So You Think You Can Avoid Accounting Software?

Mark Canes

Yes folks - it's a new reality show. We'll watch real people, running real businesses, dance nimbly around the subject of knowing their true profit and loss by using quality accounting software.

First contestant is Joe. Joe is the owner of Big Bad Imports, the company that imports all your big, bad stuff. Joe knows how much cash he has in the bank (online banking, you know), and he's able to process orders and invoice his customers using his business software system (circa 1986). When asked about his gross margin by product line, and his net bottom liner on a monthly basis, Joe laughs. "That stuff is for sissies," he declares. When asked how much his business has grown is the last few years, Joe executes a perfect side-step and tap-dances away.

Next we have Lucy, the CEO of Top Notch Electronics Distribution. She's having some difficulty paying her suppliers on time, but that must be their fault - right? Yes, cash is tight, but as long as her loyal customers keep buying from her (and they do), she'll waltz along happily (at least until the bank calls in her line of credit). Lucy loves the ease of use and simplicity of her inventory management software, and the fact that it has no useful accounting modules is no problem for her. "After all," she says, "I'm not an accountant anyway."

As the judge, I'd have to say this one is too close to call. But anyone who thinks that business software need not include top-notch accounting software functionality definitely qualifies for our next business reality show: "Down The Tubes."