Evaluating accounting software packages can be a daunting proposition with over 4,400 common features found in today’s top accounting software products. Whether it is at low cost entry systems to multi-million dollar ERP solutions there are certain approaches that can help determine which is best for you.
J. Carlton Collins, a highly respected CPA speaker has devised his own approach in aiding this process. This 20-minute technique starts with an initial review and if it passes a list of tests then a more detailed evaluation is warranted. However if the product fails at the initial test stage then it is recommended to not go further with testing and discard the software.
He refers to this process as eating accounting software and it consists of the following seven-course meal:
- Print a financial statement to the screen.
- Customize a data input screen.
- Enter an inventory item.
- Process a sales order.
- Evaluate the account number structure.
- Drill down and around.
- Integration to popular add-on report writers and tools.
After evaluating the above system capabilities the next stage involves determining whether additional evaluation time is warranted. If the system fails this simple test, he advises you to move on and finish testing.
If the accounting software had passed initial testing then the next stage would involve a more detailed evaluation. These tests are listed below.
- Search or Look Up capabilities.
- Notes and comments.
- Event-triggered reporting.
- Data slicing and dicing.
- Set up a customer.
- Set up an employee.
- Contact management or CRM
Source: J. Carlton Collins
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