In Pursuit of Profit
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However, the financial burden of hiring someone in-house makes this option cost prohibitive.
That leaves most business owners assuming they only have one other option – doing it themselves. But this option so has its own challenges because most business owners are already overwhelmed with their responsibilities, and many lack the financial background to master an accounting system solo. They dread losing time and productivity to go through enough training to get them up to speed and worry that even after training, they would still be totally lost.
So, if you’re wondering how you’ll overcome your business’ accounting struggles without in-house IT staff, look to these four elements for cues:
Before you can fix a problem, you must identify it.
It’s always a good idea to start by determining what kinds of barriers exist with your existing accounting software and outlining what the ideal solution would look like for your business. Once you know where the problems exist, you’ll have a foundation to fix them.
You may discover that the issues that you think you need an IT person to fix are known bugs and technical glitches, which fall under the realm of the provider itself. In this case, your accounting software company will likely assign a representative or team to troubleshoot and fix the issues on your behalf once you report them.
Other times, you may discover that the solution you’re using simply doesn’t fit your needs. If a mismatch is occurring, you’ll likely need to consider switching platforms.
The most obvious solution in this scenario is to downgrade to a simpler accounting system. Eliminating the complicated aspects from your day-to-day accounting functions is a clear way to avoid having to bring additional employees to decode your existing system. Downgrading to a more intuitive software makes it easier for existing employees at your company to use and new employees to learn as you grow.
While this is an easy answer on paper, in practice there are definite barriers to consider. Businesses that have change-resistant cultures might not embrace this type of full-scale switch. Similarly, business owners that are already overtaxed with day-to-day functions may be apprehensive of the downtime needed to make the switch and the subsequent learning curve.
It’s counter-intuitive to think that upgrading to more sophisticated software could ever fix the issues with your existing system being too complicated. However, for certain businesses, it’s a real possibility!
Depending on the nature of your business and your accounting software, you may be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It’s possible that the accounting system you have works simply, and easily for some types of companies, and your business just isn’t one of them. For instance, businesses that primarily book recurring subscription-style revenue may find themselves using workarounds to make their accounting system work for them because it’s mainly set-up for individual purchases. By upgrading, you may find a more advanced accounting system is easier to use because it’s designed to do what you need it to do, so it fits your business operations better.
In other instances, the software may have worked initially, and then business changes led to a situation where your business outgrew it. It’s easy to be blind to this scenario if you’ve been using the same accounting system over a long period of time, but the hallmark sign that you need to upgrade is experiencing additional problems that compound over time.
If losing more technical or accounting-savvy employees was the impetus for your struggles, transitioning to a better accounting software may fill in those gaps by letting the software do more work for you. More sophisticated systems often have the automated features that take the guess-work and potential for error out of the hands of business owners.
Business owners have a basic assumption that if they’re having technical issues with their accounting system, they need an IT person to fix them. However, that conclusion is flawed because it neglects other types of help that can solve the same problems.
In most cases, what business owners really need is an accounting person. But without extensive financial experience, most business owners are overwhelmed by the thought of hiring and managing someone to do a job and fulfill ongoing needs that they don’t completely understand themselves. The challenge becomes finding someone that can self-manage and quickly learn the nuances of the business and the software. A professional accountant will likely be able to achieve these objectives because he/she already has the financial background to understand how to marry business needs and accounting system function.
Hiring an experienced senior accountant or bookkeeper part-time or on an as-needed basis, is a much more affordable solution than hiring a full-time in-house role. Find out more about how you can get the accounting help that you need, when you need it, on your terms!
We can help keep you better understand how to improve your system and evaluate whether it is time to upgrade. Contact Eric Moore, ASP Practice Leader here.