5 Things You Need in a Cannabis Accounting Software

by Sarah LorekNovember 01, 2019

When your cannabis business was new, you were probably using a well-known accounting solution like Quickbooks, or maybe even something more familiar, like a spreadsheet.

Quickbooks did the job and worked great while your business was still young. Now, your operation is growing, so you could be looking for functionality tailored to enterprise-level cannabis accounting.
If this sounds like you, a more comprehensive accounting solution might be the right move for your cannabusiness. Read on to learn five things you need in a cannabis accounting software for large-scale cannabis businesses.

1. Access to Credible Industry Experts

If you decide to use an enterprise-level accounting solution for your cannabiz, it’s most likely because you’re growing. Congrats! If this is the case, you should choose a company that understands both the cannabis industry and enterprise accounting.

Many times, cannabis ERP technology providers, like Akerna, acquire companies or integrate with solutions that can make their offerings more comprehensive. This allows them to stick to what they know best—cannabis—while bringing in experts from other fields, like accounting.

Look for companies that know how to navigate the many complexities of running a cannabis business and have experts in the field of accounting. Leaders in cannabis technology who have been in the industry since the beginning and who have a “cannabis industry first” approach are key.

Ready to take your cannabis accounting software to the next level? Check out this free webinar.

2. Fully Customizable Options to Fit Your Cannabis Business

It’s important to look for a cannabis accounting software that is customizable based on your unique business needs. For instance, if you’re a cultivator, you won’t need to see all the accounting functionality required for an extraction and infusion manufacturer, or even a retailer.

Furthermore, you may only have five employees right now. But if your revenue is what’s scaling quickly, you will need to allow space for this rapid growth.

Moving towards an enterprise-level accounting solution may be a step in the right direction. Every cannabis business is unique, so look for an accounting software that gives you the ability to customize your options based on the type of operation you are running.

3. Onboarding and Consulting Services

With all the new enterprise-level cannabis accounting functionality comes the need for additional onboarding and consulting services. If you’re adding an accounting integration to your current seed-to-sale solution, you’ll need to know how to get started and what to expect with future releases moving forward.

Your solution should provide onboarding services that teach you how to navigate and work with the new integration. Onboarding time can vary based on the software you choose, what type of cannabis business you own, and whether you have previous experience with accounting software.

Things to look for include:

  • A thorough training experience for getting hands-on and learning the system, testing, and setting up your operation.
  • Onboarding that lasts at least 30 days so that you have a chance to truly dig into your new solution. For users who are importing historical data from a previous system, you will want to allow anywhere from 60 days to a few months to get up and running.
  • The number of hours you'll save when you move to the new solution. Research has shown that when companies move from their existing accounting software to a solution like Sage Intacct, they save an average of 500 hours of accounting time. That’s up to three months of hours saved because of things like reduced processing times, getting data analytics quicker, and even a shortened sales cycle.

When releases go live, you should be notified so that you always know what to expect with the latest version. Furthermore, there needs to be both financial and cannabis industry experts available to discuss your needs whenever they pop up— before, during, and after onboarding.

In addition, make sure the accounting solution you choose gives you the option of adding cannabis consulting services post-onboarding. This way, you will always have a dedicated cannabis expert on speed dial.

4. Granular Financial Tracking and Analytics, Down to the Seed

You should not only choose a solution that helps manage your money, but one that provides financial tracking at a more granular level. These features should truly be catered to the unique needs of your cannabis business. Choose the cannabis accounting software that provides you with the most data. This way, during an audit, you’ll be able to see (and prove) exactly where your money is going.

Here are some features you’ll need:

  • Fully loaded inventory costs that show anything that goes towards growing and cultivating that final product. This means having the ability to track all costs - for labor, rent, utilities, when nutrients were applied, job hours, and then applying all these costs based on an individual plant, batch of plants, or an entire room. The way costs are distributed should be very flexible.
  • Transparent and detailed audit trails that allow you to justify every expense. Various audit trails should include standard, advanced, and HIPPA-level. One thing to note is that Sage Intacct is the only cloud-based software that has HIPPA compliant audit trails
  • Visual dashboards that show things like product lines and sales information across product types, accounts payable information including bill pay history, cash dashboards, controller dashboards, and more.
  • Role-based setup for your accounting software users so that you can control who does what — like bill pay, writing checks, payroll, etc.
  • Predictive business intelligence that provides insight into your entire financial landscape. You should be able to see trends across spending, products, revenue, and more, in order to make more informed business decisions in the future.

You are investing your well-earned money into a comprehensive cannabis accounting software, so you should be able to quickly and easily see the return on your investment.

5. Multilingual and Multicurrency Offerings

With an enterprise-level accounting solution, you’ll be set up to grow from a multilingual and multicurrency perspective. Even if you’re only currently operating in the US or Canada, having access to multilingual representatives is invaluable. Furthermore, the software itself should be available in multiple languages. This is a good sign that the provider is thinking about cannabis from a global perspective and is well-versed in compliance across borders.

As your business scales into other regions, it will also be important that your accounting solution can handle multiple currencies for international transactions. Even if this isn’t something that concerns you today, it can be a feature that will benefit you in the future, as banking laws continue to change.

There are many benefits to using an enterprise accounting solution for your cannabis operation, even if you aren’t quite there today. If you’re currently using seed-to-sale software, check to see if they have plans to offer a more comprehensive accounting solution in the future, in addition to the simple Quickbooks integration they might offer today. Once you do this, you’ll be well on your way to manage all the financial challenges that you could encounter in the vast world of cannabis.

Ready to take your cannabis accounting software to the next level? Access our free webinar with Sage, MJ Platform’s new enterprise cannabis accounting integration.

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