Pair Down the Tech Stack

By Ben Szweda
Shaker heights book keeping services and tax documentation

Many software programs do the same thing. On specific tasks, they may all do it just as well. But on other tasks, only one will perform it well or be able to perform it at all. 

Maintaining multiple software subscriptions is expensive. It slows down your team as they have to think about which software to use, and it requires them to stay up to date on how to use multiple interfaces. 


If you’re currently supporting multiple programs, try to analyze them for necessity. Grab a piece of paper and write down on the left side all the tasks performed by all your software solutions. Across the top of the paper, create columns by writing down the names of the software programs you use. Then, go down each row and mark which software programs perform which tasks. Here’s an example below. You can also note the cost and speed of things like payments. 

ACH payments to contractorsXXX
Bill approval workflowX
Wire transfersX
Accounting softwareX

Cancel Excess Subscriptions

When you have your list done, look for any rows where there is only one “X.” This indicates that the software listed at the top of that column is essential to your business and that you probably can’t eliminate it right now. 

If for any row, however, you have multiple “Xs,” that means you are operating numerous software that does the same thing. This is an excellent opportunity to review your use of the software to determine if one of the subscriptions can be canceled. 

Pick One

If your analysis indicates that you can’t cancel the software altogether, you may still be able to simplify your processes. For example, in the above chart, multiple software can send ACH payments to contractors. This implies one of them could be eliminated. However, upon closer inspection, you see that while all three send ACH payments, Gusto is the only one that does payroll well, and QBO is the only accounting software. 

In this scenario, we would not recommend canceling any software. (If your business doesn’t need payroll, we might recommend canceling Gusto). However, we would recommend choosing one of the three software for all ACH payments. Sending some ACH payments via Gusto and paying other people by ACH via QBO is too confusing. Reports will look better, your processes will be more streamlined, and staff training will be faster if you select one of the three software to process all ACH payments. 

Which one you should choose to use for ACH will depend on your business specifically. You’d want to examine all types of bills, how you pay them, what kinds of people or companies you pay, how many 1099s you have to send out at year-end, and other factors. 

Where are You Going

If you don’t yet have a jumble of software programs in use – great! Before you subscribe to any more, it’s essential to think ahead. We suggest you buy software that may be larger than your current needs. 

There is a cost, certainly of time, and sometimes even of dollars if there are setup fees or training fees, to onboarding new software. Therefore, it’s wasteful to onboard one software today and then scrap it and onboard an entirely new software in three months. You’ll have downtime as you transition systems and get up to speed on the latest software, and all the time spent learning the old operating system will be for naught. 

Therefore, before buying software, think ahead. 

  • While today you may only pay domestic contract workers via ACH, will you need to wire money to international workers in a month? Does the software you are choosing allow for wire transfers? Do they support the country you intend to work with? 
  • While today you have just one admin on payroll and use all contract labor for your fieldwork, will that be changing soon? Are you planning to hire some of the field workers in the future? Does your payroll software handle taxes in multiple cities, or is it designed for a fixed place of business? 
  • While today you may be the only person approving and paying bills, will you be hiring a manager soon or delegating tasks to an assistant or bookkeeper? Does your accounts payable process have a workflow for bill approvals? 

This is one topic area covered through Szweda Consulting’s consulting services. If you need help analyzing your software stack, reach out for help. Our accountants use various software programs with multiple clients. They can help you decide which one is right for your business. We can even help you save money by showing you features you didn’t know existed in software you already have.

Ready for some help?

Free Consultations Available!
Our most popular services:
  • QuickBooks Cleanup
  • Bookkeeping
  • Monthly Financial Statements
  • Payroll