4 min read

How Your Accounting Software Could Be Hurting You


We live in a time where technology has a tendril in almost every area of our lives. Businesses of course run almost entirely on some kind of modern technology today, with few exceptions. Once upon a time, firms had conversations about whether they needed technology to run their practices efficiently, but that’s long since changed to conversations about which tech they need.

In the very beginning, some firms might opt for free accounting software where they can get it, and as they outgrow it either purchase full versions of the free stuff, or audition fuller, for-pay options. Startup accounting software can be good stuff, but many times has its own drawbacks. Profit and loss software, apps like quickbooks, IT software for business — the list of firm needs goes on and on.

Of course, the thinking in putting in the time, effort, and money associated with all this technology is that it will help the firm run profitably and efficiently. But what about when that isn’t the case? How could your accounting software actually be hurting your firm?



The Goldilocks Conundrum

You might be thinking there’s an order to things that makes one accounting software package good for small firms, one that’s good for medium firms, and one that’s good for big firms, but that’s an oversimplification.

In truth, the right software fits your firm’s needs, as dictated not only by your size but also your mission, goals, and staff. The difficult choice you need to make is whether to invest for your firm’s reality or its ambitions. Choose poorly, and you’ll be actively hurting yourself.


This one has too few features

Choosing software that doesn’t fully address your firm’s needs is universally a bad idea. Maybe it looks like a good deal because of low pricing or a simple interface, but in the end if all it does is partial work and frustrate your staff, it’s a bad call.

Make sure you fully understand what you need to get out of the accounting software you’re looking for. Try not to get distracted by shiny things. Compare that list against the accounting software you’re choosing. Maybe a thing or two on your wishlist isn’t addressed, or isn’t addressed in the way you might like it to be — that’s okay. But once you start seeing major incompatibilities between your needs and the accounting software’s abilities, turn and walk away.



This one has too many features

Planning for the future by selecting an accounting software package that scales with your firm is smart. Selecting one with bloat is not.

If the package you’re looking at is loaded with extra features you’ll likely never use, it might be worth a second thought. Paying for things you don’t need, as well as working with a vendor that spends resources on those things you don’t need can really hurt your firm in the end. Not only does it waste money, it means the development cycle that keeps your software running smoothly and efficiently could take longer. Don’t let extras like rust-proofing creep in if you don’t need them.


What is “just right?”

The trick to selecting the right accounting software package is that it’s “just right” for you. Remember this is supposed to help you be more efficient and profitable. Anything that doesn’t address that simple fact, or goes too far off that mission should make you wary. Nothing is worse than spending resources on something that harms your firm — and the wrong accounting software can certainly do that.

How-Your-Accounting-Software-Could-Be-Hurting-You-What-is-just right


Vigilance is the price of progress

After you’ve settled on what accounting software works best for your firm, you might be tempted to think the work is done. After all, you have it all set up, the staff is trained, it’s paid for… What else is there to do? Turns out, quite a bit. And not doing it can really hurt you.


Keep it fresh

Software updates might seem to be a thing of the past, especially if your software is in the cloud. There are exceptions, however. Some cloud packages do install launchers or other items on your system that have to be actively updated from time to time. Don’t overlook those emails from your vendor — they’ll usually let you know if something needs to be done on your end.

And aside from the accounting software itself, you might still need to stay abreast of updates to other associated software — your computer’s OS, your browser, other integrated packages… the list goes on. Fail to keep abreast of these updates, and you could find yourself with a frustrating and costly setback.



Never stop learning

As your accounting software changes over time, so will the way you get things done in it. Failure to stay educated on the software can cause costly delays and mistakes, which will hurt the firm.

If there’s a certification course in the software, it’s a good idea to have your staff renew it annually to help address any updates or new features. In lieu of this, make sure they make full use of any available instructional videos, articles, or knowledge bases/FAQs the vendor provides.


Keep your finger on the pulse

We said it already: software changes over time. Every vendor strives to make their product better rather than worse, but sometimes the changes don’t align with your needs. Another scenario: it turns out your staff either doesn’t like or isn’t able to effectively use the software you’ve chosen.

Either way, your firm is hurting. So check in periodically on your accounting software’s usability, and if/how your staff is using it. You do yourself no favors by forcing your staff to use something they hate, or that isn’t helping them be more efficient.



People Outgrow Things, Right? So Do Businesses.

You’ve been there — that comic book collection you adored in college just doesn’t do it for you anymore. Or maybe you had a baby and the house seems smaller than it once did. And we all went through growth spurts (either upward or outward) that rendered our favorite t-shirts unwearable.

Accounting firms do the same thing. As your services and abilities grow and change, and as your client roster grows, you might find you’re outgrowing the accounting software (or other software) that once worked so well for you. Don’t be sentimental about it — if it doesn’t fit, it’s time to move on.

You can save yourself this heartache by choosing software that, from the start, is both scalable and easily integrated with your other solutions. Both scalability and interoperability are critical features in any accounting software (and really ANY software) you choose. Not accounting for those factors is a sure way to hurt your firm’s efficiency and profitability.

Keeping all of these things in mind, we’ve been working hard to put the finishing touches on Botkeeper Infinite. The ultimate in flexible automated bookkeeping, you can administer it on your own or add services for more time savings — and you can choose to do so on a client-by-client basis. That’s right — mix and match software only clients with ones who get even more from your Botkeeper relationship.

We’re super excited about it, and hope you are, too. It’s coming VERY soon, but there is still time to sign up for the chance to get early access to the platform. Join the waitlist today!


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