill in specific requirements under those objectives by talking with your accounting staff. If needed, you can hold focus groups or brainstorming sessions to get the input you need from the people who work with the software the most. Your requirements list should be as concrete as possible, identifying specific functions rather than making vague statements. Also, take note of which requirements are truly requirements and which ones are “nice-to-haves.”

  4. Establish a Budget—While it may be difficult to nail down a budget without getting price quotes, it’s important to identify a ball park range so you know how much you’re willing to invest in your new software. Bear in mind that the more sophisticated the software is, the higher the price tag will be. If you plan to partner with a software provider for routine maintenance, upgrades, and support, factor those fees into your budget as well.

  5. Tap into Your Network—The more input you can get, the better. Talk to others in your industry to see what they use, what they like, and what they don’t like. Your accountant may also be able to provide some insight if he or she works with another business in your industry. Ask for recommendations and solicit both good and bad experiences to help you get a feel for which systems perform the best.

  6. Compare Vendor Offerings—If you’ve completed each of the previous steps, you’re ready to create your short list of potential providers. Don’t just start asking for quotes, however. Take the time to compare vendor offerings in order to determine which ones can best meet your needs. Our software selection tool can make this step easier, putting all the information you need right at your fingertips.

With your short list of vendors in hand, you’re ready to ask for quotes. Be sure you understand how to evaluate an accounting quote so you’ll be in the best position to ask the right questions and make an informed decision. If you’ve done all your homework, you should be ready to purchase the software that will streamline your accounting process and help you grow your business.