Buying accounting software can often be a long and complex undertaking. But, it’s a process that your company needs to properly handle in order to make the best possible decision, so it can enhance financial planning and management across the organization, and maximize return on your accounting software investment.
By putting together a solid, well-rounded project team, and charging them with building the requirements list, evaluating the available solutions on the market, and selecting and buying accounting software from the right vendor, you can help put your initiative on the path to success.
What is the single biggest mistake companies make when they embark on the task of buying accounting software? Tapping only their finance department to oversee the initiative and make all the decisions. While input from your financial professionals is crucial to your project, it is also important to remember that your financial operations impact virtually every department across your organization, and there are many other users who will be affected by the new system once it is implemented.
Therefore, buying accounting software must be a company-wide effort, with involvement and input from all divisions and business units, including:
Of course, financial professionals need to play a major role in the process of buying accounting software, since they, ultimately, will be the primary users of the application.
But, a handful of financial managers alone are not enough to truly gain an understanding of what you need, and find the right accounting software system for your business. The best approach is to identify several core users at various levels in various roles, and ask them to participate in the project. For example, choose an employee from the purchasing team, workers who handle accounts receivable and accounts payable, and someone who oversees sales contracts – in addition to several managers and supervisors.
While they don’t actively take part in the day-to-day finance and accounting operations within your company, senior-level executives are responsible for tracking the critical financial metrics needed to manage overall corporate performance. Therefore, they should also be key stakeholders and decision-makers when buying accounting software.
Additionally, obtaining executive sponsorship early on in the process can help keep the project on track, ensuring that the appropriate resources and funding are allocated at all times.
Functional end users outside of the finance department must also be closely involved when buying accounting software.
Many non-financial employees in various departments or divisions interact with accounting staff on a frequent basis, and work closely with them on a variety of cross-function activities.
Additionally, many business unit heads are responsible for budget planning management at the departmental level. Therefore, their role in the process of buying accounting software will be an important one.
Of course, you can’t forget to ask IT staff to actively participate in your initiative. Their valuable insight and expertise will be needed when buying accounting software, to help select the most technically sound solution, ensure that it can be seamlessly integrated with the rest of the business systems across your company, and determine where it will plug into the existing architecture.
Additionally, they will be the ones responsible for supporting and maintaining the new system, so their input is critical when buying accounting software.