You have been running your own successful skilled trades business for years. Your processes are simple, you keep your operations small, and you can handle every aspect of the business almost single-handedly. You have procedures and systems in place that make your day-to-day operations run smoothly, as planned. Your hard work is paying off - your business is growing. But lately you have noticed something seems to be different. Your once efficient ways seem to falter and the things that were once running smoothly, don’t seem as smooth anymore.
So what is happening to your previously perfect day-to-day operations? Simple: They weren’t scalable. What worked for your small business with 50-100 jobs a month is just not as effective when handling a larger workload. Small inefficiencies become more and more apparent the busier you get. Maybe it is time to start looking into how software can help.
This two-part article will explore two common software solutions that can help you adapt and excel in the ever changing and fast growing business landscape. We’ll help you to understanding Accounting Software and Field Service Management (FSM) Software, and how they can do wonders to your increasing operational efficiency and guide you in determining the most suited tool for your business needs.
What is an Accounting Software?
These are applications and programs that function as an accounting information and management system. It basically automates a company’s accounting activities, such as payables and receivables, billing and invoicing, ledgering, bookkeeping, and financial reporting, among others. Known accounting tools have differing features and have their own strengths, and provide add-ons and complementary apps to make it more robust than the competition. But all are geared towards improving the company’s accounting decision making, accurate financial reporting, and reducing unnecessary expenses. These softwares are deployed either locally or in the cloud, depending on the company’s projection and requirements.
Some of the most widely used and popular accounting softwares are QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Zoho Books, Sage Intacct, and SAP Accounting.
What exactly does an Accounting Software do for you?
Core accounting – This module is readily available in all accounting software. It includes accounts payables and receivables, fixed assets, bank account integrations, and a general ledger.
Project Accounting – Get across single and multiple projects’ cost-accounting and estimates.
Forecasting – Normally an add-on feature that helps project budgets and targets based on information stored in the system.
Billing and Invoicing – Addresses collection problems by automating bills and invoices to clients, tying in with chosen payment methods and procedures.
Payroll – This system is usually an add-on or a standalone. A human resource process usually tied in with accounting that processes company payroll, makes deductions, withholds taxes, and creates reports on legal and tax schedules. This makes paying your employees on time, error-free.
Inventory – An add-on or stand alone system that tracks the movement of stock. Purchase orders, sales, and distribution are the key processes involved herein.
Financial Reporting – Manage financial information and generate reports for company’s use. It generally covers all reporting needed across all the features mentioned above.
How is it good?
As mentioned, accounting software automates your financial systems to improve processes and productivity, cut unnecessary costs, and impress financial transparency and integrity within the organization. It also helps the company to seize opportunities and project the course to financial stability.
Many of the jobs involved within accounting are repetitive and mechanical by nature. The duplication of data entry is often time consuming and error prone. With accounting software, those previously manual tasks of collection, gathering, and inputting data will be automated in your computer (or over the Internet). It also organizes and analyzes said data to helpful information for the company’s use.
What are the weaknesses of Accounting Software?
Being the ‘go to guy’ for many of the company’s business processes and all the features and benefits one can derive from it, an accounting software must be heaven sent. It certainly can do a lot of tasks well, especially in the aspect of accounting and finance. But what about the other important aspects of your business?
Take for instance the needs of skilled trade businesses in the areas of scheduling and dispatch, quotations and purchase order generation, work orders and inventory management, and billing and collection. These are quite specific and focused jobs that accounting software can also do. But the question is, does it accomplish the tasks well?
Your ‘all-in-one’ accounting software might not be able to do well in every area it promises. The main focus of accounting software is always going to be on accounting, sometimes to the detriment of other areas of your business. Take a look at these examples:
Limitations of Accounting Software
Managing worker activity and productivity on the road. GPS enabled locating ability of company vehicles.
Scheduling and dispatching capabilities. Get real-time status update on job orders and work accomplishments.
While accounting software can do basic quotations, it lacks other quotation complexities such as pre-set templates and email sending.
Can’t seamlessly generate Work Orders and/or Purchase Orders after quotations have been approved and agreed. Need to do it as a separate task.
Can’t seamlessly generate invoices from Work Orders. Need to do it as separate task.
Remote user access to work orders, reports, documents, quotes, etc. from any mobile device or gadget.
In these cases, a more focused and job-specific solution is needed. This is where Field Service Management (FSM) Software is a more appropriate choice.
This is a two-part article on Field Service Management (FMS) Software and Accounting Software. Read on the second part that discusses, this time, about FSM Software on this link [provide part 2 article link].
SnapSuite is a Toronto based software company that helps businesses in the B2B industrial and skilled trade industries increase their operational efficiency using simple to use software tools.
Call us at 647 494 8011 to learn more about how we can help your business.
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