How to Evaluate an Accounting and ERP Software Replacement

cloud accounting, erp software, dynamics 365 business central
12 min read

From day one, your business is constantly learning and looking for ways to get the most from it’s accounting and ERP software. Whether it’s how to better compete in your market, or what new tools and services can help support your organization, every new challenge presents an opportunity to adapt your business model and better position yourself for the future. But that doesn’t mean learning is easy. In fact—change and adaptation are uncomfortable necessities, but it’s that growth that helps accommodate who you hope to be in the future.

As your business grows, you take on responsibilities and expectations that your previous operations simply weren’t designed to handle. At some point, the patterns and resources you’ve always relied on just don’t quite work like they used to.

When that time comes, there are typically three ways to manage that growth:

  1. Ride it out

Some organizations hope to ride out those existing challenges with their current solution. If you identify with this, you may feel aimless, frustrated, or overwhelmed by this swell of new growth and hope that things will stabilize and resolve themselves.

  1. Hire more people

While this approach is great for easing the initial strain of growth, hiring new people means providing for those individuals as well—benefits, salaries, even workspace—and may not be an efficient or cost-effective solution.

  1. Buy more tools

Here you may put together a mix-and-match set of services to keep your operation running. While each individual piece may work well independently, these solutions may struggle to work well together and require additional resources to manage, from backups, storage, data aggregation, management, and maintenance to training people to use those tools.

But what if there were a fourth option? What if you could take a step back and assess what you need from a holistic viewpoint?

  1. Rethink your process

Of these four options, rethinking your processes requires the most self-awareness. This means taking a step back and honestly assessing how your tools and operations work together. Do they help you grow or are they struggling to keep up?

By replacing your existing accounting software with cloud-based business management tools, your organization can adopt a comprehensive solution that adapts with you.

Go from Reactive to Proactive and Evaluate your Accounting and ERP Software

What this mind-set means for your accounting and operations

As your company grows, your existing accounting and ERP software can start to hamper your productivity. While familiar, it ultimately limits your ability to realize your potential. Ignoring change is a natural reaction. Change is uncomfortable and foreign. But, when we shift mind-sets from reactive to proactive, we can capitalize on those changes and address growing needs in a way that creates a competitive advantage and builds toward future success.

There is a powerful opportunity in learning how to move beyond your comfort limits and manage growth with confidence.

That process works in four stages:

  1. Identify what you want
  2. Discover the tools that can help
  3. Find the solution that’s right for you
  4. Act on your new solution

Our goal is to help you walk through these four stages and find the right accounting solution for your unique circumstances.

Identify what you want from your accounting and ERP software solution

Finding your ideal accounting solution starts with you

What’s important to you? What do you expect out of your accounting and ERP software? By identifying what you want and, perhaps more importantly, what you need, you can better pinpoint a solution that meets your long-term goals.

What do you need from your ideal accounting solution?

Now, list some of the goals you have for your business moving forward

Do you want to open an online store? Perhaps you’re considering going public, acquiring a competitor, or just want to simplify your IT responsibilities. What do you hope to accomplish as an organization over the next five years?

After that, consider how your ideal accounting solution would help you achieve those ambitions. For example, if you’re aiming to land a new round of funding in the next few years, then your ideal solution might consolidate your financial data, and use that information to create accessible reports that show your previous success and future growth trends.

Many business leaders struggle with their own limitations

Part of sustaining growth is being honest about what tasks you can handle and which you would be better served passing off to someone else. Sometimes this can mean hiring an expert or a contractor, but it also means finding tools that can automate many of your daily tasks.

Now that you know what you want from your accounting and ERP software, let’s look at how you can get there.

When choosing your ideal accounting solution, this stage is all about meeting those needs and goals that we discussed earlier. If we look solely at the size of your organization, there’s a good chance that cloud accounting software is the most suitable solution for your needs.

With the rise of cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) solutions, organizations of all sizes can benefit from mobile, secure, and scalable technology without making huge investments in on-premise servers and solutions.

According to Deloitte research, SMBs that use an above average number of cloud services grow 26% faster and are 21% more profitable (on average) than those that do not use cloud tools.

10 Reasons to Consider Cloud Accounting and ERP Software

1.      Keep your data safe

With cloud services, you get more than just storage; you also get security. Not only do cloud solutions feature built-in redundancy to make sure your data’s backups have backups, you also leverage you cloud partner’s security investment—millions of dollars that someone else paid to ensure your data stays safe.

2.      Connect your people, processes, and data

Get ahead of the competition with united, adaptable, and stable solutions that work together to connect your teams and streamline your operations.

3.      Gain a complete picture of your business

By integrating your accounting data into a cloud solution, you can get real-time analytics and reporting to create an accurate and up-to-date picture of your organization’s habits and trends.

4.      Improve cash flow

Cloud services typically operate on a monthly, per user license, so pay for what you need, and adapt as your business grows.

5.      Eliminate hardware

Migrating to the cloud presents the opportunity to unload on-site servers and hard drive space, and eliminate the need to monitor and maintain these tools.

6.      Remove your server responsibilities

By removing your server responsibilities, your IT team can focus on more value-added tasks like onboarding new employees and expanding your services.

7.      Simplify mobility

Cloud access controls mean your team can securely work from home or in the field with the full capabilities of an on-site employees. With the cloud you can manage quotes, orders, and projects from nearly anywhere.

8.      Get started fast

Because cloud solutions are managed by your partner, there´s no hardware to set up or software to install—you can get started on day one.

9.      Save time and money

Merge bookkeeping, inventory, sales management, and other tasks into a single solution that makes previously time-intensive responsibilities more efficient.

10.    Scalability

For a growing business, the flexibility to pay for and use only what you need provides peace of mind that you’ll always have the right service at the right time.

According to research from The Boston Consulting Group, 45% of SMBs say their employees get more done in the same amount of time thanks to cloud and mobile technologies, and 47% of SMBs say technology is critical to their company’s future.

Find the accounting and ERP software that’s right for you

Evaluate your vendor as a partner. How do their services align to those goals you wrote down earlier?

When you weigh the different accounting solutions that are available, it’s important to find a reputable vendor who is willing to support your adoption through training and education. Can they quickly assimilate with your operations and articulate how their service will help support your goals?

It can be tough to know exactly what to ask your sales representative as you explore potential accounting solutions. Here are a few places to start:

  • What would be our first-time and ongoing costs?
  • What is the process and typical time frame for getting set up?
  • What business processes can we handle out of the box with your software?
  • In what ways is the software intuitive and user-friendly?
  • Can I configure or customize the solution? How does that impact the price?
  • How does the software manage data access and functions by role?
  • Can we control updates and schedule them on our timeline?
  • Can we access the full capabilities of the solution on mobile devices?
  • Can we import our historical data?
  • Can the solution integrate with third-party applications/software?
  • What must we do to integrate third-party software with your software?
  • How many users and transactions can you support concurrently?
  • What IT skills will we need to manage and update the software?
  • What standards are in place to keep my data safe?
  • What level of data control do you commit to in a service level agreement?
  • What are average response times if we’re experiencing an issue with your solution?
  • Is your customer service on demand or by appointment only?

Taking a proactive approach to your future growth is a great way to reach your long-term goals.

When you know what you need, what’s available, and what to ask, wading through the ocean of available accounting software to find your perfect solution is easier than it seems. We hope these tools will help as you sort through your options and find the right tools for your unique organization.

Making the right decision for your business takes time, but you can grow with confidence.

Take the guesswork out of critical business decisions with our Business Impact Assessment.

With the Business Impact Assessment (BIA), we help you make the right decision so you get the most efficient and cost-effective solution. Click here to get started.

Barbara Allen
Barbara Allen
Throughout her career, Barb has held various key leadership positions as ERP Team Leader, Project Manager, Consultant and Business Systems Implementer. She has successfully implemented ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, Deltek Maconomy and WorkBook in organizations of all sizes; from start-ups companies with 2 users, to Fortune 500 companies with over 1400 users.
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