You’re not alone if thinking about changing or upgrading your finance system fills you with instant dread. Many financial teams are facing increasing pressure for compliance and performance, and can often already feel like they are spread too thin. With limited resources and tight deadlines, the idea of change can be daunting. Even in the face of mounting inefficiencies and challenges, it’s not uncommon for finance teams to cling to current systems and processes because the prospect of transitioning to a new accounting system and navigating training and potential disruptions can seem like a task more stressful than the yearly close.
What if we told you that continuing to avoid a new finance system is actually the cause of many of your current financial frustrations? Where transitioning to a new accounting system may seem like a time-consuming and disruptive leap into the unknown, in reality it’s a strategic move towards the efficiency, optimisation, and streamlined operations that will allow your team and your numbers to thrive. Let’s take a look into the five most common reasons finance teams avoid upgrading their accounting system and how in reality these misconceptions often lead to greater discomfort in the long run and hold you back from transformative potential.
1. Lack of Resources
For a busy finance team with reports to finish and audits to prepare for, it’s easy to feel like there simply isn’t enough time or resources to properly research a new finance system without risking falling behind on current work. Diverting time and resources into researching a new finance system might seem counterintuitive when your team is already running at full capacity, but avoiding this only serves to make work more time-consuming in the future and perpetuate inefficient processes.
For example, team members spend countless hours inputting data into spreadsheets for manual data entry tasks. By committing some time to research updated financial systems, you can eliminate the need for manual data entry entirely with automation tools and boost efficiency by up to 80%. Alongside efficiency and productivity, inviting team members to help fix the problems they’ve identified can be a great boost for morale. A short term investment of time spent researching and implementing a new accounting system will have countless long-term benefits for your team for years to come. With modern automated systems you can streamline everything from AP workflows to reporting and give your team more time and resources to focus on strategy rather than tactics — all the more reason to spend time now in order to preserve it in the future.
2. My Current System is an OK Cost
Cost is another major contributing factor when it comes to finance teams avoiding switching to a newer accounting system. On face value, it may seem like there isn’t a viable reason to upgrade systems when your current software is more cost-effective. In reality, there may be many hidden costs that come with your current system that could be avoided entirely by simply upgrading to more robust software.
Time is one of the most precious resources to every organisation, so it’s important to consider what the true cost of your time is with older software that offers a less comprehensive range of accounting solutions. First and foremost is the amount of hours spent and lost to manual tasks that could be streamlined and automated with the right software. These hours directly translate into higher administration costs alongside the price of hiring and training staff to run these processes. Let’s also consider the turnaround time for your current system provider to respond to critical support requests in which time productivity can grind to a halt. Software providers with a higher price-point offer a ‘true helpdesk’ approach where issues are resolved in a matter of hours as opposed to days.
For growing organisations, another crucial cost to consider is implementation fees. For example, for growing education providers like multi-academy trusts, adding a new school to their accounting system can lead to major implementation costs. However, with an accounting platform designed to facilitate growth, new schools can be added to the system within seconds saving thousands in implementation fees that would be paid out to contractors. In this sense, rather than simply comparing the up-front price tags of finance systems, it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership and the long-term financial benefit. Upgrading to a more expensive system might seem like an unnecessary cost initially, but can actually safeguard your organisation from the hidden and unforeseen costs that come with a basic accounting system.
3. It Sounds Difficult
We can often feel a sense of security and familiarity with current financial systems or processes making the concept of totally upheaving them seem like a difficult and stress-inducing leap into the unknown. With a task that seems so huge it’s common to feel like you don’t even know where to begin, how much preparation will be needed, or if you have the level of expertise needed within your team. Many finance teams will avoid the discomfort of approaching this task but end up causing themselves more frustrations in the future. It’s important to tackle your system frustrations now to set your team up for future success by remembering that you don’t have to tackle this transition alone.
Choosing the right software and implementation to guide you through this process is the key to a smooth and seamless transition. The right partner will not only offer you a comprehensive range of solutions to your financial challenges, but will also be committed to providing support, training, and consultation services to empower your team. If the difficulty of implementation and training is a concern, a great place to start your search is by asking potential software suppliers if they will assign a dedicated project manager and provide full training throughout the process. A reliable expert partner will handle the intricate details and help your team navigate through any transition challenges — they take on the difficulties for you so that your team can focus on what really matters. With the right support, your finances and your team will thrive instead of shying away from the uncertainty that comes with transformation.
4. There’s a Cloud Upgrade Available from my Incumbent
With the rise of remote or hybrid working in the wake of the global pandemic, the need for cloud-based software is now more crucial than ever. For finance teams to operate efficiently, cloud software provides the functionality and flexibility they need to be able to access their data from any place and at any time. With providers now offering cloud upgrades for their current systems, it can be tempting to opt for this as a simple route to cloud progression rather than transitioning to another supplier. However many providers claim to be cloud-based without actually meeting the criteria for a true cloud-based system.
Scrutinising what your prodiver really means by cloud upgrade should be an important consideration when deciding between upgrading or switching to a new system entirely. True cloud software operates without the need for manual installation on a device or a VPN, eliminating many geographical challenges. Data is stored securely in the cloud as opposed to on-premise servers and offers users 24/7 access from any location. Distinguishing whether a provider offers true-cloud based infrastructure ensures that your accounting solution is suited to the demands of modern-day finance operations. For example, where Sage 50 Cloud’s name suggests it runs on cloud-based infrastructure, in reality it doesn’t store all data in the cloud and still requires businesses to run applications on on-site servers. Conversely, Sage Intacct for Education embraces genuine cloud technology that delivers updates automatically and eliminates the need for organisations to maintain their own servers. Embracing true cloud technology is a step towards future-proofing your finance operations and ensuring your team remains functional and agile in today’s ever-changing financial landscape.
5. I'm happy with my Current System
When you’re happy with your current financial system, spending time and resources investing in a new one might seem like a waste of money and effort. However, regularly reviewing your financial operations and system processes is vital to ensure that your organisation continues to operate efficiently and that your team is armed with the tools they need to meet changing demands. While you might feel content with your current software, without regular reviews, you may not be aware of the challenges that are frustrating your team members on a regular basis.
Governors and CEOs may feel frustrated by your current reporting systems and constantly require extra information for strategic planning. Additionally, your financial officers might feel constantly impeded by manual tasks and need more support but are being forced to wait days until they can get a response from support or information requests. Regularly reviewing your processes and researching new software solutions on the market is the best way to stop inefficiencies and frustrations like these taking hold and ensures your tools and skills are always kept up to date — even by simply confirming that you already have the right system in place.
No one wants to risk falling behind in the boardroom, so staying up to date with software solutions and including your team members in your research is a great way to address any emerging issues ahead of time. You may be happy with your current system, but there is always the possibility that you could be happier so staying up-to-date with software advances ensures you’re aware of the full possibilities available and boost the morale of your team by arming them with the tools they need to succeed.
Faced with mounting financial pressures, it’s often easy for finance teams to tell themselves that switching accounting systems is more trouble than it’s worth, but putting off investing in a new system only serves to hinder growth in the long-term. By delegating some time now to research and implement a fresh finance system, organisations will reap countless benefits including increased efficiency, lower costs, better functionality, and an overall happier team. By choosing the right partner and embracing change with modern accounting software, you will not only arm your team with the solutions they need to propel growth, but will also future-proof them against the ever-changing demands of 2023’s financial landscape.