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.