How do you decide which software or technology service is best for your company?
In this article, we’ll look at three methods commonly used for finding the right solution, like an enterprise resource planning system:
- Review sites
- Network recommendations
- Software selection consultants
We’ll explain their advantages and disadvantages, what to look for, and how to make the best use of each method.
When you google the software or technology service you want, you’ll find the top recommendations include sites that publish a lot of reviews.
Most of the top results offer transparency and detailed information about their recommendations. Stick with those.
When you find what you’re looking for, compare the results of searches for your particular industry vs. more encompassing terms, like “medium-sized business.” Each set of results may have helpful information that isn’t in the other.
Below are a few tips when using review sites.
Does the review site answer your search term?
It helps to be precise to get results that matter to your company.
But don’t be discouraged when you don’t get an exact match. For example:
You might look for “best cloud-based accounting software for professional services.” However, some of the top results don’t evaluate software based on its application for your industry.
Also, don’t be surprised when the same results show up for different searches. Let’s say you google:
- “Best cloud-based accounting platform for professional services“
- “Best accounting software for business”
Some of the same results will show up in both.
See our tip at the bottom of this section on how to deal with this and not do double the work during your review process.
How detailed are the reviews?
A star rating isn’t much use to you unless you know why it got that rating. You also want to know about the features and benefits that matter to you.
For example, if you’re in the hospitality industry, you may not care as much about project management features as you would if you’re in professional services.
The best reviews will show you relevant information like:
- What’s great, good, and not so good about it
- How it compares to the alternatives
- Pricing plans (and how they work)
- An overall summary
- The pros and cons
- What sets it apart
- How it works
- Top features
Are the reviewers unbiased?
Fortunately, a lot of sites, like Forbes Advisor, will tell you:
- Their methodology and criteria for evaluations. Investopedia has a page devoted to its review process.
- If they fact-checked their article
- Any conflicts (like affiliates)
- Whether they’re unbiased
Some will include statements about why you can trust them, how long it took them to research the options, and whether they receive compensation from partner links.
Two more tips when it comes to reviews:
- Scroll past the sponsored links at the top of a search results page. They’re generally of lower quality and aren’t as trustworthy as sites that rank high on their own.
- Keep a spreadsheet of the reviews you’ve read. This will give you a reference to know whether you’ve read a site’s page when two different searches include some overlaps.
Review sites, as long as they’re detailed, can be a great way to validate other methods of finding the best accounting software for your office.
Recommendations from your own network
We often trust our network of friends and business associates in our industry. It’s makes sense to look to them for advice on which solution to choose.
We may receive these recommendations at conferences, during meetings, and through emails from trusted advisors.
So how do you make sense of them?
How to evaluate recommendations
- Does the recommendation apply to your specific needs?
- How much experience does the referrer have with the product or service?
- Do they stand to gain anything by recommending a certain solution?
Companies love it when their customers refer them — it’s like free advertsing and proof of a job well done.
But not every company that is recommended will be the right fit. Some tips:
- Take the time to cross reference a recommendation against online reviews.
- Ask detailed questions about why someone recommend the solution.
- Talk to more people who have experience with the product / service.
- Talk to peers who use another solution.
Recommendations from people known to you or people you trust are a great way to jumpstart your search for an accounting solution.
So is the third method we’ll look at in this article: software selection services.
Hiring a software selection consultant
Besides the two free methods we’ve mentioned, you can also hire a software selection service.
With this service, a company will find the software solution that best fits the needs of their business client.
The consultant should offer tips and advice for choosing the right software for your company. They should also have deep experience working with the software providers.
Benefits of using a software selection service
The better software selection services will:
- Conduct a detailed assessment of your current state, processes and needs
- Help you optimize your processes or create new ones
- Have the ability to help with the solution design
- Have industry-specific expertise and experience that review sites don’t
- Organize demonstrations for hands-on evaluation
- Simplify a complex process
- Screen vendors
Just be aware of the following
- They may not be unbiased or experienced in the type of product you need.
- In the SMB space, hiring someone to help with the selection process can end up costing you more than the software itself.
The process of finding the right consultant will require you to compare a number of candidates, just as you would compare the products.
If your revenue is high enough, the effort and expense of hiring a consultant may be worth it.
Questions to ask a software selection service
By asking the following questions, you’ll understand their approach. You can then decide whether that approach is likely to lead to the outcomes you want.
What is their process for working with you?
Do they analyze your business processes?
Do they find the right implementation team as well?
Do they consider other applications you have when evaluating your options? This is especially important when seeking an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Do they break down their system selection approach into phases and sub-stages? (RFP creation, software demos, etc)
How do they assess your current state?
How do they determine what your ideal state would look like?
Do they have case studies that directly relate to your situation?
The answers to these questions will help you understand their differentiators and whether those differentiators matter to you.
Could Sage Intacct be the right accounting solution for your business?
As you research your options, you’ll likely find Sage Intacct on the shortlist of recommended solutions. If you’d like to know whether it’s the right solution for your company, we’re happy to offer a free discovery call.
We’ll only recommend Sage Intacct if, based on your needs, it will deliver the results you want.