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Must-Have Features in an Accounting Software for Auto Shops

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Accounting software for auto shops isn't just nice to have, it's a must-have. However, without adequate accounting knowledge, even the best software can leave shop owners feeling confused:

  • Automation is crucial in accounting. Businesses have categorized accounting (29%) as the 'key area' to implement automation over other business areas such as marketing (28%), sales (27%), customer service (25%), and more. This is because an accounting software's features directly influence the insight you have into your auto shop's financial health. 
  • Accounting requires more skills today. When discussing the necessary skills needed in today's accountants, business leaders listed 'technology literacy' (57%) over other criteria. 
  • Kaizen has what you need. From important integrations to unparalleled industry expertise, Kaizen CPAs & Advisors has you covered. 

To get the most out of your accounting software, you'll need more than just the following set of features. You also need a team of specialists to ensure your auto shop is maximizing the use of the technology to optimize overall accounting practices. 

INTEGRATION WITH SHOP MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

One of the most important features in accounting software for auto shops is integration with shop management software.

When working with a shop management system, it's common to run into situations where you need to share data between systems to get a complete picture of your financial health. In fact, you'll need this holistic insight into your business's performance if you want to do any one or more of these things:

  • Make more informed business decisions
  • Attract investors to your business
  • Acquire additional financing to grow and expand

And let's be honest, it's just good business to have a clear view of your financial health so you can respond quickly when you need to. Integration fills in the gaps you often overlook when working around separate software for several different purposes. 

The best software will make it easy to integrate with every aspect of your operations, including the shop management program, website, and inventory management system you already use. This way, there's no debate about where your auto shop stands financially — good or bad. 

This doesn't just bring more clarity to your organization's health — it also benefits your employees in a number of ways by allowing you to access all relevant information from one centralized location. This way, you and your staff don't have to switch between tabs or applications when working on various tasks throughout the day. This streamlines processes, reduces errors, and frees up more time for staff members who are responsible for updating records.

BACK-OFFICE AND FRONT-OFFICE OPERATIONS AND DATA

Back-office operations include managing inventory, job costing, payroll, and accounting. Front-office operations include managing customer data, sales transactions, and customer service. The two teams are often siloed — but they shouldn't be. 

You must integrate both front-office and back-office functions to ensure your business operates efficiently and effectively. This is another area of business that requires a clear view of all your operations to better organize and streamline your processes.

According to DataNami, the integration of front- and back-office operations is essential for four reasons:

  1. You will be better able to leverage the data you collect 
  2. Integrating the automated systems you're using in the back with the front can enhance customer experience by providing more data insight
  3. Optimize your day-to-day operations and reduce costly mistakes
  4. Save more money and increase your revenue by automating more manual tasks

REPORTING

Reporting can be a make-or-break function for an auto shop because it:

  • Influences all the major decisions and actions you make as a shop owner
  • Affects where you allocate all your resources, and 
  • Is the documented evidence of where your auto shop stands as of right now compared to the past and is the basis for what is foreseen for your company's future

Just like you can’t make a great dinner without having all the ingredients, you can't operate successfully as an auto shop owner without complete insight into your shop’s performance. Fortunately, creating reports is a breeze with software and accounting experts. You can easily create customized reports, export data, and even build dashboards to help you get the most out of your financial data.

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

Customer relationship management is an integral part of any retail business, but it’s especially crucial for auto shops. You need to keep track of customer data, such as their name and contact details, to quickly get in touch with them when necessary.

After all, keeping track of all these small — but extremely influential personal details — allows you to personalize each experience, showing how much you care about your customers. This, in turn, increases their customer experience with your auto shop. 

And more than half (68%, to be exact) of customers appreciate good customer service so much that they are willing to pay MORE for it. 

While managing your customers' information manually would be a time-consuming process, especially if you have a large number of customers or are working with multiple locations, CRMs make it easy to:

  • Organize contacts into different lists according to their specific needs (e.g., "potential clients" or "customers who bought tires from me last month").
  • Use various tools (i.e. lead prospecting, automated phone calls) to streamline the sales process even further.

SOFTWARE CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH

It's important to keep in mind that while the right accounting software — with the right must-have features — can make all the difference in how smoothly your auto shop runs, you can only do so much with software.

When it comes to automotive accounting, many people think that they can handle their own bookkeeping by using accounting software. While it's true that automation is a great way to simplify the process and make it more efficient, you will still need human interaction to master your automotive accounting.

Albert Einstein once said, "Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. Together, they are powerful beyond imagination." You don't just need the software; you need specialists that optimize your experience with the software. 

Auto shops are complicated businesses with many moving parts and variables affecting the bottom line. For you to truly master your automotive accounting, you need an expert who has experience in both the automotive and accounting industries.

Here at Kaizen, we’re happy to say we satisfy that need. Contact us to learn more about integrating the right accounting software and having the right specialists to help you optimize your accounting process.

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