A number of growing companies are hesitant to purchase and implement new accounting software because they are afraid that they will need to learn a whole new set of skills to effectively use the software. They often feel that their understanding of accounting principles will not be enough to allow them to use the software properly.
Thankfully, this assumption is not entirely correct. It is certainly helpful to understand accounting principles when using the software, but it is not necessary. Any business, small or large, can benefit from implementing a dedication accounting software system, regardless of the users’ understanding of accounting principles.
Granted, an accountant will have a much more thorough understanding of what the software is doing and the reports that it creates, but the actual use and input of data requires no specialized accounting background.
Most accounting software will do the “nitty gritty” work that you would need special accounting training in anyway, so it is safe to say that accounting knowledge is not necessary to begin using accounting software. That is not to say that a company should blindly begin using a new financial software package – of course they should make an effort to understand the principles to allow themselves to get the most from their software.
For example, if you operate a retail company, the average user of your accounting software will need to know the following:
How to input an invoice
How to make changes to an invoice once it is paid
How to print and/or email receipts, invoices, etc.
None of these tasks require a background in accounting. Any person with a general idea of how to use software can probably figure these things out and can most certainly be trained. While people with accounting backgrounds will be able to see these changes reflected on the general ledger and know what they mean, the bottom line is that for the end user in this case that information is neither necessary nor relevant for their job.
Anyone who has experience using or has even seen the interface of a typical accounting software package will quickly realize that minimal accounting knowledge is required to use the system. In fact, that is the beauty of these programs – their user-friendliness. Just like you do not necessarily need to understand how an engine works to drive a car, so too do you not necessarily need to know how accounting software works to make it useful.
Accounting software reviews often focus more on the usability and efficiency of a software package than the specific accounting tasks that the software performs. This is because most users do not understand the advanced accounting tasks that the software does automatically and the truth is that they do not need to, so long as they put the data in properly.
The bottom line is that most accounting software is designed exactly for people who have minimal accounting knowledge as they are the ones that benefit the most from it.
In fact, software that was designed only for accounting professionals would have a hard time staying on the market. As a result, more and more software is brought to market with a target market of the “average user” that is simple, yet effective.
However, do not get caught thinking that since you have good software that is easy to use that you should avoid learning about accounting. The more you know, the better use you will be able to make of your software. The key is to balance your time and effort between learning about accounting and thus being able to use the software more effectively while remaining focused on the activities that you have more time to work on as a result of the improved efficiency that the software gives you.
You don’t need to be a professional race car driver to be on the highway, but it would certainly make you a more efficient driver. In the same manner, you don’t need special accounting knowledge to use accounting software, it simply makes your job easier.
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