Eight Rules for Investing in a New Accounting System - Slide 2

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When it comes to accounting software, it is the underpinnings of the system that ultimately determine its effectiveness. Proper system design makes the difference between merely operating from an ocean of data to propelling your business forward with clear reports and meaningful analytics. Start by taking a good look at the ledgers behind any system you consider.

Many businesses start out using a simple single-ledger system like QuickBooks. A single ledger system stores all of your business information in one place, which is simple and appropriate for small companies. Effective systems, designed for the demands of more advanced businesses use a series of inter-connected ledgers. These multi-ledger systems are optimized for reporting and analysis. Accounts receivable information, for example, is maintained in one place—with detailed transactions for customer data, customer credit limits, and payment terms all stored together in that individual ledger. Only summary financial data is stored in the general ledger, which maintains connections back to the source ledger.

Reporting can be handled from the general or subsidiary ledgers without limitation, and the entire system is optimized for maximum efficiency, performance and scalability. Multiple ledgers are the key to faster closing processes, strong audit and control environments, rich planning, and reporting opportunities and provide the basis for a solution that can grow with your business.

A good financial and accounting system, like a powerful engine on a seafaring vessel, should propel your business forward. It should give you the specific insights you need to spot the storms ahead, help you maximize resources with streamlined processes, and be nimble enough to help you navigate the changing currents of today’s business environment. It should turn information into insights and give your employees the access they need to make informed decisions. Despite vendor claims, many accounting systems do just the opposite. They tie you down, restrict your progress, and make you change the way you operate on a daily basis. Rather than offering you ‘smooth sailing’ as you steer your business forward, these ineffective software packages act like anchors that keep your business stuck. Accounting software is a strategic investment, and you should not settle for less than exactly what you need to reach your business goals. Before you embark on a search for the right solution, you need to make sure you have the facts straight about what to look for, and more importantly, what to look out for.

Sailors learn not only what to do in an emergency, but also how to identify potential trouble — and what flag to raise when they see it coming. In this slideshow, Intacct, a provider of cloud-based accounting software, offers tips on how to avoid making the wrong system decision by separating the characteristics that matter from those that could run your business aground. You’ll learn how to compare fair-weather solutions to systems that are designed to weather rough regulatory seas, facilitate international business, and provide clear navigational guidance. The goal is to help you find a system that provides a solid foundation to help your business steam ahead—rather than just stay afloat. By taking the time to carefully select the right solution, you can confidently set sail on a grand business adventure.

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