FAQ: Your Top Ten Accounting Software Questions Answered

Accounting software questionsAre you ready to purchase accounting software for your business? Before you create your short list, consider these top ten questions that will help you narrow your options and choose the best system for your company:

1. What are the top five things I should look for in accounting software?

  • Cost—If you haven’t set a budget, do so before you start shopping. It’s important to have a ballpark range in mind to help you determine which features are necessities and which can be omitted.
  • Implementation—Will the new software function effectively with your current system? How will you handle data migration? How does the provider bill for implementation work? Quick and easy implementation isn’t always a precursor to good support later on, so make sure you understand what upgrades and maintenance requirements you’ll need in the future before proceeding.
  • Support—Will you be working with a dedicated support team? If not, how does the provider handle questions and concerns? Building a positive relationship with the provider is essential for worry-free support down the road, so make sure the company is good to work with and willing to answer questions and concerns promptly.
  • Fit—Make sure the software is a good fit for your business. Depending on your industry, you may have specific needs that aren’t included in most basic packages.
  • Usability—What kind of training does the provider offer and how is it provided? How will the transition between the old and new systems be handled? Will you need third party support for any add-ons or additional modules?

2. How do I determine a software budget?

It may be hard to nail down a specific number, but take the time to determine a ballpark range before you get quotes. Consider the requirements of your business, including any industry-specific functionalities or add-on modules. Factor in implementation and training costs, future upgrades, and monthly maintenance and support fees. Look at costs for both low and high-end software packages and determine where on the spectrum your needs will fall.

3. Why do I need a software partner?

Your software partner will provide ongoing support and maintenance to keep your system running efficiently. When you’re ready for upgrades, the provider can help you implement them with as little disruption to your current system as possible. If you decide to purchase an add-on module from a third-party provider, make sure that company is certified to work with your current system and that they have the knowledge and ability to do so.

4. What happens when I need to upgrade the system?

Your system will require upgrades every 1-2 years. At this time, your software partner will provide a project manager to help you determine the most efficient process for the upgrade. This is the time to address any friction points and to analyze processes for problems or bottlenecks. The provider should be able to perform the upgrade, make needed adaptations, and deploy the new system quickly and painlessly.

5. What if I need additional functionalities not included in the package?

Many software packages are designed to be modular, which means that if the package doesn’t include all the features you need, you can purchase additional modules to perform those functions. Your software partner should be able to recommend either an integrated system or an add-on that meets the needs of your business.

6. What is the difference between cloud-based and server-based applications?

Cloud-based systems allow you to access your data and information remotely at any time because it is stored in the cloud. With server-based systems, data is stored on-site in a server, meaning that you can only access information using the hardware connected with that server. Typically, cloud-hosted services require a monthly fee and you do not own the software license. Traditional server-based applications enable you to purchase the software license.

7. How do I manage data transfer from the old system?

Your software provider should handle data migration for you when they set up the new system. They will also help you configure the new system in order to get the best possible performance.

8. How do I train my employees?

Most software partners provide training as well. Talk to the provider about how the training process will work. One or two training sessions may not be enough, so find out what options you have for additional training and how those hours will be billed.

9. How can I get executives on board for a new software purchase?

Most executives want to know how a new purchase will benefit the company, so focus on those benefits rather than on specific features when submitting your proposal. Identify measurable goals and discuss a specific budget cap to prevent overspending. Finally, get them involved early in the process and keep them involved throughout so they will own the solution.

10. I’m ready to get quotes. What do I look for?

In a broad sense, you’re looking for a software solution that will meet your business needs. For this reason, it’s important to do a business needs analysis before you start shopping. Once you have evaluated your company’s needs, you can begin asking questions like those found in our accounting software quote guide.

If this is your first accounting software purchase, don’t get overwhelmed with all the options and providers available to you. By creating a step-by-step plan and doing your homework ahead of time, you can make the right purchase decision for your business.

 

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