Finance and Accounting Software Implementation Considerations: 

As your company implements new financial or accounting software, it embarks on a transformation that goes beyond the software itself. This sort of organizational shift comes with an array of implementation challenges, but if you understand the main challenges, it’s relatively easy to avoid them. Take a look at this list of common implementation hurdles:

Finance and Accounting Software Implementation Considerations

1. Unnecessarily Narrow Focus

In too many cases, companies focus exclusively on the technological aspects of implementing new software, but ideally, you should expand your focus to view the implementation as an organizational transformation that goes far beyond new software.

To that end, identify which accounting processes need to be changed and what type of organizational changes are needed to support those new processes. That may involve anything from extra staff training to redefining roles to outsourcing financial tasks.

2. Transformation Fatigue

Transformation fatigue can refer to the frustrations of staff members as they get used to the new system, but it can also refer to the burdens placed on the company during the transformation process.

Transformation fatigue can refer to the frustrations of staff members as they get used to the new system, but it can also refer to the burdens placed on the company during the transformation process.

Ultimately, the purpose of accounting software is to save your company money by automating and streamlining financial and accounting processes, but on the path to that goal, you should anticipate spending a bit more in your finance department. Namely, don’t expect employees to handle transformational tasks as well as routine daily tasks. Instead, delegate some of the usual work of top level people who need to be involved in this project, and utilize consultants as needed for support through the process.

3. Overlooked Customizations

When you choose quality accounting or financial software, you are not choosing an out-of-the-box solution. Rather, you can customize the software based on your needs and goals.

Don’t just accept a suite of enterprise level functions that have been created for another company. Instead, find the customizations that are most in line with your organization’s current needs and processes.

4. Lack of Scale

A lack of scale can refer to software that is large and unwieldy with more functions than a company needs, or it can refer to software that doesn’t offer enough functions.

To hit this Goldilock’s zone of just right functionality, work with your vendor to scale the software to your needs. Also, keep in mind that it needs to be expandable so that can grow with you, as your company expands and prospers.

5. Cloudy Visions

If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want from your accounting or finance software,

If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want from your accounting or finance software, it can be hard to establish end goals and ensure that the software actually meets your needs.

it can be hard to establish end goals and ensure that the software actually meets your needs.

Put together a small team representing multiple parts of your organization and responsible for diverse functions, and have them identify the end goals of your financial software. From there, the team should focus on the organizational alignment, functional processes, and technology needed to attain those goals.

6. Limited Understanding of Needs

If the software is developed with a limited understanding of the company’s needs, that can cause users to become frustrated and focused on the deficiencies of the system, ultimately making implementation difficult or implicitly encouraging employees to use workarounds.

In addition to having a team identify end goals, focus on strategy development, and recognize which information, workflows, priorities or functions need to be reflected in your software. Then, set a meeting with your software vendor to define and refine those requirements.

7. Lack of Key Performance Indicators

Accounting and finance software doesn’t just automate processes for your business. It can also generate reports related to key performance indicators (KPI).

However, if your KPIs are not well defined in the software design process, it can be hard for you to establish how well your company is performing. Identify KPIs based on industry-specific benchmarks, metrics from internal departments or other metrics computed in other ways, and make sure those KPIS are integrated into the software. However, don’t use too many KPIs or you risk being distracted from the most important ones.

8. Data Management Issues

When data management is overlooked in the development stages, it prevents the system from accessing the data that the software needs to create reports, run analytics and handle financial operations.

Focus on data management from the beginning. Identify data issues, and talk with the vendor about data challenges such as quality, timeliness, and sources. Then, let the vendor establish a data management plan that integrates usable technology solutions and rigorous standards. Use skilled professionals for data migration to ensure everything is ported from other systems correctly.

9. No Change Management Plan

A change management plan outlines how the new software is going to be implemented into your company. Without a plan, staff members may feel frustrated, confused or overwhelmed.

Create a change management plan so you, the software vendor and your staff all have a timeline to work with. However, make sure the plan also addresses the unique cultural aspects of your company, rather than just the schedule of the implementation.

10. Integration Challenges

Integration refers to how your software works with existing software. If the integration features don’t work correctly, your software won’t’ have access to the information it needs for certain processes.

Use open architecture solutions that can easily integrate with your existing systems and also be modified to work with new software in the future. Also, set aside some time to integrate your accounting and financial software with your CRM, payroll, HR or other types of software.

11. Not Enough Testing

Lack of testing can result in holes in processes or unanticipated issues with the software.

To avoid that, test the software as it’s being developed, and do a dry run before rolling it out officially. Identify issues and repair as needed throughout the testing.

12. Training Deficiencies

Your staff must be prepared to use the software, and adequate training for all end users as well as for your IT team is a necessity.

Schedule training sessions, and make sure to create separate sessions based on how different users are going to engage with the system. Be sure that all relevant staff members have received training before the system is implemented. Also, have your IT team liaison with the software vendor so your internal team understands the architecture of the new software and can provide adequate support.

13. Implementing Too Quickly

If the software is implemented too quickly, staff may be overwhelmed, and critical aspects or features of the software may be ignored or not utilized to the full extent.

Implement the software slowly, and try a phased approach, where processes are slowly ported over to the new system one by one. That reduces the cultural and technological shock associated with new software and lets your employees embrace the process gradually.