Accounting Software: 3 Things to Consider Before You Buy

accounting software solution3 Critical Areas to Review before purchasing an Accounting Software Solution

 
As you prepare to compile your needs analysis for your new accounting software solutions or ERP system, you have no doubt thoroughly identified your business processes. But there are three areas of coming importance that you may have overlooked and don’t want to ignore. These are workflow management, data management, and document management. 
 

Document Management

 

Look at any list of hot topics in technology over the last five years and you will surely see document management, or the “paperless office”. While ten years ago users used to scoff at such a notion, most companies have now either adopted or are designing document management plans.

As you review products, check on how they accommodate the following:
  • How are documents digitized? 
  • How are the files attached to the transactions? 
  • How are they are encrypted and stored? 
  • What functionality is included with the system and what needs to be accomplished with a third party document management solution? 
  • What scanners are used? 
  • What are the hardware (scanners) and software investment requirements?

Workflow Management

As the paperless office materializes, there will be fewer documents physically flowing from desk to desk for review and/or hand signature approval. Approval will be made electronically, and the design of that approval process is referred to as workflow management

Systems now include the ability and flexibility to design simple to complex approval processes. Whether it’s a time sheet, budget, or expenditure, the review and approval process needs to be based on an automated workflow of electronic documents and alerts that accommodate your level of complexity. Make sure you review your own internal processes here as well, involving all team members who are in charge of authorizations. It’s a great learning experience that can lead to better business practices as well as greater efficiency!

 

Data Security

 

With all of this information and data moving around the office, it’s imperative to make sure it’s secure. In addition to federal laws such as HIPPA, the majority of states have enacted additional data security laws. Penalties for violating security rules can reach $500,000, not to mention cripple customer confidence, or compromise their personal information. Therefore, the use of file encryption, the use of portals for external access and file transfer, and careful management of document attachments is critical. Ask your potential providers what they recommend for data security, what tools are included within their system to facilitate this, and what additional measures they recommend beyond that to insure your data is secure.

 

Whether you’re already in a paperless office, designing a document management system, or finally resigned to the fact that “one-day” these data security issues will affect you, (that day is today, folks) reviewing how systems address these areas will leave you well positioned to move forward in making your best decision.