Monday, 17 September 2012

Habits of Successful Accountants #5 – Upgrading

Personal professional development is very important for accountants, but have you noticed how often the accounting system languishes, still at the version that was installed years ago?  As an implementation consultant, I would talk to clients about features they were missing because they were on an old version of the software.  The answer was often that they didn’t have the budget for an upgrade.

Budgeting For Success

Finding the money to invest in your system can be problematic, particularly in these days of economic uncertainty.  At the same time, it is often an excuse.  There’s no money in the budget for system upgrades because nobody budgeted for a system upgrade.  It can turn into a vicious circle!

Yes, a complete system upgrade can be expensive, but who says you have to take on everything at once?

Making a List

Remember back to when you installed your current accounting system.  What features made you decide on the one you chose?  What cool stuff were you looking forward to?  Chances are, the cool stuff never got fully implemented.  Why?  Because of the time and expense involved in just getting the basic system going.  Accounting systems are complex and the process of converting the data from an old system to a new one often takes a lot longer than expected.  As the deadline to go live approaches, optional features are deferred so that the team can focus on the basics.  And the cool stuff is often optional.  The sad thing is that the deferred features are often never implemented.

So, make yourself a little list of what you want in your system.  It doesn’t have to be all accounting software.  If your accounting department is like many of the ones I see, it can get pretty cramped.  Imagine how spacious it would be if half of the filing cabinets were removed and the paper scanned instead of filed.

New Year’s Resolution

What about adding this to your new year’s resolutions?  “I will improve my system every year.”  Accounting software packages tend to have at least one major upgrade per year, and they encourage their customers to stay on the current version.  What we used to advise clients was to upgrade every other year, unless there was a feature in the new version that they particularly liked.  This kept them reasonably up to date at a reasonable cost.  What I would add to that advice is to do the next item on your list in the years that you don’t do a software upgrade.  That way, you are always getting better!

Reprinted with the kind permission of Idatix Inc:


Jamie said...

This is a great read, Bill! Being successful in any field takes time, effort, resources, and the determination to overcome hardships. And being an accountant isn't the easiest career path, right? Sticking to habits that you know will work for you in the long run is a necessity, and the desire to improve in other aspects is just as important. There should always be a constant and conscious desire to improve and be better. :)

Jamie Shellman

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Darcy Grubaugh said...

I agree with your second point. You have to allocate money to develop your system if you want to stay ahead of the game. Accounting solutions are changing at a rapid pace, and if your competitors are finding the bullseye using a specific kind of software you don’t have, chances are you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the food chain. Try to take on each upgrade one at a time. Budget your resources, and spend wisely. Remember that improvement is a process.

@Darcy Grubaugh

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