Ultimate Accounting Software Purchase Checklist

accounting software checklistBuying accounting software isn’t just a single decision; it’s a process. Your purchase will involve factors like securing executive support, budgeting, comparison shopping, and evaluating providers. Follow our step-by-step checklist to take the guesswork out of the process while making a strong purchase decision that will facilitate growth for your business.

⇒ Know your current software.
What functions do you regularly use? What tasks are you performing manually? What new capabilities would you like to have? Where are the friction points that cause lost time and productivity?

⇒  Talk to your accounting staff.
Flesh out your knowledge of your current system’s strengths and weaknesses by talking to your accounting staff. They will be in the best position to tell you what new features would be most helpful and where the current pain points are.

⇒  Conduct a business needs analysis.
The business needs analysis formalizes the research you have already done. It also digs deeper into details like data tracking, reports, industry specific needs, payroll specifications, asset management, work orders, etc.

⇒  Create your requirements list.
In addition to the specific functionalities already identified, your requirements list should address questions such as:

  • Will the system be cloud-based or self-hosted?
  • Do you need an integrated system or add-on modules?
  • Who will be using the system?
  • How will the system be integrated with current processes like payroll and time management?
  • What does user security look like?
  • What training will be required?
  • Is the system easy to implement?
  • What data will need to be transferred to the new system?
  • What support will you need?
  • When should the new system be up and running?

⇒  Determine a budget.
Your requirements list will be useful in determining your budget as well as demonstrating benefit to executives. Include monthly payments for cloud-based systems as well as maintenance and support costs.

⇒  Compare your options.
Now that you know what you need, it’s time to find out which software systems can meet those needs. Our software selector tool offers an easy, unbiased way to look at multiple vendors side by side. Input your data based on your requirements list, and the tool will show you which vendors meet your requirements and will rank them based on your information.

⇒  Create a short list.
Based on your research, create a list of four or five vendors that offer the functions and features you need.

⇒  Schedule software demos.
Ask each vendor to schedule a demonstration of the software either online or onsite. Plan your questions ahead of time and have your requirements list handy so you can identify any gaps in the software’s capabilities.

⇒  Ask about maintenance, support, and implementation.
These provisions can make or break your relationship with your software partner, so make sure you know exactly what each provider offers and how much it will cost. Ask what their support and maintenance package includes and what fees they charge for any additional support you may need.

⇒  Research each company.
Talk to people in your network who have used each company. Find out what their service was like and how many consultants were available to offer support. Also, look at the history of the company. How long have they been in business? What is their reputation in the marketplace? Since you will be relying on your provider long term for maintenance and support, it’s important that you choose a stable company that offers strong customer service.

⇒  Ask about the implementation schedule.
Make sure you know exactly how many hours they expect implementation to take and whether the cost is included in their initial quote. Ask questions such as:

  • How much training is included with implementation?
  • How many consultants will be on site?
  • How much does additional training cost?
  • How long should the process take?
  • How will they handle data transfer, configuration, and security?

⇒  Make your choice!
When you have done your research and you know that the company in question can meet or exceed your requirements, you can make a purchase decision with confidence.

Breaking the larger process of choosing accounting software down into manageable steps can take the uncertainty out of the decision. As you progress through the checklist, you will be able to identify which companies and which systems can best meet the needs you have and bring the most benefit to your company. Once you have made your purchase, you’re ready to check out our accounting software implementation checklist to help you get your new system up and running efficiently.