Are you ready? It’s Time for a Good Spring Cleaning! But as we think about cabinets, drawers, and even wardrobes, a lot of us don’t give a thought to the need for evaluating our current accounting software. After all, no one’s screaming about broken systems. So, nothing’s wrong, right?
Great financial leaders know that an annual review of your software is a good way to maintain performance throughout your organization. Now that spring is here, jump into action. Look out for these seven signs you need to put updated software in your purchasing budget for FY18:
1. DOES IT STILL WORK?
Do you spend more time working for your software than your software does working for you? Start by reviewing your current operations. Evaluate whether these operations could be improved by approaching work differently, or training staff with new approaches. Ask yourself if your software should be handling some of the mundane chores. When you’ve tried every option for increasing your organization’s efficiency, yet your current software still holds you back, this is a red flag. You often end up working harder and longer to compensate for your problem.
I had an old boss who said, “When you hire someone and find yourself working to make them productive instead of the new guy lightening your own load, get rid of them.” The same is true with your fund accounting software. Don’t put up with an overabundance of workarounds.
2. SOFTWARE SLUGGISHNESS
Your software has lost its zip and you feel you’re dragging along. In his blog post for LBMC Technology Solutions, Salaad Nur states that this isn’t just your imagination.
“Performance is the leading indicator of a need for changing your financial solution. It is a sign that either your organization has large amounts of data resulting in the current solution being inadequate, or that your use of the system has changed/advanced over time making the solution’s ability to manage the needed interaction with it inadequate.”
3. UNSATISFACTORY REPORTING
Have your financial reports become the nightmare on Excel Sheet? Whether or not you feel Excel docs are being imported and exported willy-nilly, the overarching goal of a good financial system is to churn out reports that tell your organization’s story to donors, board members, and management. As a good financial steward, you need the information to be immediate, accurate, and complete, so that you can make the management decisions necessary to keep your organization operating well. If this isn’t happening, an annual check around for other options is not just a good idea, but an important commitment to advancing your work.
4. WORN OUT FINGERS
Do you turn from your desk every day with tired eyes and a sore back? Maybe you’re making too many manual entries in your system. Today, you should be able to have automated entries for allocations of funds and expenses, copy documents (and be able to attach documents to your data entry screens), and generally reduce the number of keystrokes it takes to get your job done. If this is not the case, you have another reason to lift your head out of your cubical and look around for better software.
5. NO REAL-TIME INFORMATION
Does looking ahead tend to be a rear-view mirror experience? Are your reports run as of dates well in the past? Have you ever accidentally used an amount of budget twice because your software hasn’t kept pace with the transactions you run? Operating in Real Time is an absolute must for every good financial system. You can and should demand that information is always current. What if you could drill down from your Chart of Accounts to see every transaction as it happens? Wouldn’t your decision-making for expenses and Capital Improvements be better? There are software packages that can handle this need.
6. NO CONTROL FOR YOUR AUDITS
I have heard of some software packages being called “an embezzler’s delight” because of the lack of controls, the ability to erase inconvenient transactions, and other audit failure points. Make sure you have software that will give you a register of ALL transactions from the beginning of time, with who did what and when they did it. Be sure your data is available all the time, whether you store it in the cloud or on premise. Your auditors will thank you.
7. LACK OF PROCESSING POWER
Some software is easy to use, but not powerful enough for your real needs. In the industry we call this “putting lipstick on a pig.” In demos you see some fun razzle and dazzle, with beautiful screens and font sizes you could read from the moon, but don’t let the sparkle fool you. When you need to have a powerful solution, you need to consider what you want out of your system, not what’s easy to input. The best software solutions will offer a blend of features, functionality, and ease-of-use. If your team isn’t getting that, now’s the time to look around. You can ask for more.
At Tangicloud, we offer a free 30-minute consultation to help you with your own software review. Contact us today to learn more – firstname.lastname@example.org.