Editor’s Note: This Article Has Been Updated October 25, 2022
At some point, your business will have to implement a new accounting system (if you haven’t already). That’s a good thing because it signifies growth, and growth is one of the goals of any government contracting business. Past the “we need a new system” discussion, things tend to get a bit dicey and there’s no way around it.
Accounting Implementation Questions for GovCons
Implementing and accounting system? The Managed Accounting Experts at BOOST have compiled our “hit-list” of questions that keep us up at night when it comes to implementing a new system. As usual, we’ll provide you with things to expect and how to better manage those expectations for a semi-smooth transition.
- Should you DIY (do it yourself) when it comes to implementing a new accounting system?
Absolutely not, and here’s why. The main reason for needing a new system is that the company’s leadership is already spending too much time in the weeds outside of their current system. Adding the task list of a transition and implementation on top of an already full plate will only cause stress and mistakes. When it comes to your accounting systems, we are trying to minimize mistakes.
- Will you hit your desired deadline for implementation?
Deadlines are nice, but they are really just guidelines, right? In all seriousness, when you realize you need a new system, you’re probably three months behind. Any implementation team will do their absolute best to implement a new system close to the desired deadline, but discrepancies with current data or gaps within the current process may come to the surface. Additionally, there may be cultural resistance to change (yes this is a thing). Deadlines will be extended; the goal is a system that works for all users with accurate and consistent reporting. To cut down on this time, work to clean the data in your old system before beginning a transition to the new system. You want a clean slate, not a system full of errors at the get-go.
- Who needs to be involved in a successful accounting implementation?
You’re not going to like this, but someone from your team needs to have a finger on the implementation process. We’re talking FTE time in the amount of ¼ – ½ of their hours during implementation. They need to be well-versed in the new system in order to train users, have process knowledge of the business specifically to configure the system appropriately, and to communicate effectively the needs of the business with the implementation leader. The individual needs to be a change champion to help others in your organization embrace the change and learning a new system. Above all else, the team from both sides, needs to be made up of those who are really good listeners and communicators.
- Do you need a fully customizable solution for your new accounting system?
Again, this one is a big no. It is much easier to transition a system instead of changing a business’ culture, and how you manage your accounting is a big part of your culture. You want a system that you can take off the shelf and minimally configure (i.e. posting rules, chart of accounts, how key fields are populated and utilized) versus redesigning and customizing from the ground up. If you find that you’re trying to customize each option, report, and configuration, you may want to check out a different solution option (more on this in an upcoming blog).
The very bottom line to all of this is that if you’ve outgrown your current GovCon accounting system, you need a dedicated and integrated team to help manage the implementation of a new system. Do your homework, ask the experts (us), and begin your transition well ahead of your “must-have” date. While these implementations are no walk in the park, the end result should provide you with better visibility, more time back in your day, and the ability to grow as your company grows.