When clients or prospective clients approach our team with their bookkeeping challenges, it often results in a recommendation of an accounting technology solution. A large part of the reason behind this is that implementing accounting technology solutions typically creates better, more cohesive processes and improves overall efficiencies in budget allocations, data integrity and financial management—to name a few. However, our recommendations are based upon a myriad of factors, some of which you may wish to employ in your own investigations.
Training and Fluency
We cannot recommend any accounting system or third party integration until at least one of our team members has completed a comprehensive training program or review process. Most accounting technology developers create training programs alongside their product—notable certifications include QuickBooks Pro Advisors and Bill.com Experts or Gurus—if these are available at least one of our team members will complete training courses to fully vet the program’s capabilities (Additional team members will complete certifications later as we roll out new programs to more clients. For example, all AccountingDepartment.com bookkeepers and controllers are now Bill.com Experts or Gurus). If training programs are not readily available, a new program may be reviewed in a capabilities overview and compared side-by-side to programs we are already familiar with.
If sufficient training and literature is not available, this may signify that the product is not yet ready for the sophisticated use we require and its use may be postponed until further versions are released. In some cases of products whose vendors we have a close relationship with, we may work directly with the product managers to identify areas for improvement. In all cases, our clients’ technical and use requirements must be answered by the product in order to engage with it.
History and Exclusivity
Under no circumstances do we utilize a particular product under any exclusivity arrangement. We do review historical use cases and are partial to products that have performed well for our clients and us over time, especially insofar as they continue to serve our clients’ needs. However, this does not preclude reviewing new-to-market and competing products, especially those that may be actively attempting to address an accounting challenge not yet alleviated by existing products.
One of the core examples of this is our use of QuickBooks (Pro, Online, Enterprise, Advanced, etc). We maintain a platform agnostic company but the large majority of our clients are on the QuickBooks platform. We continue to review and investigate solutions such as Xero, NetSuite and Sage with the understanding that should a product be able to better address accounting and bookkeeping needs better, we will pivot to manage the execution and use of the new products.
Troubleshooting Accounting Technology Integrations
A company’s support team is just as critical to our selection as the core product features. Problems can and will occur, this is virtually inevitable. But the way a company handles the problems is what sets it apart from others. We work side-by-side accounting technology support teams to address problems in implementation, execution, training, and feature management—and companies lacking sufficient support resources are swiftly removed from our suite of preferred vendors. One of our favorite support teams is TSheets.com. They always go above and beyond for every inquiry and every client—and we place them high in our list of vendors because of it.
Accessibility and Affordability
Last but certainly not least is ease of use and accuracy of execution in combination with cost efficiency. A combination of how well the program meets expectations along with its overall costs and value provided helps us determine whether the product is a must-have or not. For example, another favorite of ours is ICAT Systems. This particular product assists with DCAA compliant QuickBooks migrations, saving considerable time and money for government contractors. Additionally, the product does quickly and easily what it says it will do—no easy feat for what is a rather complex and important technology integration. From a cost efficiency standpoint, it really can’t be beat—and their support is also top notch!
In any situation, all of these factors (and more!) must be considered before we can fully recommend a product to our clients or distribute it internally for vetting against other client needs. The formula is complex and the review process is lengthy, but because of it we are easily able to not only execute new accounting technologies, but we can stand behind our choices at all times—peace of mind for our small business clients that can’t be beat.