Choosing the right accountancy package for your company isn't simply a case of choosing the right software – you also need to choose the right vendor, one that can deliver the support your growing business needs.
For a growing business perhaps the most vital questions is whether your vendor provides a migration path and upgrades that match your immediate needs as well as the growth plan of your business. Then there are also other important factors. For instance, how committed are they to the market and how long have they been servicing your sector? How established is the product in the market place and how long are they willing to offer support for the package?
If you're planning to do any sort of e-business you must factor in your web trading activity when choosing an accountancy package. This could include reconciling online orders with your sales ledger or handling currency exchanges when trading with international customers. Or, if you want to invoice via the web, consider whether you would benefit from using services such as PayPal or WorldPay.
Whether you're thinking of working solely online or not, take a close look at five main issues: software licenses, customisation, hardware, consultancy and training of staff. All of these are as much about logistics as they are about cost. They force a business to get down to the nitty-gritty of what product will work best for them. For example, who do you want to have access to the software? Is it just a tool for the accounts department or do you want some of your managers to have access too?
Again when it comes to making your final choice, the most common advice from suppliers and end-users is to err on the side of caution. Steve Fraser, a director of Monahans Chartered Accountants says: “Don't run before you can walk. You're better off having less and building on it. Keep an eye on what updates are available.”
So take care to pick an accountancy package that works for you now and can be upgraded over time, rather than one offering all manner of bells and whistles that you may never need.