3 Mar, 2019
In 2019 there are more cloud accounting apps than ever before, and the sheer volume can sometimes lead to an overwhelming feeling of app anxiety.“Is my firm using the right apps?”, “What is the competition doing? What apps are they using?”, and “Are we sure this app is the best fit for our firm and for our clients?”.
While we can’t tell you what apps your competition is using, we can help you identify if your firm is using the right apps.
The Xero Marketplace is growing weekly and currently lists 700 accounting apps from reporting to bills & expenses to custom made integrations. The QuickBooks App Store lists more than 500 accounting and advisory apps - reporting, data sync, time tracking, you name it and they have it. MYOB lists another 400+ apps or add-ons.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or just want to give yourself the best chance of selecting the right apps for you firm as quickly and as efficiently as possible, the accounting app evaluation checklist can help.
We’ve partnered with Hubdoc to help you overcome app anxiety. This in-depth guide will help you navigate the hundreds (and hundreds) of accounting apps that exist today. You can feel confident that you’ve objectively researched, compared and analysed any app before adding it to your firm’s tech stack. It's all about helping your firm to deliver the best outcomes for your clients.
Before you download the app evaluation checklist
Here's a brief outline of what the guide includes. Read on to see how it can help your firm.
- Standardise your app selection process
- Involve the right people in the app selection process
- How long does it take to properly evaluate an app?
- The Hubdoc and Fathom app evaluation process and checklist
It’s easy to become excited about new tech. We read about a new shiny app, we click through the website, find the free trial button and we're in. Many of us fall victim to the fear of missing out (FOMO) and others fall victim to shiny object syndrome - the need to have every new app that may increase performance or improve efficiencies in a firm.
Standardising your app selection process will ensure that your firm researches accounting and advisory apps in a methodical way, ensuring you’re not struck down with a bad case of FOMO or shiny object syndrome.
As business advisors, it’s important to first understand what apps are available in the ecosystem that you operate in, and then work out which ones are going to add value. Understanding how to best evaluate an app will help you stay ahead of the pack in an ever-growing and increasingly competitive accounting and advisory ecosystem.
Deciding on who to include in the app selection process is dependent on a number of factors. Many best-in-class firms use different approaches which they have specifically designed to suit their firm and the way they operate. And they continue to refine their process again and again to constantly improve app evaluation efficiencies.
Many leading accounting and advisory firms are now hiring a dedicated ‘technologist’ to research and evaluate ecosystem apps.
Generally, a technologist will:
- Research new app solutions and how/if they’ll increase workflow efficiencies
- Oversee the app evaluation and selection process
- Assist with tech implementation
- Act as the main point of contact between the firm and the app’s support/success team
- Audit and maintain the effectiveness of the tech stack
Don’t worry, if you don’t have the capacity to employ a dedicated technologist in your firm, you can select someone already within your firm to take on the responsibility. Another option is to book in a monthly recurring meeting with your team to evaluate new apps and technologies.
The answer to this question will vary from firm to firm and depends on a few factors:
- If you’re familiar with the industry
- How complex the app is
- The extent to which the app will impact your firm’s workflows
- The extent to which the app will impact your clients
For example, if the app will be used in your clients’ monthly reporting, it is likely to be easier to research, evaluate and trial, compared to an app that will change the way you run your firm’s day to day operations.
Apps that fundamentally change the way your firm operates and apps that have a big impact on how you interact with your clients will likely take more time to research.
Before you dive into the app evaluation process and checklist, remember that the guide will provide you with a framework for evaluating apps within the accounting and advisory app ecosystems.
Just remember to standardise your app evaluation and selection process to ensure you get the best results for your clients and your firm.
Written by Chris Giovine
Chris holds a Bachelor of Business and has 7+ years of experience in marketing, spanning across both large public companies and small privately owned companies. Chris has worked across a number of industries including Accounting Technology, Health Technology and Private Health Insurance and is Fathom's Digital Marketing Manager.