accounting system selection

How to Select a New Accounting/ERP System – Part 4

ACCOUNTING SYSTEM SELECTION

In Part 3, we discussed how to prepare for and conduct software demonstrations. In Part 4, we will look at how to finalize the selection of the ERP system and suggestions for a successful implementation of the new solution.

Finalize Your System Selection

After you wrap up all the ERP demos, your job isn’t quite finished. The future of your company’s technology assets, level of success, and performance now lies in the hands of you and your software selection team. Take your time and avoid feeling pressured into making a fast decision.

The selection team should meet and allow each member to give their pro’s and con’s of each system and share which system they think is the best fit for the company.  Hopefully a general consensus will be gained on the system that is the best fit for the needs you have outlined.

Ultimately, you will want to finalize the cost and timeline, including the annual ongoing maintenance costs, hardware, training, implementation, and software in order to fully understand how much of your resources, including your budget and team, you will need to commit to the system.

Implement the New Solution

Implementing a new ERP system for your company can be both a challenging transition and a rewarding change. Here is a six-step framework that walks you through what you can expect from the first day of planning all the way through go live.

1) Get Ready for Change

Implementing new ERP software can be a significant change for any company large or small, especially if this is your first time using this type of system. Therefore, it’s important to stay transparent with your employees about the coming weeks and months, engaging them whenever you can. Keep in mind that ERP transitions are as much about changing process and procedure as they are about changing the technology you use.

2) Prepare Your Data

Avoid assuming that all of your data can easily be converted into the new system. Evaluate your current data to determine which pieces must be converted prior to the implementation. After you export your data from your existing system(s), typically via a spreadsheet, you must then clean it up by weeding out any unnecessary information such as former customers or those who are no longer in business. Maintaining the integrity of your data is one of the most important components of a successful ERP system implementation.

3) Configure the ERP

After completing the first two steps, you’re ready  to implement the new system. Make sure your ERP consultants have mapped out a specific plan of how to install, configure, and optimize the software for your specific company. Remember that plans are bound to change, even slightly, during the implementation process, so always keep your end goals and major needs in mind.

4) Train and Educate

After you configure your system, train your employees on how to use the software. Some companies train the trainer and others hold specific functionality training that affects targeted user groups. Walk through actual examples of purchase orders, invoices, etc. from start to finish to make sure the system is setup to operate the way it was intended.

5) Test the System

While the integrity and performance of ERP systems have come a long way since they were first introduced in the 90’s, don’t assume the process will go smoothly. For this reason, user acceptance and system testing are key phases of the implementation process.

6) Go Live

Once your system is configured and tested and your employees are trained in the software, it’s time to go live and receive the benefits of and achieve the goals of selecting the system in the first place.  If you have setup the system properly, imported your data and tested thoroughly, your go live should go smoothly.

Unfortunately, installing a new ERP system doesn’t mean you never touch it again. Software implementations require attention and time beyond the initial installation, including general maintenance, additional functionality and routine upgrades to the system. Continue to stay up-to-date on all things related to your system, and your company will benefit for years to come.

Chortek LLP’s Technology Business Software Consulting Group can provide you with a clear understanding of the strategies for system selection for your business enterprise.

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How to Select a New Accounting/ERP System – Part 3

In Part 2, we discussed how to research possible ERP solutions and how to create a request for information (RFI). In Part 3, we will look at preparing for and conducting software demonstrations.

The software demonstration is a crucial component of choosing a new ERP system. When handled properly, the demonstration will provide you with critical information on whether the system will best fit your needs allowing you the opportunity to compare different ERP software systems in order to make the best decision possible. If handled incorrectly, the demonstration will turn into a cheerleading exercise for the vendor, nearly devoid of all useful information. Read More >

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How to Select a New Accounting/ERP System – Part 2

RFI (Request For Information)

In Part 1, we discussed creating a selection committee and document your company’s ERP needs. In Part 2, we will look at researching various ERP solutions as well as developing the request for information.

Researching Possible Solutions

Currently, there are a number of software products that are dominating the general marketplace such as:

  • Intuit (QuickBooks)
  • Microsoft Business Solutions (Dynamics AX, NV, and GP)
  • Sage 100 (MAS 90/200)
  • Sage X3
  • Sage 300 (ACCPAC)
  • Sage 50 (Peachtree)

However, you may need to look at specific, or vertical, solutions for services, retail, manufacturing, and construction from Epicor, Infor, Viewpoint, etc. Keep in mind that SaaS/Cloud solutions such as NetSuite, Intacct, and Acumatica should also be included as ERP solutions to evaluate. If you are bewildered by the claims flooding the market and every company touting itself as the most reliable, the most trusted, and the best in the industry, there are five keywords to keep in mind that will help you separate the real from the pretenders: Read More >

erp selection committee

Selecting a New Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System – Part 1

The Importance of Building an ERP Selection Committee and Identifying Your Needs

First and foremost, it is imperative to create a selection committee made up of individuals throughout the organization. This committee will be responsible for moving the company through a successful selection by representing its functional area, defining the software requirements, evaluating and comparing different products based on those requirements, and advocating for the product chosen. Building a selection committee has been shown to be more successful than one person in IT services, finance, or production running the project themselves.

Selecting a new ERP system can be a humbling challenge and defining proper roles and responsibilities for your internal team cannot be stressed enough. While ERP implementation teams can vary in terms of size (number of people), there are several main roles that are needed no matter the size of the company. Read More >

financial budgeting web

The Real Cost of Doing Nothing

ERP Solutions

When considering a particular plan of action for your business and its operations, you may be concerned about issues of the cost of implementing ERP solutions and related integrations. While the return on your investment is an important component in your decision-making process, other factors can be just as important. In some cases, failure to act could cost you far more than the expenses involved in putting your business plans into action. Chortek LLP’s Technology Consulting Group can provide you with a clear picture of the costs of implementing or failing to implement strategies for your business enterprises. Read More >

business plan in a file cabinet

Dig out your business plan to plan for the year ahead

The Business Plan

Like many business owners, you probably created a business plan when you launched your company. But, as is also often the case, you may not have looked at it much since then. Now that fall has arrived and year end is coming soon, why not dig it out? Reviewing and revising a business plan can be a great way to plan for the year ahead.

6 sections to scrutinize

Comprehensive business plans traditionally are composed of six sections. When revisiting yours, look for insights in each one: Read More >

Group in a conference room

Prepare For Valuation Issues in Your Buy-sell Agreement

Valuation in Buy-sell Agreement

Every business with more than one owner needs a buy-sell agreement to handle both expected and unexpected ownership changes. When creating or updating yours, be sure you’re prepared for the valuation issues that will come into play.

Issues, what issues?

Emotions tend to run high when owners face a “triggering event” that activates the buy-sell. Such events include the death of an owner, the divorce of married owners or an owner dispute. Read More >

Businessman with 3 colleagues

An FLP can save tax in a family business succession

Succession Planning

One of the biggest concerns for family business owners is Succession Planning — transferring ownership and control of the company to the next generation. Often, the best time tax-wise to start transferring ownership is long before the owner is ready to give up control of the business.

A family limited partnership (FLP) can help owners enjoy the tax benefits of gradually transferring ownership yet allow them to retain control of the business.
Read More >

supply chain

Is there a weak link in your supply chain?

Supply Chain Risks to Your Business

In an increasingly global economy, keeping a close eye on your supply chain is imperative. Even if your company operates only locally or nationally, your suppliers could be affected by wider economic conditions and developments. So, make sure you’re regularly assessing where weak links in your supply chain may lie. Read More >

payroll tax advisors

How to avoid getting hit with payroll tax penalties

Payroll Tax Advisors

For small businesses, managing payroll can be one of the most arduous tasks. Adding to the burden earlier this year was adjusting income tax withholding based on the new tables issued by the IRS. (Those tables account for changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.) But it’s crucial not only to withhold the appropriate taxes — including both income tax and employment taxes — but also to remit them on time to the federal government.

If you don’t, you, personally, could face harsh penalties. This is true even if your business is an entity that normally shields owners from personal liability, such as a corporation or limited liability company. Read More >