When you decide to purchase new software for accounting, it’s easy to get carried away with all of the new functions it has but there are some simple things you can do that will improve implementation and make things much easier in the future.
1. Decide what you want to get out of it
This is the most important thing you can do when you are setting up your new software.
If you don’t sit down and think about what output you want to see, then you are likely to spend time configuring aspects you won’t use, or putting the right mistakes you make as you go along.
The important thing is to set out exactly what your ‘deliverables’ are.
- What reporting do you want?
- Do you want to track projects?
- Are you accounting for one department or several?
So for example, if you spend time setting up the function of the project for a company that never does any projects then it will be a pointless exercise.
By the same token, if you know that you want to report on profitability by the department, then you know that you need to make sure you set the departments up and that invoices and expenses all have a method of tracking which department they belong to.
Understanding exactly what you need right from the start means that you can set the configuration of your system properly, right from day 1.
2. Decide who will use it
This may be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many shiny new accounting systems are switched on, only to find that not all of the users can access it.
Even if you are a one-man-band you may still want to give access to your bookkeeper or accountant and when using modern online accounting systems this is easy, but you need to set it up before it can happen.
It is important also to think about the training requirements.
Many new systems are really easy to learn and understand right out of the box but many are not and so you may need to work out what training people will need and how you are going to deliver it to them.
And of course, from a security point of view you won’t want to be giving all and sundry access to your accounting software, so before you actually switch it on, make sure you have a way of limiting access to those that really need it.
3. Set up connectivity
The beauty of online accounting software is that most systems are really easy to connect, not just with apps but with other software and services such as online payment gateways.
For example, the Merchant Service provides UTP group has a superb Faster Processing product that is easy to configure and will talk to most major shopping cart systems, has great reporting and provides cash in your bank in a matter of hours.
This means that when you are selling online you can connect your UTP Group Virtual Gateway to your shopping cart, and your cart to your online accounting software. No more typing in of sales or receipts from two different systems.
This means that your payment gateway, your accounting, your shopping cart and your bank will all be saying the same thing, which you will massively appreciate in the future!
4. Choose your apps
Most online accounting software is compatible with a host of different apps and services.
For example, perhaps you want to start to use a contact book that synchronises between your accounting, CRM and email software?
Or maybe you’d like a sales report to be produced every Friday in your accounting software and then automatically emailed out to your sales manager?
By installing apps such as Zapier or linking up to CRMs like Zoho you can make your accounting software the centre of a highly connected infrastructure that would have cost tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of pounds a few years ago.
Choose wisely though. Make sure the apps you are thinking of using are compatible with your brand of software and that they have great support or you could be making a big mistake.
5. Work out how you are going to get your existing information in.
If you are a brand-new business that hasn’t traded before then this won’t apply but for the rest of the world, it is an important consideration.
If you have a list of suppliers, a list of customers and an existing balance sheet, then you are going to need to have a way of getting that information into your new system.
Look for reliable and automated import/export methods and do some online research in forums that deal with your types of software.
What problems did existing users have and how did they overcome them?
Also, make sure you have a method of checking the import into your new system as carrying on with corrupted data may well end up with you having to roll back to the old system or spend hours putting things right.
6. Have a plan for developing your systems
One of the great things about online systems is that there is always something new coming along.
Before you set up your accounting software, think about how you would like it to develop and then produce a simple timeline for when you are going to look at the new functions and services.
As an example, think about our link with a CRM system. Maybe at the moment this is something that you feel you don’t need but putting it in the diary for 6 months’ time is a good move.
This will mean that you can look at any new CRM systems on the market, think about how they would help and then implement them if you decide this is what you want.
By having a development plan before you start you can make sure that you are able to get the maximum out of your investment in your new accounting software.
7. Make implementing your new accounting system simple.
OK so not every accounting system is simple to implement but if you follow our tips you can make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
Specifically, decide what you want it to look like before you start, work out how you are going to bring in existing data and make sure that you use the full benefits of connectivity and the wide variety of apps on the market.
Don’t forget to timeline your development process too as that will help make sure that your accounting system remains useful long into the future.