Many times consultants will have the same questions and anxieties when it comes to finding the right Accounting software that business decision makers have. Essentially, the key point of concern comes down to this: How do you find the right program in a sea of options and get it effectively deployed? This eight step process provides best practices for you to follow as you address your client’s software needs.
Understand your client’s business problems
Every great solution starts with a problem. Whether your client has asked you for assistance to resolve a specific issue or you have personally identified an issue in your client’s business, defining the problem is the best place to start. To do this, you’ll want to identify a project contact lead. This will be the person or people at your client’s company that you will work with most closely on the project. At this point you may want to spend some time interviewing the client and understanding their business processes from start to finish. Surveying the users of their current myob accounting software can be very useful. These users will be able to identify what’s inefficient or tedious with their current processes.
Once you have issues defined it may be advantageous to have your client rank the importance level of each problem area. After this is done you may want to have your client estimate the financial costs generated with the problem areas. After all, each problem area will create an inefficiency which results in increased expenses and/or lost revenues. This information can then be used in step three to determine which software to evaluate.
Define the scope of the accounting software requirements
In the business software market there are solutions designed to meet virtually any need. To define the scope of the project you should ask yourself if the problem is limited to one particular function of an existing software system or an overall problem in business processes. Answering this question should be pretty simple based on the work that was done in the first step of the process.
If you find their issues are confined to one particular area of the business, it may be wise to look for a accounting software system to address this one issue while leaving their rest of their systems intact. If however, they have an overarching issue with their current software it may be best to look for an all-encompassing software package. After this determination is made, it is best to prepare a summary of the project scope. This summary can then be presented to the client for approval. In the end the scope summary will ensure that you will return with a deliverable that will meet the client’s expectations.
Identify appropriate software to review
The act of identifying appropriate software packages to review is largely determined by the specific requirements your client has. The benefit of preparing that project scope document is you have your requirements already laid out. At this point you simply need to identify which packages meet the requirements so you can review them in-depth.
Now then, it’s time for a quick plug. You knew it was coming, didn’t you? If you are having problems defining the requirements for your client, feel free to give us a call. We’d be happy to go through some questions to help understand their accounting software requirements. We can then use your requirements to match you with appropriate options to meet the requirements. Instead of spending hours surfing the Internet to determine if a software package is worth further review, we can match you with a group of appropriate options based on your client’s specific needs.
Evaluating your software options
Once requirements are fleshed out and a group of myob accounting software options has been identified you can begin your in-depth reviews. The first step to any software review is gathering product literature. Since so many products are modular based, allowing you to purchase only the modules you need, you may want to engage with software providers to ensure that you are reviewing relevant product literature. During this initial engagement you can also give the software provider the project scope documentation. A smart move would be to ask the providers to show you how their software will meet each of the key problems that need to be addressed.
At this point you should be able to make a determination of which providers have the strongest grasp of your challenges. Those providers should then have the best ability to provide solutions to the challenges. This will then give you a short list of options to really review in-depth allowing you to arrange demonstrations and request proposals from the providers.
Determining when to bring the client into the review
After your review of the accounting software packages the question of when to bring your client into the review presents itself. To provide a quality deliverable you will likely want to handle an initial review or screening of the software packages. Depending upon your role in the process you may even want to view demos yourself before bringing your client in for reviews. If your client has given you the okay to make a final selection there is obviously no need to include them review. Chances are though your client will want to see the software before a selection is made.
In order to maintain your role in the project it may be best to look at several options and pick two or three for your client to review in-depth with you. This way you can explain to your client which packages were excluded and why. You can also show them why the top few have been selected and what benefits they provided over those that were excluded.
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