August 9, 2013
Now that you have selected your accounting software, the following few steps can either make or break the potential return on the investment that you have made. By now you have set an implementation date of when you would like to start using this program, but have you really prepared for what it takes to implement the software? Have you hired a professional to install the software and assure you that your hardware can handle the program? Have you had a professional set up the chart of accounts and other key items in the software? Have you provided training to your employees on how to use the program and key features than can help increase productivity?
If you have not done any of these tasks here are some reasons that all are crucial to the successful performance of your new software:
Installation really depends on a couple of key factors: Users & Hardware.
Get an idea of how many users you could potentially have, not just how many you need today. Without properly forecasting, the inability to scale the software could stunt the growth of the business. It is important to think of users as anyone who could potentially use the software; employees, upper-level management, accountants & even customers in some cases. By creating these categories you can start to create your permission and security settings based on who needs access to certain areas of the software. These settings are vital to having good internal control over the sensitive information that is tracked within the program.
After creating an approximation of the number of users needed, it is very important to talk to a company that handles information technology to get a plan for hardware needs. Unfortunately this will, in many cases, bring additional costs, but if the computers currently used are not sufficient it may be necessary to upgrade. It may also be necessary to improve the current network and internet to meet the needs of the software. One alternative to having a physical server, which can be costly to put into operation and keep up, is to have the program hosted. Hosting provides the user with the peace of mind that software will be maintained and securely stored on another company’s server. The data will be processed on that company’s server, so the users need little computing power to access and perform many tasks in the software, just a good internet connection and the proper operating system. The cost related to having software hosted is typically a reasonable monthly fee per user.
Once the software has been successful installed, it is very important to have someone with knowledge of accounting and the industry of the business to set up of the chart of accounts and other items needed. This is particularly important because it will create multipurpose reports that can be relied on, assuming the employees are properly trained. These reports can be used for tax purposes, benchmarking against industry data, budgeting, efficiency analysis and various other purposes. If the software is not set up appropriately many of the formulas used to test a business’s strengths and weaknesses will be unreliable, providing no help to the users of the data.
Finally, after all of the above tasks are complete, train the employees that will be using the program. It is important that the users have an understanding of what is expected of them, how the software is operated and how to troubleshoot problems as they inevitably arise. Having an expert of the software come in to provide hands on training is the most ideal; the users can interact with the program and ask questions. Encourage all users to ask questions, no matter how simple the question may seem. A core understanding of the software will be formed and should be documented to provide future new hires a training regimen that will help to create successful employees.
If you want to maximize your chance to get a good return on the investment that you have made in your software it is very important that it is properly setup. While this can be a good reference for implementation, every situation is very different and needs to be handled carefully.
If you would like a consultation on how to proceed with newly purchased software, please contact Morgan & Morgan CPAs!
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