Is it Time to Move to Accountancy Software?
Business is going digital which means more and more people are transitioning to accounting software.
The market for accounting software has been growing over the past few years and the arrival of measures such as Making Tax Digital has given it even more impetus. More and more people are moving onto the cloud and updating their software to gain even more value. As they do so, the accounts function is being transformed.
It is evolving from something which simply keeps the numbers in line to a way to unlock hidden insights and drive your company forward. Even so, this new high-tech age creates a number of challenges.
Mind the gap
The first is a possible gap between the digital haves and have nots. Accounting software fits into the world of digital transformation which sees technology becoming embedded into the very DNA of companies.
However, adoption is far from widespread. While some are surging ahead, others are stuck in the past, messing about with paper-based accounts. For those slow movers, everything happens with a delay button.
It takes longer to compile accounts, financial information is usually out of date and, in many cases, contains mistakes. Data which could be captured, viewed and analysed within an accounts system goes AWOL which means businesses miss out on all sorts of opportunities.
For example, software brings all your financial information into one place. You can get real time views of what’s coming in and what’s going out of your business. You can monitor cash flow and see where your company is making the most money. The ability to look back on past data allows you to identify trends, predict future performance and plan accordingly. In other words, you can understand more about your business and make better decisions.
A company using accounting software, therefore, has all sorts of advantages and that will translate to the wider market. It’s a bit like having a jet ski against a rowing boat. Those which have not made the leap, therefore, could see their competitors powering past them and into the distance.
Even if that’s not a problem, the arrival of making tax digital and other developments is designed to move towards a paperless future. Soon we’ll all have no option but to do everything digitally. The Government’s initiative aims to bring an end to the tax return as we know it, streamlining administration and making life easier for everyone. As a recent survey showed that might not be having the desired effect, but it does push reluctant adopters into the digital realm.
Most packages acknowledge this. At 3 Wise Bears, for example, we offer specific Making Tax Digital services and our software has been updated to fulfil all your new tax obligations.
Choice and opportunity
The booming software market means companies have more options than ever before. Previously a smaller business might have shied away from buying software because of the price. Today, though, competition means there are packages out there for everyone.
Most software packages come with varying levels ranging from free to premium. Because it’s cloud based, there’s no need to install hardware, you can upgrade as and when you want, and make sure you’re always using as much as you need and no more.
A thriving market means there are plenty of participants allowing you to pick and choose the perfect option for your requirements.
However, that choice can confuse things. There are plenty of providers out there, but they are not all created equal. Some will be better than others. They will have different price points, varying features and packages. Quality and performance will vary as much as anywhere else and, in a world increasingly dominated by cybercrime, some will be safer than others.
Staying safe in the cloud
This last point is incredibly important. The rise of cloud computing, and software solutions does indeed create all sorts of exciting opportunities, but it can put you at risk. Cybercrime is booming and criminals are specifically targeting smaller companies which are moving online.
They are doing so for the same reason a burglar will zone in on a homeowner who routinely forgets to lock the front door. They love easy targets. As smaller companies embrace the opportunities of digital technology, many of them are leaving themselves wide open.
If you’re using a third-party accounts software provider, you will need to know they are entirely safe and secure. This is something many companies forget about. Although most people are working hard on their internal security most are still forgetting about their partners.
This is a mistake because every partner represents a potential weak point. If their systems are weak it will be your data at risk. If there is a link between your own internal systems and an internal partner, it can serve as a point of entry for any potential attacker. It’s a bit like having the world’s greater security system for your office but inviting workmen over the weekend who leave the front door unlocked.
With any provider, therefore, you should undertake a reasonable amount of due diligence. First you should assess your own requirements including your budget and the features you need. Next, you look at which providers offer this, for a price you can afford.
You might also like to consider where your company might be going in the future. If you’re growing rapidly, the chances are you might need a more complicated software a year or two down the line. If that’s the case you’ll want someone who offers addons and makes it easy to upgrade your package when the time comes.
Most of all you should check that they can deliver what they say and have expertise which can be independently verified. 3 Wise Bears has been certified to offer services with two of the world’s leading platforms: FreeAgent and Xero. Our expertise enables us to get the most out of these fantastic platforms and put all that functionality at your fingertips.
The world of accounting software, therefore, has all sorts of interesting opportunities, but these also bring challenges. It’s a complicated world out there and, as with anything else, technology only really works if it is used in the right way.