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Choosing the right accounting software package is a daunting process for any business. Gone are the days of manual accounting and shoeboxes full of receipts (hopefully). However, often it has merely been superseded by an “Electronic Shoe-Box”. Sorting out this “Electronic Shoe-Box” can be expensive for you and frustrating for your accountant.

So make the transition to accounting software a simpler process;

Define your needs
Decide exactly what you want from the product – both now, and in the future.

Make sure you have a detailed understanding of your key business processes and take into account the likely developments in your business over the next five years. The more detailed and accurate your requirements, the less likely the need for costly and time-consuming changes to your accounting software.

For cost, time and ease of setting up, the key is to select a package in which most reporting requirements are standard inclusions. For the other reporting requirements, you must ensure the software provider is able to produce these additional reports and supply cost estimations for these services. Not all accounting packages are easily modified, and if changes have to be made they often come at a high cost.

Is it Compatible with my Accountant?
Compatibility is useful but not imperative. Software should be chosen on the basis of what is appropriate for your business needs both now and in the future. Generally your accountant is more concerned (and interested) in you producing a “balanced” set of books rather than using the same software that they are familiar with.

Know your skill level
Take into account the computer literacy and accounting knowledge of those who will be interacting with the software and aim for a suitable match. Some packages are less user friendly than others and assume a certain level of accounting knowledge. If there is a mismatch, the financial data mess that may arise will be detrimental in terms of money and time.

Check out their reputation
Thoroughly investigate the accounting software provider. Determine the provider’s history, financial status, reputation, service offerings (including installation, support and training, service area, cost) and warranty provisions.
In addition, check the product’s current status to ensure the provider has no plans to supersede it. And also ensure the provider offers regular upgrades to the accounting software package for tax, accounting standards, corporations law and IT infrastructure changes.

Keep the process simple, have a timetable to install and train and make sure you have ongoing support.

The businesses we see that really get on and get things done are the ones that have an openness and willingness to learn from all sources. They also invest in themselves and their business.
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