How to ensure successful implementation of new accounting software

By Robert Risk 

At some point, nearly every company will start thinking about upgrading its accounting system when the pain points become difficult to dismiss. Here are a few things to think about before making a complex, long-term decision that affects your entire enterprise.

  • Know when it’s time. Frantic energy — a lot of it — can be one of the first signs that your accounting software system is overdue for an upgrade. Maybe you’re working with a system that doesn’t handle inventory control well. Or you’re running multiple versions of an outdated accounting system held together by duct tape and bailing wire. Or you have people working offline and overtime to create spreadsheets and analyses — and you keep missing deadlines. Whatever the obstacle, the end result is that you’re throwing more and more resources into a system that simply can’t do what you’re asking of it. It will never catch up. It’s time.
  • Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Think critically. Determine how your current system is letting you down, which departments your new technology should affect and how much internal expertise you have for implementing the changeover.
  • Enlist a trusted partner.You have a lot of questions to ask and decisions to make, so collaborate with an advisory service with expertise that blends accounting and technology. Before implementation, your partner can help you with the following critical components.
    • Selecting the system that’s right for your needs
    • Refining your requirements
    • Seeking RFPs
    • Bringing in a short list of vendors who meet your requirements
    • Negotiating contracts

All that only takes you to the point of installation and implementation of your new system. Now the real work begins.

  • Set achievable goals. Don’t hold yourself to unrealistic deadlines. There’s a lot at stake here, and the price of failure can be steep. A fully integrated new accounting software system might take three to six months from selection to bug-free implementation. But it’s worth the time and effort, as the technology will probably be in place for the next 10 years or longer.

The end result of all of this careful planning and smart partnering is a new accounting system poised to become a ubiquitous and user-friendly behind-the-scenes addition to your operation.

Robert Risk is director of Technical Advisory Services at Wiss & Company. Reach him at


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