Considering New Accounting Technology? Ask the Right Questions.

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In our last blog post, we discussed the many benefits of removing paper from the accounting process and integrating document management software with an organization’s existing ERP solution such as Microsoft Dynamics.  But in an environment where many find it difficult to keep up with the pace of technology, it is not surprising that business leaders will ask a number of questions before taking the next steps toward abandoning manual AP/AR processes in their organizations.

To assist in determining the value of implementing new accounting technology, such as a MetaViewer-enabled paperless ERP solution, executives should ask themselves and their technology partners the following questions:

  • What is the company’s current cost to process an invoice? How long does it take and what is the dollar value of the man-hours required? Studies show that this cost will be drastically reduced with an automated AP/AR solution.
  • How often does the company miss out on discounts that could be claimed by paying invoices by their due date? Collecting these discounts actually can make the accounts payable unit a revenue generator.
  • How much time does AP spend answering vendor inquiries because of lost invoices or not being paid on time? With an automated process, staff can immediately determine where in the approval process an invoice is and offer a prompt response. With a portal, vendors can answer many of these questions themselves.
  • Will automating AR improve cash flow as a result of implementing workflow procedures or bank wire transfers in place of checks? Will the company get paid more promptly?

When considering the integration of an automation solution with an ERP system, executives should consider these questions:

  • What processes should be automated? Which processes for their company’s operations will provide the greatest return if they are automated?
  • What is the implementation time frame? How long will it take to set up a beta system to test new processes?
  • How will the implementation be coordinated with the banks? The ERP system the company selects should have a module compatible with that of the company’s bank so that custom programming can be avoided.
  • How well does the ERP system integrate with the company’s point-of-sale and/or line-of-business systems?
  • How well does the system handle currency when purchases are made from foreign suppliers?

Only by asking the right questions can an executive confidently lead his or her organization through a successful technology implementation. In our next post, we will look closely at some best practices we have gleaned over the years from working with our customers as they implement accounting automation technology that integrates with ERP solutions.

-Nick Sprau, Metafile Information Systems

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