8 signs you’re losing money on your accounting system (and tips to improve)
Accountants naturally want to make the most of their resources. Whether it’s choosing the best vendor for paper stock or deciding which software is the best long-term investment, smart choices by the finance team can have a significant effect on the success of a company.
How can you tell if you are (or aren’t) using your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to its optimum potential? Here are 8 signs that you are not getting the most out of your ERP system:
1. You’re on a Microsoft maintenance plan but not upgrading.
There’s nothing like wasted money to make an accountant cringe, yet that’s exactly what you’re doing in this case. If you are already paying Microsoft’s annual maintenance plan for your Dynamics ERP software, then you might as well take advantage of the perks it offers.
Those perks include the latest service packs and hot fixes to keep your system running at peak efficiency. Talk to your ERP support partner to see what maintenance plan you have and what you can do to make the most of it.
2. You’re not on a maintenance plan at all.
Somewhere along the line, you let your Microsoft maintenance plan lapse. Maybe you were looking to save some money that year, or you were frustrated that you were paying for it and not using it — or maybe you just forgot.
No matter the reason, if you’re not on a maintenance plan, then you are not taking advantage of all that Microsoft offers to keep your system running smoothly. Microsoft maintenance plans are intended to keep clients up-to-date on the latest key features that will help keep the system running well.
3. You have Dynamics ERP modules that were implemented but never used.
This is perhaps the top sign that you are not using your ERP software to its maximum potential. If your company or your ERP support partner took the time to implement a module in the first place, they likely did so because they believed it would be useful to business operations. The fact that it’s unused is a red flag that you could be making better use of your accounting software.
4. You don’t follow the processes installed in the ERP system.
Life gets busy, and it’s easy to skip steps to rush to the end, especially if that end involves a big paycheck for your company. Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? There’s a reason slow and steady wins. Following the process might take a little extra time, but it generally produces better, more consistent results that will ultimately improve your company’s bottom line.
5. No one in the office knows how to train new staff on the ERP system.
This shows that your current employees don’t know as much about the system as they should. If they can’t adequately train new users, then how can you trust that they are using the system properly themselves? Having the best, fastest ERP system in the world is no use if it simply sits in the corner gathering dust.
6. You still rely mainly on spreadsheets.
You might never get completely away from spreadsheets, but if you’re working more in Excel than you are in your ERP system, then you’re probably not using the system to its highest potential.
7. You don’t ever update (or back up) your data.
A system is only as good as its data. If your data is out-of-date, then your system is probably not working as well as it could. Similarly, skipping backups can leave you in the lurch in the case of a security breach or malware attack. It’s important to take good care of your ERP software, and that means doing regular maintenance work on the data contained within it.
8. The ERP system isn’t integrated with any of your other business management software.
Perhaps your Dynamics ERP system works great — all by itself. If it isn’t integrated with your other software, however, then you are likely wasting time rekeying the same data in more than one source.
Not getting the most out of your ERP? Here’s how you can!
Maybe you already know you’re not using your ERP software to peak efficiency. Now what?
Here are a few steps that can put you on the road to making better use of your current accounting system:
1. Sign up for a Microsoft maintenance plan!
This is the first and perhaps biggest step in improving the efficiency of your Microsoft ERP software. You can easily justify the cost to yourself or to your boss by describing the increased use your ERP system will get, maximizing the ROI on your initial investment in the software.
2. Stay up-to-date with ERP software upgrades.
Now that you’re signed up for a maintenance plan, don’t forget to use it. Scheduling out your upgrades during slow times for your company will minimize disruption and keep you on a good rhythm for staying current.
3. Communicate regularly with your ERP partner.
This is a simple way to make sure you are on top of the latest upgrades available. Microsoft often relies on its Value-Added Resellers (VARs) to offer support to Dynamics users and help them implement cumulative updates, hot fixes and more. If your current partner is not doing this adequately, you might want to consider changing ERP partners.
4. Join a user group community (GPUG, SLUG and NAVUG).
These user groups are intended to connect Dynamics ERP users and provide them yet another resource to make the most of their accounting software. Each group typically hosts at least one annual conference to educate/train users. Their online communities are quite active, enabling users to ask questions and get feedback from other users, often within the same industry and with similar issues. Choose the user group that corresponds with the ERP product you use:
5. Attend ERP educational events.
The best ERP partners offer continuing education for their clients. Ask your partner what training or events they offer and take advantage. If your partner doesn’t offer events, check out Boyer’s event calendar and join our clients for user-based educational events designed to help you make the most of your ERP software.
6. Add modules or ISV solutions as needed.
In some cases, you might not be getting the most out of your ERP system because it’s not integrated well with your other software. Further analysis might show that you need to replace those solutions with another module that’s available within your Dynamics ERP software, or perhaps a third-party bolt-on product can provide the integration necessary to allow all of your business management solutions to communicate together and increase efficiency.
7. Invest in a Business Intelligence solution.
BI talk is trending on numerous technology platforms, and with good reason. Your data is not helpful if you can’t interpret it or use it to determine what your next steps should be. Such in-depth reporting tools used to be reserved for large enterprises but not anymore. Today, even small businesses can harness this technology to gain insight into their data and make the best business decisions for their company’s future. Make the most of your ERP system by benefitting from the data you’ve collected. Boyer & Associates partners with two companies to offer top-of-the-line Business Intelligence solutions.