How to identify when you need new fund accounting software

Let’s face it – most of us wait until the last possible minute to buy anything new, whether it’s a car, a pair of eyeglasses, or even a pen. That’s because it’s human nature to want to get one’s money’s worth out of something that we’ve already paid for. Unfortunately, there comes a time in just about every product’s life where continuing to use something old ends up wasting – rather than saving – time.

This maxim holds true for fund accounting software, which is why so many organizations continue using tools that may once have been state-of-the-art but are now hopelessly out of date. But unlike using an old pair of scissors or a dull knife to cut bread, outmoded software can be more than just an inconvenience. That’s why companies, government organizations, and not-for-profits need to know when it’s time to upgrade their systems.

Unlike buying a shiny new car, implementing new fund accounting software isn’t just about “keeping up with the Joneses.†Rather, it is motivated by the need to fix major problems that older packages simply can’t handle. For example, many older software packages that worked really well a decade ago simply weren’t designed for mobile users who access data through tablets and smartphones. Creative IT teams have cobbled together patches to help today’s users get the information they need, but at a certain point those Band-Aids just aren’t up to the task and need to be replaced by systems that were specifically designed to support today’s knowledge workers who aren’t tethered to their desks for eight hours a day.

Another sign that your fund accounting software may be out of date is how it visually renders information. Many older systems built on spreadsheets rely on tables to show data. While spreadsheets have their purpose, users in 2014 need a bit more sophistication than that. If your system doesn’t have dashboards and other graphical displays, it may be time to look for a new software package.

The good news is that most software packages will continue to function even when they are outmoded. But waiting for a catastrophic error for an excuse to start evaluating new solutions is not only shortsighted, but can actually cost your organization time and money. Before you make any decision – including keeping legacy software or purchasing new packages – be sure to figure out what your needs are today, and what they are likely to be in the next five years. This will enable you to evaluate your options and pick the right choice for your organization.

So what’s the next step? We recommend asking the following questions about your fund accounting software:

  • Have you been using it for more than five years?
  • Does it only work on desktop computers, rather than mobile devices and tablets?
  • Does it only display tables of numbers, rather than easy-to-read dashboards?
  • Can it be used by one user (or team) at a time?
  • Was it designed to be used in the cloud, as opposed to behind a firewall?
  • Does it require users to manually back up all data?
  • Do users need to spend hours generating reports?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you should think about getting a quote. You have nothing to lose…except for your outdated software!