Replacing Accounting Systems

As organisations grow, the requirements from their accounting and ERP systems change and develop with them. And sometimes it becomes necessary to change that system entirely.

Earlier this year one of my clients recently identified this need, due to rapid growth, expansion and the requirement to enhance key controls for a regulatory filing.

Identifying the new system was key.

Not every organisation has the same requirements from their system – a charity will have very different needs from a manufacturing business. There are many consultants available to do this, but they need to work closely with existing employees to ensure that the chosen system will meet the needs, both current and future.

This is the case with the client I am currently working with. The system was identified after significant collaboration between the external system providers and various employees and consultants from several departments of the company’s organisation. Before any decision was made, in-depth presentations of possible alternative systems were made. Items reviewed in coming to the final choice included its functionality, ease of use, automation of key controls and its output i.e. available reports, user training, ongoing helpdesk availability and, of course, cost!

Once the decision was made, the third party provider and organisation concerned worked closely together (and continue to do so) to ensure that the system has been built in such a way as to fulfil the needs of the organisation concerned.

A project team was formed, with all areas of expertise covered, to fulfil this need. The detailed requirements included, but were not limited to:-

– Deciding on the detail of historic data to be transferred from the old system to the new;
Reports that need to be built and available from day 1;
Control processes to be included in the system itself e.g. electronic approvals ; and
Testing of the system in a test environment.

Only once the system was stress-tested, and found to work, was approval given for it to be put into a live environment. As it turned out this was deferred from the original go-live date by one month due to initial complications.

It goes without saying that it is better to defer a go-live date than go live with a system that doesn’t work as required. An obvious statement but there are many examples of companies implementing systems so they can say they made the go-live date – only for it to ultimately cost them more because of “issues”.

FD4 members have had extensive experience with systems implementation and involving them early in the process can help ensure that the new system is launched successfully.

All the above points to one thing – PLANNING. If the implementation of a new system is planned properly, with adequate resources allocated, there is no reason why it can’t be introduced on time and on cost, working as it should from the first day of go live.

About the author

Simon McCoy


  • Health Care
  • Life Sciences

Simon McCoy

Available for Part-Time FD / Non Exec FD Roles

This article was written by Simon McCoy who is a Chartered Accountant and has 30 years of business experience. After qualification, he worked for Forte plc, Rank and MacGregor Golf in a variety of roles. He then moved into the life sciences and healthcare sector, working with Monsanto, Johnson & Johnson, KCI and LifeCell in a number of senior Finance roles with responsibilities across Europe. His experience has encompassed business strategy, business planning, system implementations and UK subsidiary start-ups as well as reorganisations and process reviews. Simon strongly believes in ensuring that financial and management information is delivered in a clear and understandable way to make it useful to the business.

Simon is a member of FD4, which is a network of experienced commercial Finance Directors that are passionate about adding value to Companies. They are engaged Part Time (on an hourly or daily basis) to do the work of a full time Finance Director, but at a fraction of the cost. They specialise in Exit Planning; Cash Generation and Performance Improvement.