Choosing the Right Software for the Job

August 08, 2020

In the last blog we looked at the things that stop us moving online and put some of those old ideas to rest.

Now that we’ve gained some confidence how do you figure out what the best software for the job is?

The first thing to do is to write down what you hope to achieve. Is it being able to accurately capture the time that your people are working? Perhaps you need to charge that time out to your customers. Or is it time you want to save. Maybe you are sick and tired of all that data entry. Possibly you want to keep better track of your inventory and sell those products online. Whatever you need your software to do, it is well worth spending the time to investigate the options that are available. Be very clear on what a software solution must absolutely do, and what you can live without. Once you’ve got that sorted get Googling. Xero has an awesome app marketplace. Apps are divided into the different things they do, and all the apps found here integrate with Xero. They’ve also been rated by other users – so you can easily see what others think too.

The next step is to set yourself up with a trial or to book in a call with your chosen software. Try out the two or three that best fit the bill. Make sure you enter in some of your own data, as that will make the best sense to you. Book in some time with one of the sales team and put them through the paces. Ask them the tricky questions and get them to give you a demo. It’s really important to get the software that’s going to work the best for you and your business. Getting it wrong can be a costly and stressful exercise.

Once you’ve picked your software, make sure you invest in getting an experienced advisor to help with the setup. It’s really important that the initial setup is done correctly. Scrimping at this point will cost you later, with rework of your data and wasted time getting things right. Sometimes it can mean having to start over. Getting the setup right is crucial. You will need to make sure that your software is integrating with any other software you’re using (such as Xero, payroll, job costing...). You want to make sure that any accounting codes need are the right ones, that information is feeding in correctly and that your software is working the way you expect it to. The setup stage only happens once, and if done correctly very rarely needs to be looked at again.

Last, but not least, invest in having some training with a certified advisor. While you can learn from the free tutorials and videos that most software providers offer, nothing beats having someone sit next to you and teach you how to use your new software properly. And often they’re available to help out with the trickier events that might happen occasionally.

Don’t fear, get out there and take a look around at the options available to help you work smarter.