Firms unsure over software

Accountancy software performs well when it comes to basic ‘number crunching’ and reporting, but small businesses remain unconvinced by increasingly sophisticated analysis features in the packages, according to a new survey.

And, with less than 11 months before the year-2000 deadline, 25% of companies said they ‘did not believe’ their accounting packages were millennium-compliant, while 35% said that their packages could not handle trading in the euro.

In an extensive survey commissioned by Mitsubishi Electric, the IT services provider, 813 UK small and medium-sized businesses were asked about their use and effectiveness of their accounting packages.

The accounting software used included Sage, Navision, Oracle and SAP across eight industry sectors.

The accountancy packages scored highly (75%) for ease of use, particularly for data entry, but the report found a gap between what the suppliers were offering and what users actually wanted.

Despite the trend for including budget forecasting and analytical features in accounting software, a majority of users still prefer to use spreadsheets for strategic business decisions, the report noted.

John Dennison, a partner at BDO Stoy Hayward and author of the report, said although the quality of software was generally high, it was poorly implemented – largely because suppliers were cutting back on training support.

Chris Alder, corporate communications director for SAP, hit back. ‘SAP is the biggest independent training organisation in the UK and that’s one of our strengths,’ he said.

Related reading