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How is new accounting software like buying a new home?

March 8, 2017

Thinking of buying a new accounting software? Which category are you?

If you are shopping for a new accounting software, it is important that you know what type of buyer you are. To assess what is a good fit for you and what to stay away from, below are some tips to help you align your needs with a good product fit.

Think of this process as buying a home.  

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions that a person can make. In business, selecting new accounting software is no less important. Industry stats show that businesses replace their accounting software once every eight to twelve years, so be prepared to live with this decision.

There are four categories buyers can find themselves in. Each category represents a stage in your business’ development (from startup to a fully developed business operation).

Each buyer’s business will be in different stages of development, therefore the best product fit for each business will vary.

When selecting new accounting software, you must determine which of the four categories best describes your business situation:

 

  • Better Accounting
  • Business in a Box
  • Business my Way
  • Business Transformation

 

Using the analogy of buying a home, let’s take a better look at each of these categories which describe the needs at different stages in business development.

Better Accounting:

Think of Better Accounting as a two-bedroom apartment. It fills an immediate need like having a better accounting software or managing program. Much like the apartment serves as the first basic residence of an individual or young couple, meeting the business essentials at that point in time.

This category is best suited for businesses or organizations that are looking to improve upon basic financial tools that no longer support your needs. It must be easy to use and inexpensive to maintain. This, however, is not limited to accounting, but can also be applied to CRM software solutions as well.

Customer situation: Your company probably falls into the “Better Accounting” category if you are a young company, trying to get off of spreadsheets and underpowered accounting software and onto an integrated ERP that will support growth.

Customer need: Companies needing “Better Accounting” are probably looking for good value in a reliable accounting system that is easy to use, maintain, and that has a low total cost of ownership.

Business in a Box:

“Business in a Box” is a starter kit for a growing company that needs a comprehensive but cost-effective platform to support their early-stage growth. Much like a starter home addresses the needs of a young family, Business in a Box supports the move to a more functional software platform. “Business in a box”, or a starter home, covers most of your requirements across the board.

Customer Situation: Your company probably falls into the “Business in a Box” category if you are a growing business and are probably lacking in formal processes in areas like purchase order processing, sales order processing, and inventory management to name a few. In addition, the current accounting software probably handles these processes poorly, if at all.

Customer Need: Companies needing “Business in a Box” are looking to implement improved structured business processes as part of their software upgrade and are a good fit for a robust, scalable system.

Business my Way – Niche Market:

“Business my way” is a unique category commonly found in niche market industries and usually applies to a very specific group with specific needs. Much like a farmhouse, with land and specialized equipment, businesses in this category require customized solutions to support the tools and processes unique to this environment. These niche market business solutions tend to rely more heavily on the partner (or consultant) to support their needs. Business My Way companies are usually further along in their development than others.

Customer situation: Your company falls into the “Business my Way” category if you are a more mature company (usually not a startup) and you not only have very specific requirements but are also particular about how you want the accounting software to support your processes. Companies that believe they are “Business my Way” have complex requirements and processes that are an integral part of their competitive advantage.

Customer Need: Companies needing “Business my Way” are looking for accounting software that is highly configurable and customizable. Common example of this business model are found in the chemical processing and manufacturing industries.

Business Transformation:

A business transformation is a complete custom job or a total overhaul. The custom house, built from blueprints to bricks to furnishing is done by one partner, and one provider is used for all solutions. This a big undertaking, and requires a large vision with full executive commitment and a partner that can support a project of this magnitude.

Customer situation: Your company probably falls into the “Business Transformation” category if you are looking for a strategic overhaul in all business processes and refresh of infrastructure and business technology to establish a new competitive platform. Frequently, this will include a full comprehensive overhaul of all information systems and usually results in all platforms being completely integrated (voice systems, ERP, CRM, collaboration, etc…)

Customer Need: Companies needing “Business Transformation” are looking for thorough, integrated and strategically focused change in technology platforms as well as business process reengineering. These are a high value projects with complex and large, skilled teams behind it. Usually a Business Transformation project is led by a single large consulting firm capable of handling the entire project end-to-end.

Knowing which of the categories best fit your situation, better equips you to have productive conversations with vendors about their products and their suitability to your needs.

Regardless of which category fits your current situation, all companies are well served to engage with a software partner that will not only help validate much of what is discussed here but also support the selection and implementation of your new accounting software. They will become the go-to for any issues that arise during implementation and in future growth phases. You essentially are looking for a business partner that will take you to the next level.

Good luck with your search for new accounting software! Hopefully this information will help you make a more informed, confident decision. Feel free to reach out to Lloyd Research Group Inc. if you have any questions about this blog or your software selection process.

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