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What's your spring shopping list for tech?

24th Apr 2023
Brought to you by
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Aurelia are the automation and software experts for accountants and finance leads. We want to to...
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Spring is the perfect time to evaluate your software setup. Straight out of your busiest period, self-assessment season, you’ll have a sharp understanding of where tech made a world of difference – and where it let you down. 

And, where MTD ITSA may have previously discouraged innovation (with focus on meeting requirements quickly), its delay offers a chance to find a solution that works – rather than rushing to comply. 

From core accounting software to bookkeeping solutions, automated workflows to invoice management, there are lots of products out there promising to make your life easier.  But how do you know where to start?

Your Spring Shopping List for Tech | Aurelia on AccountingWeb
Andrea Picquadio // Pexels

Questions to ask

Start by cataloguing the problems you have with your current solution(s), identifying issues to solve and inefficiencies to banish. 

Then, check your existing software. Are there new updates you could make use of or features you’re not using? Smart tech solutions are always evolving, so make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed.

Next, consider the specific features you need and why. Grouping these into ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ can help with buying decisions. 

Look closely at how the tech you’re considering would integrate with your existing software — tools that don’t ‘talk’ to each other will slow you down. 

You’ll also need to plan long-term: will the new software support you in two years time or have the features your clients need as they scale? 

It’s worth checking out any provider’s product roadmap (sometimes they’ll publish these) and also looking at their customer service. Do they help with implementation and respond quickly to feedback? If not, tasks like onboarding might be more difficult, and an alternative solution might suit you better.

Crucially, remember that tech should facilitate client collaboration and make things simpler for you: be wary of anything that adds another step to an already complex workflow.

Finally, investing in the right tech is sensible, but you need to think about your bottom line. Consider your spend and choose wisely.

Top considerations for new tech

Integration is critical 

An unwieldy tech stack that doesn’t communicate will cause headaches no matter how bright and shiny a new tool looks. It’s essential to search for a tech vendor that offers integrations with multiple platforms.

Good providers continually expand their integrations with e-commerce shops, payment providers, accounting software and inventory management tools, so look out for developments that could benefit you.

It’s a smart idea to think about which integrations you need early on. Make sure any invoice processing tool you’re thinking of, for example, integrates properly with your accounting software. By linking your accounting software with a tool like our Invoice Inbox, you’ll be able to reduce manual work as invoices are automatically processed, categorised, and marked as paid. 

Put automation front and centre

Automation apps join up your software platforms —  letting you set up automations based on set logic (if x happens, y is triggered).  

You’ll usually choose from a mix of ready-made templates and custom workflows to specify how your automations should run. 

With our workflow builder, for example, you’ll identify your accounting tasks, pick and connect your tools, tell us what needs to be done, test it once – and that’s it. That means less risk of errors in tax and bookkeeping, and a detailed history of any activity. 

Setting up workflows between tools is possible with platforms like ours, but it’s wise to get as much as possible out of as few solutions as you can. 

Software that combines optical character recognition (OCR) with accounts payable and payments, for example, means you’ll be able to automate accurate processing at high volume – while potentially cutting your subscriptions. 

Workarounds don’t work forever

Finally, it’s best to use tools that are built for a specific purpose – rather than shoe-horning activity into tech that’s not designed for it. 

Some good generalist tools, like Zapier or Make, don’t work well when it comes to handling accounting data. Workflows can be unreliable, and failures can mean things aren’t recorded properly. Because there’s no way to see what went wrong or how to fix it,  you could spend considerable time troubleshooting – or risk inaccuracy.

Non-purpose-built platforms can also be tricky to set up. Zapier, for instance, will give you error messages intended for developers (try deciphering: ‘string is not a valid invoice id’!) when you make a mistake. 

So, look for specialist tech (like ours) that’s built to handle the quirks of running an accounting practice and feels intuitive.

Making smart purchases

Shopping for software involves balancing your tech wishlist with practical analysis of where your current gaps are. 

With a bustling marketplace, selecting the right tech is now less about jumping on the latest trend – and more about making sure your software is a solid partner for you and your clients for the next few years. 

We’d love to hear how you got on, what you picked and if you’ve made the most of integration and automation. Get in touch!