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Accounting Software Upgrades - Taking it One Step at a Time

In last month's article, we discussed the goal of getting your new accounting software up and running and the shared responsibility between your software vendor (or its authorized partner) and your staff to ensure a successful outcome.

Failing to Plan means Planning to Fail

Upgrading accounting software involves careful planning. Your company must adequately plan for the conversion and obtain executive buy-in for allocating resources, overcoming obstacles, and driving organizational change. Consider a phased implementation approach to minimize disruption and manage risk. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu observed, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." While it can be at first a bit overwhelming when seeing a list of tasks to be completed before you can be live on accounting software, you should consider a phased approach and break the project into a smaller set of tasks and subtasks. It is a best practice to lay out the phases of the project and assign resources. This can be accomplished using Excel® or Microsoft Project to outline the phases, timelines, milestones and required resources. For example:

    1. Preliminary Meeting
    2. System Design
    3. System Installation 
    4. Configure Nucleus
    5. Data Conversion
    6. Module Setup/Beginning Balances 
    7. Transaction Processing
    8. Final Review and Sign-off

Within each phase, you will meet with your vendor to discuss the agenda for each step. With SYMPAQ, we divide up the tasks in accordance with your budget constraints and staff availability. In addition, we lend our expertise and know-how for a nominal fee to make certain that the cornerstones are properly laid. Phase 4 from the above list - Configure Nucleus - falls into this category and involves the design and input of your chart of accounts, indirect rates, calendars, elements of cost and module settings based on the knowledge gained in the Phase 1 (Preliminary Meeting). Once we understand your business model and gather specialized reporting output, we are able to create a system nucleus that reflects your operations and with scalability in mind. 

Know when to call in the Big Guns

If your company has been growing quickly, your staff is probably operating at near maximum capacity just to keep up with daily workloads. For that reason, you should avail yourself to the expertise of your vendor and not try to go it alone. I've seen several instances when companies eschew professional services, and worry too much about how much they're going to spend in the short term and too little on the results and benefits to be realized in the long run. If you didn't have a FAR-compliant accounting system to begin with that can pass muster with DCAA, then just a month or two of inconvenience and one-time costs incurred while getting your compliant system operational is well worth the effort and expenditure. We have clients who have been with us for 20+ years and what they ended up spending on professional services in 2004 or 2005 to get SYMPAQ up and running is a distant memory, if that. Still, there are those who get hung-up on hourly billing rates when they should be focused on the end results instead.

See the Big Picture!    

While you are implementing your new cost accounting software, you will at times find yourself deep in the weeds. And while the details matter, knowing that your implementation journey will end with a functioning accounting system that will enable you to bid on and to win flexibly-priced government contracts is why it all made sense to do an accounting system upgrade in the first place. Cost reimbursable contracts practically guarantee profitability with little risk involved. Your partnership with your vendor will eventually pay off, and the accounting system related costs that you've incurred are allowable per FAR 31. Collaborate closely throughout the implementation process to leverage their expertise, resolve issues promptly, and ultimately yield a successful outcome. 

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