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5 common software mistakes and how to avoid them

31st Oct 2023
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Xledger is a leading provider of next-generation cloud-based finance software. 

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In the digital age, the way accountants choose to integrate and deploy software has become a key competence, alongside traditional accounting and client-facing functions. The right tools can drastically enhance firms efficiency, service-levels and growth potential – meanwhile a poor choice can lead to wasted resources and time. 

Firms are, by now, well aware that software is not a silver bullet. It’s essential to combine well chosen systems with the right strategy, knowledge and commercial acumen to reap the maximum benefit. 

Here we look at five common software mistakes we see among accountants approaching digital transformation and how firms can avoid them.

 

1. Not thinking scalably

Software exists to solve problems, but in accounting these issues seldom exist in a vacuum. One of the big risks when choosing a technology solution is to address the 'now', without a vision for the 'what comes next'. 

Clients, businesses and market conditions all evolve over time, meaning that tools that meet your immediate requirements may not always be ready to grow with you. Given the work involved in choosing and implementing a new core accounting platform, such as educating clients, updating processes and integrating other tools, replacing tools that are no longer fit for purpose can be a major headache.

This requires a long-term mindset – the right tools should not only solve the problems you’re facing today but also carry you forward into the future. For example, Xledger’s cloud accounting software is designed for businesses that have outgrown the limitations of the basic accounting tools while also providing the same cloud experience that clients demand.

 

2. Consolidating systems  

Modern businesses rely on a range of tools, from CRMs to ERPs and inventory management.  An ad-hoc approach to integration can lead to operational silos, hampering data flow and real-time decision-making.

When choosing a new software package, this should also come with a comprehensive integration strategy. This includes both the technical aspect – open-API-driven platforms can share data with a variety of essential systems – as well as the strategic angle. Your integration approach should include guidelines for what tasks are handled where, and how to review and have a clear vision of your clients data. 

 

3. Not focusing on onboarding

Without the right training and will from your team and your clients, even the most advanced tools can quickly become dust-gathering wastes of time and money. This starts well before a purchase with a clear vision of why the new system is necessary, including the value it will provide and understanding the role it can play in your existing processes. 

The challenge is then to communicate that to your team and your clients, focusing on the benefits it will bring them, and the right way to use it to maximise that impact. This will likely mean more work, in the short term at least, but in the long term putting effort into training materials, client webinars and one-on-one training materials will yield the best return on your investment. 

 

4. Setting and forgetting

Business doesn’t stand still – new regulations, market pressures and client needs can all put new demands on your systems, requiring review and updated processes. In some ways, your tech stack should be treated like any other team member, subject to regular performance reviews, guidance and refocusing on the most pressing issues in your firm.

This could be moving clients who have outgrown SME-focused accounting platforms onto a more powerful system like Xledger.

 

5. Adding too many add-ons 

The ability to connect tools and spot solutions with core systems has been one of the most transformative elements of the cloud accounting revolution. However, without careful attention, firms can quickly find themselves juggling a whole host of specialised solutions that hinder more than they help.

If you find yourself plugging every gap in your existing processes with a new spot solution, it may well be a sign that your core system is not keeping up with your needs. The most efficient route to client service is to consolidate the majority of your essential offerings in a small number of platforms – this not only reduces your costs, but also cuts down on training and integration management.

Xledger is a flexible core accounting system designed to handle accounting needs for growing businesses, from mobile workflow to project accounting and billing, backed by a host of reporting tools to help clients understand what’s going on in their business, without the need for additional add-ons.

 

Approach digital transformation with confidence

Building a successful, modern accounting practice requires making the right technology choices for your team and your clients. With the right tools on your side, accountants can better serve clients, scale efficiently and reduce manual work across the business. 

If you’d like to find out more about our specialist accounting and financial management software and how it can help you better serve mid-market businesses, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact Phil Chalmers on [email protected] to find out more about the Xledger partnership programme for accountancy practices or don’t hesitate to book a demo here.