What is transition time?
In the cloud accounting software world you find the use of menu systems, folders, drilling down through tabs and links to get to reports and transactions is common. The time you waste finding what you want or doing what you need to do is called transition time.
Despite the beauty of new systems available, this is clearly the clunky ugly reality no-one in the cloud accounting space wants to talk about. I’m proud that we actively address it. We have already built and released features like Jump that deal with it head on. Our internal Future of Accountinginnovation sessions have been guiding our teams focus on solving the transition time problem for business owners.
So here’s the reveal, some learnings, the 5 fundamentally ugly sides to the beauty of online accounting:
- The new kids are actually quite old
My observation is that current online accounting systems are essentially web versions of old software accounting processes in how they work and their usability. Actually it can be worse. They often run a lot slower and don’t scale as well. Transition time is lost through slow systems. New online accounting systems look beautiful but many things haven’t actually changed at a fundamental level. Bank feeds, emailing invoices, multi-user capabilities have all been around for 20+ years now. The new online accounting world is actually quite old.
Saasu has built one of the most scalable applications for the small business market. We invest heavily in this. It’s not sexy part of design, it is often unappreciated but we’re confident we outperform versus the other similar priced competitors we are up against. We’re not perfect, we have work to do but we’re confident that sacrificing some marketing and sales dollars for performance and scale investment is the right thing to do by our customers.
Transition time is lost navigating systems. To find an invoice for a customer in online accounting systems you need to navigate to Invoices or Receivables area and then you click more tabs, links or start using filters to narrow a search. Even when you get to your customer or data you may need to keep drilling down, scrolling or doing other navigation activities to get to the exact invoice you need in the list. It’s a slow and tedious experience you might do thousands of times each year.
Saasu initially built a One Click menu where you can get to just about anything with a click in our single-line-single-layer menu. It’s much faster but it wasn’t enough as we still have filters obstructing our customer getting to their goal.
With Jump we set an even higher objective to give our customer what they wanted in less than 2 seconds.
Multi-purpose tools like Jump act as Search and Navigation. This is important as Search is now an action not just a query in how people use it. I’d say everyone reading this uses Google Search to go directly to things not just learn or find things. So that’s about using Search as a form of navigation. You do this all the time. You type something in Google to get to something more quickly than that same systems navigation will allow you to do. In the interest of simplicity and reduced transition time I think it’s smart for business owners to use systems that have very powerful search navigationand search action. Not just search.
- Relational Databases
Transition time is increased whenever data is slow to load. New online accounting apps are built onrelational databases just like their software ancestors. Running reports on big sets of data can be very slow.
At Saasu we’ve started leaving the relational database world and are using newer proprietary ways of dealing with big data, running big reports or finding things within millions of transactions.
- Too many systems
Transition time is also about moving between systems. If I run an inventory based business and I’m moving between an inventory system and an accounting system as I process transactions I’m wasting a lot of navigation time. Likewise if I have to move between Word/Pages documents and an accounting system to produce a Statement to send to a customer (which I then have to attach to an email in my email system) then I’m wasting time on transition. Checking contact records between different systems match is another classic double-data-silo problem.
Make sure they have features that work to collect your cash – we built Automated Statements to help you with that. You’re not mucking around transitioning between accounting, documents and emailing systems to produce statements.
I always advocate a Minimalist Business culture when it comes to systems and processes. Don’t employ too much tech. Use less systems that have more depth in capability. Make sure your systems run fast and scale with your business.
Make sure you and your staff are performing tasks the most effective way. As an example if I want to find out what my most recent Telstra bill was I could go into Saasu and click Sales and then select Telstra and run the listing -or- I could just type Telstra into Jump and hit return.
- Compliance Accounting versus Business Accounting
Many online accounting systems are very much designed for compliance at the expense of being business systems. This is because the accounting software industry is very dependent on accountants selling their products for them. So there will be a tendency to have the business owners priorities lower. Business owners need compliance but it is a small quarterly time cost relative to the cost of inefficient daily workflow. Transition creeps in here in many ways. You can start working around shortcomings in your system that increases your workflow time costs. You start relying on spreadsheets. You start connecting apps to fill out missing features. Essentially your workflow for a transaction involves lots of screens, journals, other add-on systems, spreadsheets etc to get the same job done.
Business systems need workflow, need templates (the ability to design workflow documents) and they need the accounting done properly behind that. As an example many online accounting systems claim to have inventory because they have Items but in reality these Items often don’t have an inventory system behind them.
The Future of Accounting
Saasu is an innovator. We are actively changing the way people will use cloud accounting. They will get what they want almost instantly in Saasu. Navigation-less web applications are coming. We’ve already delivered the first step towards ours with Jump. I’m pleased we are leading our industry and our next feature out soon is even better in my opinion. No-one has it and every business owner wants it. We focus on the business owner and that’s who we innovate for and why we know they need it and why we have built it first. Looking forward to sharing it with you all soon.
For More information, head to http://www.saasu.com/