Phases in Selecting & Implementing a New Finance or ERP System
Selecting and implementing a new Finance or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can be a daunting prospect, especially for organizations and users accustomed to antiquated business processes customized to fit their current systems’ limited functionality.
Even if it is something that will help your team succeed in the long run and end up saving them lots of time, change is hard.
AAFCPAs’ Business Process & IT Consulting practice has broken down the steps in selecting & implementing a new system which ensure a minimum amount of pain, and a maximum amount of success.
Business Process Assessment
Implementing a new system is a great opportunity to rethink and optimize how your organization works. The first step in selecting & implementing a new finance or ERP system is a business process assessment, which helps to pinpoint where you are and where you want to be. We meet with key user groups, and review current processes, pain points, and what’s on their wish list. We also make recommendations for additional improvements based on successes other clients have realized. Then we map out a plan for success, whether that be a change in technology or a change in policy, process, or behavior.
Business Process Assessment findings and recommendations are typically documented in a written report, which serves as a resource in discussions with your team. We walk your decision team through our findings and help determine the best path forward.
This step can take 2-8 weeks, depending on the complexity of your systems, processes, and the need for a written report.
In some cases, business processes may be improved through better optimization of existing systems and enhanced user training. In other cases, organizations may have simply outgrown their accounting and/or enterprise system.
In cases where a new system is in order, we take our findings from the Business Process Assessment and turn them into a Request for Information (RFI), which is used to communicate with software vendors. This RFI includes the requirements of a system to help you achieve your vision.
We then determine potential software solutions that may be a fit and issue the RFI and facilitate their responses. We summarize RFI responses, “translate” technical jargon, and help your team determine which of these warrant a demonstration. We help facilitate those demonstrations so you can ensure you get the full picture of the product, and we help you evaluate finalists. Once you’ve narrowed it down, we help you secure the best pricing.
The system selection process can take 2-3 months.
Implementing a new accounting software application requires significant investments in time, energy, and financial resources. A proper implementation plan is key to maximizing the long-term value of your new system. Learn more about systems implementation best practices >>
Your software vendor will always take lead as the primary project manager, but AAFCPAs assists as needed to help ensure a smooth implementation. In many cases, we are involved in the design sessions with the vendor to make sure your system is set up according to your original intentions, particularly regarding your chart of accounts. We also assist clients with project management, data migration, process flows or testing activities.
A full ERP implementation can take 3-6 months. We caution speed at this stage, as you want to ensure ample user training and testing.
Why Choose AAFCPAs?
- AAFCPAs has performed hundreds of system selections & implementations for clients over the years and understands the steps needed to ensure the best ROI given the organization’s requirements and budget.
- Our team includes senior-level technologists, business process analysts, and implementation project managers. This includes former CFOs & controllers who apply their unique “end-user” perspective to ensure success from project plan development to achievement of the “go live” milestone.
- We use state-of-the-art project management frameworks and principles from the Project Management Institute and Agile Scrum.
- We have a broad understanding of how the interconnected components of people, process, and technology must be orchestrated to overcome pitfalls, accelerate user adoption, and ensure a successful system implementation.
- AAFCPAs understand accounting processes, internal control, and compliance requirements, as well as the terminology utilized by software vendors. We know the potential pitfalls and areas that require extra attention. We serve as our clients’ advocates and translators as needed to ensure expectations are met and to help clients achieve an optimal system selection and an efficient implementation process.
- We are very familiar with the leading accounting software packages on the market today and recommend options that offer the best potential fit for you based on your industry, characteristics, and system requirements.
- Over the years, AAFCPAs has formed strong relationships with leading accounting & operations software vendors that we leverage as appropriate to ensure our clients are partnering with strong, dedicated professionals.
If your organization is considering implementing a new system, or has already started on the implementation journey, and would like to discuss your approach, please contact Robyn Leet, Director, Business Process Assessments & Attestations, at 774.512.4010, firstname.lastname@example.org, or your AAFCPAs Partner.