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How SaaS Enterprises can zero in on a best-fit accounting software

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By Chenthil Eswaran, Practice Head of Enterprise Business Applications, Aspire Systems

Accounting has long since made a move to the digital world. It has grown from a simple data-entry program for individual record-keeping to an advanced accounting system for managing company invoices, ledgers, staff salaries, and more. However, even the nascent stage of selecting the right accounting software involves complexities that affect enterprises of all sizes. SaaS-based startups may not even have the right in-house talent to identify it. As for medium-sized or large enterprises, there is the fear of over engineering – which leads to difficult-to-maintain systems and complicated accounting processes.

Going beyond features and functionalities

The fact remains that for SaaS enterprises, the right accounting software can play a significant role. It empowers them to strategically plan, streamline, and take full control of their financial processes.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of foresight while selecting the software. Enterprises go by broad functionalities like 24/7 availability, fast deployment, role-based access, etc. It causes them to either oversimplify the buying process. And that’s where the problem starts.

So, how do you ensure that you have selected the right accounting software?

The most straightforward answer is there’s no such thing as the best option. It depends on your SaaS enterprise’s unique business requirements. Fortunately, there are proven steps be on the right track.

Key steps for selecting the best-fit accounting software

• Firstly, it is important to identify the enterprise goals which are aligned to financial management. This will help narrow down the software that comes within the ballpark of your budget. Else, at some point, the cost of the software will outpace the ROI of the investment.

• The accounting software should be compatible with your technology ecosystem comprising HR processes, IT systems, and enterprise-wide data management frameworks. Without this information, you would be rolling the dice as far as software-enterprise fitment is concerned.

• An overall review of the software should be conducted, including its capacity to your business requirements and its scalability to grow along with your enterprise which includes customization to enable continuous improvement, we can’t always rely on OEM features. Going beyond its features and functionalities, be sure that the OEM has a strong financial features too.

• Few SaaS enterprises may have the internal know-how to make accounting software-related decisions. Find a third-party consultant with the right mix of expertise and experience goes a long way to effectively establish the guiding principles and accurately scope the requirements.

• Demos tend to be the most influential part of the selection journey because it’s a real-time software experience. Take at least three demos of different products before making the final. It is also your responsibility to define your top 10 use cases. Don’t allow the salesperson to dictate them – they may showcase niche capabilities irrelevant to your requirements.

• It’s the business user who decides whether the software is a success. Ask them to conduct a self-assessment of the accounting software before taking their feedback. After all, they are the ones who would be using it every day!

• After demo completion, request a mandatory three-month trial period – to be treated as a POC for a single entity paid or unpaid . During this time, the software provider is expected to upload the master data. Once they conduct a test run with three months of data, a final report should be submitted.

As a cautionary note, if your enterprise is about to kickstart business process re-engineering (BPR), make sure to later plan for any ERP implementation. If done at the same time, it can lead to chaos that trickles down enterprise wide.

Deploying accounting software can be a milestone moment for any SaaS enterprise’s journey. As earlier mentioned, there’s no such thing as the best accounting software. Start looking for a best-fit software for your SaaS enterprise.

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