4 Things to Consider When Hiring an Accounting Technology Advisor
More companies are recognizing the value of integrating their core accounting technology with all the other applications they use throughout the day into a powerful suite of tools. Hundreds of applications can be integrated with your central accounting software: eCommerce shopping carts, timesheets applications, project management tools, CRM systems, and — of course — accounting applications like expense and receipt tracking software.
Integration can sometimes get tricky. Fortunately, a number of accounting professionals have made it their business to understand what solutions will work best for your needs and how to integrate them to get efficient operations and the right levels of reporting to benefit your bottom line.
Such accounting advisors can be the difference between an accounting technology stack that powers your business and a suite of tools that add more hassle than before. We spoke with MBSATA’s COO, Julie Hongkham, about what business owners need to know to work smoothly with an accounting advisor.
Understand the problem you’re solving for
On the surface, you may simply want a pair of applications you use daily to work together better. But it pays to think more deeply about what business needs you’re really looking to solve. For example, are you looking for better control over your inventory? To save time on expense reports? To get a better sense of your cash flow?
At MBSATA, we lead each potential customer through a free 1-hour consultation with an accounting manager to walk through their situation. Getting to know the nature of their business and their objectives is just as important as learning about the status of their book, because it allows the accounting advisor to craft a custom solution to help them meet those objectives.
“Often this process involves coming up with a new solution,” says Julie. “A lot of apps need to be customized to your specific business, so you need to engage with someone who has a creative and analytical mind.”
Find a balance of financial transparency and trust
Hiring the right accounting advisor is an exercise in trust. Even before you’ve officially engaged an advisor, he or she will need access to a certain level of financial information to propose. This could include access to the accounting interface to get the status of the books, a sampling of statements from bank accounts, and reports from any software solutions you’re planning to integrate.
When you do engage an individual advisor or a firm, of course, they’ll need access to greater detail of your finances.
“Make sure that you’re confident that your advisor is a professional before you start sharing assets with them,” says Julie. She recommends getting referrals from others in your industry, engaging with a firm rather than an individual who may not have as much oversight, and making sure you have an NDA in place before sharing assets.
Don’t forget the human element of your tech stack
Technological solutions can be incredibly effective — but don’t forget about the human element. As you work with your accounting advisor to integrate your technology, remember to create processes for the humans who will be running it.
“Whenever there’s a human element that’s a part of a process, the person needs to know how they fit in with it,” says Julie. “They need to understand what they’re responsible for, and be given specific, repeatable steps on how they work through it.”
Whether you’re developing an integration expense tracking application where staff is responsible for inputting and tagging expenses or a shopping cart system where certain transactions need to be flagged for review, document clear, step-by-step policies to be sure the human element integrates seamlessly.
Look for a combination of financial and technical savvy
Simply understanding how the technology works isn’t enough when it comes to integrating accounting applications. You also need financial acumen to be able to understand not just how the programs integrate, but whether or not the numbers are coming out correctly.
“Look for advisors who demonstrate technical expertise as it pertains to technology and to the world of finance, specifically within the integration space,” says Julie. And because so many accounting integrations can require thinking outside the box, he also recommends finding someone with an acumen in creative and lateral thinking.
At MBSATA, we have over 20 years of experience in creating tailored accounting technology integrations and offering accounting services to businesses and individuals. Get in touch with our team to schedule your free consultation call and learn how the right accounting technology integrations can help your business grow.