Knowing When and How to Leave Quickbooks
If you are running a small but growing business, chances are your finances are run in QuickBooks. It is equally likely that it’s no longer the best software for you to use, but how do you know when it’s time to switch and what exactly should you change to?
This debate has gone on for some time and with the availability of numerous offerings that can handle all of your financial needs, it’s made the choice easier and – at the same time – more challenging.
Following is a summary of many of the issues that growing companies using QuickBooks typically face and some suggestions on how and when to make an upgrade.
Key Signs That QuickBooks is Failing
1. It Becomes Harder to Track Real-Time Activity
As soon as a company expands or takes on new locations, the information that has to be exchanged quickly takes longer than it should. In addition, data is buried in QuickBooks, as well as in other places like the sales force automation system, inventory management applications, and customer service systems.
As a result, you end up wasting time looking for files rather than analyzing them; management reports are error-prone and out of date; reports take too long to run; and it becomes nearly impossible to get a comprehensive view across all business units.
Sound familiar? Let’s move on.
2. Increased Use of Manual Processes
You are now finding that customers, suppliers and business managers are waiting for answers, largely because the specific information they need is increasingly being manually transferred between systems. All too often, this gets caused by incompatibility and imperfect integration issues.
So what happens? For one, your sales orders, order entry, and invoicing are now probably paper-based. Your employees may spend hours every week manually entering order information into the invoicing system, while someone else copies invoice details into a sales compensation spreadsheet. What’s more, bills are being sent to the wrong customer address or contact information may be out of date. In some cases, approval processes are slow and disjointed and financial consolidation takes ages. And forget about sales forecasting and budgeting processes, that just becomes guesswork rather than facts.
3. An Increase in Lost Sales
It’s no big surprise, customers expect things to happen in real time. As such, you need real-time stock levels and confirmed delivery schedules at the same time an order is placed. Now, what happens is that becomes more strained and you start to lose sales because your customer service agents don’t have up-to-date information; stock levels are never where customers want them; customers and vendors don’t have access to self-service information on your website; or, even worse, customer information can’t be easily collected or filtered for sales campaigns, leaving the door open for them to leave you.
4. QuickBooks Used Less for Accounting Work
QuickBooks was designed to automate a limited set of core accounting functions, and when you first started using it, and probably for a while, that was fine. Now you’ve grown passed that and run out of headroom because you have when more customers, vendors, or inventory than QuickBooks can practically handle.
So, what your staff is probably doing now is using other software to get the job done, or even manual processes as I stated above. What’s more, every time there is a change in the business, staff must work overtime or be added to figure out workarounds to accommodate it. Bottom line, you need more automation or integration and just aren’t getting it from what you have.
So what are your next steps?
• Consider the major business risk when financial data is concentrated in a single QuickBooks system, while ancillary information is scattered around in other software systems and spreadsheets.
• Before you outright replace QuickBooks, know what the specific needs of your organization. You may actually be setting your company up to lose money if you don’t at least take the time to do this necessary step, you may also not end up selecting the right tool/s for the job.
• Outsource data migration work to an expert. A properly vetted partner can make all the difference to ensure a smooth transition and that your goals and objectives are properly aligned.