3 questions to ask before buying accounting software

3 accounting software questionsAs a business owner, accounting and bookkeeping can sometimes feel tedious. We all want to find easier and more efficient ways to manage our business financials.

Standard accounting software like QuickBooks and Peachtree are good options, but as a business grows and changes, so can accounting needs. Business owners may find themselves searching for software geared towards their industry, or one that offers specific options.

As you research accounting software, you’re sure to speak with sales representatives who are knowledgeable about their product. Be aware, however, that does not translate to them being knowledgeable about how their software connects with your specific business needs.

Before you make a decision to purchase, ask about these three things.

1. Are other businesses in the same industry using this software?

The answer will tell you if this particular software vendor has experience dealing with accounting needs specific to your industry. For example, someone who buys and sells real estate to flip will have different accounting needs than someone who runs a resale clothing shop.
If the vendor has customers in your industry, ask for reference information. Contact the business owner to ask questions, such as:

  • What do you like about the software?
  • What about it doesn’t work?
  • Would you recommend purchasing this software?

A little time spent talking with a current customer will allow insight into the products effectiveness. It may also give you information to ask more in-depth questions of the vendor.

2. Were accountants used in the development of the product?

This may seem like a ridiculous question, but you might be surprised with the answer. Just because a company developed accounting software, doesn’t mean they used accountants in the process. Without the assistance of knowledgeable accounting professionals, accounting software may lack detail and transferability.

For example, the software may appear easy to use, but if the information is not categorized appropriately or fails to generate essential financial reports, your accountant or bookkeeper may have a difficult time sorting through the data. This could result in increased billing hours and possible errors.

3. How do I build a connection from my existing accounting system to the new software?

This final question is absolutely essential. Is it easy to transition the information and data over, or will this create days of work in order to get it up and running?

Does the company offer training and support, so that you get timely answers during the transition? It is imperative this is provided by someone committed to helping you achieve the specific accounting needs of your business. You must feel comfortable this new product comes with a solid level of support.

Change in business is inevitable. As those changes occur, it may be appropriate to update your accounting systems and software. However, asking the right questions prior to making those updates, can save you time and money in the long run. This insures you are getting a product that truly meets the particular needs of your business.

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