I continue to be impressed by the software knowledge our prospects have by the time they engage BTerrell Group in a discussion about Intacct and Sage accounting software. Obviously, the Internet is a great tool, and we do our best to provide as much information as possible to enable the self education of potential buyers. When a prospect calls us, he or she needs reassurance they are on the right path as well as the experience and best practices we have learned through hundreds of similar engagements over the last 23 years. We, on the other hand, need to develop an understanding of the business issues prompting the software selection process, and we need to prove to the prospect that we understand not only those issues but also the impact of solving them.
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Many blog articles have been written answering the question “what to look for when evaluating new accounting systems?”. However, those articles focus on features and functionality, and I believe there are important things to consider before beginning the software selection process. My hunch was recently backed up when a prospect called and asked “what should I consider before looking for new ERP or accounting software?” This question differs subtly from a features and functionality inventory. Therefore, I made a list of:
Now that the economy shows definite signs of life, many businesses are growing and experiencing the increased resource demands that go with that growth. With the struggles of the recent past still in mind, decision makers may be hesitant to add more staff, especially in back office departments such as accounting and finance. So, the question for many becomes:
One of our newest employees described BTerrell Group well earlier this week. He said, "I see this company as specialist in pain management; we try to reduce the pain mid-size companies feel as they begin to grow and become more complex organizations." He is exactly right!
The debate over business use of outsourced cloud computing versus on-premise computing has been rising to a higher decibel level. The main advantages of adopting cloud-based software are:
1. Minimal start-up costs in exchange for monthly or annual fees
2. Reduced infrastructure management
3. Web-based deliverability that provides access “anywhere”
On the flip side, the main arguments against cloud computing are the inability of firms to manage system risk and the potential loss of security for proprietary business data. A higher total cost of ownership over longer periods as well as concerns about the difficulty of migrating away from Software as a Service (SaaS) applications present additional roadblocks that prevent accounting from moving to the cloud.
Recently, SaaS options that extend functionality of on-premise accounting systems are beginning to appear. Such hybrid solutions combine the use of both on-premise and cloud-based software. For instance, Indicee, a Web-based application that interacts with reports from on-premise Sage Accpac ERP and other software, provides basic sales analysis and other business intelligence. So far, hybrid solutions do not completely eliminate concerns about data security, but any additional risk extends only to the outsourced applications. Undoubtedly, new software services provided via the cloud will continue to emerge.
- Chris Firra, Sr. Consultant