Evaluating Accounting Software
Carlton's six step process for selecting
Over the years, J. Carlton Collins
has evaluated dozens of accounting software packages ranging from low
cost entry level systems to multi-million dollar ERP solutions. In this
article you’ll learn how Carlton approaches his initial evaluation via a
six -step process, which he refers to as “Evaluating or Eating
There are over 4,400 common features found
in today’s top accounting software products – however attempting to
evaluate all of these features is a daunting proposition. Over the years
I have developed my own special 20-minute technique for quickly
evaluating an accounting software product that I have found to be very
reliable. If the product passes my initial review, then a more detailed
evaluation is warranted. However, if the product fails this test, I
usually conclude that the product it is not worthy of further
I refer to this process as eating accounting
software and it consists of the following seven-course meal:
Print a financial statement to the screen. (featuring MAS 90)
Customize a data input screen. (featuring MAS 90)
Enter an inventory item. (featuring
Process a sales order.
Evaluate the account number structure.
Drill down and around. (featuring Navision)
Integration to popular add-on report writers and tools.
After evaluating the above system
capabilities, you will then be in an excellent position to determine
whether additional evaluation time is warranted. If the system fails
this simple test, my advice is to move on – waste no more time on that
After evaluating the features
mentioned above, many people have written and indicated a desire to
investigate a product further. These people say that their
evaluations based on the factors described above went great, and
they have asked for additional key features to evaluate. Hey, we aim
to please. To accommodate these requests, I've continued my list of
additional key features below. I will provide detailed explanations
and examples of those features as soon as possible:
8. Search or Look Up capabilities.
9. Notes and comments.
10. Event-triggered reporting.
11. Data slicing and dicing.
15. Set up a customer.
16. Set up an employee.
17. Contact management or CRM
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