accounting software

Get the Most out of Your Business Software

Investing in the right software for your business can be vital to its future success. Not only does your software have to be right for you today, in terms of its functionality and features, it also has to be work for you years from now, as your business grows and expands. With that in mind, here are three key points to keep in mind for getting the most out of your business software.

Look for the Right Fit

One of the most important factors to keep in mind is how software can be seamlessly integrated into the core operations of your business. For example, if your software needs to be used by your warehouse and finance teams, you’ll want software that has features and functionality for both.

Pricing also plays a key role here, too. Pricing can range from a “plain vanilla” use case to a huge, enterprise-class use case. Thus, you need to think in terms of where your business is right now, and how much power and functionality you really need. The key focus should be on solutions that can be adopted quickly and easily by users. There may not be a “perfect fit,” but there is going to be a solution that provides at least 80 percent of what you are looking for in a software solution.

Calculate the ROI

Return on investment, or ROI, is a big buzzword in the business world, and for good reason. At a glance, you can tell whether you are gaining or losing on your investment. And an investment in software is no different—you need to be able to measure whether you are getting everything you can out of the solution.

Often, by choosing a solution that will help migrate data, you can lower implementation costs and boost the overall ROI of the software solution. You can think of this in terms of savings—both time and cost savings. If software is easy to set up and use, that is going to save you and your team a lot of headaches.

Start exploring some of the software’s add-on features. For example, you may not need certain features when your business intelligence team only consists of two individuals. However, as your team gets bigger and bigger, you may need some of the more advanced analytics-related functionality that’s available in the software.

Think Ahead to the Future

Over time, your business is going to grow, evolve and change. And so you will need a software solution that will also grow and evolve with you. Within the business world, this is often referred to as being “scalable.” The more scalable a solution is, the more it can grow from 10 employees to 100 employees. And it means that your data and information will be available when and where you need it.

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Your Business Software?

One of the most important concepts in the business world is return on investment (ROI), and that concept can be applied to business software as well. In short, there are costs and benefits to any business software package, and it’s up to the organization to prove that the benefits far outweigh the negatives over the long term.

ROI is one simple number that expresses just how much of a boost you are getting from your new business software. Some of these results may be tangible,such as increased sales, and some of them may be intangible—such as increased productivity or improved worker satisfaction. So how do you go about taking full advantage of your business software and maximizing ROI?

Make Sure You Are Updating Old Processes in Addition to Old Software

There’s one big problem with old legacy software that doesn’t work—it also leads to a lot of convoluted workarounds that no longer make sense. These workaround have often become so ingrained in how we do business that employees will cling to them, even when there’s a new business software that has been implemented. The easiest cure for this problem is a comprehensive training program that teaches employees how to use the software properly, and that also helps to educate them how it can make their lives easier.

Make Sure Employees are Using the Software Efficiently

There’s something about physical paper that makes employees feel more comfortable than trusting a digital stream of 1’s and 0’s on the computer screen. But that leads to a lot of bad habits, like using printed reports and handwritten notes in lieu of software. Software can run optimally when all the necessary information is available. In addition, make sure that employees are entering information to the system as efficiently as possible. Sometimes, the manual keying in of data may not be required.

Make Sure All Software is Fully Integrated

Within any organization, it’s common to think of silos—where data may languish without being shared throughout the organization. That’s one problem that modern business software is meant to address. And that’s also one reason why Spire offers a fully integrated set of features—everything from accounting to inventory management.

Whenever possible, try to avoid using external, non-integrated solutions. Often, your new business management software has a lot of functionality that just hasn’t been tapped yet. The goal is seamless integration.

The best advice, when it comes to maximizing the value of your new business management software, is to figure out all the triggers and pain points for the organization. That’s where you’ll want to focus as you search for a new business software solution. And then, two to three months after you go live, you can follow up again. The key is to schedule regular check-ups and follow-ups so that the software is always performing at its peak capabilities. When that happens, you’ll have found out a way to maximize your software’s ROI, and that’s a rewarding win that you can share with all the stakeholders of the organization!

Start Planning Your Business Software Upgrade Now

Upgrading your company’s business software doesn’t have to be a stressful, last-minute scramble. By taking a few steps earlier in the year, you can make the process of upgrading your software as seamless and worry-free as possible.

The first step in planning your business software upgrade is to create an action plan. This may sound obvious, but the fact is that most businesses don’t have any type of written action plan for how to proceed with the upgrade. They typically wait until the last minute and then frantically attempt an upgrade at the exact moment when both suppliers and vendors are on vacation and when support staff are already at maximum capacity, trying to answer customer’s technical questions about managing year-end processes.

The fact is that upgrading your business management software takes a lot of time in planning, research, training and transferring data. That means you should be creating an action plan at least several months ahead of time. Such an action plan should outline who will participate in the upgrade process as well as what will be the time frame for each person’s role in the upgrade. And don’t forget — any software upgrade may also require a hardware upgrade as well as serious thinking about how to import and export data. However, if you’re currently using BusinessVision, switching to Spire is quite easy as their built-in import tool will allow you to convert all of your BV data.

The second step in planning your business software upgrade is to start researching vendors as soon as possible. There are a number of software vendors, so you have plenty of options when making a choice. Before committing your business to a specific vendor, you should do live demos of every system you are considering, just so that you and the vendor are on the same page about functionality and capabilities. If possible, you should make your finance team also part of this process, since it is they who will be responsible for making all the software and hardware work well together.

The third and final step is to make sure that you sign up employees for training. No matter how intuitive and easy-to-use a business software package claims to be, the fact is that hands-on training for employees always makes the transition as seamless as possible, especially if you have been using your current system for a relatively long time. Getting hands-on training well before the transition really helps employees feel comfortable with the system and gives them the confidence they need to begin using the system. You can also build momentum for the new software internally if everyone is onboard at the start.

Don’t forget, the end of the year is also the time of the year when other companies are also thinking about upgrading their business software. Why not get a jump on the competition and make the process of upgrading your company’s business software as seamless and worry-free as possible? By following the simple three-step plan above, you can start the planning process early and make sure that your company’s embrace of a new business software upgrade goes as smoothly as possible.

What Accounting Software to Use for Your Startup

A startup business needs reliable accounting software to streamline business transactions. It can be an overwhelming process trying to choose the best accounting software package for a business. A small business owner may have difficulty deciding how to find the right small business accounting software, particularly if they have an understanding of accounting practices. There are several options in the market, each with their own set of unique features.

Finding accounting software for a startup needs to be broken down into your basic financial software requirements. There’s plenty to choose from, so you should select the best one that best suits your company’s needs. Good accounting software needs to cover basic features from financial statement creation, accounts payable, accounts receivable to payroll, account reconciliation, and tax reporting.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is an easy-to-learn accounting program and has been around since 1984. It’s proven to be one of the more popular accounting packages for small business startups. It has the standard double-entry, along with audit trail capabilities, but it’s simple interface doesn’t allow for a lot of customization. You’ll be able to print standard reports and invoices, but as your business grows, you may find it difficult trying to create the more detailed reports that your accountant requires.

Sage 50 First Step Accounting

Sage 50 First Step Accounting offers similar features to QuickBooks, and is a simpler form of Sage 50 Premium Accounting. As with QuickBooks or FreshBooks, there are few customization options, those requiring an upgrade to the premium edition. Sage 50 First Step Accounting can be purchased for a one-time fee, and updates must be done regularly.

FreshBooks

Freshbooks is a bit different from Sage 50 Accounting or QuickBooks in that it is web-based, and you must set up an online account to log into. There is a free limited version, or you can choose the full-featured system for a monthly fee. The added benefit of a web-based accounting program is that you won’t waste time with software updates to be installed. Those are all done on the website. The downfall is that Freshbooks will only do expense reports, whereas QuickBooks will tackle the whole picture by tracking expenses and income together. Freshbooks does offer time tracking and invoicing, which is great for one-person shops. Another neat feature is that offering customers a credit card payment solution is included in the package, not a monthly paid add-on like Quickbooks. If you do most of your business online, this can be a time-saving feature,that may just encourage more sales.

An entry-level accounting system can have limitations. Once your business is expanding, it’ll be worth looking into purchasing a more advanced accounting software that can give you more insight into your business operations. There may also be a lack of sophisticated reporting methods that will impact how you will make your decisions to grow your business.

Need More than Basic Accounting Software?

Having basic accounting software is fine for a new business startup, but you’ll need a complete solution as your business grows. Expanding businesses require software that can handle a flood of invoicing, and a large payroll. As taxes become increasingly complicated, management needs more detailed reports in order to create a budget for the upcoming year. A complete accounting software package is needed to ensure the successful running of your company.

Generally, accounting software will include modules that smaller businesses need, such as general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll tools. The software should also be able to produce standard reports and income statements. There may be options to filter and track custom data fields as well. While this software is great for the new business start-up, something more advanced may be required for an established business.

The best accounting software should have more advanced features. Reporting and analytics are important for a larger firm. Some programs include preconfigured reports. These can easily be altered with custom data fields. Customized reports can be produced as required. With good accounting software, detailed analytics can be made so that your business can be taken to the next level. Management will be able to assess which ventures to focus on. Accounting software should be able to quickly generate reports and statements, sorting through data to find pertinent information.

Most accounting systems will manage the payroll, whether an employee is hourly, salary, or commission-based. An accounting system will accurately calculate the taxes due and keep track of them for each employee. More advanced systems can handle either cheques or direct deposits, as well as providing yearly tax forms. The more employees you have, the more likely you will need a complete accounting software solution, rather than trying to work around your basic accounting program, which can lead to frustration on the part of your accountant.

If you have a large online store, or brick and mortar shop, chances are that at some point, you’ll need advanced business accounting software tools. Every aspect of your inventory can be electronically managed. It can manage purchase orders, including receiving POs, track all shipping, and recommend reordering stock. Intricate details can be managed such as history, bill of materials, serial numbers, and even bar coding.

Good accounting software will be adaptable to your business’s needs. Basic accounting software will only be able to handle the payroll for a limited number of employees. Good software should not be obsolete when you have 200 more employees. It should scale up to your requirements. Software may be available for your specific industry, organization, school or government branch.

It’s also important that accounting software allow for multiple users. More than one employee should be able to use the accounting software. Nothing is more frustrating than having one employee enter data, while someone waits over their shoulder for them to finish. Productivity and time can be lost while one employee waits for another one to complete a task. Search for software that allows several users to access it at any given time.

Look for accounting software that provides a variety of add-on modules, as well as working with other third-party software systems. Document managers, time-clock software, expense tracking and other solutions may be warranted. Credit card processing, as well as data backup management of accounting data may be required. When you have all your software working together in one package it’ll increase productivity. If you’re currently using multiple software packages you may you’re wasting a lot of time importing data from one software to another. A good accounting software package will streamline your data all into one accessible location.

A comprehensive accounting system should handle more than the basic tasks. You need a complete accounting program solution that includes reporting, payroll, and inventory control. Also look for packages that are adaptable as your business grows, whether through additional modules, or unlimited usage. A good accounting software package will grow with your business, helping you to maximize business profits.