Imagine a modern software startup trying to do banking in the 1900s - a nightmare of manual processes, long queues, and endless paperwork for even the simplest transactions. Communication with banks relied on snail mail or telegrams, making every process agonizingly slow.
It's nearly impossible to imagine. And yet, this is what accounting looks like for most modern startups today. They're dealing with the complexities of a traditional system that barely functions in the modern world. Even some "modern" accounting tools with sleek branding require 2-3 months to onboard. It's the same old problems with new packaging.
Most startups aren't even aware that they could take control of their own accounting in mere minutes, not months. They continue using old systems due to a lack of awareness of better alternatives.
But better methods exist, and startups are already taking advantage of them.
The problem is that switching services is seen as a challenging undertaking that will be painful and uncomfortable. Understandably, there's often a low urgency around the decision. There might also be concerns about upsetting investors or stakeholders when switching services.
Thankfully, times are changing. Startups can now handle their own accounting quite easily if they choose. We're going to discuss how to do this, but first, it's worth examining the failure points of the old system.
Why Do Most Accounting Tools Take So Long to Onboard?
If you have to wait 2-3 months just to get connected with a bookkeeper, you won’t have visibility into your financials for almost a quarter of the entire year!
Why such a long delay?
For one, pretty much every stage of the accounting process has traditionally relied on humans. This is particularly problematic when it comes to bookkeeping. Startups in dire need of a bookkeeper might have to wait months to find one. At this point, the real work hasn't even started.
Moreover, once you finally get your bookkeeper, it's quite likely that they aren't particularly knowledgeable about the unique world of SaaS or startups. Companies must go through and tag every single transaction without any auto-reconciliation.
What Does Efficient Onboarding Look Like?
1. Takes Just a Few Minutes
If your onboarding is taking hours, days, weeks, or months instead of minutes, you should probably look for another solution. Check out how this founder set up his accounting in just 12 clicks.
2. Self-Service with a Minimal Time Commitment
You should be in full control of your startup's accounting, but that doesn't mean you should spend significant working hours on it.
3. "On-demand" Bookkeepers That Don't Make You Wait
A lot of onboarding time for accounting is actually just waiting for a bookkeeper. While you may not need one anymore, it's nice to be able to call on one whenever you need, without delay. For Puzzle users, it’s as simple as clicking the "Ask an Accountant" button in-app.
4. Integrations and Automation Instead of Manual Entry
There's no need for you to manually enter financial data – even when switching to a new tool. Ensure your accounting solution can connect directly to your bank and data sources, so everything works smoothly without the need for intervention.
5. User-Friendly Interface
No one wants to work with accounting software designed for 2010. It's not just annoying; it's genuinely hard to use. That not only takes up your time and energy but is also prone to error. Usability has real monetary value!
6. Adapts to Your Specific Needs
Your accounting software should be customizable and adaptable to the unique needs of your business. One-size-fits-all solutions will slow your business down and won’t scale easily as your company grows.
Ultimately, doing a bit of research to find the right tool can save you a lot of work and waiting. This is meaningful!
Gaining full control of your startup's accounting quickly and efficiently could mean the difference between securing the next fundraising round or hitting the next milestone.
Remember that accounting for startups is a bit like the product – it really shouldn't be fully outsourced. Try it for yourself!