Accountants – are you using the right software for each job?
You shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to choosing software for your accountancy practice, just because it’s convenient to use one or two apps for everything.
That’s how you end up wasting time and getting frustrated with substandard payroll add-ons, or built-in CRMs, when you could be using the best-in-class for each function.
Here’s our advice on how to weed out the weak links in your app stack – and how AIRPA can help you build the perfect accounting machine.
The one-stop shop problem
It’s easy to see the appeal of running everything with one piece of software. For a start, you only have to pay a single licence fee, and remember one set of logins and passwords.
And let’s be honest, for some smaller accountancy firms, with relatively simple needs, it can work fine. The fact that they have to grapple with substandard functionality in some areas, or take certain tasks offline, is, for them, a price worth paying.
For ambitious firms, however, with a focus on efficiency and long-term growth, it’s a false economy. ‘The right tool for the right job’ is a mantra of craftsmen everywhere and choosing best-in-class software is a hallmark of professionalism.
The rise of the app stack
‘App stack’ is one of those buzz-phrases you hear people use all the time. In plain English, it just means the selection of software you’ve put together to deliver your work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
The benefit of this approach is that if something isn’t working, you can remove it from the workflow and try something else instead.
Serious software geeks love comparing notes on new apps, reading reviews and testing them out. They’re always excited to hear about a new ‘Excel killer’, Xero challenger or magic plugin that could save them time.
Just as important as keeping an eye on the ever-evolving market, though, is knowing when to upgrade a built-in function to a dedicated package – and when to retire an app that’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Identifying weaknesses in the stack
This might sound obvious but the first thing to do is listen to yourself. If you find yourself getting irritated at the same quirks or bugs month after month, that probably means the software you’re using isn’t quite right for the job.
If you find yourself having to make the same manual adjustments time after time, or using hacks and workarounds to get the app to do what you need, that’s also a warning sign.
There’s also a telltale phrase to listen out for: “It would be great if it could…” If what you’re wishing for is reasonable and doable, the chances are there is a package out there that can do it. You just haven’t found it yet.
It’s also worth surveying your team. Which apps don’t work for them? What do they think is missing from the workflow? If there’s something slowing them down or holding them back, you want it fixed.
AIRPA: sophisticated stack, single logon
If you crave the flexibility of the app stack but are still drawn to the simplicity of the one-stop-shop, there is a third way.
AIRPA allows you to integrate all kinds of applications, from cloud accounting to client databases, with a single logon and one simple dashboard.
In other words, you can have as big and complicated an app stack as you like, with the ease of use of a single application. You can swap apps out, bring in new ones, and automate your work across multiple applications.