How To Successfully Implement an Accounting ERP System: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How To Successfully Implement an Accounting ERP System: A Step-by-Step Guide

Businesses grow and evolve, and what worked well before becomes less efficient or capable. This is no less true when it comes to your business’s financials. Your finance team might start complaining that your current accounting system is no longer efficient. And you find the reports you can pull from it are no longer enough to support the decisions you need to make. And this is when you know it is time to look at Accounting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

This guide is intended to give you a high-level overview of the key steps in implementing an Accounting ERP system. And we’re going to keep it easy-to-understand, so you can make the most of this guide no matter your level of tech savviness.

Step 1: Understand Your Business Needs

Working on the assumption that you haven’t yet chosen an ERP system for your business, you need to start by identifying what your business needs. You need to look at all business processes and the efficiency of each. You need to collaborate with your team to identify challenges being faced in all areas of your business. And you need to consider you future growth plans. Some questions to ask:

  • What are the core accounting needs of the business?
  • Will the ERP system need to integrate with other existing systems, such as inventory management or CRM?
  • How many users will need to access and use the ERP system?
  • What reports do you need to generate regularly?

This isn’t a step to work through on your own. You need to involve your finance team, your IT department, your sales team, and anyone who will be using the ERP system.

Step 2: Choose the Right ERP System

Now that you have a clearer understanding of your business needs, you can start looking for the right ERP system. There are loads of ERP systems to choose from, but remember, you aren’t looking for the fanciest system. You’re looking for a system that aligns with your business needs and budget. Other factors to consider include ease of use, flexibility, scalability, and support.

Step 3: Assemble Your Implementation Team

Understanding your business needs in relation to an ERP system should be a team effort. And implementing your chosen ERP system should also be a team effort. Choose employees from key departments and, depending on the complexity of the implementation, consider bringing an external ERP consultant onboard for the process.

The entire implementation process should be led by a project manager. They will be responsible for coordinating the implementation from start to go live, managing the budget, and keeping the entire project on schedule.

Step 4: Plan Your Implementation

Led by the project manager, your implementation team will map out a detailed implementation plan. This will cover everything from timelines through to responsibilities and key milestones.

It should also cover data migration: moving all financial data from your current systems to the ERP. This is a critical process that needs to be properly planned to avoid data loss and corruption.

Step 5: Configure and Test

You’ve now reached the stage where the ERP system needs to be set up and configured for your business needs. This will include integrating the ERP with other systems in your business, adding users and setting their permissions, and possibly customising the software.

Of course, once the system is set up it doesn’t mean it’s ready for use across the business. It first needs to be tested thoroughly. Early tests will focus on functionality, ensuring all the features of the ERP, including integration with other systems, work as intended. But before you go live you also need to conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) to ensure that it meets the needs of your team.

Step 6: Train Your Team

One more crucial step before going live is training. All staff who will be working on the system need to be trained, ensuring they are familiar with the key features of the system and new processes. And until they are used to the new system, after it goes live, you will need to ensure they have easy access to the necessary support and resources.

Step 7: Go Live and Review

You’ve made it – it’s go live day! Switch over to your new ERP system and start reaping the benefits of streamlined and efficient accounting.

Don’t forget to review the implementation after a few months. Did you meet your goals? Is your team adjusting to the new system? You can use this information to make adjustments and improvements, if necessary.

Step 8: Regular Maintenance and Updates

Your ERP system will streamline processes and improve efficiency. But it will also need regular maintenance. If you opted for an on-premises deployment, you would need to ensure your IT department applies any updates release by your vendor. If you chose a cloud-based SaaS solution, you’ll always have access to the latest version of the software.

Aside from updating the system as needed, you should also review the performance of the system periodically. Minor adjustments to the system will need to be made as your business grows and changes. But the flexibility of an ERP system means that it can be adjusted and scaled as needed, growing with your business.

Step 9: Leverage ERP to its Full Potential

Once you and your team are used to the basic functionality of your ERP, you can start exploring advanced features that could benefit your business. From advanced reporting through to automating certain tasks, there are a number of ways to get the most benefit from your system. It shouldn’t be replicating existing processes. It should be helping to improve efficiency, accuracy, and decision-making across all areas of your business.

Implementing an Accounting ERP system is a complex and challenging project. But if you plan properly and execute carefully, it will be a smoother process that sets your business up for continued success. Tencia accounting ERP software is a modular solution that allows for easier customisation and integration. Explore all the features of Tencia and speak to our team to see if it is the right solution for your business. You can also reserve your spot in our next online demo to see the system and its features in action. But it is better if you have already completed step one of this guide.

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