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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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13–9. Switch to an Application Service Provider

The typical accountant has a great deal of training and experience in how to process accounting transactions, but much less in how to select, install, and maintain an accounting software package. Despite this shortcoming, often an accountant will be called on at some time to either fix or maintain an existing accounting software package or select and install a new one. The most common issue of all is the continuing addition of software upgrades, and dealing with the technical issues caused by them. Not far behind is dealing with the problems that arise when a software system crashes. Given the lack of expertise in this area, it is no surprise that many accountants do not show a high degree of competence when this happens, which can have a significant impact on their careers.

Luckily, one can leave the software problem to someone else through the use of an application service provider (ASP). This is a company that maintains accounting (or other) software on its own computer system, and is responsible for its upkeep and reliability. Users of the ASP’s services simply log in to process their transactions, and depart when they are done—leaving all system maintenance worries to the ASP’s staff.

This is a particularly fine option for smaller companies that cannot afford the cost of purchasing and implementing their own accounting software and hardware, which can run over $100,000 for even a modest installation. It is also a good alternative ...

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