We’ve had a lot of conversations with our clients over the past few years, with road blocks and frustrations they have had with their traditional accounting software. It is important to us, that you as the business owner understand what your numbers mean and where they are coming from, while at the same time not find yourself limited by the technology in place.
The following are six limitations of using traditional accounting software:
i) Your data is not current, neither is your software
If you are always using old data, or worse can’t access you data on a timely basis, how can you be expected to make your business decisions?
ii) Accounting software is limited to the computers it is installed on.
There are a couple of issues with this. One you can only access your information from select computers. When the computers are not on the same server, data often flows back and for through backup files and/or USBs. This increases the risk that data is not reliable. I have heard more than once from a client who continued working on an out-dated backup file. In addition, when the file is being passed back and forth there is an increased risk that the data is not secure. Either passwords are not on the files, or the backup ends up in the wrong individuals hands.
iii) Limitations to how many individuals can access the data.
While there are systems that allow for multi-user access, you are locked out of updating certain modules while another individual is in the file. If you have ever tried to update your inventory module while another user is in the file, you have likely run into this issue. When these situations occur key users cannot access the financial and customer details while the other user is updating.
iv) The process of maintaining backups is often overlooked and completed incorrectly
Backups! Enough said.
Backups are an area that can be complicated and not the most straight-forward. Many clients forget to take regular backups at all. This is a huge risk. If there is a computer glitch, or worse your computer stops working and you have not taken a recent backup – poof, everything is gone!
v) Upgrading software is expensive and time consuming
New versions of software are released a few times a year. These updates result in time being required for the installation of the new version, and depending on the accounting software in place this can also become expensive.
Software is not automatically upgraded each time a new version is released. Many clients choose not to upgrade their accounting systems at all. This leads to its own set of issues, when payroll tables for example become outdated or are no longer supported by the version of accounting software being used.
vi) Customer support
The complications that are derived out of each of the above issues result in customer support calls and down-time of your system. Customer support can be slow to resolve your issues, taking additional time way from your business. If your accounting system is down during this time, your option is to continue in a manual form. This doesn’t sound like the best use of your time.
These are common pain points our clients have come to us with. They have discussed the feeling of burnout and that they just don’t what to do next. Many have been cautioned away from cloud accounting by previous bookkeepers and accountants. When these programs first came out, yes we would agree that they were not the best solution, but that is not the case today.
Having a discussion of the possibilities that are available to you when you make a change to using a fully-integrated accounting system is worth the conversation.