BTerrell Group Blog

When to Implement a New ERP System – Reason #2 Total Cost of Ownership Cannot be Justified for Your Current System

Posted by Keith Karnes on Thu, Jun 19, 2014

I recently started a blog series discussing some of the main reasons companies  need to implement a new ERP system. Reason #1 can be found here. Today, I'll discuss Reason #2.

Reason #2: Total Cost of Ownership Cannot be Justified for Your Current System
Despite the comforts of existing system and process familiarity, sometimes the high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for a legacy ERP system speaks for itself… something must change. Some ERP systems were not designed for growing organizations that need advanced functionality to manage sophisticated processes; so costly workarounds are put in place. More often than not, every time the on-premise legacy system has an upgraded version, the work-arounds also require changes. In addition, maintenance costs, both direct and indirect, continue to compound year after year. In today’s economic climate, businesses need technology solutions that grow and adapt with them, allowing leadership to focus on the “business picture” of goals and profits, not the compounding costs of ERP systems.

ERP Servers

When thinking about the TCO of legacy ERP systems, the cost of adding new hardware, paying for regular upgrades, hardware maintenance costs, and adding additional personnel to handle the increasing complexities of a company’s IT operations are common components. Many times, as business leaders, we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day responsibilities that we become accustomed to familiar processes and don’t realize the hidden, indirect costs associated with our current technology. Unfortunately, the workarounds put in place to manage an ERP system that a company has outgrown or outlived, result in hidden costs such as reporting based on incorrect or stale data, lack of control and compliance, process inefficiencies, and additional time and resources needed to achieve results. These direct and indirect costs multiply over time and can have an adverse effect on your bottom line.

According to a recent report from Nucleus Research, companies using Intacct to run their back office achieved both direct and indirect benefits including increased productivity, increased visibility, reduced or avoided IT costs, improved inventory management, accelerated financial processes, and reduced audit costs. Specifically, the Nucleus report provided these examples of companies switching to cloud-based ERP solutions from outdated, on-premise systems:

  • Saved 500 hours a year on manual data entry
  • Eliminated $30,000 in annual IT costs
  • Avoided hiring an additional accounting employee

I don’t know about you, but as President of BTerrell Group, these types of savings would outweigh the thought of an out-of-control TCO any day! If I can reduce TCO and improve my bottom line by taking advantage of cloud technology, that is the validation I need.

Tags: ERP, Intacct, TCO, Total cost of ownership, implement a new ERP system

When to Implement a New ERP System – Reason #1 Software Limitations of your Current System

Posted by Keith Karnes on Thu, May 15, 2014

I spoke with a CFO of a small, but growing business recently, and he asked me a simple question, “Why should I implement a new ERP system?” The answer is simple, robust, and one I explain quite frequently. That being said, I want to share, over the next several weeks, some of the main reasons I believe companies may need to implement a new ERP system.

Reason #1: Software Limitations of Your Current System
Baseline entry systems are just that…entry systems. Just because the system got you started…initially meeting your needs, doesn’t mean it will continue to meet your needs as you grow and become a more complex organization. That requires a system built for enterprise needs (not necessarily expensive, but built for growth).

Software Limitations

In my experience, many emerging companies begin to feel “growing pains” with their current software…limitations, indicating it is time to implement a new ERP system. These companies experience major software problems including the lack of real-time reporting, multi-currency capabilities, frequent software crashes due to the amount of data stored in their systems, and no integration between disparate systems.

There’s no doubt that deficiencies in generating accurate, timely financial intelligence due to software limitations negatively impacts a President or CFO’s ability to drive performance in an organization, but it is difficult sometimes to make the leap to a new ERP system. Cost, time lost during research and implementation, as well as comfort level with the current system can all lead to a company choosing to stay with their current system “a little while longer.” But often the hidden costs are even greater…the inefficiencies and lost management information to build business. Since financial transactions are the lifeblood of business, the need for an ERP system that grows with your business should be a tool to drive success, not just a historical reports tool.

For many companies, Intacct is a great next step from their current system as it handles the increasing complexities of growing businesses, utilizing cloud multi-tenant architecture for great functionality with low cost. With Intacct, you can improve financial controls across multiple business entities, deliver robust cloud financial management to finance without IT infrastructure, streamline financial processes, and reduce close processes from a few weeks to a few days. It helps eliminate growing pains, enhance productivity and visibility, reduce capital expenditures, and speeds up the flow and accuracy of reporting and intelligence for better informed business decisions. Isn’t that what we want as Presidents and CFOs of growing businesses?

Tags: ERP, Intacct, software limitations, why implement new ERP system, software growing pains

Why ERP Implementations Fail

Posted by Brian Terrell on Mon, Apr 07, 2014

Recently, I attended an introductory meeting with a prospect for ERP consulting services.  In short, this prospect shared a painful story around implementing and using a system very familiar to me. I know the software works for this prospect's business because our firm has been successful implementing and supporting it for many years for similiar companies. So, what caused this prospect to have an experience very different from the hundreds of happy users I know and with whom I do business?

ASK - Always Seek KnowledgeIf the software does not change, the only two variables are the original ERP consultant handling the implementation and training for this prospect and the prospect themselves.  There are prospects who have too little regard for business processes, professional services, or automation to correctly implement complex ERP solutions.  Usually, they reveal themselves in the discovery and proposal process, and I continue to improve in my ability to steer our firm away from those prospects.  That's right, some customers are not good customers for us.  What's important is that we approach every prospect as if they have the potential to be an excellent customer, provide a high level of attention and service in the introductory and discovery process, and treat everyone with courtesy and respect whether we win the business or not.

Once we determine the prospect can be the right fit for our firm's services and software, then we must demonstrate to the prospect that we can succeed with them.  

How can a prospect identify an ERP consultant with whom they can experience a successful implementation?  

I encourage our prospects to look for these key indicators:

  1. A trusted advisor recommendation - Has the client received a referral to an ERP consultant from a trusted business advisor?  This might mean a CPA, an industry peer, or someone with trusted experience and information. Nothing gives one as much comfort as following another who has already been successful. In a blind RFP software selection process, one can rarely get a trusted advisor recommendation in advance; however, prospective clients can still obtain a satisfactory recommendation after identifying the respondents and before investing in the wrong professional service organization.
  2. Similiar industry or business process experience - Does a prospective ERP consultant have experience either in the client company's industry or within an industry with similiar business processes?  It may not be necessary for a consultant to have experience with a direct peer company.  It may be enough that they have worked in an industry that has similiar business process automation challenges.
  3. Credentialed professionals - Does the prospective ERP consulting firm employ certified specialists in either a particular technology or business process?  Have they industry experience as a CFO or COO? Have they worked in or been trained by a large consulting firm? Do they have CPAs, MBAs, or other advanced degree holders on staff and able to be assigned to the account?
  4. Results orientation - Does the prospective ERP consultant speak in terms of desired results?  Do they understand the results needed, focus discussions on getting these results, propose prices in terms of results, and offer a guarantee of results?  One can evaluate with confidence the higher prices offered by professionals who price, deliver and guarantee results as long as the expected results have been properly articulated and understood.
  5. Repeatable methodologies - Can the prospective ERP consultant explain the methodology by which they achieve repeatable implementation success?  How do they do what they do?  Does it make sense? Do I think it will work for me and my company?

The most important decision to be made by a client company with respect to a prospective ERP investment relates more to which firm will implement the technology than to which technology the firm will implement.  

The biggest predictor of success or failure of an ERP implementation remains the expertise, experience and methodology of the business partner implementing the new technology.  

Included in this is the consulting firm's ability to provide the initial and ongoing training required to make a productive start in the use of the a new business automation tool.  To inquire on BTerrell Group's references, experience, credentials, results orientation and methodologies, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free ERP consultation.

Tags: ERP

Saving Time with Intacct Shortcuts!

Posted by Kevin Yu on Fri, Dec 13, 2013

Intacct ShortcutsThere are great shortcuts to help you navigate Intacct quickly and efficiently. For those of you already familiar with Intacct shortcuts, I hope you learn at least one new shortcut to help you navigate Intacct more efficiently.  For those of you who are not familiar, I hope you find the below lists very useful as you begin using Intacct.  

While, a handful of these shortcuts are standard across many products, some are specific only to Intacct.

Shortcut Key

Description

Alt+S

Save

Alt+Q

Cancel

Alt+W

Save this record and start a new one

Alt+U

Populate from last bill/invoice

Alt+P

Display the pick list (not available in FireFox)

Alt+K

Go back from an error message

Tab

Move your cursor from the current field to the next field

Spacebar

Select a checkbox

Up/Down

Navigate a drop-down list

Ctrl+Up/Down

Open and close the detail area for a line item in data entry screens

Alt+D+Enter

Open a separate browser tab in Intacct. This is powerful when you need to look at one screen while you do a related task in another, or if you are comparing two reports.

 

The following shortcuts are most useful when selecting items from a drop-down list.

Shortcut Key

Description

Alt+Down arrow

View the drop-down list

Up and Down arrows

Move up and down the list

Tab

Select an item and move to the next field

Letter Key

Jump to the first item starting with that letter

Sequence of Letter Keys

Autofill the input box. For example, if you type Tex in a location box, the system displays Texas. If you type Ne, the system displays a list that could include Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York.

 

The following shortcuts are used to add a date in a date field. I find these shortcuts very useful in my everyday work and I think this is where many of you will learn new shortcuts to use in your daily Intacct practice.

Shortcut Key

Description

t

current date (today's date)

+

increments current date by one day

-

decrements current date by one day

w

first day of the current week

k

last day of the current week

m

first day of the current month (Type m again to go to the first day of the prior month)

h

last day of the current mont(Type h again to go to the last day of the prior month)

y

first day of the current year

r

last day of the current year

Alt+Down keys

open or close calendar

Enter

select

Esc

close

 

Note: The following date shortcuts are powerful; they produce results based on the date format chosen by your company. The following are results assuming a dd/mm/yyyy date format:

Shortcut Key

Description

[n]

'n-th' month, current day and year

/[n]

'n-th' day of the current month and year

//[n]

Select an item and move to the next field

 

Examples: Today's date is December 09, 2013. In the following scenarios, you want to enter a date with the same day and year, but change the month to 8 for August (you can change the day or year in a similar fashion):

Date Format

Description

mm/dd/yyyy

Enter 8 (for August) and tab to the next field. The system populates the date field with 08/09/2013

dd.mm.yyyy

Enter /8 (for August) and tab to the next field. The system populates the date field with 09.08.2013

yyyy-mm-dd

Enter /8 (for August) and tab to the next field. The system populates the date field with 2013-08-09

 

Calendar shortcuts: When the calendar is displayed, you can use the following shortcuts to enter dates:

Shortcut Key

Description

PgUp/PgDn

previous/next month

Ctrl+PgUp/PgDn

previous/next year

Ctrl+Home

current month or open when closed

Ctrl+left arrow/right arrow

previous/next day

Ctrl+up arrow/down arrow

previous/next week

Enter

accept the selected date

Ctrl+End

close and erase the date

Esc

close the calendar without selection

 

You can also perform simple calculations right inside Intacct’s numeric fields. When an arithmetic operator is used, Intacct displays a “tape” to view your calculations.

Shortcut Key

Operation

+

open the calculator and start adding

-

open the calculator and and start subtracting

*

open the calculator and start multiplying

/

open the calculator and start dividing

=

display current result

Enter

add result to the numerical field

 

I hope you find these shortcuts useful and learned something new, even if it was just one! I challenge you to pick a few shortcuts and actively use these next week. They will become second nature before you know it and save you time in the future!

Tags: ERP, Intacct, Intacct Shortcuts

What Keeps Professional Services Firm CFOs Up at Night?

Posted by Keith Karnes on Fri, Nov 08, 2013

We try to understand our prospects, customers and their issues as best we can. Being a professional services firm ourselves, we intimately understand the financial challenges associated with sharing our expertise -- via consulting engagements -- to our valued customers.

In this article, I want to analyze the specific pain points of financial management within professional services organization, discussing:

  • What are the primary concerns of CFOs from professional services companies?
  • What are some of the repercussions of these issues?
  • Why BTerrell Group chose to utilize Intacct to help relieve  these pain points for our own internal financials, and why Intacct is such a great fit for our customers who are professional services firms

Pain Point #1: Complex billing terms and schedules

For consulting and services organizations, every customer truly is different. Complexities include things such as:

  • the scope of the project
  • the negotiated terms of the engagement
  • project milestones and schedules
  • performance-based or time-based payment schedules

These different complexities often lead to manual, off-line project tracking and reporting, with much of the details manipulated in Excel spreadsheets. This creates inefficiencies in reporting, reduced staff productivity, and ultimately lower profitability. Think about how much time is wasted in your firm. If only 10% of a full-time employee's time is wasted in this area (at a salary of $120K/year, for instance), that's $12,000 a year down the drain due to inefficiency...yikes!

Need: Consistent view of project specifics with appropriate visibility to key stakeholders in the service delivery lifecycle

 

Pain Point #2: Capture of all billable and non-billable time and expenses

Ad-hoc time and expense capture is a huge issue for professional services firms. Reporting consistency is critical to give visibility to the financial and operations areas which may be improved for the productivity and profitability of the firm.

Revenue leakage and lower project profitability are huge concerns, due to the inability to capture all billable time and expenses. In addition, project and cost over-runs can result in more non-billable work time (think about the price per hour per consultant), along with non-recoverable costs that can be incurred by not capturing all this information in a timely manner.

Need: real-time, streamlined time and expense management for project control and profitability

 

Pain Point #3: Proactive cash flow management, along with proper recognition and deferral of project-based revenue

Without proper processes and communications across and through the organization, it's really difficult to manage cash flow proactively in professional services firms. Unless Finance knows that project milestones are slipping, for instance, it's almost impossible to plan for receivables and cash flow. In addition, delays in reporting can have a substantial impact on revenue forecasting, budgeting and overall financial - and operational - decision-making.

Need: Automated project billing and revenue management system

 

Pain Point #4: Financial visibility into project status and key metrics

People are busy working on their priorities. We get it. But, because Sales is busy selling, and Project Management is busy managing their projects, many times Finance doesn't have real-time information on projects or customers to be able to provide the reporting and financial management necessary to run the business. Billing cycles can be sluggish, as invoices are often contingent upon the communication of the completion of a project or milestone.

Need: Automated system to track performance of project milestones and costs to ensure accurate and efficient billing, revenue recognition and collections

 

In essence, finance pros in professional services firms need a 360-degree view of the business for reporting and decision-making purposes. The only way to do this effectively is by implementing a system combining time and expense management, project tracking and financials. This system needs to be easily customizable for your business, easily accessible by all employees, have the right permissions-based access per employee, be robust enough to scale with your business, yet be flexible enough to provide all reporting when, where and how you need it.

For our business, we chose Intacct to do just that for us, and we're so glad we did. Here are just some of the key areas of benefit, drivers, and examples of benefits provided:

Intacct Benefits for Professional Services Organizations

Think about this for your business. Could you benefit from any - or all - of the following?

  • Maximized revenues and accelerated billing cycles
  • Improved cash management
  • Strengthened project performance and profitability
  • Improved staff productivity

Feel free to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation. BTerrell Group can help you determine if Intacct is the right solution for your business.

Get a FREE ERP Consultation

Tags: ERP, Intacct, cloud, cloud erp, cloud accounting software