Neil Robertson, CEO, Compleat Software
Overchoice – also known as “choice overload” – describes the cognitive process in which people have difficulty making a decision when faced with many options. With the sheer number of choices available on the market, it’s a concept that many looking for invoice automation software are likely to be familiar with.
Whilst most platforms promise the same outcome – i.e. invoice automation – not all have the same features or qualities. Choosing the wrong one can leave you with software that doesn’t integrate to your existing systems and that doesn’t actually improve your efficiency as a business.
There are some key questions to consider before making your decision.
What do you need the software to do?
Aside from the blaringly obvious – “invoice automation” – what would your ideal tool do for you and your business? What are your most time-consuming processes, and can it automate or streamline them? What are your business goals, and can it help you accomplish them? Would you actually use the extra features it offers?
In addition to these questions, it’s also important to ask what it doesn’t do. Too many unnecessary add-ons will only take more time to integrate into your current setup and teach to your accounting team.
Look for software that will provide what you need, rather than a laundry list of irrelevant features.
Is it easy to use?
As mentioned above, you’re going to need to train your accounting team to use this software, so simplicity of adoption is a major factor when deciding to make a purchase. It needs to be efficient and intuitive to avoid having to dedicate too much time to the integration process.
To better your understanding, ask about the resources required to run the software. How much down time will installation and integration require? How much money and time must you expend to make your end-users proficient? Ask for a demo and assess whether the user interface is simple and accessible. If you have colleagues who work flexibly, find out if it can be used remotely and by multiple concurrent users.
This software is supposed to work around you, not the other way around. If it’s going to get in the way, seek an alternative that has the features you need. The idea is that it helps to free up time in your business so that more time can be spent on strategic and creative work instead of repetitive admin tasks.
Will it integrate with the tools and platforms that you already have?
If the tool can’t be integrated with your current processes, it’s not going to work – no matter how good it is. The last thing you want is existing systems becoming slower or more complex due to your new invoice management software.
Most vendors will list compatible third-party services on their website, so take the time to consult them before making any purchase. You’ll be grateful in the long run.
How much is it?
Some pricing models may work better for your finances than others. Some platforms charge per user, others per feature; some opt for monthly subscription fees, others annual payments. You will naturally want to get the best value for money, and where some features are essential, others are merely nice to have. Some make add-ons available a la carte, others charge.
It’s always worth asking for the pricing breakdown early on so that there aren’t any surprises further down the line.
Personally identifiable and business sensitive information must be kept secure.
At a time when data breaches are more common and more damaging than ever, your invoice automation software provider should be upfront about the protections they have in place to keep the data that they handle on your behalf secure.
What does their customer service look like?
It’s better to find out what support the provider offers before there is a problem rather than after. If customer service is slow or doesn’t provide comprehensive solutions, it could bring your accounts payable team to a standstill. Ask providers about turnaround time for fixing bugs, when support is available, and whether an online training resource is provided.
When you find the right invoice management software, it can enable your finance department to be more productive and drastically improve the bottom line of your business. You want to ensure that adding new systems to your business is as simple as possible. If it’s not, what’s the point?
Neil Robertson is CEO of Compleat Software. A 39-year veteran of the financial software marketplace, Neil has a long track record of building disruptive start-ups into successful businesses, including his time as CEO EMEA of Great Plains where he built the business outside of the USA from 1995 – 2001. Compleat is no exception and perhaps the most disruptive of them all.