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ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE SELECTION  


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ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE SELECTION

crmBEST PRACTICES IN ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE SELECTIONS
Classical accounting software selection methodologies often started with a very broad review of existing business processes, followed by process refinement, detailed requirements definition, weighting and ranking of requirements, issuance of request for proposals (RFP’s), evaluations of responses, build versus buy analysis, and ultimately selection of a financial solution. While this approach was necessary in the early days of packaged accounting software, modern commercially available accounting systems generally address most of the fundamental requirements of a business. An efficient selection process will hone in on the differentiating requirements that are most important to the buying organization and avoid the clutter of reviewing standard features. To aid your accounting software selection process, consider the following tips.

  1. Maintain focus and attention on business processes and objectives. Avoid the temptation to drill down on technical capabilities, architectures, and detailed features unless they specifically help attain a business objective. The more important activity at this stage is to identify the key business objectives and identify the software that most directly supports those objectives.

  2. Determine the key performance measures that will be used to gauge the system’s effectiveness, and then use those measures to evaluate the available information systems. Get your potential vendors to demonstrate how their offering will achieve those measures.

  3. As you are evaluating products, prepare a detailed demonstration script for each of your presenters to prepare and follow. This will allow you to effectively compare and contrast one product against another.

  4. Determine a realistic budget. Most companies spend approximately five percent of their annual revenue on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions. While that number may sound high, keep in mind the cost of a solution is more than just the software license. Consider the cost of training, implementation, support, staffing and infrastructure.

  5. Treat the selection process as a project and assign a dedicated project manager. A qualified project manager will define the project, the process, and the objectives and ensure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.

  6. Gain commitment from company executives. Any project without support from its top management will flounder and fail. Support from a CIO or IT director alone is not enough. No matter how well executed a project may be, obstacles will arise during the implementation and the entire executive staff needs to be involved to resolve issues as they occur.

  7. In addition to selecting a software vendor, you may also be selecting an implementation partner. Check the partner’s credentials and success rate with the product that you have selected. Do not be afraid to choose an implementation partner who is different from the sales partner; in most cases you will be working with a different team anyway.

  8. Once you have selected a vendor, make sure that all documents that you relied on are included in the contract package. If they stated that they could provide certain functionality, get it documented and included.

  9. For Hosted or SaaS (software as a service) solutions, make sure you get a historical report of planned and unplanned system outages. Make sure you understand how scheduled or unscheduled maintenance time is included in these calculations.

  10. If you are evaluating hosted solutions, make sure you have a clear understanding and comfort level regarding the information security and recovery procedures that are in place. Ask to see the disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Also inquire to see whether the hosting facility receives an independent audit and certification such as a ISO 27001 or SAS 70.

  11. Finally, make sure your contract package includes a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for hosted or SaaS solutions. Gain clarity on the terms used and, like the outage reports, make sure there are no vague exclusions for maintenance downtime. Also, ensure that there are financial penalties for failing to meet the documented service levels.


On Demand ERP Systems  

Finance Software Selection

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Selection Advice
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Focus on unique issues

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Use a detailed demo script
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Determine budget early
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Have executive sponsorship
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Vet implementation partner
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Review SLA terms
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tags Tags:
erp business strategy
accounting software selection, choose erp software, enterprise resource planning software, crm, accounting software best practices, rfi, software reviews, dynamics,hosted accounting software, on-demand accounting system, rfp, request for proposal, software as a service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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