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What Every CFO Needs to Know About Buying an ERP Accounting System

Instruction Manual

Written by Laura Schomaker

December 18, 2020

 

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions are transformational tools that can make a significant difference to business process and financial decision making. As CFO, you may look forward to the possibilities that will result from the purchase and implementation of an ERP accounting system at your company. If you have never been through an ERP buying process before, however, you may not know what to watch out for during the process. Here is what every CFO needs to know to have the most productive ERP buying process possible. 

 

It’s not just an accounting solution—it’s a global solution.  

While your focus is on ERP as an accounting tool, ERP is not just transformational for processes within the business office. It impacts every silo across your company. While your priorities are on the financials, understand that your ERP solution will touch everything from sales and marketing to the production floor. This makes the process more complex. But see it through and you get a bird’s-eye view of your data and enable much more dynamic decision making.  

You have to take part. 

ERP is about the user experience, collaboration, and your business processes. You need to take part in the process and get your hands dirty, so to speak, in sussing out what type of ERP will work for your company. Don’t leave it to IT. You need to be in there, taking part and making the key decisions during the ERP buying process. Also, you want key stakeholders from across your company taking part in the conversation, as well. Their input and the discussions you have as a team will provide the insights you need to select and design an ERP that works specifically for your company and is not just a “one size fits all” solution that won’t produce real results.  

A new ERP accounting system is an opportunity. 

Treading the same ground you have for years will not do anything for your business. Finding and implementing an ERP needs to be done in tandem with a very detailed assessment and restructure of business processes. Simply sticking with existing pain points and inefficiencies will drain all the value out of your new ERP solution. Look at the ERP buying process as a genuine opportunity to sit down as a team and find out how you can make things run better and more efficiently at your company. During the buying process, ask: 

  • How will the ERP solutions you are considering help you control costs?  
  • What new insights into your business data will each ERP offer? 
  • What process improvements must you make before implementation? 
  • Who will have access to key financial data? 

Regarding the last question, you of course need to consider security when selecting an ERP accounting system. Your team should consider carefully user permissions. You need to consider the architecture of your ERP accounting system: Is a cloud-based solution sufficiently secure for your industry, or do you need the heightened control of an on-premises system? Your ERP vendor can help you assess regulatory guidelines within your industry and determine the architecture that best serves your company’s data security needs.  

Buying a new ERP solution involves a lot of detail but it delivers significant ROI. Have you had your own experience with ERP purchases as a CFO? Let us know in the comments below. You can explore your ERP options and get a more detailed look at the ERP purchasing process with our ERP buying guide 

 

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