Why Small Business needs internet accounting
Nearly 100% of small businesses today are using standalone or LAN-based accounting
software which is
- manually operated for every accounting process from purchasing to selling.
- requires redundant data entry at both ends of every transaction (buyer and seller).
- requires attention, mental concentration and accounting skills, even for day-to-day
Small business now wants the following, rather obvious, capabilities:
- send an invoice electronically
- with authentication and other features necessary to get a payment from customers
- with support for leading bill consolidators and competitive service providers
- goes into the recipients' accounting software as an unposted draft Sales
- make a payment electronically
- including payroll and other payments to individuals
- using free, open remittance formats such as IFX ensuring access
to competitive service providers
- get a catalog electronically
- determine what's available, at what price,
- eliminate the unnecessary work of adding items, prices, and descriptions to inventory
- send a purchase order electronically
- authentication sufficient to be binding on us, the senders, to ensure prompt service by
- containing machine-readable items list, so we can track our inventory status
- receive invoices
- machine-readable so that our system can match the items with our inventory
- formatted so that our GL can associate the bill with our Accounts Payable.
- review and approve onscreen
- a detailed, standard remittance advice with the payment so that our supplier
applies it correctly to specific items we are paying for.
The above needs of small business have been technically possible since the invention of
the modem, but there have been no standards, no software, and and no service providers.
If all of the shrinkwrap accounting software vendors awoke tomorrow morning and
released electronic billing modules, which tapped into windows email functions to transmit
and receive invoices in XML, millions of businesses would begin using those functions
within a year or two. All of the above capabilities could be retrofitted to existing
accounting systems --even DOS and linux accounting systems.
In addition to internet transactions, the small business market also needs
functionality which is not easy to retrofit into LAN-based
- remote access to the accounting system, to enable services by remote
employees, offsite bookkeepers, and CPAs
- good citizen in the computing environment: an accounting system that shares
its data. The top priority is a capability to share customers and vendors. These
should be an open repository or directory system, to efficiently share the customer list
with other communication, accounting and marketing systems. Today's businesses have
multiple customer lists in their Accounting, Email, and contact systems, which are the
root of much inefficiency.
- good citizen: an accounting system that shares its functions
with other software, enabling programmers to integrate other business processes with the
accounting system. Posting transactions to a GL reliably, at low cost, requires that the
GL expose a programmable interface such as VBA, or at least a command line capability for scripting. (Although many accounting
systems store their transactions in database accessable through ODBC, that's useless
because posting transactions directly to the database is risky and requires highly complex
programming. What I'm saying is that such programming be provided in the object oriented
design of the GL itself, or at least, command line parameters.)
- capability to sell goods and services
online. It is not anticipated that any of the vendors of Windows accounting
software will provide a competitive web storefront capability in the immediate future. This
will require a degree of security, attractive selling environment and integration with the
local items list that is more likely to be achieved by website tool
developers or hosting providers on the internet. Web
commerce platforms have become powerful and capable. No small or midrange accounting
software vendor has any cost-effective software package or solution for web commerce.
TB 8/11/99 http://www.gldialtone.com