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erp upgrade

Now is the Time for an ERP Upgrade

Is your business keeping pace with current ERP upgrades? Finance and accounting firms are reviewing their level of efficiency to determine when to upgrade their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.  Many managers think of an ERP upgrade as a headache. However, if done correctly, they can be opportunities to streamline the processes that lead to efficiencies and bottom-line improvements.

Assess Data Availability and Security

Use of the cloud and security improvements are offering more businesses ready access to data, combined with protections. Assess your current system’s ability to:

  • Provide employees with access to critical functions whether they are onsite or working remotely.
  • Keep pace with cybersecurity threats and updated protections.
  • Respond nimbly to natural and human-caused disasters that interrupt business functions.
  • Readily adjust to reporting requirements and compliance inquiries.

Consider the value of learning more about an ERP upgrade if your response to any of the above points is “no” or “slow.”

Look into Productivity and Ease of Use

Today’s high-performing organizations demand software systems that provide equal information access across departments. Finance and accounting, procurements, production, and quality assurance mechanisms need access to data for efficient management. Invite team members to offer honest input about these factors:

  • Points of slow productivity.
  • Data that cannot be readily and evenly accessed across departments.
  • Known, suspected, or possible security breaches.
  • Systems that need upgrades to adhere to reporting requirements and compliance matters.
  • Challenges fully integrating information, such as finance or human resources, across departments.
  • Elements of the current system that work well throughout the business.

Decide if Your Preferred ERP System Will Carry You into the Future

An ERP upgrade is a complex process requiring anticipation of the conversion’s impact on current functioning. At the same time, it is critical to project your organization’s growth potential to assure the upgrade has the capacity to meet future ERP needs. Other points to consider are:

  • If a hybrid system best suits your business, enabling you to keep financial data stored in-house rather than on the cloud.
  • Planning for staff training and interruption of production for the ERP upgrade.
  • Financial considerations, including long-term gains because of improved productivity.

 

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innovative finance thinking

Stimulating Innovative Finance Thinking

Some believe that innovative thinking is reserved for the creative few. The truth is, most people have a creative streak. The trick is learning how to tap into that creativity.  Innovative finance thinking is behind creative innovations such as ATMs and PayPal.  As accounting professionals spend less time on mundane, repetitive tasks they have more time to work on their creative streaks.  What innovative finance ideas is your business likely to develop?

Below are tips to spark innovative finance thinking in your financial professionals

Weigh the Benefits of Innovative Finance Thinking

Buy-in for becoming an actively creative organization begins at the top. Where do you stand on these points?

  • Most executives describe innovation as being linked with their growth strategy.
  • Companies that value fresh ideas realize greater growth and profits.
  • Be realistic about the rate of innovation success.

Time is of the Essence for Creativity

Sparks of insight and invention often emerge in quiet moments or during time on the trail. Your staff needs time to let flashes of creativity emerge. Steps to take include:

  • Offering employees free time to promote novel thinking. Let them know the amount of time per day or week without placing limitations such as where or when.
  • Checking in with finance staff about the effects of free time on their thinking process.
  • Keeping track of what you are learning about the relationship of free time and novel idea generation.

Create Collaboration and Cooperation

  • Foster inventive success by linking innovation with your overall business strategy.
  • Promote an atmosphere for collaborative thinking and cooperative action.
    • Ideas generated by other departments may prompt financial innovation.
    • Or, other departments’ challenges may be addressed by finance solutions.
  • Break down barriers that limit cross-departmental relationships and information exchange.

Make Space for Inventiveness

Create spaces that are inviting for colleagues to collaborate or step away from their usual work environments. An atmosphere of relaxation with natural light and plants fosters the fresh air that stimulates clear, creative thinking.

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financial systems upgrade

Financial Systems: Upgrade Success

Replacing outdated financial systems with updated solutions has many benefits – better efficiency, increased productivity and faster growth. To ensure your financial systems upgrade is successful, you need to have a clear road-map.  A smooth financial systems upgrade depends on several key factors, including strategic planning, cooperation, budgeting and training.

Follow these steps for a successful financial system upgrade.

Assess Trends and Financial System Capacity

Assess current and anticipated trends for your business sector. Inquiries to make of accounting, financial, and department managers include:

  • Have glitches occurred with internal and external financial systems communications?
  • Are current software systems keeping up with all departmental needs?
  • How well do digital systems communicate between departments?
  • What regulatory and compliance issues need to be factored into the upgrade?
  • What digital needs are anticipated for growth or market expansion within the next two to five years?

Evaluate Your Team’s Skills and Interest

System upgrades affect human resource capacity as well as digital and technical responsiveness. Assure that your team is ready to take on the demands and benefits of growth by evaluating:

  • The relationships between key stakeholders.
  • Responsiveness for working with financial systems consulting firms.
  • The overall enthusiasm for learning, advanced skills, and growth potential.
  • Staff with the skills and interest in assuming upgrade leadership.
  • Suggestions for minimizing disruption during the systems upgrade.

Conduct a Review of Financial Security

As with many business plans, dollars factor into fulfillment. Conduct a review of your organization’s past, present, and anticipated liquidity to determine:

  • If revenue will be progressively available for fully implementing the financial systems upgrade.
  • Related expenses such as staff training, consultant services, and digital upgrades needed in associated departments.
  • If cybersecurity threats place your company and its customers at risk.

Plan  Financial Systems Upgrade Based on Your Assessment

Use the assessment information to plan the financial systems upgrade roll-out by:

  • Involving the primary stakeholders in planning.
  • Holding regular systems upgrade meetings.
  • Keeping staff updated about progress via email.
  • Bringing external consultants on-board as indicated.
  • Assuring that staffing levels meet demand.
  • Addressing concerns immediately.
  • Demonstrating gratitude to staff as the process unfolds.

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automation

Automation and the Future of Accounting

New technology and automation is at the threshold of freeing accountants from many mundane task-oriented functions. How can you capitalize on these automation advances, rather than becoming a casualty of new technology?  By investing heavily in training, you can prepare for new automation technology with confidence. Accounting and finance professionals need begin preparing today to keep pace with emerging trends.

Foster a Digitally Advancing Culture

Prepare your organization for advancing its digital sophistication by:

  • Assessing the level of technology use, including human and digital capacity.
    • Compare this data with recommendations for the appropriate operating level for your organization’s size and functions.
    • Conduct a financial analysis and projection of costs associated with a progressive plan for digitalization.
  • Ascertain employees’ interest in expanded roles supported by increased digital functions and capacity.
    • Communicate the positive aspects of creating a new digital footprint.
    • Listen for concerns, hesitancy, or excitement.
    • Describe how accounting roles will grow as repetitive functions are digitalized.
    • Harness enthusiasm while patiently working through any reluctance.
  • Gather your team to plan next steps, integrating skill development steps with increases in technical capacity.

Guide Skill Development

Provide training options that help your accounting team excel.

  • Critical thinking and analysis development skills are of increasing importance as accountants become crucial participants in clients’ organizational planning.
  • Managing cybersecurity is a skill set needed to protect the identity and assets of millions across multiple sectors.
  • Support early digital-savvy adapters to mentor other staff. This approach allows you to take note of emerging leaders and those with compelling tech aptitude.
  • Hold pioneer accounting technology seminars with like-minded businesses.

Access New Automation Opportunities

As your team advances digitally explore new or expanded accounting revenue streams by:

  • Reviewing the demand for clients’ digital growth.
    • Analyze digital benchmarks for the client sectors your firm serves.
    • Inform clients of the growth and fiscal benefits you can provide through mutual digital expansion.
  • Capitalizing on the team’s enthusiasm and digital skills to expand beyond your current sectors.

 

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technology

Are You Getting the Most Out of Technology?

The digital age is well underway with new innovations occurring everyday. Businesses that are keeping up with technological advances are outpacing the competition that is lagging.  Thankfully, you don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to get the most out of business technology. But, you do have to use it strategically to stay competitive.  To help you maximize your current resources, we’ve created a list of 4 different ways you can get the most out of technology.

Review the Benefits of Technology

The sophistication and skills required to be nimble in the digital environment can be daunting. Conduct a quick review of how tech upgrades will make your business systems more efficient:

  • Digitized documents and processes are readily accessible and kept current.
  • Data analytics profile your consumer base, highlighting use and interest trends.
  • Financial management systems assure accuracy while graphically detailing use patterns.
  • As staff advance in digital confidence, they suggest methods for refining processes.
  • Videoconferencing and document exchange methods increase collaboration and efficiency.

What Sort of Barriers and Opportunities Exist for Digital Upgrades?

Businesses planning to advance digitally may encounter internal and business sector obstacles and opportunities.

  • A survey investigating businesses with delayed digitization reported:
    • That roughly 25% of participants stated internal obstacles such as lack of support and unrealistic budgets created lags.
    • About one quarter noted the best opportunity for their businesses to advance digitally was in back-office support and customer experience.
  • Digitization varies by sector, creating potential barriers or opportunities, such as:
    • The communications technology and finance/insurance sectors are among the most advanced.
    • Construction, health care, and government are among the lowest digitally advanced sectors.
    • Businesses in the leading sectors put technology in the hands of employees. As a result, their digital engagement exceeds that of the overall economy.

Sharpen Your Digital Profile

A positive business profile leads to success, attracting customers and the best employees. Advancing digital capacity enhances your profile. Steps for moving in that direction are to:

  • Learn about your sector’s digital leaders and their process for advancing technology.
  • Dialogue within your organization about digitization benefits.
  • Conduct an inventory of current technology capacity.
  • Assess current processes to determine which will initially benefit from digitization, such as:
    • Organization-wide access to policies and procedures.
    • Video-conferencing capacity with partners, consultants, and customers.
  • Design a plan for digital upgrades and expansion.
  • Act on your plan, advancing your business profile each step of the way.