Accounting software today features powerful tools and analytics that allow business owners to extrapolate insights from data and identify weak links in their operations. But no matter how fully functional your accounting software is, it can only be as good as how you use it. Yes, it can automate many of the processes, but it won’t do the actual accounting job for you.
In such case, use the accounting software the right way to maximize its potential for your business. Here are key tips to remember:
Your best accounting software works wonderfully now while your business is small, but how about in the next 5, 10, and even 15 years when you expand operations? Make sure your software has a suite of add-ons that you can buy to match your business growth rate. A system that can meet both small/medium and large enterprises is often a safer bet than a software specific to one type of business size. Also consider the implementation costs of ERP accounting software.
It seems obvious but often we forget to pinpoint the reason for getting the software because of the excitement of seeing the product’s bells and whistles. Wow, it can generate 50 pre-configured reports! But would you need all fifty of those, really?
Define an objective when you buy accounting software. What issues will it solve? Are you after faster inventory tracking, perhaps, to minimize labor and time to check your warehouses? Or maybe a human resource system to profile your key employees from the regular set? With a clear objective you’re likely to buy the right accounting software for your needs.
It can be you but the whole point of automating your financials is to give you more time to grow your business, which means someone has got to monitor the overall accounting software. This is especially critical for enterprise resource planning, where different departments enter different data that are then integrated to one system. With someone on top of everything, an error somewhere can easily be spotted and reporting can be coordinated. It still takes a human to ensure all users are, well, using the system properly.
No matter how powerful your accounting software is, if the data are erroneous the system will churn out erroneous insights. Make sure the figures and information being entered by your staff is not only correct but updated. Quality of data is another reason why you need someone in charge of your accounting software.
Lest you forget, the reason for getting accounting software is to keep everything simple and easy to process. Even if the software is built with simple tools and analytics, if you require your staff to enter a lot of unnecessary or irrelevant data, you still end up with a tedious process. For instance, do you really need to itemize the costs per employee allowance when you can lump them together as “allowance”? Think where you can simplify the process and your accounting software can even make it simpler. That’s productivity.
Even cloud-based accounting software allows enough room for customization. Although preconfigured reports can make life faster for you, many of these reports may have extra elements that you don’t need. A simple addition or subtraction of rows and columns or creating your own formula for computing, say, your petty cash, will speed up the process. Find out where you can delete extra windows or even modules or combine reports in one section to make things simple.
Don’t scrimp on training even if it costs you an arm or a leg. What use are the robust features of your accounting software if your staff can only use the basic tools? The training will allow them to maximize all the pretty features of the system, which are what you’re really paying for.
Conduct daily, weekly, or monthly audits to monitor for erroneous data or inconsistencies. This avoids building up a data clutter, which when unchecked can ruin the integrity of your financial reports. Some vendors offer maintenance solutions for a fee. This can be useful if you’re too tied up with selling your business.
For more tips, here are 6 things to look for besides the features.
Like cars, accounting software is only as good as how you use and maintain it. Remember, you’ll be using the software for a long time so make it a habit to practice the tips above to avoid a clunky engine in the middle of your journey.
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