Case study: Wading through your accounting software choices

Businesses

Accounting professionals, friends, family and online research all play a significant role in the accounting software choices of business owners, so it’s not surprising that when Adrienne was considering moving to an online accounting solution she had many influences.
Adrienne operates a swimming pool business in Western Australia. The “Pump & Pool Doctor” offers a full maintenance service for pools and equipment. The business manages a lot of inventory and various types of clients.
“We currently have 106 regular customers on our list, however some of those customers have their pools serviced twice a month. Several of our customers live overseas, we also deal with Real Estate people who are acting on behalf of their customers,” says Adrienne.

After running QuickBooks on her desktop computer for around 13 years Adrienne found that her data file had become enormous, so big in fact that she was frustrated by how long the file took to open.

Searching for a new accounting solution

The trouble opening files prompted Adrienne to consider an online solution. She admits she’s always loved QuickBooks accounting software and knew the program very well but was prepared to give something else a go.

“One of the solutions I came across was Xero. The first thing I did was install the trial. But honestly it was not until I started to actually use it on a daily basis that I picked up the faults.”

What Adrienne found was that the new accounting solution didn’t have the features and functionality she required. She was also very unfamiliar with the way data was entered. One of the first problems she encountered was entering stock.

“We buy Chlorine in 20 litre drums. The supplier charges us for the 20 litres of Chlorine, then they charge us for the drums. They then credit us with the number of empty 20 litre  drums we take back. With Xero I tried to put that  -8 or -10 and it would not allow me to minus anything,” says Adrienne.

It was a similar problem for Adrienne across a number of product lines the Pool & Pump Doctor stocks.

“With Xero it was a very roundabout way you had to enter that credit. I don’t think I would remember now how I was shown to do that. That is when I really threw my hands in the air and said enough is enough. Get rid of it.”

Taking stock and preparing to change again

After a couple of months Adrienne was more frustrated than before. Knowing QuickBooks so well already she decided to look into using a similar product that operated online,  Reckon Accounts Hosted.

“So I rang Reckon to enquire about it. The lady I spoke to was very helpful and told me about Reckon Accounts Hosted. I couldn’t believe what she told me and could not understand why I had moved to Xero.”

“With Reckon I can go to the customer listing and see what a customer owes. I can go to reports and see what Invoices make up the amount that customer owes. This is done very easily. When a customer pays an invoice by EFT we ask that the invoice number be put in the description field.”

Important lessons learned

Adrienne said she learnt some really important lessons through the experience and has tips for business owners faced with a similar predicament. She says when looking at different accounting solutions for your business first consider:

  • What is the basis of your business? Sales, service or both
  • Know how you’ll have visibility over your income regularly so you can plan for quieter months
  • Talk to your accountant about the sort of information you’ll need to collect in your accounting software to make your business a success
  • Make sure you’ll have access to your business data regularly
  • Find out how the new system works and how easy it is to use for what you need.

What other considerations should businesses make when looking at changing accounting systems?

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