Is your business experiencing recurring functional or efficiency issues? Is your business expanding? Are you hiring more employees? Does your business have increasingly more specific needs that cannot be addressed by your existing software?
If your answer is “yes” to any of the above questions, it may be time to reconsider your choice of business management software. Software such as QuickBooks, MYOB and Xero are amazingly diverse and easy to use for a small business, with many ways to expand the software so that it can evolve with your business. However, there will come a point when your company will outgrow them and it is no longer the best choice for your business management software.
So how do you identify the limitations on your business? Are you:
- Using different programs or spread sheets for different functions?
Are you working off spread sheets or using a number of programs to help support the functionality of your main accounting software? For example, do you have a different program for purchasing, job costing, point of sale or even inventory management? You shouldn’t! Although there is no such thing as the perfect match, your business management software should meet around 80%+ of your business’s needs. If it’s not, this is a clear indicator that your business is not operating at its full potential and you may need to make a change.
- Creating manual transactions or documents?
Are you raising manual purchase orders or have other functions within your business that are manual? Do you still keep manual timecards and have someone key them in at the end of the week? Not only is this inefficient and more prone to error, its vital information that a system needs for accurate reporting and processing.
- Relying on key people to keep it all running?
If you have multiple programs connected in an ad-hoc fashion and you are working off spread sheets or manual documents, you may be relying on key people within your business to keep your complicated system running smoothly. What happens when they are sick or need to take holidays or even leave? Will the company cope, or will your whole system come to a grinding halt? There are systems available that can help prevent catastrophes such as this and keep your business running smoothly.
- Double handling entry of data?
Do you have to enter the same data into two programs, or even two areas of the same program? Maybe you have an external program for handling jobs and rekey the creditor’s invoices into the accounting system. Double entry of data is very inefficient and obviously prone to errors.
- Locked out with no real security?
Many entry level systems were not originally designed to be true multi-user products. As your business grows, you will most likely require more people to use the software at the same time. You need to have the ability for multiple users to access and update any part of the system simultaneously, ensuring maximum productivity. Being locked out of an area because someone else is in there is not acceptable. At the same time you also need the ability to dictate who can access certain areas of the software and what they can do in there.
- Not getting the right information?
If you’re not able to capture all the information you need using your current system, it doesn’t matter how good the reporting tools are, you’re just not going to get the right reports to help you manage and control your business effectively. Not having the right management information can lead to bad decisions and ultimately affect your business profitability and growth.
- Getting incorrect or wrong information?
If the information available in your system is often inaccurate or even missing, then how can the system support your business processes? For example, if you can’t rely on your stock figures at all times, it is impossible to move into automated purchasing and requisitioning onto orders and into jobs. If the stock is not accurate and not reliable, then it is not going to work for you; all you are doing is just bookkeeping functions, and even then, the system is not going to give you an accurate value of your stock holding.
- Finding the system slow to run?
As your business grows and more people are using the system, the volume of data will increase and your system may begin to run slower. This can make it frustrating to get the information you need when you need it. Entry level systems often don’t have the capacity to deal with these increased volumes, making the system less efficient for everyone.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you may have just diagnosed your business’s main software problem. The most important thing to remember now is don’t be afraid to investigate and ultimately take the next step. Although it may seem like a daunting task, the efficiency and profitability of your business can improve dramatically, and there are people and companies that can help you who are dedicated to making the transition a smooth one.