Ensuring the Successful Implementation of Accounting Software

A lot of businessmen who are searching for accounting software for the first time have the misconception that this application can adapt to any type of business. While it is true that today’s solutions are “smarter” than before, it would be unrealistic to expect perfect results. Some users think that their financial systems will be loaded with sophisticated solutions that handle various types of business process. But the truth is, each product has its own set of features that has been specifically designed for certain industries, business structure, and size.

It is important to look into each of these features to determine if the package is suitable for the organization’s needs or not. After you determine which accounting software is right for your business, the next step would be to ensure successful installation and implementation. Below are some steps that will help ensure its success:

1. Create a technology advisory team – the task of the team is to oversee the entire implementation process. The technology advisory team should be composed of members from all divisions of the company. By getting a representative from each major division, the needs of different parts of the company are considered. However, the number should be limited to five to seven members including a senior manager with the authority to act on its findings.

2. Conduct a needs analysis – every manager from each division should conduct their own analysis of their needs. It should include the various aspects of their operation from the inventory operations to invoicing. The managers should separate the list into “mission-critical” (have a financial impact if the tasks are not done) and those that are not critical (no major impact on business operations).

Using this data, the managers or a technical staff they assign should prepare a flowchart to show the diagram of these tasks. Outlining the step by step process for decision making is important to show the information flow, paperwork, and the decision flow in the organization. The flowchart will reveal how efficient decisions are made and the bottlenecks that delay the system. A detailed flowchart will see how accounting software can handle these tasks.

The managers should gather various sample forms during this process as well (invoices, checks, picking tickets) and every document that is produced by accounting. Supplemental duties such as spreadsheet reports and word-processing files should also be considered. Analyzing all the required forms will enable accounting software selection process become successful.

3. Consider getting an independent consultant – depending on the time and resources available to the business, it may be a good idea to hire an independent consultant who can prepare or evaluate your needs analysis. This will help you make the final decision and minimize the risks that you’ll need to change to another accounting system later on. Before you hire anyone, make sure that the consultant is not connected to any vendor to avoid bias.

4. Talk to the current vendor (if you have an existing software) – unless you’re really unhappy with your existing vendor, presenting your detailed needs analysis to them and getting their opinion is recommended. It will enable you to know whether you need to change vendors or get an upgrade with the existing provider.