When businesses outgrew MYOB accounting software the next logical step was to move to a system like Attaché, an all-in-one management system. Attaché has a connected set of accounts, payroll, a customer management module (CRM) and some decent business intelligence built in. There are also further extensions like manufacturing and online ordering which can be turned on as required.
But despite these decent features, it’s still a desktop based system. That means it costs a lot of money to connect to other software in your business.
Also Attaché’s interface is not intuitive to use compared to modern programs. Plus there is a charge for everything – every module or feature, and consulting hours to implement them. Lots of little charges quickly add up.
But the biggest drawback is that a bookkeeper or accountant can’t use the system unless they have used Attaché before. Attaché is driven by customer records rather than a global menu system, which is now accepted as best practice for software.
Switched-on businesses are building solutions that copy the best bits of Attaché and connect them to a cloud accounting program such as Xero. This way they can create something much easier to use and a lot cheaper.
If customer management and sales automation (CRM) is crucial, Salesforce could be your saviour.
Or, with the money you save, you may even decide to build and maintain a bespoke solution. Connecting apps in the cloud is often free; paid cloud integration services such as OneSaas, Zapier and IFTTT can sync your data every hour or sooner for $35 a month.
Even medium size businesses can ditch their outdated ERPs systems such as Attaché and move to a suite of cloud programs. You’ll have real-time information via an online, connected, scalable and user-friendly system. No matter how good you think Attache is, it will never be any of those things. And that’s a huge drawback for a business in today’s competitive world.
In the past accountants stayed away from advising on technology because it was so complex to install, operate and maintain. But cloud-based business programs require only an internet browser and are typically very easy to use.
Ask your accountant to assess your business systems and workflows (and help you create them if there are none). They should provide advice on the best fit for your business processes and reporting requirements.
After all accounting by definition is to “provide advice to use scarce resources in the most efficient way”. And systems are a huge part of efficiency in the modern business.
A version of this post originally appeared on the Interactive Accounting blog.