Choosing the right financial software for your organization

All organizations face change. This may be due to organizational, technological, economic or growth factors. If your systems and processes are not designed to accommodate such change, your operation may begin to lose strategic focus, miss important business opportunities and not achieve maximum customer satisfaction. Many organizations are currently ‘stuck’ with out-dated software or simply ‘making do’ with what they have.

Evaluating, selecting and implementing a new finance system may not seem like a ‘life or death’ decision for your organization, but getting it right can make things much considerably easier in the future; and getting it wrong can seriously harm your business.

Below are the key stages you need to go through when evaluating and selecting a new financial accounting package, and some of the questions you need to ask yourself as part of the software evaluation process.

The 4 Stages of Evaluating and Selecting Financial Software

Stage 1 - Getting started

  • Why does your business need a new finance application?
  • What are the risks to the organization of doing nothing?
  • Are there opportunities to co-ordinate this change with other projects?
  • Who are the key stakeholders that should be represented in the process?

Stage 2 - Know your business

  • What are the business requirements?
  • What are the resource and time constraints?
  • What business changes might occur in the next few years?
  • What are the key technical constraints or requirements?

Stage 3 - Preparing to meet potential vendors

  • What systems do others in my sector use?
  • Where can I gather information about potential vendors?
  • What type of questions should I ask a vendor before and after shortlisting them?
  • What type of questions should I expect from a vendor?

Stage 4 - The next steps

  • Follow a recommended selection process.
  • Prepare a representative selection team - but keep it as small as possible.
  • Create a Request For Information (RFI) or an Invitation To Tender (ITT).
  • Focus on the processes and requirements that make you different - not on the standard features and functions all systems have.

Best-of-class or ERP?

You have two different software strategies to choose from in this process. Do you want to follow a 'best-of-class' strategy, choosing systems that 'standalone' but can easily integrate with other applications that you use or may introduce. Or is 'ERP' the way to go - an end-to-end solution from the one supplier?

At UNIT4 we provide solutions for either route, so we understand the differences. To work out which is best for your organization

  • The best-of-class approach is suited to organizations that are operating in a mixed application environment or those requiring just the financial functions of an ERP suite.
  • ERP systems are for organizations that need to bring together their disparate functions into a single system environment to make the operations run more efficiently.

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