Three Things to Remember When Changing Accounting Systems

Matt Shelly
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As your business grows, you may find that your current requirements have outstripped the capabilities of your accounting system. Before you jump into the first alternative you find, spend time considering crucial issues. In doing so, you can avoid making the costly mistake of investing in a system that doesn't meet your company's needs.

Scope and Scalability

All accounting systems on the market are not created equal. Some are designed for small businesses, while others are designed specifically to accommodate companies with expansion plans. Before you invest in a system, consider what you want it to accomplish. Will it only be used for basic business accounting, or will you need it to work for inventory management? Does it need to handle payroll? Develop a clear list of requirements for the system, both for your current situation and the future. If you have plans to grow your business in the near future, make sure that your chosen accounting system will be powerful enough to scale up accordingly. Don't forget to speak to company representatives for each candidate about assistance during the growth process. Will they provide assistance for a fee or for free?

Staff Constraints

Changing from one accounting system to another can place a significant strain on your current staff. In order for the transition to go smoothly, each person must be committed to learning the new accounting software and taking the time to reorganize the existing workflow to accommodate it. If your staff members are too busy or unwilling to make the switch, it can cause tension and trouble in the office. To reduce the strain, time the transition to avoid busy periods. As you plan, include your staff in the process and take their feedback seriously; in many cases, open communication can help you avoid unexpected problems down the road.

Accept the Cost

There's no question about it — upgrading your accounting system is expensive. When the price of new accounting software gives you sticker shock, it is important to remember that it will pay off in the long run. After all, there is a reason you are ready to make the switch. Old systems can be a drain on time and resources. They also lead to inefficiencies and frustration among employees, which can have a direct impact on the quality of work. When you accept that your new system will require an investment of both time and money, you will be able to handle the process with less stress.

Before you purchase an accounting system, it is crucial to measure it against your company's current and future needs. Though the process can be time consuming, it can help you avoid a great deal of pain and financial loss in the future.

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