Friday, August 24, 2007

Twenty-five Steps for Evaluating & Selecting the Right Accounting Software Package

Selecting the wrong accounting software can be a complete disaster. You could even lose your job or your business by making a poor choice – it has certainly happened many times before. Exactly where can you go to get the information you need to make the right decision? There are trade shows, seminars, and magazine articles on selecting accounting software, but they typically just tell you the good stuff. The accounting software publishers at conferences and other similar shows will provide you with a fancy brochure and show you what they have to offer, but the truth is that it is almost impossible to tell what’s missing or what’s wrong with the product. The Value-Added Resellers (VARs) will come to your office to demonstrate the product, but they usually skip over the negative points and weaknesses as well. The magazine articles all seem to gloss over the bad stuff in fear of chasing away advertising dollars.

Too often it takes a complete installation of the system and at least a month of operations to tell if the product will meet your needs – and by then, it is too late. There seems to be no independent place to go to get good help with avoiding the wrong package. This is a problem that everyone faces when selecting accounting software. The good news is that almost all accounting software packages have gotten better over the past decade, and it is now easier to end up with a fairly good product than it used to be. But still, here are some important steps you should follow when selecting accounting software:

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