5 Top Tips for Investing in New Accounting Software
Whether you’re considering an expense management application for employees, adding a document imaging solution, or completely new accounting software… at some point, you will have to update the technology for your business. As a premier technology solutions provider focused on finance and accounting, we deal with this every day. Here are our top 5 tips and insights for navigating the process of choosing and implementing new software.
#1: Do Your Research
This could possibly be the most important step in the entire process. Prior to looking at accounting software or speaking to resellers, it’s essential to understand your needs, your budget, and your expectations. Make sure to involve your team during this initial research phase as sometimes it’s the employees that use the current software daily that have the best insight. And, don’t forget to ask about their biggest pain points and what they would most like to change when you implement a new system. So, now that you’ve done your due diligence and have a clear picture of your needs and expectations, it’s time to start looking for the perfect match!
#2: Finding the Right Reseller
When purchasing accounting software, most companies focus on finding the right product for their business. While that is critically important, it’s equally essential to find the right partner who will help you achieve success with your new solution. Every software reseller is unique, with its own set of services, pricing, and areas of strength. Remember, the partner you chose will be responsible for the initial setup of your software, training as well as ongoing support. If you are going to spend that much time together, having the same focus makes everything a whole lot easier.
#3: Planning is the Key to Success
For any implementation to be successful you must plan. The proficiency of knowing how all the pieces need to flow, the order of the steps, and what needs to be addressed will impact how effective your new system is for your business. Appoint a project manager from your team to help manage the details of the project. Make sure this person is equipped to make decisions or seek direction from leadership when needed. Also, if you’re planning to upload information into your new software, always take the time to clean up your historical data. This allows you to start with a clean slate.
#4: Engage Your Entire Team in the Process
Successful user adoption while engaging the team is critical. For us, it starts in the sales process with clear communication about the timeline… what’s happening, when it will happen, who will be impacted, and what your team needs to do. Management must “buy-in” and engage in the complete process of the new software including implementation and training. If employees see supervisors or management missing training or working outside the software, they’re likely to think it’s ok for them to do the same. In the end, it doesn’t matter how good your new software is if your team doesn’t use it. So, make sure to include everyone so they’re invested in the software as much as you are.
#5: Set Yourself Up for Success
Implementation is a huge hurdle to clear, but it’s important to remember that the journey is just beginning. It will take ongoing effort to get the most out of your new system and ensure it will continue to serve your needs as your business grows. Keeping your software up to date so you can get the latest features and the best support is a big key to ongoing success. Plus, upgrading your software regularly, instead of waiting years to upgrade, also reduces upgrade costs.
Take advantage of learning opportunities by sending employees to training sessions or other educational seminars. This keeps their skills sharp and introduces them to new processes or features they can bring back to the rest of your team. It’s also important to have a plan for onboarding new employees. It’s critical for them to have all the tools they need to do their jobs so they won’t be tempted to create workarounds. And, we all know how easily and often that happens.
Still have more questions than answers, check out our white paper… The 9 Most Important Questions to Ask Your ERP Implementation Partner!
In the end, not every new accounting software will require the same level of research or involve a lengthy implementation, but it’s important to think of technology as an investment. Take the necessary steps to invest in the right places and nurture your investment once you do. The right tools can support your business and drive you toward your goals, while the wrong tools can stand in your way.