While accounting software has been around for decades, it isn’t until recently that companies have been moving their accounting systems to the cloud. This move isn’t a surprise – cloud applications deliver higher return on investment, real-time, multi-dimensional financial analysis and a slew of other benefits, from mobile access to enterprise collaboration.
Choosing an accounting system isn’t a decision to be entered into lightly (the average accounting software is in use for close to a decade). Now consider: Is your company’s accounting system efficient enough? When is the right time to replace your accounting system? How do you evaluate the right solution for your company? These are all questions Brian Sommer, ZDnet columnist, accounting software expert and founder of technology research firm Vital Analysis, helps answer in the Cloud Accounting Evaluation Guide.
The guide to evaluating cloud accounting systems takes a simple step-by-step approach to the evaluation process:
1. Background. This is where you get organized. Not only should your evaluation team be commensurate with the size and complexity of your organization, but the core selection team will likely contain senior executives from finance, IT, legal, procurement and operations departments.
2. Preparation. You must remember that software selection activities have evolved over the years. The guide offers solid advice for organizations who wish to look forward. Some key points include the need to make accounting a real partner in the organization, avoiding a non-value added replacement and evaluating the platform as much as the application.
3. Evaluation. One benefit of cloud applications versus traditional software is that you don’t need to call in the vendor right away for a demo. There are plenty of online resources available to you when evaluating cloud accounting systems, and in this guide Brian Sommer does a great job of discussing all the resources out there as well as how to be the most efficient while evaluating your options.
4. Approval. Don’t forget those contract details. This step in the process includes a look at service level agreements, exit strategies (and what happens to your data if you do not renew), liability issues, performance requirements and more. Plus, this section will take you through how to sell and get buy-in on your decision.
Cloud is the new frontier, and if the last accounting application you purchased was packaged or on-premises based, you will find this comprehensive and informative guide to evaluating cloud accounting systems beyond helpful. Download the full guide here.