Optimize Your New ERP or GL System

Change is never easy. But as businesses evolve and leadership are pressed to maintain lean operations amid mounting cost constraints, adaptation becomes necessary. Optimizing your technology is no exception.

Take Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and general ledger systems implementation, for example. Driven to get the greatest return for our investment, we commit a huge amount of time and resources toward system selection and optimization. And, in a perfect case, we get exactly what we wanted—with employees migrating to and mastering their new environment quickly and efficiently. But that perfect case does not factor in a giant learning curve, new pain points, and additional resources in functions previously not needed.

So how can we be sure we’re realizing measurable benefits and using all the new features as effectively as possible to get the best return on our investment?

Perform a Post-Implementation Assessment

An implementation is often a flurry of activity, substantial work, and fit in atop the demands of day-to-day operations. This workload compression rarely leaves time to stop and assess. A Post-Implementation Assessment is necessary to determine if the project is going according to plan—or if that plan has changed or needs to be adapted.

AAFCPAs encourages clients to perform a post-implementation assessment to methodically evaluate your original implementation goals and to determine overall project success and completion. In this assessment, stakeholders and users of the system provide constructive feedback about how the system has met their expectations and where it might still potentially fall short. This helps management determine what system features or workflows are still outstanding and what functionalities were anticipated with the new system but are not yet in place. It also helps develop a new timeline for optimizing your investment and maximizing efficiencies.

The Process

Begin an assessment soon after implementation when both your old and new systems remain fresh in the minds of users. Ask yourself: Did we realize our vision? If not, what is missing?

Focus on user experience, complexity of workflows, additional integrations, additional modules/applications, refined processes, and opportunities for automation. Are you still doing activities outside the system? Is paper still used? Are there pain points, and could there be another way of operating to ease that pain?

Think about the ease of output. Has your reporting and budgeting improved? Are you finding the information you need from the system in the way you had hoped? If not, what’s missing? The answer might be as simple as learning you are not collecting the right information up front or that you need to rethink your report. Review how you are using the system’s integrated workflows. This is how your system sees your data to report. If you are not getting quick and easy reports out of the system, it may have to do with the way data is input.

Finally, take a thorough look at month-end to make sure everything is performing as planned. How are you documenting month-end events and are there better (more efficient) ways? Look at each step and how you could take out the manual work or spread your review time more throughout the month.

AAFCPAs performs comprehensive post-implementation assessment to help clients optimize their technology investments. Our process provides the following answers to help guide in planning the next steps.

  • Design Evaluation. Is the system performing in accordance with your initial design? In other words, have your objectives been met?
  • Optimization Review. Are there tools in place and in use by team members to maximize productivity?
  • Gap Analysis. Do any pain points remain? If so, where are they and could they be resolved within the application? Additionally, are you getting the right information out of the system to make timely and informed decisions?
  • Continued Improvement Plan. What are the next steps in implementation including any elements of your system or other applications? Are those still applicable to your success?

If you are considering a new process or systems implementation, or if you would like to discuss your approach, please contact Robyn Leet at 774.512.4010 or rleet@nullaafcpa.com—or contact your AAFCPAs Partner.

About the Author

Robyn Leet
Robyn brings over 20 years of continuous business process improvement and internal controls experience to AAFCPAs’ diverse clients. From her beginnings as an auditor in public accounting, she learned the fundamentals of business requirements and frameworks. This knowledge was applied to further her impact in her roles as Controller in private, closely-held businesses. These opportunities have bolstered her broad exposure to businesses in multiple stages of growth and with varying levels of needs to validate her insight into the inner workings and requirements of business operations and functions, always looking at the big picture and keeping the client in scope.