It all started when I joined the accounting department at a midsized SaaS data analytics company in Chicago.
Previously, I had worked in audit and financial reporting at much larger companies, and was excited for a new opportunity to make an impact in a smaller accounting department. I was aware that joining a smaller organization meant that I wouldn’t have all of the latest technology, and that certain processes wouldn’t be as established. I was ready for all of that. And then I used Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Don’t get me wrong — Microsoft Dynamics GP can handle pretty much any accounting situation a company could encounter. The program has been around for a long time and has been the backbone of many large, successful organizations. But it’s not, by today’s standards, good software, because every time you want to get it to do what you want, you have to hire consultants. That’s just the nature of the beast. Since Great Plains was founded in 1981, there have been more than a few groundbreaking technological advancements.
What other options are there?
I started to research other options. I thought that surely there had to be a better solution for my company. But there wasn’t. Not a single mid-market accounting system had been developed in the past 15 years. Netsuite was founded in 1998, and Intacct in 1999. Microsoft Dynamics has a wide array of solutions, but none of them are truly cloud systems.
Technology has changed unimaginably since 1981, but the vast majority of that progress has occurred in the past 5-10 years. With the latest cloud system architecture, you can create software that wouldn’t have even been conceivable in the 1990s. For example, the concept of having a “thin” general ledger was originally created as a means of splitting computer resource intensive processes into multiple places, to allow companies to close quicker. That’s not an issue anymore.
And there’s something important that we accountants have gotten too comfortable with: The user interface in accounting software generally ranges from mediocre to practically unusable. As it stands, the highest rated accounting software programs are those that can technically satisfy an organization's needs. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can have software that we actually enjoy using... Full Article