Ep. 81: Andrew Royer - Choosing the Right Accounting Software

August 10, 2020 | 15 Minutes

Andrew Royer, CPA, CGA, is an accountant, bookkeeper, and profit first professional who aims to transform your business from a cash-eating monster to a money-making machine. Andrew spent 13 years writing accounting software before actually switching into the accounting field. He has an entrepreneurial mindset and diverse skillset, which enabled him to start his own CPA firm, Royer Accounting Ltd., CPA. In this episode, Andrew talks about the pros and cons of various accounting software and explains how to choose the best option for your business so you can work efficiently and increase profits. Download and listen now!

Contact Andrew Royer:
Royer Accounting: https://www.royeraccounting.ca/

Andrew's Recommended Readings:
  1. Tim Ferris, 4-Hour Work Week: https://fourhourworkweek.com/
  2. Mike Michalowicz, Profit First: https://profitfirstbook.com/
  3. Dave Chilton, The Wealthy Barber: http://www.wealthybarber.com/
Adam: (00:00)
 Welcome back for episode 81 of Count Me In. I'm your host, Adam Larson, and I'm happy to share another conversation with you about various things affecting the accounting and finance world. Today's conversation features Andrew Royer, Founder and CEO of Royer Accounting in British Columbia, Canada. Andrew is an entrepreneur who uses the tagline, “Transform Your Business from a Cash Eating Monster to a Moneymaking Machine.” He loves working with other entrepreneurs to help them see cashflow issues and showing them how growth and profit go hand in hand. In this episode, Andrew shares a perspective on various accounting software options, and how it can enhance work productivity to ultimately lead to a more profitable business. For a further explanation on what it means to be efficient and effective in business, keep listening as we head over to the conversation now. 
 Mitch: (01:01)
 So from your experience working with accountants and clients, what are some of the advantages to utilizing a desktop accounting software? 
 Andrew: (01:09)
 Okay, well in some cases you don't really have a choice. If you're in an area that's got a slow or unstable internet connection, you're not going to be able to use an online application. Another benefit is that the, the applications, the desktop versions that are installed on your computer tend to be a lot more robust and have more features available to them. And a couple other, you just, you'll, there's a onetime cost option, which you don't get online generally, and, you have more control over the upgrades. You can decide, you know, when you're going to install it, you don't have to worry about them installing it when you're, you know, you're busy with something. 
 Mitch: (01:52)
 That makes sense. And then I guess the opposite here, the online accounting software, what are some advantages to utilizing some of that? 
 Andrew: (01:59)
 Yeah, I mean, the, the biggest advantage is that you're not tied to your computer. So a lot of the software, you can access it on your phone. Take your laptop, you sit on the beach, not that you want to be working on the beach, but, it's better than working in an office. But yeah, I mean if you get a call at home, you're able to look information up thats, and enter information when you need to. You don't have to worry about like, so the benefit of the desktop is that you, you get control over the installations, the downside, or the benefit of the online,you don't, have to worry about the installation. Somebody is doing the installations, they're backing up the software, they're installing the updates for you. It's also easy to give access to your staff. You give access to, accountants and bookkeepers, whereas on a desktop version, unless you're getting into a really expensive enterprise kind of options, it's hard to get multiple people involved. And the online makes that, you know, the interconnectedness  is very powerful. You can also make up, so the shortfall of the online, which I had mentioned before was that you have less power than the desktop, but, with the online, you can actually integrate with thousands of apps that will increase the power of the online. So there's a lot of benefits you're not closed and tied to what the desktop gives you. You can add whatever features you want. 
 Mitch: (03:21)
 So I guess a lot of it sounds like, you know, there are pros and cons to both of these, for those who are interested in, you know, looking at different software options, whether it's desktop or online, we'll start with desktop to stay consistent here. How do you go about determining which desktop software is right for you? 
 Andrew: (03:40)
 In my opinion, it's, it's largely preference. I've used.,I've used most of the different options out there, the big names anyway. So, the primary options are QuickBooks Desktop, and then the Simply Accounting or the Sage version. So those are, those are the two main competitors. There may be some advantages to one or the other based on the size of the company or the particular industry that you're in. But otherwise I find that it's mostly preference. I find more technically minded tend to prefer the Simply Accounting and, the QuickBooks, if you're just getting started, QuickBooks tends to be simpler, easier to use. So a lot of people start with that. 
 Mitch: (04:21)
 Then what are some of your options on the flip side? Like I said, what are some of the ways that you can choose the right online accounting software and what are some of those examples? 
 Andrew: (04:31)
 Yeah, I think so picking the right online software is probably a little tougher. For our firm, what we've done is we've gone just to be consistent. We've gone with QuickBooks online, just across the board for everybody. This is QuickBooks has been in the market the longest and online,aAnd so they have the most integrations with other software out there. They're, it's easier to find people that are more familiar with it and able, so it's easier to find people in, to work with it and so there's less training involved with that. And, I mean, it's not, it's not perfect. I'd like there's issues with it that drive me nuts, but it's kind of, I can say it's the worst system until you consider the alternatives. So then we look at, like Sage has started the game a little bit later. I think they were digging their claws into the desktop version and really just didn't want to let it go. And so they joined the game a little bit later and, they have a lot less integrations thanthan QuickBooks and otherwise I think between the two, it's more of a, just a preference thing. And then the last one, the one that I've been keeping my eye on a lot is XERO. So they never had a desktop version. So both QuickBooks and Sage, they were basically competing with themselves, trying to create some of the same features that they had in the desktop version. XERO didn't have that liability. So they were able to just create something from scratch, make it the way that they wanted to, with an online interface. Some of the issues that they ended up getting into with that is that, people are used to doing things a certain way with all other accounting software and they've kind of done just something completely different. The biggest benefit with XERO isit works great with the foreign exchange transactions, which can be tougher in both, you know, QuickBooks online and Sage. And really, the only reason that we haven't moved everybody over to it is it's really lacking in the Canadian sales side. So the sales tax handling, they're working on it, but, until that's done, I can't even, consider it, but we're definitely keeping our eye on that one is potentially a future leader in this industry.
 Mitch: (06:50)
 So you've said it a few times where it really comes down to personal preference, and I assume that goes for most people who are considering any of these different options. You know, I assume it really revolves around what your ultimate goals are. And one of them I'm sure for most is overall productivity, right? Your ability to be flexible and get the job done efficiently and effectively. So how do these various software options ultimately lead to a more productive, accounting and finance team? 
 Andrew: (07:22)
 Well, I think all of these options, whether it's desktop or online, they're, I mean, what they're doing is they're computerizing a process that was originally, you know, journals and pens and beyond that, I really think like the advantages for the productivity start, you start to see that a lot more in, on the online world where you're able to have all of those sort of integrations. And that's really, and that's the main reason that we went with QuickBooks online is because of all of the other integrations that it has and the automations that we're able to do with it. So that productivity is, when you, you can audit, obviously the first thing you want to do is try and see what tasks that you can just get rid of, and then once you've gotten rid of the tasks, you try and automate as much as you can. And so this software allows you to do that, which will free up a lot of your time. Also if you're, if you're using a whole bunch of different systems, if you can get them to communicate and integrate with one another, then you can get rid of some of those redundancies, that human error entering it in multiple systems, and I guess the, ultimately goal is that you're trying to get some solid financials as quickly as possible, but the faster you get those financial sitting in front of you, the faster that you can review those numbers and see where you need to make changes, you can, you know, shift your business, you know, especially say something, you know, catastrophic, like COVID happens, it gives you that information faster. So can see maybe where your expenses have gotten out of control and where you need to make some cuts. 
 Mitch: (09:00)
 Yeah. I mean, that leads right into my next question. You kind of just hit on it there, but, you know, with this productivity and additional available time, I'm sure everyone else's goal is, you know, you want to make a profit. So from the firm side of things, how does all of this ultimately lead to a more profitable business? 
 Andrew: (09:19)
 Yeah, I mean, so you, you get lower costs, you should less staff time, potentially delaying hiring staff, so you can reduce some costs by getting, you know, more of the stuff automated and more efficient. And so one person can do more. And it frees up some of your time to do things like looking at cashflow management. So you can figure out how you're going to survive over the next three, six months, you know, three to six months or a year and yeah, and you get that information in front of you faster and just be able to make better decisions, be able to capitalize on opportunities as they arise and try and mitigate some of those risks as you see them. 
 Mitch: (10:00)
 Ultimately, you have this profitable business now, you know, you're working productively. Again from the firm side, what is your definition of an efficient and effective business? You know, obviously we're aiming for these profitable goals, but what does that look like on the daily basis or weekly, monthly, some of the key indicators of a business that's running well. 
 Andrew: (10:25)
 Yeah, I mean, we need to do is we need to, communicate with our clients on a weekly basis and make sure that we're getting the information from them and make sure that we're giving them, you know, the information that they need to be able to make their decisions on. Generally what we do is on a monthly basis, we produce reports for our clients, and I think what's important is that we have to look at those numbers frequently. This is why I prefer, like in our business, we do primarily, we do both tax, we do tax and bookkeeping, but our focus has been on the bookkeeping cause we want to be involved on the client on that on a month to month basis. And the key is to get to being efficient and to being effective, for ourselves and to help our clients to be efficient and effective is to, we need to be able to not only provide those numbers, but be able to give feedback, give advice on those numbers, to see where changes need to be made and start to indicate where some problems might be coming up. And the soft the software is necessary. There's no way that we would be able to do what we do without the software that allows us to essentially be a fairly smaller companies that can't afford to hire, you know full accounting teams internally. It allows them to hire a company like ourselves that, can advise them with, you know, much we're able to do this at a much with a much smaller staff and with a much lower price than it would be to hire somebody internally. 
 Mitch: (12:03)
 Well, my last question for you today, I know you have various areas of expertise and, you know, your accounting background is pretty diverse into where you got today with your entrepreneurial mindset. So I'm just curious about your perspective on how you see, accounting evolving even more in the future. You know, you talked about going from desktop to online. There's a lot of automation, a lot of talk about different technology in your, in your mind, what do you think may be next for the industry? 
 Andrew: (12:41)
 Well, I still think a lot of the technology that's out there and I know there's a big concern that it's going to, I've heard talk of it, replacing accountants and bookkeepers, and I, don't see that happening anytime soon. But I do see that there's going to be a surge. Like there's going to be a growth in the software industry. This automation is going to become a big thing. I think people that are remaining on, the desktop versions are going to suffer in the long run. I think the online world is going to continue to grow, become a lot more powerful and I think, accountants and bookkeepers are just going to have to, are going to have to get on board that and take advantage of that, and I think what it'll do is it'll allow us to do, be able to offer a lot more with a lot less staff and resources, which I think is going to be important because we're not where we're going to be seeing, a big exit of the accounting professionals. And so it's going to be a lot less of us required to do the same amount, if not more work. 
 Closing: (13:42)
 This has been Count Me In IMA's podcast, providing you with the latest perspectives of thought leaders from the accounting and finance profession. If you like, what you heard, and you'd like to be counted in for more relevant accounting and finance education, visit IMA's website at www.imanet.org.