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How to Buy Financial Management Software

Four Tips for Buying the Right Financial Management Software

When buying a new financial management software application, it’s vital to get it just right. Thorough research, careful solution evaluation, and expert negotiations are all needed to get the best possible financial management software at the best possible price.

Here are some quick tips that will help make the process of purchasing a financial management software package easier and more successful for your organization.

Carefully Define Your Requirements
Some of the features and functions you will need are obvious – advanced security, integration with other applications and business systems, financial reporting and analysis. But there are others that will be needed within the financial management software package you choose to support your unique accounting and finance processes.

Before you begin talking to vendors, make a detailed list of the capabilities you must have. Be sure to include input from users in various roles, and at various levels within your finance department. This will help make the evaluation of the many financial management software systems on the market as efficient and effective as possible.

Demos and Trials
Once you’ve talked to several providers, and created a short list of those who offer financial management software solutions that meet all of your requirements, its time for a test-drive. Most vendors will begin with in-depth demonstration of their offering, which can be helpful in showing you how the features that are most important to you actually work, how user-friendly it is, etc.

On the other hand, demos only paint a piece of the picture. They won’t give you a really clear idea of how a certain financial management software package will work in your real-world environment. So, you may want to ask the vendor for a 60 or 90 day trial. This will allow you to see how the solution really performs, and how well it will truly support your financial operations, before you commit to buy.

Reference Checks
Want to know how good a financial management software application really is, and what its like to work with the company that sells and supports it? Then, talk to existing clients. Any viable vendor will have a list of customer references readily available. Ask to speak to companies within your industry, or who have financial processes that are somewhat similar to your own.

The Dreaded Negotiations
There comes a time during every financial management software sales cycle when client and vendor must come to the table and hammer out the terms of the deal. You can get the best deal possible by:

  • Knowing what the standard discount is, and using that price – not the list price – to start discussions.
  • Agreeing to serve as an advocate for the company.
  • Letting the vendor know that you are still looking at other financial management software solutions, and that price will play a big role in your final decision.
  • Asking for free or discounted add-on services, such as consulting and training, in lieu of price cuts.