Qualities of a truly modern accounting system
By Steven Cohen, MD of Sage Pastel
Today's small and medium business needs an accounting package based on the latest technology, one that allows it to be more productive, efficient and integrated in the way it does business.
SME owners today are busy, tech-savvy and under enormous pressure to drive profit and revenue -that's why they need software ready to take advantage of the latest technology trends.
Here are four qualities you should be looking for in your accounting software package if you're an SME owner or accountant who wants to be ready for the future, says Steven Cohen, MD of Sage Pastel.
1. Cloud-enabled solutions
The cloud changes everything by allowing you to work anywhere and any time. We have more than 18 000 businesses using our software in the cloud, and they all report it gives them undreamt flexibility while saving them money. Our cloud customers tell us the cloud is liberating because they don't need to install software or worry about updates and upgrades.
As a cloud user, your accounting data and application are both reached through your browser - it makes accounting as simple as using Facebook or Gmail. The data is hosted at a secure data centre, so you don't need to hassle about security, infrastructure or technical skills - instead, you can concentrate on what matters most to you.
2. Connected services to bridge the road from desktop to cloud
We understand that many of our clients are happy with our desktop software - they are comfortable with desktop accounting software because it has been around since the 1980s. For that reason, we have a 'connected services' strategy to provide a bridge from the old world of desktop software to the new world of mobile and cloud computing. We have enriched our desktop software with access to a range of online services, so you can enjoy the benefits of an online system without moving entirely to the cloud.
These services can allow you to automate more of the drudge work involved in business accounting, saving you plenty of time and frustration in the process. For example, we make it simple for you to make online payments to suppliers straight out of our software's interface. Another worthwhile feature is an automatic bank feeds function that automates the process of importing bank statements into your accounting system.
3. Mobile support
If you're like most SME owners or managers I know, you depend on your smartphone to run your business while you're away from your desk visiting suppliers and customers. As such, a robust mobile application that supports all the popular smartphone platforms is an essential requirement in an accounting package built for today's market.
Because the app runs on your Android or Apple smartphone or tablet, you can log in and access your accounting information from virtually anywhere, any time. This will help you to stay on top of your business, even when you're not at the office. For example, your accounting package should make it easy for you to look up details for customer and inventory items, process quotes from your mobile device, and see business indicators on a dashboard, all on your smartphone.
4. Slick interface
Technology is great, but usability is just as important. A good accounting package should offer a slick, responsive interface with text in plain language, lots of wizards and templates that make your life easier, and intuitive ways of doing things that minimise the clicks and steps needed to complete common accounting tasks.
As SMEs, you are mobilising your businesses, shifting towards the cloud, and looking for ways to tap into business intelligence that can help you make better decisions. As such, you shouldn't be stuck with old technology as you try to keep up with the demands of today's business environment.