BTerrell Group Blog

The most important decision in accounting software selection is not what you think!

Posted by Brian Terrell on Fri, Apr 11, 2014

Summary of Findings BTerrell GroupI continue to be impressed by the software knowledge our prospects have by the time they engage BTerrell Group in a discussion about Intacct and Sage accounting software.  Obviously, the Internet is a great tool, and we do our best to provide as much information as possible to enable the self education of potential buyers.  When a prospect calls us, he or she needs reassurance they are on the right path as well as the experience and best practices we have learned through hundreds of similar engagements over the last 23 years.  We, on the other hand, need to develop an understanding of the business issues prompting the software selection process, and we need to prove to the prospect that we understand not only those issues but also the impact of solving them.  

One way BTerrell Group learns about a prospect's business issues is by asking a lot of questions and listening to the answers.  Later, we incorporate the knowledge we have gained in a document we call a Summary of Findings.  In a Summary of Findings, our consultants restate their understanding of the current issues facing the company, the impact of those issues, and the potential benefit of resolving them.  In addition, we attempt to quantify the potential benefit of the ideal solution.  Rob Johnson, the National Sales Manager of Channels at Avalara (the guys that make sales tax easy!), recently shared an example with me about how he, earlier in his career, was able to quantify an inventory shrinkage issue at a beverage distributor that resulted in a payback period of months instead of years.  Our calculations do not always turn out that favorably; however, a properly prepared Summary of Findings must include them.

In addition to resolving business issues like inventory shrinkage, what other benefits might be detailed in a Summary of Findings?  The possibilities vary as prospective companies vary, but they generally fall into these basic categories: increased revenues, decreased costs, or achieving some other measurable business objective (like obtaining a bank loan, for example). Specific examples might include:

  1. Reduction of accounting or data entry errors
  2. Elimination or reduction of revenue leakage
  3. Eliminating spreadsheet data and calculations
  4. Decreased costs of routine multi company accounting issues
  5. Increased productivity by integrating data sources in the transaction workflow

The Summary of Findings plays a key part in BTerrell Group's discovery process.  

This document states the business case for value, and prospects can be confident we understand the business issues behind the accounting software selection process.  In addition, it reinforces a prospect's research of our solutions.  Most importantly, a Summary of Findings assists the prospect in the most important decision a buyer will make in the software selection process:  the business partner selection decision!

If you are well on your way to deciding that Intacct or Sage software meets your business needs, please contact us today for assistance in your business partner selection decision.  It could be the most important decision you make!

Related Blog Post: ERP Implementation Success Factors

Tags: accounting software, erp software, software consultants

Top 10 Considerations Before Exploring New ERP or Accounting Software

Posted by Brian Terrell on Sun, Sep 08, 2013

Many blog articles have been written answering the question “what to look for when evaluating new accounting systems?”. However, those articles focus on features and functionality, and I believe there are important things to consider before beginning the software selection process. My hunch was recently backed up when a prospect called and asked “what should I consider before looking for new ERP or accounting software?” This question differs subtly from a features and functionality inventory. Therefore, I made a list of:

10 ERP Considerations10 things CFOs or CIOs should consider before looking for new ERP or accounting software

1. Why should my organization implement new accounting software technology?  

What will it mean to my company if we make a change? If we don’t make this change, what will that mean to my company? Can I quantify the business decision in dollars? Determining the value proposition of an ERP implementation project should be the primary consideration prior to beginning the process.

2. Do I have the support of my outside professionals?

What does my CPA think? What does my trade association think? What do my peers think? When I talk to my peers, are they giving me honest feedback or just wishful thinking or war stories? Every company has many independent supporters who have beneficial experience and wisdom to share.

3. Should I be shopping in the small market, mid-market or enterprise market for my replacement software?

The investment required for a new mid market solution dramatically increases when compared to entry level solutions like QuickBooks or Sage 50. A step up from the mid market to enterprise software requires a similar, even more substantial adjustment of investment and scope. Each company should be very confident in their best place in the ERP marketplace.

4. What architecture is best for my company? 

Do I know the difference between on-premise architecture, cloud architecture, or hybrid cloud architecture? What would be best for my company? What impact does the different revenue models make on my decision? Cloud solutions do not lend themselves to a perpetual license, and on-premise publishers yearn to convert to a subscription license model. Generational workforce paradigm changes will shortly force everyone to deal with the realities of the cloud. 

5. Can I get strong, local support and training? 

If I can get that outside expertise, what will it add to the cost of my project? Once I find candidates to provide this support, am I willing to be transparent with them and engage in an honest business conversation? What support and training options do they offer? In the mid and enterprise markets, very few organizations can implement new accounting technology without outside expertise. The margin of success or failure depends as much or more on a relationship with a strong, local service provider than the features and functionality of the chosen software option.

6. Do I know what I like the most about my current solution?

What am I least willing to give up for a change? Have I taken an inventory of what I really appreciate about the system I currently have in place? Never assume that the next solution supports a business process at least as well as my current solution just because it costs more.

7. Do I know what I want the most from my next solution?

What features and functionality am I most interested in getting for all of the effort and investment I am considering? Usually, organizations have no shortage of what they hope for in a new ERP system, and many projects launch on the strength of this awareness alone. Don’t allow a wish list to be the only consideration when contemplating a software selection process.

8. Have I listed out the possible unexpected costs so that I may do my best to avoid them?

What has my professional support network experienced or observed? Do I know the established industry investment norms for this type of project? Will the total cost be less than the value proposition I have determined for the project? Sometimes, unexpected project costs are not considered simply because no one wants to derail the wish list.

9. How long can I expect the new software to be adequate for my company’s needs?

What changes, if any, may result in early functional obsolescence? Will unusual growth, a potential merger, or new regulations limit my company’s opportunity to obtain a return on investment? Absent unusual good fortune or unexpected change and disruption, new ERP software should meet the needs of a company for 10 years.

10. Do I have the commitment to see the project through to completion?

If things go wrong, have I a contingency budget to get the project back on track? An accounting technology change disrupts an entire business to some degree. The cost of the implementation services can be 50% or more of the total cost. Once again, start off on the right foot by determining the project’s value proposition and check against that value proposition along the way.

Decision makers have many considerations to make before the first call to an accounting technology reseller or consultant. Instead of focusing on features or functionality, develop an accurate justification (measured in dollars) for the task at hand (what will it mean to my company if we make this change?). This contributes to a mindset that will see the project through to completion. Certainly, a project of this magnitude ranks along with other major business decisions in terms of risk and reward. Start by determining the reward, and then focus everyone on managing the risk to achieve that value proposition.

Tags: accounting software, ERP

How to meet growing business needs without more accounting staff

Posted by Brian Terrell on Thu, Jul 25, 2013

Now that the economy shows definite signs of life, many businesses are growing and experiencing the increased resource demands that go with that growth. With the struggles of the recent past still in mind, decision makers may be hesitant to add more staff, especially in back office departments such as accounting and finance.  So, the question for many becomes:

Business growth and accounting resources

How do I meet the growing needs of my business without hiring more accounting staff?

I love this question!  For 22 years, I have enjoyed helping my customers do more work with less effort.  More work means more orders, more shipping, more invoices, more payroll, more purchases, more this and more that...with always, it seems, more people and more effort.  Being able to participate in helping accounting staffs do more work with less effort always makes me happy, but particularly now that most businesses still want to be very careful with new spending.  Many options exist to help in this area, but today I'd like to explore three area for consideration:

  • Application integration
  • Outsourcing
  • ERP technology

Application Integration

Application integration can be a key tool to help an organization do more work with less effort.  Look for business processes like keying data into one computer program directly off a report generated by another computer program.  Wasn't this data already digitized once?  Can't we investigate automating the transfer of that information?  That's application integration, and every function in the back office may reveal these types of opportunities.  Look for integrations that offer a one year return on investment.  Once you find them, get ready for not only a productivity increase but also the unintended benefit of greater accuracy.  That's what we call a win/win scenario!


Also, now may be the time to outsource certain back office tasks like payroll reporting compliance.  Aatrix provides this service to Sage 300 ERP U.S. Payroll users, and it is true there was a bit of culture shock when first announced.  However, the long time Payroll do-it-yourself-er gets over that quickly!  No more buying, printing, stuffing and mailing W-2 forms as this can now be outsourced for $1.89 per employee!  Remember, the stamp costs 45 cents!  Sign up for an eFile package automating all federal and state quarterly reports for a price based on employee size. For example, it's $150 a year for 20 employees.  And, they'll keep a copy for you to print later when the worker's compensation audit rolls around.  Aatrix surveys their customers every quarter, and those surveys reveal a 98% satisfaction rate, so I'm confident this is a no-brainer for companies who consider payroll an in-house process.  

ERP Technology

Finally, technology offers a host of opportunities to do more work with less effort.  CRM automates the quote to sales order conversion process in addition to keeping track of opportunities, contacts, and customer service cases.  Mobile applications automate sales and field service data entry from the iPhone, iPad and Android devices that employees want to carry anyway.  And, a whole slew of connected services exist for both Sage ERP and Intacct Cloud Financials to streamline, outsource and automate key processes such as sales tax calculation, billing delivery, payment processing, and cloud-based document management and storage.  

As the economy continues to improve, our businesses enjoy the opportunity to produce more. The alternative was not fun.  The trick is holding the line on the amount of resources required to do that work, especially in the back office.  If careful, businesses may discover ways to increase accuracy, outsource non-essential functions, and reduce operating expenses even while they do more work with less effort!

To discover if any of these solutions are right for you, please feel free to contact BTerrell Group. We'd be happy to help you determine how to streamline your processes so you can keep your back office headcount manageable.

Tags: accounting software, accounting staff, accounting resources, erp software

Relieving Pain Points through Automation and Software Integration

Posted by Meredith Gooch on Tue, Jan 18, 2011

One of our newest employees described BTerrell Group well earlier this week. He said, "I see this company as specialist in pain management; we try to reduce the pain mid-size companies feel as they begin to grow and become more complex organizations." He is exactly right!

These pain points, or bottlenecks, could be as simple as outgrowing their financial systems, customer management-related issues, or even lack of integration between separate software systems. As resellers of mid-level accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and HR software, we help our customers overcome these bottlenecks.

Of course, no business is exactly the same, and our ability to successfully meet our clients individual needs through automation is one advantage we have over our competition! We employ a team of programmers who are constantly developing modifications to the software that we sell to improve individual business processes for our customers.

Here are a couple recent examples of how we’ve helped our clients:

  • Integration between handheld scanners and an inventory control system freed $400,000 in working capital for a manufacturing company.
  • Automating inventory receipt from handheld scanners at field locations to a centralized inventory control system saved a restaurant $100,000 per year by transferring the cost of collecting data from the higher paid corporate staff ($50,000/year) to lower cost restaurant staff ($25,000/year) for 16 locations.

If you are experiencing these or similar pain points in your organization, contact us today! We want to help you, and our 20 years of successful history proves that we can.


Tags: CRM, accounting software, software integration, HR software, automation, BTerrell Group

Hybrid Cloud Computing for Accounting

Posted by Meredith Gooch on Thu, Jul 16, 2009

The debate over business use of outsourced cloud computing versus on-premise computing has been rising to a higher decibel level. The main advantages of adopting cloud-based software are:

1. Minimal start-up costs in exchange for monthly or annual fees
2. Reduced infrastructure management
3. Web-based deliverability that provides access “anywhere”

On the flip side, the main arguments against cloud computing are the inability of firms to manage system risk and the potential loss of security for proprietary business data. A higher total cost of ownership over longer periods as well as concerns about the difficulty of migrating away from Software as a Service (SaaS) applications present additional roadblocks that prevent accounting from moving to the cloud.

Recently, SaaS options that extend functionality of on-premise accounting systems are beginning to appear. Such hybrid solutions combine the use of both on-premise and cloud-based software. For instance, Indicee, a Web-based application that interacts with reports from on-premise Sage Accpac ERP and other software, provides basic sales analysis and other business intelligence. So far, hybrid solutions do not completely eliminate concerns about data security, but any additional risk extends only to the outsourced applications. Undoubtedly, new software services provided via the cloud will continue to emerge.

- Chris Firra, Sr. Consultant

Tags: Sage Accpac ERP, accounting software, accounting, cloud computing, hybrid, cloud-based software, Indicee, SaaS, software as a service