What are the signs of an unproductive accounting department? They are subtle. The important obligations still get done and major milestones get met – but never as effectively as they could or should.

The month-end close is a good indicator. Accountants have all month to plan and 12 opportunities each year to practice. It’s something that should fire on all cylinders. Yet for many, the month-end close takes days of hard work, cuts deadlines close, and never seems to improve. It’s adequate. What it’s not is a productive process that uses resources effectively.

Start looking around, and a similar problem appears everywhere. All the boxes on accounting get checked, but rarely without involving some delay, workaround, or lowered expectations. The unproductive accounting department feels like it is never caught up, fully prepared, on in control of whatever comes its way.

Adding staff or tweaking the accounting processes can help. But neither of those addresses the core problem: the accounting software. It’s either the engine that drives productivity – or, too often, the roadblock that stands in the way.

Accountants at Odds with their Software

Accounting software always starts out as a solution. It puts new tools and data in the hands of accountants, vastly improving how things are done.

But then the accounting team, company, and economy start to change. Perhaps a global pandemic breaks out. Whether slowly or suddenly, the circumstances facing accounting start to change – and yet the accounting software stays the same.

Vendors offer occasional updates (or expensive upgrades), but essentially the system in place on day one looks the same as the system years later. Meanwhile, the team using the software and the ways they are using it look drastically different. It’s that disparity – between what accountants need and what the software can deliver – that causes productivity to suffer.

The effects are small at first. But then a company takes on bigger accounting workloads as the number of employees, clients, and locations grow. Accounting needs simultaneously become more sophisticated as companies start to take on greater financial risks and responsibilities.

The disparity eventually gets so wide that the software breaks entirely. But productivity starts suffering long before that. Recognizing the problem and replacing the software (the earlier the better) is the first step. Implementing something that won’t replicate the problem is the second.

How Sage Intacct Keeps Productivity on Pace

As a leading financial management platform for mid-market and growing companies, Sage Intacct does everything. But it keeps the features updated, relevant, and productive in two ways.

First, cloud-native development means that Sage Intacct (including all accounting tools and financial data) travels anywhere and everywhere. Access never inhibits productivity. Second, free updates installed automatically every quarter bring new features, improvements, and additions to the platform on a regular basis. Stale tools never inhibit productivity, either.

Is the current accounting software pulling its weight? Contact Dean Dorton to put something more productive in place.

Stacey Neideffer| Software Services Senior Consultant