Do not rely on obsolete accounting software

Every business leader knows that IT must be regularly evaluated and updated in order to keep delivering value. What is less understood is that different types of tech obsolesce at different paces. Some you may be able to rely on for a decade or more. Others, with accounting software being the most urgent example, become out-of-date obstacles in much less time than that.

This is important because obsolete accounting software is more of a liability than you realize. Not only are you missing out on new features, functions, and capabilities. You are also putting the health and efficiency of the entire accounting process in jeopardy. That leads directly to competitive disadvantages, widespread uncertainty, and rampant setbacks and mistakes.

The question then becomes, how do you know if your accounting software is obsolete or fast approaching that point? Simply checking its age and features list is not adequate. To get a real determination you must focus on performance instead. Here are some signs that a software is past its prime:

  • Data Errors – Older accounting applications have limited capabilities for dealing with the large amounts of data that are now routine. As a result, mistakes, oversights, and inaccuracies are inevitable. Preventing these mistakes is next to impossible, and even limiting their damage is an uncertain challenge.
  • Regulatory Inefficiency – Evolving accounting laws put new emphasis on auditing and reporting. The capabilities of older accounting software often fall short, and they are not designed with the specific demands of compliance in mind. As a result, they only increase the administrative burden of regulations while making strict compliance difficult to maintain.
  • High Maintenance – Companies that have not upgraded to something like cloud ERP accounting software have to accept all the IT maintenance requirements themselves. Large amounts of resources must be dedicated to the issue, especially as older software loses the support of vendors. At some point the investment required to make this software workable exceeds whatever value it returns.
  • Missing Automation – Accounting workloads include a number of responsibilities that current accounting software are able to automate. Accounting professionals are able to avoid many routine tasks and focus their talents towards more productive things. Older accounting software that lacks the capabilities of modern automation simply forces well-educated accountants to work as data-entry clerks.
  • Lax Security – The data in older accounting software is highly-vulnerable to today’s sophisticated security threats. At this point, the vulnerabilities of these applications have been thoroughly explored and exploited. And once they begin to lose vendor support, weak systems get even weaker. The consequences of an accounting data breach are significant, and older accounting software always invites risks.
  • Mobility Issues – Accounting data that is confined to the office or even trapped in a single computer terminal has little utility in today’s business world. But mobility is a relatively recent concept, and some older accounting systems make few to any accommodations for mobile access. Both accountants and clients expect relevant, up-to-date information to be available anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Enterprise IT is growing and evolving in breathtaking ways right now. But the pace of change in accounting has not always kept pace. Managers and teams who are committed to older tools and processes may be reluctant to embrace a radically updated way of doing things. Rather than focusing on the disruption of a change, consider the consequences of misplaced loyalty to outdated technologies. All this accomplishes is to make the limitations of the past the accepted way of doing business. No company can hope to thrive by committing to remain behind the times.


Photo via VisualHunt

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