As a Microsoft Dynamics Consultant we work with lots of clients that are in different stages of their accounting software journey but have outgrown their accounting software or are experiencing similar problems.
Additionally, as we meet with these clients and hear about their challenges, we also hear how they arrived at this point. This is the point where they now recognize that they have not only outgrown their accounting system, but more importantly, this existing legacy system is impacting their company’s ability to grow and effecting the productivity of their employees.
So, before I list the seven warning signs, let me first share with you how these companies got to this point. They are all at the same point in dealing with the challenges of an outdated accounting system, but their journeys to this point were very different. Based on all of these meetings and the stories shared by these clients, I put them into three categories.
The Three Types of Companies:
- Fast Growers – These are companies that at start-up or in the early stages selected a basic entry level accounting package for their newly formed business. This package was affordable at the time and served the purposes of the business in these early stages. Although, as they began to grow, they added more employees and their accounting requirements became more complex. They quickly outgrew their accounting software.
- Wrong Package – These are companies that are a little more mature and have moved from their entry-level accounting package to another accounting solution. The problem is they now realize that they selected and implemented the wrong solution. In most cases they didn’t fully understand the functionality of the product they were purchasing. They did not fully understand and document their own requirements and the system could not scale as they grew. Frequently they did not engage with a qualified Dynamics Consultant and DIYed this project.
- Did Nothing (or very little) – Unfortunately, based on all our meetings this is where most companies fall. These are companies that outgrew their accounting systems many years ago and they knew they outgrew their systems years ago, but they DID NOTHING. They are working on systems that have not been upgraded for years, they are working on servers and hardware that have not been updated. They have had inefficient processes for some time and technologies that have impacted productivity, opportunities and profits. This is called the “cost of doing nothing” (CODN). Rather than spend any more time on this subject, please refer to a previous article I wrote on this topic. Click Here
OK, so you have read the first part of this blog and I am sure you have self-identified in which of the three categories I outlined above your organization falls. That is the first step, so now identify the seven warning signs that confirm you have outgrown your accounting system.
Seven Warning Signs:
- Poor System Performance – System software or hardware has not been upgraded and performance is sluggish. Heavier demands resulting from increased data and user counts make system slow and occasionally freeze during processing.
- Inadequate Reporting – Sure, your financial system can store all sorts of information, but can it present what you need easily and in the right format? The template-based reporting functionality of many business accounting programs are very limited. As a business grows, the need emerges for sophisticated, comprehensive, customizable and easy to interpret reports to suit different business units and different purposes.
- Duplicate data entry – Re-entering or copying data from other business legacy systems (i.e. CRM, POS, WMS, etc..). Re-entering data is prone to errors and highly inefficient.
- Working outside your system – Is more accounting work occurring in Excel, or some other system and not your financial system? Do you have to access other systems to see your financial data, information or to do your job?
- Disconnected or Siloed Systems – For any business to succeed in the long term, managers need to know what’s working and what’s not across all of an organization’s operations. If your current accounting system doesn’t integrate with, say, your warehouse, inventory, CRM and other business functions, it’s holding your business back. An integrated business management system will give you a much needed 360-degree view of your business while allowing you to perform the type of deep dives that can turn information into insights. These insights can then be leveraged to make well-informed decisions that will drive future growth
- Limited Mobile Capability – How we work has changed and we no longer work from 8 to 5 sitting in the office. We need to be able to do our job anytime, anywhere and on any device in a secure and protected way.
- Limited Deployment Options- Many organizations now want to utilize the cloud for many of their business workloads including their accounting system. Many older systems can not operate in the cloud or have limited features or functions when they are deployed in the cloud.
If any of this sounds familiar, it is time to make a change. I know, deciding to overhaul your accounting software or business management systems may seem like a daunting task. But what is the real cost of trying to maintain a system that is no longer keeping up with demands? Whether the result is lost sales, customer dissatisfaction, or compliance risks, failing to update your technology can be a costly decision.
As a Dynamics Consultant we see it all the time, growing businesses often outgrow their basic accounting software, it is unable to keep up with increased inventory and transactions, lacks integration with other line-of-business systems, and has limited reporting functionality.
So, the signs are clear, NOW WHAT? There are lots of options out there and you need to be looking for these characteristics in your ERP platform:
- Complete Integration – Find one solution that can not only manage your financials, but also CRM, sales, service and operations and can easily connect to other applications like payroll, banking and other custom API’s. You want an ERP application that will pull all your systems and processes together, so your staff does not have to!
- Provides Business Insights – Data is centralized so that you have access to accurate reports and can produce ad hoc reports and analyze data easily. You want to have custom dashboards, so you can view real-time data and can spot trends quickly.
- Proven – You want to select a system that has been developed by a trusted technology leader. As system that has a proven security infrastructure and can easily grow as you grow.
- Mobile – You want a solution that let’s view data and do our job at anytime, anywhere and on any device.
- Easy to learn – user adoption is critical and selecting a system that is easy-to-learn and has a familiar user interface is a must.
I hope this information helps you spot the signs if your organization has outgrown its accounting system. If the warning signs are there it’s time for you to take the next steps for your business so please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take the next steps together for your business.