We’ve previously written about moving off of QuickBooks, and knowing when it’s time to make the transition from an introductory system to a fully integrated ERP solution. However, knowing when to make the move is quite different from knowing how to do so. Replacing existing software of any kind is a big project and requires a large investment of time, human resources and money. The right business software is the backbone to your company, and so although switching systems will likely be the most important business decision and project in any given year, it means your business will be able to gain benefits well into the future. Replacing QuickBooks involves determining your business needs, setting a budget, getting employees on board and evaluating vendors. Be fully prepared and make the switch a priority; this will ensure that the transition is as successful as possible.
How to Replace QuickBooks:
1. Determine Your Business Needs
Now that you have decided that your business needs a more robust inventory and accounting system, it is time to determine what components and processes are important to your business. Organize a list of system wants vs. needs, and spend some time with employees throughout your organization to determine where processes can be improved.
2. Set a Budget
Once you know what you want to achieve with a new system, you should set a realistic budget for the project. Transitioning from an introductory software system to a more sophisticated one requires a large investment of resources including both capital and time. A fully integrated ERP system is a long-term investment designed to automate your business processes, integrate all departments and systems into one and help your business grow. It’s an investment in that there should be a payback in terms of efficiency, savings and the ability to improve your bottom line. Although the cost of such a system is significantly more than that of introductory software, the functionality and automation can potentially remove the need to hire additional staff to deal with growth. Factors such as the implementation method will influence the costs, so it is important to learn about the true costs of ERP software when setting a budget rather than using an arbitrary number.
3. Make the Search a Priority
Set aside the time required for the search beforehand or the project will eventually be relegated to the back burner . Understanding the importance of finding a new system will help avoid the “lack of time” excuse for putting the project off. A project of this scope deserves a dedicated team of people and investment of resources, as it will affect all areas of your business.
4. Get Employees On Board with Making the Change
One of the biggest problems companies face when making the change from introductory software (especially when replacing QuickBooks) is getting employees on board with the change. Engaging relevant employees in the search process can help mitigate this issue. Determine areas of frustration for those using QuickBooks and explain the benefits of moving to a more robust system. Involving those employees who will be using the system in making a decision will ease the transition and greatly increase buy-in. Make sure they understand that a new system can actually decrease their workload and help grow the company.
5. Evaluate Software Vendors
Let’s assume everyone is on board with making the change and resources have been assigned to the project. Now it’s time to start evaluating vendors. Factors to consider when speaking with different vendors include:
- Implementation Method: do they offer hosted or on-premises solutions?
- Data Migration: how much time will they spend making sure all data migrated from QuickBooks is organized into the new system?
- Training: how much time is spent training employees and is it done on-site or remotely? When is the training performed? Do they offer training videos?
- Support: is their support in-house or outsourced? 24 hours?
Making the transition from QuickBooks to a more robust ERP system is a business-critical project – the decision ultimately impacts your company’s growth prospects and bottom-line. It is not a project that should be rushed, but to be successful it will need to be made a priority within your organization. Take the time to understand the steps to buying software, get employees and management on board for the project, and make sure you designate the appropriate (and realistic) amount of resources.