Speaking to AccountingWEB recently, Garza says she finds herself regularly vetting software to fit her clients’ needs. With six years of experience and more than 150 clients, she has found that the best place to start is looking at app reviews, like those found on business software review website GetApp or on partner sites like the Xero Marketplace.
“We look at rankings, we look at the app marketplaces, and see what people say,” Garza says, adding you need to know the business’ needs first, so it’s important to do a lot of due diligence first.
“We ask leading questions, like ‘Do all of your staff have smartphones?’ or ‘How do they check in with work every day?’ and that helps to start rather than just say, ‘I need a time-tracking application. OK, here’s the top five’,” Garza says.
The most common issue that pops up when integrating a third-party app is the client being unclear on how the integration works, says Garza.
“[The client] may read or have been told things one way, but the reality is something else,” Garza says. “We will put a chart together about how things do get synced over and get everyone on the same page so they know what to expect from the specific software. You have to do that early in the process.”
She says it’s essential to pay attention to the client and make sure they understand the integration from the beginning.
“If you’re working with a client and not paying attention, problems can happen, so how things work one day may not down the road,” Garza says.
She says it’s a good idea to ask yourself similar questions to what you would ask a client when choosing software for your firm. Start by looking at the needs of your firm in regards to accounting software, followed by document management and what works with “a core accounting system or has a good ecosystem”.
“If you are working with a ton of clients and don’t have the right system, it’s going to get cumbersome really fast,” Garza says. “It has to be visual and easy to use. I want to know touchpoints with a client, and I want to know where projects are.”
She says when it comes to security surrounding vendor-recommended third-party apps, it’s everyone’s responsibility to do the research.
“In my experience, there’s usually a ton of vetting and developers are given time to fix problems,” Garza says. “If I know any colleagues using a software, that is also helpful and honest. You can’t just take it on the faith or appearance in an app store.”
Cristina Garza will be bringing her expertise to a talk entitled Ecosystem: Practice Tools at Xerocon San Francisco 2016, covering boosting productivity with tools designed for a scalable practice. Secure your spot today.