As the accounting profession evolves and becomes increasingly digital, technology has become a crucial tool for accountants to improve efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. According to research by Gartner, by 2024, more than 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to cloud. But with so many technology vendors available, choosing the right one for your organization can be overwhelming. Consequently, technology plays a vital role, and it is imperative for accountants to remain up to date with the latest tools to perform their job efficiently.
If you’re considering a new tech stack or are in the process of evaluating technology vendors, here are some key factors to consider when evaluating technology vendors for your organization.
The first and most important factor to consider when selecting technology for accountants is its functionality. When evaluating technology vendors, it is imperative to make sure to select a platform that can perform the tasks you need to achieve your business goals. Platforms with limited functionality will only be able to solve a limited set of problems, while technologies with robust functionalities can solve a wide range of problems. Consequently, it is crucial to select a vendor that offers the functionality necessary to achieve the desired outcomes. Whenever you are evaluating a new platform, you must assess the vendor's solution against your own organization's business requirements to ensure that the vendor can deliver the functionality required to meet your needs.
Functionality is important because it directly impacts the user experience. A technology that lacks functionality is frustrating to use, and users will quickly abandon it in favor of a more practical alternative. Users may even revert to their old habits and stick what they know (Excel I am looking at you!).
In contrast, a technology that is highly functional makes the user's life easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. As business requirements change over time, technology solutions need to keep pace with these changes. A vendor that offers a solution with robust functionality will ensure that the investment made in technology will be future-proof and able to meet evolving requirements.
Integration is a critical feature when choosing technology vendors for your business, which refers to the seamless connection between different systems and software, allowing them to work together smoothly. Seamless integrations between platforms helps you to achieve a streamlined workflow by ensuring that all relevant information is accessible from one central location. A successful integration can also improve collaboration amongst teams, by providing the correct information and resources in one centralized location.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies have revolutionized the way businesses operate by providing a platform that allows users to connect with different applications, taking advantage of the cloud's ability to integrate with other software programs seamlessly. In case you missed it, check out our post on cloud collaboration here. This has been a significant advantage for cloud-based solutions, such as QuickBooks, Salesforce, and others, which can easily integrate with other applications, allowing users to access a wide range of tools and resources from a single platform. This integration capability enables SaaS companies to provide their customers with a more comprehensive suite of services that cater to their diverse needs, allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively in a highly competitive market.
New integrations or migrating data can often be perceived as a daunting task when you are evaluating different technology vendors. But by selecting a vendor that can provide a flexible and adaptable platform that adjusts to your own business needs, you can ensure that your investment in a new technology is being optimized and this ultimately can help organizations to stay ahead of the curve and adapt quickly to changing market conditions. When evaluating different technology vendors, it is necessary to consider the level of integration that each vendor can offer, and to prioritize vendors that can provide a seamless integration experience.
Security should always be a top priority when choosing technology vendors. When evaluating a new technology platform, it is important to look for a vendor that offer robust data protection measures, such as encryption, secure backups, and regular security audits. In a previous post, we highlighted the potential cyber threats associated with email communication and emphasized the benefits of using more robust platforms such as file sharing or client portals. These platforms provide additional security features, such as two-factor authentication, and alternative technologies that can enable better collaboration between teams and clients.
Also, security measures within a platform can also ensure your organization is compliant with regulations and meets industry standards. Within the accounting and finance profession, organizations need to take security seriously, especially when it comes to their financial data and systems. For example, the SOC2 standard that opines over security, confidentiality, and availability give comfort to users that the security controls are in place and operating effectively. By selecting a technology vendor, it is important to consider how secure the platform is so that organizations can maintain the trust of their customers, protect their reputation, and reduce the risk of security breaches and potential financial losses.
Technology can be a significant investment for any accounting practice and choosing the right vendor can have a significant impact on your organization’s success, and the cost plays a vital role in this decision. When evaluating technology vendors, it is essential to compare prices and features among several vendors to find the best value for your organization, by considering both upfront and recurring costs, as well as any hidden fees.
Ongoing costs can include maintenance, upgrades, and support, which can add up quickly and impact your organization’s ability to invest in other areas if not accounted for or budgeted in advance. As a result, it's important to consider the long-term costs and ensure that you can afford to continue using the vendor's services in the future. Ultimately the cost impacts your organization’s bottom line. When evaluating technology vendors, try to balance price and quality to ensure the best value for an investment for a platform.
As we all know, technology can sometimes go wrong, so it’s imperative to have access to reliable customer support when you need it. Customer support should be a key consideration when evaluating potential technology vendor because having a responsive and knowledgeable customer support team can quickly help you resolve these issues, preventing any potential downtime or lost productivity. By working with a vendor that offers quality customer support, this can enhance your overall experience with their technology, and good customer support can help develop a strong relationship between an organization and a vendor. Technology vendors and clients have ongoing relationships which can span over years, so excellent customer support can be an indicator of the vendor’s overall commitment to their customer.
We already discussed the importance of selecting a vendor that can help you meet your business requirements from a functionality perspective, and a reliable customer support team can ensure your organization is optimizing a new platform by providing personalized and tailored support that is specific to an organization’s unique needs. Consider working with a vendor that provides excellent customer support that can help you quickly resolve issues, leverage the full potential of their technology, and help foster a long-lasting relationship built on trust and collaboration.
Choosing the right technology vendor is an important decision for your organization, and by considering these key factors, you can ensure that you select a vendor that meets your specific needs, improves your productivity, and helps you grow your business. Keep in mind these key considerations: ease of use, integration, security, cost, and customer support. By taking the time to consider these factors, you can find a technology stack that will help you work more efficiently and effectively, freeing up time and resources to focus on other aspects of your business.