Q: I am a licensed builder who has been in business over fifteen years. What is the easiest way to make the switch from pen and paper invoices to computerized books? I find it easier to do estimates by hand and simply write customers a receipt but it makes financial reporting and tax time a mess. Not to mention that it drives my partner nuts.
A: First of all, kudos to you for considering change. I know how much courage it takes to try something different especially after running a business the same way for years. The good news is going from paper-based to computerized accounting is much less intimidating as it seems. You just need to know what options works best for you. Not every program is going to be the right fit so here are some tips to consider before buying:
- Meet with the people on your team to review the financial activities that you do on a daily basis. Use this input to create a checklist of the features that you need. The goal is to streamline the process. Look for software that lets you automate as much of the routine as possible so that it saves you time. Compare your checklist to the features each program offers as you consider choices.
- Do a test run to see how the program works before investing money and time. Many software providers offer trial periods to first-time users that allows you to either download a past version or sign-up for the current one with limited functionality online.
- Consider asking for expert assistance. An accountant, for example, may be able to assist in your selection and helping with set-up, training and support.
Let me know when you make the switch and how everything goes with the accounting program!