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Evaluating Accounting Software Webinar

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Evaluating Accounting Software Webinar

This presentation is from the Best Practices for Evaluating & Selecting Accounting Software in Today's World webinar which took place on February 13, 2013 and sponsored by Intacct. Featured speakers were: Taylor MacDonald, VP of Channels, Intacct and Marcus Wagner, CEO, AcctTwo.

This Evaluating Accounting Software Webinar featured accounting software experts Taylor MacDonald and Marcus Wagner. Taylor has more than 20 years in the industry and was listed six times in the Accounting Today Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting. Marcus has over 18 years working with large, medium and small companies in the areas of financial accounting and auditing, process and internal controls consulting, and management advisory services.


Evaluating Accounting Software Webinar


John Kogan:  "We have a number of learning objectives today. I’m not going to go through these one-by-one but we want to cover these areas. I believe we have enough time to get to get to each one of these. We’ll be talking through the slides and pulling in practical experience from today’s two speakers as we go, so that, frankly, you’ll be much farther ahead than you are right now in terms of the selection process around accounting software.

We, certainly, hope to provide you with a lot of value in the next 55 minutes here. Why don’t we go ahead and jump straight in. Without further ado allow me to introduce today’s two speakers. First up is Taylor Mcdonald. Taylor is VP of Channels at Intacct. Taylor’s responsible for managing the Intacct Value Added Reseller and CPA Channels initiative. Taylor has more than 20 years’ experience building and operating some of the most successful programs in the world of financial and ERP providers. Taylor has been on the Accounting Today list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting six times.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Yale University. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Information Technology Alliance.

Now, in addition to Taylor we have joining us today Marcus Wagner who is the CEO of AcctTwo. Marcus has over 18 years’ working with large, medium and small companies in the areas of financial accounting and auditing, process and internal controls consulting and management advisory services. Career began at Price Waterhouse Coopers where he spent time in the financial audit and risk advisory practice areas.

Marcus is currently CEO AcctTwo a business process outsourcing firm for middle market capitals. Marcus holds a BA from Rice University. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas.

Taylor and Marcus, thanks so much for joining us today. Please, take it away.

Taylor Mcdonald:  Thanks John. We’re both thrilled to be here. This is Taylor Mcdonald with Intacct. Let’s just jump right into it. Our agenda today is to discuss whether you’re ready to replace your financial application. If so, how do I go about it? There’s getting started to finding requirements, going through the evaluation process and the like. I’ll be along with Marcus taking you through this agenda today, look forward to jumping right in.

Some typical reasons that people change, obviously, they struggle with reporting, with analyzing data, too many manual processes, spread sheets and the like. Sometime it’s scalability issue of not being able to have enough users. Marcus, what have you seen lately in your practice to why people come to you and say, “Hey, you know what? I’ve got pain. I’m ready to change to something else.”

Marcus Wagner:  Taylor I definitely see all these items here that we see on this slide. There are many reasons why people decide that they’ve outgrown accounting system or they want to replace it. I see these as the more reactive side of the equation. In other words, we have a problem now we need to solve it. I also companies that are a little bit forward thinking in realizing that they’re going to be experiencing some high growth or if they’re planning to scale their companies in the future and that what they have may work today but it’s not going to work as they begin to add new locations, new headcount and hopefully grow the company.

Also, I see CFOs and other senior management who really want to transform their business through better management information and business insights that they’re just not getting from their current accounting solution.

Taylor Mcdonald:  Great feedback. Some top issues we see from CFOs is … some of our partners survey these folks, are a couple of things:  (A) Managing the budget, providing information to the leadership team, making sure that we’re going to improve some operational business processes and then, obviously, on the monthly cycle which all of us in the accounting world come to know and love, things that aren’t automated which is number one there, systems not being integrated, those two typically count for the majority of issues.

A third one sneaking up on us which is many people have downsized in today’s economy. There simply aren’t enough people to get the work done as quickly as we can.  John how about our first polling question?

John Kogan:  Thank you very much. I’m going to go ahead and launch the first of three polling questions right now. You’ll see that up on the screen in just a moment, there we go. How [sensibly] does your accounting department use spread sheets in their day-to-day operations? This is an easy quick and easy one. These are statistical questions you’ll note.

Editor's Note: Take a look at Proformative's many other recorded webinars, such as: Business Analytics For Corporate Finance Webinar, Corporate Financial Planning Webinar, Career Networking Webinar, Budgeting & Planning Webinar & Netsuite Webinar.

We do love to have everyone participate in these. If you’re here for CPA credit you must participate. Even if you’re not we’d love to (inaudible 00:05:11) to say, “What’s going on?” Actually, if we have time at the end of today’s presentation during the Q&A we’ll go ahead and turn these results around so that people can see what’s going on with their peers.

I’ll go ahead and leave this on for another five seconds and then we’ll hand it right back. Okay, thanks everyone for giving us your ten seconds there. Back to you Taylor and Marcus.

Taylor Mcdonald:  If we go right back to where we were. One of the things people start to think about this what we always say is, “Hey, the first thing you should do is to gather people around to get an executive sponsor to make sure that you’re going to do this right. Find the people that are really involved with the software today and other stakeholders, then set clear goals and, obviously, create a project schedule.”

Marcus there is so much more to it then that, that’s just the basics. What else do you recommend?

Marcus Wagner:  We’re frequently contacted by companies that are looking to potentially change their accounting software. We’ve got a great partnership with firm like Intacct where we’re reseller. We seem to be getting contacted a little bit late in the cycle where it is crisis mode. A lot of times we have folks contacting us who say, “We want to be live with a new system within the next couple of months.” Generally, there’s just not enough time to get all these things done. Getting started early is really the key.

I think, just to give you some numbers here or a timeframe, a good selection process probably should take around 30 to 60 days. That’s probably, being conservation if you’re going to do it right and you get all the right people involved and then after that an implementation is probably, going to take another 60 to 90 days. You’re looking at three to five months out from any desire to go live data with new accounting systems. My biggest advice on this slide is just get started early.

Taylor Mcdonald:  Great. The first and most important thing in our mind is that you have to define the requirements of what the system requirements are, what you hope to achieve with it obviously, what the pain is, imagine how you’re going to sell this to the Powers That Be return on investment or total cost of ownership. In some cases obviously, using a outside third-party expert will help.

To me the most important thing that we ever did was to get the stakeholders in a room, buy them lunch and start to talk about things the system didn’t do and to quantify the problems that we’re going to be able to—a new system would be able to solve. That way all of a sudden by asking people, “Hey, what do you hate about your job? Where do we keep data in multiple times? Where are we not integrating the system correctly? Where are using spread sheets?” Asking those kinds of questions seems to bring out lots and lots of feedback from the people that are involved.

Marcus are there things you would add there?

Marcus Wagner:  I totally agree with you Taylor that you should be asking those types of questions throughout the organization. Don’t try and document the requirements in a vacuum. Your peers and even outside experts are going to be a great source of this information. You may hear things from folks outside of your department; other parts of your organization that you didn’t even know were pain points.

Some other things I would say is I like to start with, where is the real value potentially going to come from a new system? Typically, that’s in management reports, cheaper performance indicators where the accounting system can truly transform the business through better insights and information and then work backwards from there. What are the key business process requirements, areas where there’s a lot of manual effort or non-integrated systems?

The third thing that I see often is waiting until the last minute to understand return on investment and total cost of ownership. The reason why I see that is because that when you make your recommendation to management or the Board and then there’s a bit of a scramble to try to say, “How do we articulate this in terms of the business case?” Getting started early return on investment calculation and also the total cost of ownership is very cheap.

Taylor Mcdonald:  That’s great feedback. Some things that we think every CFO should think about is obviously, number one is boosting productivity, getting rid of Excel or spending less time on it, allowing a company to …"

End partial; Evaluating Accounting Software Webinar


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