Your key software, whether accounting, donor management or payroll, should be constantly evolving. Because of limited time and resources, it is easy to lose track of what your software’s capabilities are and should be. A few quick items to review on a regular basis:
What is the current version? Which version are you on? The further behind you are, the more costly upgrades will become in regards to both money and time. If you do not have the immediate resources to upgrade, it is still important to confirm the current hardware and software requirements. This will ensure you are budgeting for what could otherwise be hidden costs for new required hardware and related software.
Occasionally, updates are performed to address a specific issue such as fixing a software bug or updates for W-2/1099 processing. Chances are these updates include other enhancements that you should know about! Even if you don’t plan on installing the latest release, make sure to ask your vendor for a list of enhancements on a regular basis. Also, do not forget to have someone attend training on a regular basis. At worst, current knowledge will be reinforced. More likely, attendees will learn additional tips and tricks.
From the early 1900s to the 1960s, the average kitchen changed in dramatic fashion – candles and windows to light bulbs; ice boxes to refrigerators; your kids speaking with you to watching TV. Report generation has evolved dramatically as well – 15 years ago, you would have to print 25 reports and distribute to each manager via interoffice mail; if you were being “efficient,” you might have scanned each of the reports and created 25 separate emails. Now you can press a button and everyone gets their information immediately. Even better, they have their own direct access from wherever they are.
This is one example, but it’s important to know not just what your software can do, but what it should be able to do. Make sure to ask colleagues, new employees or simply talk to those salespeople who call you to make sure you actually know what is available.