Adrian pearson is A VETERAN UK CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT AND the founder of ledgerscope - A SOFTWARE COMPANY MAking great tools for accountants in practice.

No support is better than great support

Should we be making decisions based on the relative qualities of the support desk?

There's a discussion thread over on Accounting Web, started by someone asking for recommendations for accounting software suitable for a small, startup business. Putting aside the fact that the discussion immediately focussed on desktop, rather than cloud options, what caught my eye was the comment above.

There is a subconcious admission here: that the user will struggle to use the software (in this case Sage or QuickBooks) and should therefore make an evaluation of the relative quality of the products' support desks an important element of the purchasing decision. The advice being given is to not simply look at the features and benefits of the two products side by side, but to also be careful to choose the one with the best support service.

I make no criticism of "nickgl" here, she is making a valid, real-world point. What struck me was that this seems such an anachronism. Surely the accounting software world has moved on?

Rather than being proud of the number of support staff they have, or the number of calls they handle each day, the new breed of accounting software vendors take the opposite position: they focus on the ease of use of their products and strive to reduce their support footprint to as near zero as possible.

Software users will always get stuck and it is important that they can access the help they need from their vendor quickly and easily. Giving great customer support is something to be proud of but the goal must be quality in low quantity.

We wouldn't buy a consumer product on the basis that we know we won't be able to understand how to work it, so we'll go for the one with the best customer helpline.

Please register, but we're not that interested in security

A solution to the password dilemma