Your accounting software purchase is a decision you’ll have to live with for perhaps the next 10 years (the average time a company keeps their accounting software.) Spending time upfront to ensure that you make the right decision is a worthwhile investment.
By solidly planning your project at the front end and asking savvy questions during the discovery process, you set the stage for a satisfying purchase experience.
Step 1: The Requirements Document
Simply knowing what you need is the first step to a solid plan. Sit down with key members of your team and develop an outline of your requirements. This can include:
Who needs access to data
Key reports and information you want from the system
What you like and don’t like with your current system
Specific features/modules required
This will serve as your road map for the entire buying process. Hint: If you are having trouble with this first step contact an experienced and honest local ERP software partner like CAL Business Solutions and ask for assistance with no commitment.
Step 2: Establish a Preliminary Budget
Make sure you are aware of the costs involved in a typical accounting software/ERP implementation – software is only a part of the total price. You need to have a ballpark budget in mind before you go too far into the process – so you are not blown away by sticker shock.
Again, you can do an online search or ask trusted people in your network for referrals. The best first step is to schedule a discovery call with the potential Partner so you can review your requirements with them and confirm that their software fits your needs.
This meeting also gives you a chance to preview how they work and if they have strong communication skills, which will be crucial to a successful project. A good Partner asks A LOT of questions and is interested in more than just pitching their wares. At this point, the Partner should also be able to give you a ballpark estimate of the software cost to ensure that it is in your budget.
Step 5: Demo Time
After you’ve determined that the software product seems to fit your requirements and general budget, it’s time to have the Partner present a detailed, personalized demo to key members of your team. Now you can see the product (and the Partner) in action and narrow down the list to your final choices.
The Final Quote
At last, you can find out what you’ve been dying to know! How much will all this cost? Now that the Partner has a detailed idea of your unique requirements, they will use this knowledge to prepare a quote that accurately pinpoints the total costs for the project.
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