Accounting software - knowing when to upgrade!
27 Feb 2012
With the end of financial Year drawing near, what better time is there to review your businesses processes and systems? Often businesses operate oblivious to the fact they have outgrown their accounting packages. Time and again businesses will struggle to find means and ways of dealing with the inadequacies of their current system, without taking the time to consider what a modern high end ERP system can offer. When this occurs, it’s time to upgrade their system to a secure, reliable accounting software solution with advanced functionality, the ability to automate more tasks and the scalability to allow it to grow as their business continues to expand.
Commonly organisations can find rigid entry level accounting software packages such as Sybiz Vision, MYOB and Xero, do not have the flexibility to evolve and adapt with their business. Increased manual activities are one of the biggest pain points regularly voiced by frustrated employees looking to change. Certain packages can require users to painstakingly enter data into a multitude of locations, causing duplication of effort. This tedious labor intensive task can soak up valuable employee time that could otherwise be spent more productively.
Additionally, if your vendor is lacking in the area of product development, they may struggle to keep up with the constant stream of new product innovations and software updates. Certain ERP systems can become irritating to use, with users running into common error messages such as “Runtime error 5”, “Error / fault in Module” or “faulting application”. When vendors get behind the eight ball, compatibility hitches can arise with the latest operating systems such as windows 7 or even with drivers for hardware such as printers. Ask your vendor how much research and development they are putting into the product. Are they constantly monitoring customer feedback and improving performance, stability and usability? Does your vendor have periodical upgrades and are they quick to bring out new versions to support new operating systems, servers and packages such as Microsoft Office? These factors are no longer afterthoughts. Rather, they form the core needs for an innovative and growing company that relies on a cutting edge ERP solution and an exceptional provider to back it up. For additional signs you have outgrown your accounting software, please refer to our 6 signs you’ve outgrown you accounting software whitepaper.
Another fundamental issue with accounting software packages such as Sybiz is the lack of a Microsoft SQL edition, which may hinder your businesses ability to flourish. In today’s volatile economic climate, the cost of acquiring and maintaining a company’s software investments is in the spotlight. Information technology (IT) departments are under pressure to deliver more services, in shorter amounts of time and with ever decreasing budgets. For these reasons, IT departments worldwide are choosing technologies that provide more business value at a lower cost. One example of a technology that is growing rapidly in IT departments is MS SQL Database. As a business grows, inevitably so does the headcount and with 5 or more concurrent ERP users, often performance difficulties can arise. With several users trying to access the data at once, certain systems can become sluggish and even require users to log in and out to accommodate others. With 5 or more users, changing to a MS SQL Database solution may be advantageous. Although still maintaining the same look and feel as a pervasive system, MS SQL offers greater reliability, performance, data integrity and scalability. This is commonly a problem with packages such as Sybiz that lack a Microsoft SQL edition, which may hinder your businesses ability to flourish.
What about the cloud?
Many commentators have stated that 2012 will be the year of the cloud. It’s not surprising such comments have sprung up, with analyst firm IDC forecasting cloud computing services will increase three-fold, to reach $57 billion NZD by the end of 2012. However, when considering whether or not a move to the cloud is the best choice for your business, there are several important questions that need answering. Commonly people will be swayed towards the cloud as it may be the finically more viable option. However, this might not always be the case and it is entirely dependent on which solution fits your business best. For instance, the cost difference between the public and private cloud must be considered, relative to the benefits your businesses requires. The most fundamental factor when selecting a solution should be what specific functionality your business requires. Knowing how your business operates and how different processes and systems interact should steer you in the right direction.
Another common error made by many businesses is the assumption that by virtue of moving to the cloud, their data is automatically backed up elsewhere. Consequently, issues can arise if businesses do not plan for unexpected events or scenarios occurring. By putting too much emphasis on cost and not having a redundancy plan in place, cloud users can put themselves in a vulnerable position. One only needs to look at Amazons disastrous cloud crash last year. Despite promising a yearly uptime of 99.9%, many customers were left in the dark for up to 48 hours. However, what is more worrying was the fact that some customer’s data was permanently destroyed.
One final pertinent point to contemplate is that the cloud is heavily reliant on your internet connection. For many companies that depend exclusively on the internet to function, a secondary or back up internet connection is more than prudent, it is a necessity. Additionally, factors such as bandwidth limitations on a public cloud can prove to be problematic, and speed issues can occur with functions such as data entry. With the large selection of vendors available it can be difficult to determine which one best meets your needs. Due to the increasing popularity of the cloud, several new established providers have emerged. Caution should be taken to study the condition of such vendors that are still trying to find their feet. Unfortunately, a large number of companies purchase new software without taking the time to research their investment fully. This can lead to serious problems during implementation that could have been avoided had they performed a more thorough review of potential vendors, while keeping in mind their unique requirements. For help on evaluating possible software vendors, please refer to our 10 step guide to be sure that your investment will pay off.
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