How to Choose the Best Outsourced Accounting Services and Software for Your Business

October 27, 2020 | Article

By Dustin Wheeler, CPA

From natural disasters to rapidly changing technologies, business owners have always been faced with challenges that force them to reexamine the way they do things. Many business owners have recently had to learn the hard way just how inefficient and inconvenient their accounting systems have become. (Pandemic, anyone?)

If your accounting process includes hours of mind-numbing data entry, constantly emailing files back and forth, paper all over your office and bulging file cabinets, it’s time to move your accounting system into the cloud.

The Advantage of the Cloud
When we first talk with a new client, we’re often asked about the advantage of the cloud.

What’s so different about the cloud compared to our current software?
How’s the cloud better?
Why should we change?
Will moving to the cloud save us money?

The fact remains that, to be competitive, you need to stay on top of market changes. This means everything from adjusting to customer expectations to keeping pace with new technology.

The pace of business is changing. And sometimes it feels like change is changing even faster. Businesses simply cannot afford to lag behind. At the crux of it are your processes and tools. How you run your organization and the framework you provide your team with determines how well you can adapt and adjust to gain a competitive advantage.

We’re sure this is nothing you haven’t heard before. But the fact of the matter is that we see far too many clients running on software that does not actually support their organization. Their teams are stressed, their processes are broken and at the base of it all is a business system that’s dated and lagging.

The Problem with Traditional Business Software
According to Forrester Research, nearly half of organizations are running on a business management software that is two versions behind the current release—often four or more years old. Now that’s alarming.

How can you expect your organization to grow when your business management software predates the first Apple Watch? Is that powering your organization? Is that enabling you to remain competitive?

Version-locked business management software is an anchor. Legacy systems are simply not structured for today’s model of success.

Dated technology is holding your organization back.

What is Cloud Accounting?
The cloud is a broad term encompassing many service models. Generally, cloud-based accounting means that the accounting application runs online through a web browser and the data is stored online, rather than on a program installed on a local workstation. 

The Benefits of Cloud Accounting
We could go on and on about all the ways to know it’s time for a new business management system—the internal pains and time-consuming processes—but the real advantage of cloud technology is its ability to be an advantage for your business.

Accessibility and Mobility
Agility, scalability and mobility—these are a modern business’s differentiators, and cloud-based business systems fuel them all. Being able to access your information from anywhere, across devices is non-negotiable these days. Our world is mobile, and your organization needs to be, too.

Business owners operating in the cloud have the freedom of accessing accounting and business data anywhere with the internet and with nearly any type of computer or mobile device. This has proven to be imperative in today’s remote business climate.

Regular Updates
One of the greatest things about the cloud is how easy it is to do system updates. Gone are the days when upgrading to the latest software version meant crossing your fingers and hoping it doesn’t break a custom process. No more long hours for your IT department or extended system downtime because of updates and maintenance.

Updates in the cloud are seamless, and they can be done in a couple hours. This means, as the market continues to change, your business software is changing too. Most cloud business systems push out multiple releases every year, so you can feel confident that your tech has your back.

Real-Time Data Reporting
There’s no need to wait until the end of the month to see how your business is doing. With live connections to banks and other software, cloud accounting can provide a snapshot of your organization in real time to help you monitor your key performance indicators.

You can easily get help when your accounting is in the cloud.  Business owners, employees and accountants all have access to real-time data, leading to a more collaborative relationship among your helpers and advisors.

Time Savings
There is no software installation, no maintenance and no exchanging of files. Today’s cloud accounting software solutions have many time-saving features to import bank feeds and set rules to automate transaction classifications.

Reduced Risks
There are a number of risks that come with legacy systems, the largest being security. It’s ironic that cloud computing is often considered a security risk, when in fact, it’s significantly safer. That’s because an advantage of the cloud lies in its regular updates, including the latest security and network patches.
Running on dated software leaves your data vulnerable and your organization at risk of being non-compliant on new regulations.

New software implementations can be challenging, but Eide Bailly can provide training and support to ensure a smooth transition. Read more about how we helped Stanworth Consultants migrate to the cloud.

What is the Best Cloud-Based Accounting Software?
There are several popular accounting applications that you can purchase “off the shelf,” but how do you know which cloud-based accounting software is right for your business? It’s important to start off with the right software because it may be costly and time-consuming to switch to another later.  Below are a few features you may want to consider when making a decision:

  • Do you need to recognize revenue over the life of contracts?
  • Do you need to consolidate accounting information from several companies, locations or departments?
  • Is your accounting workflow unique, requiring a system that is customizable and flexible?
  • Do you have a need for advanced dashboards and reporting options?
  • Will you be doing job costing or allocating income and expenses to projects?

Because businesses’ individual needs vary, there is no one-size-fits-all package. Our advisors can help you decide which accounting solution is right for your organization.

  • QuickBooks Online: QuickBooks Online offers several solutions and add-on packages to meet the needs of your small business. This small business accounting software can help you track income and expenses as well as send invoices and accept payments.
  • Sage Intacct: If your small business is outgrowing QuickBooks, Sage Intacct offers custom workflows and reporting that can give you a broad overview of your financial data.
  • NetSuite: As the #1 cloud ERP solution, NetSuite can help you manage your entire back office, including accounting, inventory management, distribution, human capital, and more.

Once you’ve determined which package is the best fit, our advisors can make sure that your implementation is smooth and seamless, so you can sit back and let your accounting software work for you.

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