Accounting is an integral part of any business, no matter how big or small. It is responsible for managing the company’s finances, keeping it compliant with regulations, and providing valuable data for making sound business decisions. As the industry evolves and the company grows, so do the demands on its accounting processes. Even if your company already has an established system in place, it is necessary to evaluate it periodically to determine if current accounting processes can be improved to better serve the company’s needs.
Establish a Process Review Committee
As a core business process, accounting affects all other business units. To make upgrading your accounting system a truly worthwhile investment, it is important to get input from all involved parties. The review committee will be responsible for doing a needs assessment of current accounting systems, so having representatives for the other parts of the organization can provide a unique perspective for creating a comprehensive solution that will benefit everyone. For example, a member from human resources can represent concerns regarding payroll while supply chain managers may be able to give input for streamlining budget requirements.
Additionally, larger organizations may benefit from consulting a third party that specializes in process optimization. Aside from bringing their expertise to the table, these professionals can be more objective in their evaluation and view the company’s needs as a whole rather than from the standpoint of a specific department.
Evaluate Your Company’s Operations
Improvement starts from knowing what the established practices are and identifying areas that can do better. With the review committee, your team can determine key performance indicators or KPIs to measure productivity and establish baselines for efficiency. This exercise can also help you determine what is missing from the current software system and what functionalities you should look for in a new one.
Together with knowing the features that you need, you should also determine an appropriate budget for this undertaking. Purchasing software and moving the processes into a new platform is a big investment in terms of financial costs, time, and effort. While keeping costs low is important, you also want to invest in a system that can adapt to the growing needs of the company and offer long-term utility.
Scope Your Options and Take Advantage of Product Demos
There are many accounting software options in the market, with multiple features and add-on options. Additional functionality is nice to have, but ultimately, you want to choose software that supports your most important needs. Consider the practical applications of these additional features: will your company have use for them, or do they just look good on paper?
When you’ve had the chance to look around, make a shortlist of candidates that seem appropriate for your needs. Software vendors often offer demos that allow you to try the product before purchasing. Refer back to the inputs of the review team to make a checklist for each demonstration as this will help you determine how well the software fits with the rest of your business systems.
Take advantage of this time to also scope the vendor and find out more about its technical capabilities. What is their reputation in the industry? Do they provide reliable technical support? What is their history like for providing critical upgrades and addressing bug fixes? A software provider entails a long-term relationship, so you want to be sure that choose one that will help your company grow.
Train Your Team
Once you’ve purchased and installed the software, you and your team will need training for use of the new software. A good software provider will have this service available and may even assign a dedicated contact person to address your concerns. You may want to take note of frequently asked questions and put together a troubleshooting manual for training new employees in the future.
Remember, it can take time to get used to the new system and learn how to maximize its features, so you may not be able to immediately appreciate the improvements to the accounting process. Be patient and maintain your team’s commitment.
Need a software provider you can trust? ANSI offers an accounting software solution that utilizes cloud technology to provide maximum efficiency for your processes. We have been a provider of quality and cost-effective business solutions since 1987, and we continue in our mission to help our clients to modernize their processes. For more information, leave us an inquiry on our contact page.