8 Steps to Finding the Right Software Solutions for Your Business (Part 2)

8 Steps to Finding the Right Software Solutions for Your Business (Part 2)

By Judie McCarthy.

If you’re just joining us, we’re on Part 2 in a series on the steps to finding the right software solutions to run your business. We encourage you to read Part 1 (here) before proceeding with the rest of this article. (Go to Part 1.)

In the first part we discussed relevant topics such as:

  • Determine the solutions you have in place

  • Understand and get to know your needs

  • Search for software solutions

  • Testing different solutions

But for now we’ll cover the fine, small details that are so easy to overlook when trying to find the right software for your business, starting with pricing.

Steps 5-8: Find the right software solutions for your business

5. Pricing and Your Budget

The price can cause sticker shock for many businesses. Often people think, “Is this going to cost that much?!” This can lead them to miss out on a solution that can supercharge their business in a way that manual labor cannot.

Instead, you need to look at price against value to assess if a solution is right for you.

For example, let’s say a practice management solution costs you $60 per month per user. You might think it’s too expensive, but let’s break down the prices to reveal the true cost of this software:

  • $15 per week

  • $3 per business day

If an accountant in your company saves even 10 minutes a day, you will benefit from the software. As you can see, looking at software prices alone is not a good way to determine true costs. You also need to consider the value the software offers.

When evaluating the pricing of a software solution, I also recommend considering the following:

  • pricing model. What pricing model is the software based on? Do you pay monthly, quarterly or annually? Stuck in a contract? Does the pricing have tiers you can upgrade or downgrade to for free?

  • customer oriented. If the software is customer-centric, what are the costs for each customer using the platform?

  • Free often does not mean “free”. When software, especially SaaS platforms, are free, they often offer very limited functionality. Try the free option if available, but also consider the lack of premium features and whether they’re worth the cost of upgrading.

Once you’ve delved into the pricing side of things and landed on a solution that you think makes sense for your business, it’s time to move on to training and onboarding.

6. Understand training and onboarding

Even the best user interface and software in the world has a learning curve. You must view training and onboarding in two ways:

  1. First, what level of training and onboarding is provided? Is the training free or paid?

  2. Second, how much commitment do you need to make? Time is money.

You should also consider the training and onboarding of your employees. If there are no online training materials, does the developer offer to train your employees for a fee? While training might not be such a big problem for a small business, trying to train dozens of employees without the right support can become a logistical nightmare.

While these services come with a fee, they can help shorten the learning curve for your team to make the transition to the solution easier for everyone involved.

At ClientHub, we quickly realized the importance of training and onboarding for our clients. We’ll help make the transition a little bit easier with:

  • A guide describing the main features and how to use the platform

  • Demos showing quick demonstrations of the platform’s capabilities

  • Onboarding solutions and US-based support that ease customers’ transition

If you don’t know what type of onboarding or training is available, just ask. In fact, this is the best time to contact support and see how fast the response time is.

7. Pay close attention to support

When contacting support, consider the following:

  • What kind of support is available? Do you need to call support or can you jump into live chat or send an email and/or ticket to support?

  • What times is support available? What time zone is the support team located in?

  • Is the support abroad or in the US?

  • Human contact is also very important. It has been found that 75% of people prefer talking to a real person when they have a problem. If the software solution doesn’t allow you to contact support directly, consider how this might impact your experience.

Your business will depend on the software solutions you choose. If your choice of support isn’t responsive, convenient, or conducive to the interaction, reconsider your choice. Problems can and do occur with software, and not having a reliable point of contact will cost your business time and money in the long run.

You’ve almost made your decision on the right software for your business, but before you do that, it’s important to consider a few additional things.

8. Don’t forget to consider a few other things

You’ve finally made it to the last step, and there are just a few additional things to note here. First, can the software scale with your business as it grows? For example, can you easily add more users to the software?

Second, one last thing to keep in mind is don’t get bogged down in features you’ll never use. If there are 10 features you will use and 15 you won’t use, consider buying too much. Look for a software solution that fits your needs exactly.

Of course, if you need these features in the near future, the software might not be too expensive.

Wrap up

You’re wasting a lot of time if you underestimate the importance of your tech stack and software solutions. In fact, the majority of accountants agree that technology improves efficiency and productivity.

However, I have outlined the steps that led to my success in choosing software as an accounting professional, and the steps that we help other accountants follow as well. With these steps you too can save your company time, money and valuable resources.

(Read Part 1.)

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Judie McCarthy is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor (Advanced Certified), speaker, author, veteran accountant and co-founder of Client Hub. Client Hub is a unique, all-in-one, web-based workflow and client collaboration tool designed for accounting professionals. Client Hub moves communications from cluttered, insecure email inboxes to a secure, branded workspace. To contact Judie or schedule a demo of Client Hub, click here.

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