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Is it time to upgrade your business’s accounting software?

May 15, 2024

By now, just about every company uses some kind of accounting software to track, manage and report its financial transactions. Many businesses end up using several different types of software to handle different accounting-related functions. Others either immediately or eventually opt for a comprehensive solution that addresses all their needs.

Although there’s some truth to the old expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” companies often soldier on for years with inefficient or outdated accounting software. How do you know when it’s time to upgrade? Look for certain telltale signs.

It’s slowing us down

Accounting software is intended to make your and your employees’ lives easier. Among its primary purposes are to automate repetitive tasks, save time and provide quicker access to financial insights. If you or your staff are spending an inordinate amount of time wrestling with your current software to garner such benefits, an upgrade may be in order.

There’s also the issue of whether and how your business has grown recently. While some software developers market their products as “scalable” — that is, able to expand functionality right along with users’ needs — your mileage may vary. Keep a running list of the accounting functions your company needs and use it to assess the viability of your software.

Some lack of functionality can be relatively obvious. For example, many employees today need mobile access to accounting data, whether because they’re working remotely or traveling for the business. If your software makes this difficult — or, more dangerously, lacks trustworthy cybersecurity — it may be time to upgrade.

In addition, think about integration. As mentioned, some companies wind up using several different kinds of accounting-related software, and these various products may not “play well” together. In such cases, upgrading to a broader solution is worth considering.

There are various products specifically designed for small businesses. Growing midsize companies might be ready for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, which integrates accounting with other functions such as inventory, sales and marketing, and human resources.

It’s getting us in trouble

The accounting software needs of most businesses tend to gradually evolve over time, making it tough to decide when to invest in an upgrade. However, there are some glaring red flags that can make the decision much easier — though they can also pressure companies into making a rushed purchase of new technology.

For instance, though privately owned companies aren’t required to follow the same accounting standards as publicly held ones, they still need sound financial reporting for tax purposes and possibly to comply with state or local regulations. If you’ve run into trouble with tax authorities or other agencies because of accounting mistakes or inconsistencies, an upgrade could help.

And, of course, financial reporting isn’t only about taxes and compliance, it plays a huge role in obtaining loans, attracting investors, and perhaps winning bids or arranging joint ventures. If you and your leadership team believe you’re being outcompeted because you can’t make the right strategic moves, investing in better accounting software may be one of the steps you need to take.

Last but not least, we mentioned cybersecurity above, but it bears repeating: Any indication that your accounting software is vulnerable to hackers or internal fraud should be regarded as an immediate call to action. Fortify your existing software or find a more secure product.

Business imperative

Long gone are the days when companies could rely on a dusty ledger and ink to record their financial transactions. The right accounting software is a business imperative. We’d be happy to help you assess your current needs and decide whether now’s the time to upgrade.

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