Continuing our series of posts based upon a recent white paper by Geni Whithouse, entitled Charting a Better Course for Your Business: Eight rules for investing in a new accounting system, which can be accessed (after free signup) here. (This is the final post of a six part series.)
Business face new challenges when they moved into international waters (to steal from Geni’s sailing based metaphor). These include:
- Features that work together to create a multi-national system for global business management.
- Support for concurrent multiple currencies
- Support for multiple languages for screens, reports, documents
- Real-time financial visibility into global, local and consolidated reports
- Full-time system access from anywhere with an internet connection
At the same time, clear access to information across the network is necessary for employees to have information at their fingertips. This requires features like clean cut-off periods within general and sub-ledgers, and the ability to quickly begin work in a new accounting period, often before the prior one has been closed.
Staying informed about progress toward incentives and goals, and being aware of quickly changing trends means that today’s better systems feature things like dashboards, alerts and user-definable reports.
In this series of six posts, we’ve enumerated 8 key elements to consider when selecting a new or upgraded financial system, which we’ll quickly summarize here.
1. Select a multi-ledger (not single ledger) system.
2. Select a system with a flexible, multi-dimensional account structure.
3. Select a system with multi-scenario capabilities to track and compare KPIs, ratios and metrics.
4. Be sure your system supports clear communication, like personalized dashboards or user-based (frequently termed ‘role-tailored’) clients
5. Be sure your system supports multi-user access secured by strong permissions
6. Be sure your system supports ‘the rules’ – not just GAAP, but for transaction integrity, workflow processes and system security.
7. Select a system that supports multiple entities within one parent business entity
8. Look for a system with multi-currency and foreign language capabilities if you think such needs will ever apply to you.
Following the above tips — but only after a thorough initial workflow and process analysis before you begin your search — will go a long way towards ensuring that the system you choose today will be the one you can still live with – ten years from now.
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We hope you have enjoyed this series on how to select an accounting system. We think Geni Whitehouse’s comments are right on the money, and so we took time to present them over several posts. Once again, you can access her original document here.
Your comments and input are always welcome.