There comes a time for every business when Excel spreadsheets and basic accounting systems no longer meet day-to-day financial management needs. But, how do you know when it’s time to upgrade to a more robust and sophisticated accounting or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution?
Recognizing the signs isn’t always easy. Here are some top indicators:
Still Running Your Business on Excel Spreadsheets
If your business relies on spreadsheets for operational analysis and planning, you likely will find that you are drowning in multiple versions of data, making analysis chaotic and error prone. You may also find that your spreadsheets, which may have been created just a day earlier, don’t have the most current information. As a result, it’s difficult to keep your finger on the pulse of your business and to make well-informed decisions.
Lack of Data Integration
Over time, accounting and financial information tends to increase and will often end up in various disparate locations. For example, the sales team keeps their forecasts in spreadsheets on individual desktops, HR uses their own payroll system and inventory information is kept in another system. This lack of data integration and centralization can significantly impede your ability to collect, compile and analyze financial information quickly and easily. As a result, you struggle with optimizing your company performance or, worse yet, are at risk of not meeting specific compliance requirements.
Accounting System Performance Issues
Entry-level software often has a limit to the amount of information it will store and is primarily designed to meet the needs of only a handful of users. As more users are added to the application you may notice significant performance issues. When the number of users and activity level exceed an application’s limits, system response times deteriorate, processes take too long to complete and it is not uncommon for the system to lock up and otherwise become unreliable.
Inefficient Manual Activities
Are your employees resorting to manual activities to do their jobs? Are they entering the same financial data more than once? As financial transactions and the tasks and workflows associated with them become more complex, simple accounting systems may be too limited. So, employees often find it increasingly difficult to avoid data entry and other types of manual administrative work. Without a more powerful accounting system in place this type of activity will not only waste time and money, it will negatively impact the accuracy and integrity of vital financial information.
Growing Reliance on Technical Staff
Are you relying more heavily on IT support to fix integration issues and help you get the reports you need? If your IT staff is spending a significant amount of effort addressing accounting-related technology issues, this may indicate that your accounting system is no longer satisfying your requirements. While addressing these problems is certainly important, the undue strain on IT resources can impact other critical technology initiatives.
Making the Switch
Switching accounting solutions is not an easy decision; however, the good news is that growth doesn’t have to be a roadblock to reaping the benefits of robust accounting software. If your business is ready to move beyond the basics, find a good partner or consultant who can work with you to identify an accounting solution that best fits your business today and will continue to do so as you move into the future.
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