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Too Busy in Business to Enjoy Leisure Time?

Aug 18, 2007
These days accounting software forms the backbone of most businesses and the right package can improve your decision-making and responsiveness, which in turn leads to increased productivity and profitability. Business staff need to be able to access the right financial information whenever it is needed. Any business manager needs a completely accurate picture of their business operations at any time, not just at the end of the month.

Accounting software has come a long way in the last few years. It is no longer just about invoices, payments and payroll. It can link together every single aspect of a business from customer relationship management to despatch and delivery. Your accounting package needs to integrate with your existing systems allowing staff to extract and input data easily via applications that they use every day such as Microsoft Office. This avoids the re-keying of data which is time consuming and can lead to errors.

Business managers need financial information on a daily basis in order to make the right decisions and respond effectively to issues as they arise. If they have to wait for weekly or even monthly reports, they are working blind for most of the time. Your accounting package should allow you to access data in real time, ie: All data is updated simultaneously with each transaction and not in batches or at pre-set intervals.

You need to be able to produce management accounts and other reports for meetings, presentations and mailings, often with minimum notice. A good accounting package will allow you to do this easily either using ready-made templates or specially customised reports.

Sales orders and timesheets can be completed electronically by individuals across the organisation, even by those working remotely, and sent straight into your accounting system updating the records immediately. This removes the need for manual records, reduces admin and ensures more accurate data.

Some packages will also allow you to request an alert on your PC, for example when an order comes in or a client goes on stop. This helps managers to keep in touch with what is going on in the business minute by minute and allows them to address potential problems or opportunities as they arise.

Your accounting software should be able to provide you and your managers with an instant overview of your profitability, sales pipeline, debtors etc as well as the detail of each individual transaction. It should allow you to track each order from start to finish. This can all be done in a matter of minutes, allowing managers to spend more time improving customer service and developing your business.

As organisations become more and more reliant on their IT systems, security of data becomes increasingly important. In the event of a power or hardware failure valuable data can be lost so it is important to ensure that your system is completely secure and saves each transaction as it is entered.

Flexible and remote working is becoming more common and these people also need to have access to your accounting system so they can view the relevant information and input data as appropriate. They may be out of the office for days or weeks at a time but need to keep in touch with what is going on and to update customer records.

As your business grows your system will need to evolve to cater for more users - possibly at different sites, new products and services, new channels and markets and inevitably new internal processes. If your accounting package is not flexible or powerful enough to grow with your business, you may find you spend more and more time and money trying to fix problems, and ultimately your system will prevent you from moving forward.

On the other hand, if you invest wisely in the right accounting package, it will not only support your growth, it will help you to improve the way you manage your business and ultimately, your profitability!
About the Author
Shaun Parker has had first hand experience in the changes to both accounting, IT support and payroll services. His need for IT Support London is outsourced and has enabled more time to be spent at the golf course or at home.
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