‘Even a child these days needs to know how to use Quickbooks,” said Bala Subramanian, a business consultant. No, he doesn’t have a stake in Intuit, the company that makes the popular accounting software. He just thinks that computer accounting skills are pretty much mandatory for everyone who handles money, which to say, everyone.
Subramanian even believes that good planning and money management could help solve global poverty by giving people the ability to plan their finances and accumulate money over time. But stopping short of transforming the world, he believes that business people, and especially small business owners, have a major need to learn how to use Quickbooks.
Subramanian, a volunteer instructor for Princeton SCORE, the owner of the Edison-based Synergism Inc., and an instructor at DeVry, will lead a free workshop on Quickbooks on Wednesday, May 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the East Brunswick Public Library. For more information, visit www.princeton.score.org.
Subramanian said most professionals are too specialized. “We have been getting very good at what we like and what we enjoy doing and where we have expertise, but not when it comes to dealing with things outside our comfort zone,” he said. One thing that most people avoid is learning good accounting practices, which can cause big problems when professionals decide to go into business for themselves as consultants. Fortunately, software can now make up for that lack of expertise. “Modern 21st century tools are available, and they can make us as good as the best among us,” Subramanian said.
Subramanian said anyone taking his workshop should bring a laptop and sign up for a 30-day free trial of the software. The hour-long session he teaches is a good start, and it only takes a few hours to master the software. As users get more acquainted with Quickbooks they can create a marketing plan and make budgeting forecasts for the next few months or the year.
“Most of the time, people are hesitant to try this on their own,” Subramanian said. But lawyers, accountants, and marketing professionals are all expensive, usually too expensive for a typical small business owner.
Subramanian said some people are hesitant to use cloud-based financial software for security reasons. If the books are on the Internet, after all, they are vulnerable to hacking. But in reality, the software has the same level of security as online banking, which most people don’t hesitate to use.
The second major concern is that it’s too complex — and that’s where Subramanian’s workshop comes in. He leads students step-by-step through using the software to remove the intimidation factor.
Subramanian, a mechanical engineer by training, grew up in India, where his father was a manager in the textile industry. Having been raised in a multilingual household, he speaks Gujarati and Hindi in addition to English. He moved to the United States in 1969 and earned a master’s degree in quality assurance at the University of Texas and then went to work for Collins Radio, where he designed cooling systems. He later earned his doctorate at the University of North Texas.
For his day job, Subramanian teaches undergraduate accounting students how to use Quickbooks. Idealism drives him to share those skills with business people for Princeton SCORE. “I like to give back to the community,” he said. “In order for democracy to succeed, we need to empower people.”