James Morgan, Director of Tascoli Ltd, a Chartered Accountant by training and a business systems specialist for many years, gives some frank advice to those Financial Managers and Financial Directors considering a system change…“Expect more.”
1. Expect more functionality and ease.
It is like buying the latest running shoes or a new car. Expect well designed screens, lots of neat connections and quick and simple access.
2. Expect the boundaries of the system to be extended.
Your current system may not have included CRM, or warehouse management, or fixed assets, or document attachments, or workflow. Look for one that has all of these built in. It is smoother, easier to use and cheaper.
3. Expect more people to benefit from the system.
Most people in your organisation would benefit from access and you will benefit from their input. Look for a system that can be used by employees to submit time and expenses, by sales people to track leads and sales activities, by customers to place orders and access their account, by suppliers to see purchase orders and by executives and managers to see performance.
4. Expect financial reports to be simple to design but complex in analysis.
The report designer must be usable by the finance team. It needs to be able to present the financial information in the detail and structure of each user. It needs to offer drill down to the transactions that make up the amounts. It needs to be easy to view and extract to Excel or PDF. It needs to be able to be scheduled.
5. Expect more bulk processes.
Your current system probably works on a batch basis. Transactions are entered in a batch and the batch is posted. Things have changed. Transactions are entered and they can now be approved by simply ticking the box on each line of a list of transactions.
6. Expect communication around a transaction.
Your old system never had this. If there was an internal query on an invoice or a price it would be communicated and resolved by email. New systems now provide for communications to be recorded in your ERP systems against the transaction. So all the information about the invoice/price is logged and each user has a notifications alert that they need to respond to.
7. Expect the system to adapt to your processes.
The system needs to be able to represent the structure of the organisation, to enable the processes and follow the rules of hierarchy within your organisation. It needs to be simple to change and at a low cost. It needs to reflect your identity in branding and it needs to enable you to create your own written procedures with links to the appropriate entry screen, enquiry or report.
Acumatica is the first system that I have come across that is able to meet these expectations, it is entirely browser based, no cost for additional users, it is priced by CPU core, it is modern, complex but simple to use.