How to Develop a System for Selecting Accounting Technology
Andrew Marder is speaking at Accountex on Nov. 15, 2016 from 4:50 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
To register for Accountex USA, click here.
There is a minefield of technological options out there for today’s accounting professionals to crawl through. Payroll. Accounts receivable. Invoicing. Investment management. Budgeting. Financial reporting. Or, you could go with a package that rolls some of these features into one.
If you want or need it, it’s out there – of that Andrew Marder is certain. And here’s the thing – in today’s ever-evolving technological universe, the center of your financial world is going to revolve around the accounting software you choose.
This is the kind of information that Marder, a writer with Capterra, a free service provider that helps businesses find the software solutions they need, believes accounting professionals must know. Marder says that because the accounting industry is often risk averse, it’s hard to sell people on new technology and new costs, especially when a lot of small businesses view accounting as a necessary evil.
“A lot of accountants recognize that, and they have to be very careful about how they approach these sorts of things,” Marder says. “They have to approach it from a very slow position and say, ‘Look, I'm adding value to you and I recognize it may cost you money, but here's how I'm adding a little bit of value.’ It has to be a step change. You can't just show up with a brand new shiny toy.”
“I want people to be able to step in to your office and say here are my needs, and then you can recommend a piece of software that they are comfortable implementing.”
In his upcoming presentation at Accountex USA, "How to Develop a System for Selecting Accounting Technology," Marder will examine the process of finding the right solution for small businesses. The session will lay out the groundwork for developing a proven system for software selection, including finding pain points, assessing resources and future growth, and selecting software that will make users happy.
Accountex USA, which attracts key industry experts and thought leaders from across the world, as well as a slate of innovative vendors, will take place Nov. 15-18, 2016, at the Mirage in Las Vegas. To register for the show, click here.
Getting to the “shiny new toy” part of the equation means accounting professionals must develop their own system for software selection – a process that Marder admits can be both exciting and nerve wracking. He recommends two ways to get the job done.
First, you have to create a list you’re comfortable recommending to your clients. That means, no matter what your clients choose off the list and where it ends up, you are comfortable with their selection. It might mean adding small or large vendors you've never worked with. “That is fine, but you have to be comfortable with the process,” Marder says. “You must be 100 percent comfortable with the list they choose and anybody they want off of it.”
The second part is you must have a clear delineation of why people choose one software over another, and you have to account for the overlaps. “You have to have a real selection of choices – a real map that you can walk your clients through,” Marder says.
Walking Through the Pain Points
If there is one common theme that runs through the accounting world, it is that the whole process can be, in Marder’s words, a real pain for small businesses. Tracking and taking care of receipts and everything that goes with the process of running their business takes time – time that pulls small business owners away from the day-to-day grind.
“You have to have a real selection of choices – a real map that you can walk your clients through.”
“There are very few business owners that I've ever come across who are anything more than lukewarm when they talk about the accounting process, because it's a chore,” Marder says. “People pay their taxes and do their bills and pay their employees, but that's not why they went into business. For accountants, navigating those pain points is all about how you can give your clients more time to run the business they've set up and spend less time on the accounting side of things.”
The question then becomes are you and your clients tech savvy? Do they have a mobile device? Can they do receipts on it? These types of questions have to be sorted out or you will have clients who are frustrated with the technology you've given them.
“If they are frustrated, you haven't solved the real pain point, which is they had a chore to do (accounting), and you've made that chore even more top of mind for them,” Marder says. “For small businesses, the pain points are time, cost and the learning curve. Accounting is a task that must be done right, and done efficiently.”
And that’s where technology comes into the equation. New technology affords accounting professionals the opportunity to customize the packages they want to offer. That’s one of the areas Marder’s presentation will focus on.
“I want people to walk away with the confidence to sit down with any business and find them a solution,” Marder says. “Not a solution that will kind of work, not a solution that you love but they hate, but one that everybody can be comfortable with. I want people to be able to step in to your office and show you their needs, and then you can recommend a piece of software that they are comfortable implementing.”
Marder says that’s what makes Accountex USA such a valuable resource. It enables accounting professionals to review the third party providers that can help put these packages together. “Accountex has such a nice selection for these companies – a great selection of core vendors. These third party providers are really breaking new ground. It’s a great way to find out about the time saving programs that you would never have come across if you were just out there on your own wandering in the wild.”