Best Practices to Implement a New Business System
By Kate O’Flaherty
Technological innovation, new regulations, and corporate changes require upgrading or replacing legacy business systems to allow businesses to streamline processes and increase efficiency.
Companies are also seeking integrated systems to streamline data and increase automation in finance departments. They are generally looking to fulfil a need that is not being met by their current systems and processes, said Jan Kushner, CPA, CGMA, at the 2017 AICPA Financial Planning & Analysis Conference in Las Vegas. At the time, Kushner was a project manager with Source Consulting Group, a strategic and operational business process and technology consulting group. She is now manager of tax compliance, finance, and administration at the Project Management Institute, which represents more than half a million project managers worldwide.
“It could be putting in a system for one particular function, like income tax provision, or it might be a whole new ERP [enterprise resource planning] system,” Kushner said. “At the same time, other companies are using a selection of systems that are going to integrate with each other.”
In some cases, the chosen system will be used primarily or exclusively by finance. However, finance can also be involved as a partner with another group implementing a solution.
Many human resource departments, for example, have adopted Workday, an HR management system that can handle multiple projects across different functions, Kushner said.
Using a cloud-based tool such as Workday is an alternative to an in-house ERP solution, so its impact must be considered.
Finance can also be involved in overall implementation on the budget side. “There is the budgetary concern of, ‘can we afford this’, and ‘does it make sense to choose this from a cost method and analysis perspective,’” Kushner said. “This is where finance is both the partner and the adviser.”