It’s been a couple of months since you first began the search for new accounting ERP software and you’ve finally settled on a solution. After weeks of in-depth discussions with vendors, internal meetings to review requirements and processes, several live product demos and finally a review of vendor proposals, the hard part is over. But before you decide to take a vacation from software, employees need to be trained on how to use the new system. There is a reason training costs make up a large portion of total implementation costs and the amount and type of training will vary significantly from one vendor and one company to the next. One of the benefits of moving from introductory systems to accounting ERP software is the automation that comes with implementing an all-in-one solution, however, this, in turn, will require employees to change existing processes which adds to training. Other factors which affect training include:
- Whether or not employees will interact with more than one part of the system
- How familiar are employees with software solutions and technology applications
- How sophisticated and outdated are the existing systems in place
- Will there be a steep learning curve for employees?
Even with the most user-friendly ERP systems, if employees are not comfortable working with enterprise applications, it will take time to fully train them. All of the above factors will have an impact on training costs and time, and because each factor will vary by company, it is difficult for software vendors to accurately quote training costs from initial conversations. Working with a software vendor that employs consultants and support personnel in-house provides the added benefit that once training is complete, you will be able to work with the same consultant who did the training on any future projects - such as if you decide to implement additional features, if there is a need for custom work and if you hire new employees who need training. Working with the same consultants means they already know your business and don’t need to waste time learning about your specific needs. Adequate training in the beginning will set your business up for success well into the future. Below we’ve compiled some tips to make the most of software training.
Onsite Wins Almost Every Time
Some vendors provide the option of remote or onsite training. When employees all work remotely from different locations and from virtual offices, onsite may not be an option, but wherever possible, onsite is best. Trying to save money with remote training (where you don’t need to cover travel costs) frequently results in spending money down the road on additional training or support when employees do not fully understand how to use the system. If possible, consider visiting the software vendor at their location for training. Engaging with consultants while they are onsite doing training makes it easier to stay focused and not get distracted by everyday tasks.
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s true what they say – practice really does make perfect. Instead of trying to learn a new system all within a couple of days, it is better to do a couple hours of training and then practice what was learnt immediately afterward. This gives employees ample time to get familiar with the new system and ensures any issues are addressed as soon as possible – and when the consultant is still onsite to help.
Trust the Experts
Engage your consultant and accounting ERP vendor and be open to their advice. Instead of asking how to do a specific task, explain what you are trying to accomplish and discuss different approaches to achieve it. This is another benefit to working with a software vendor who has experience in your specific industry – they will be able to make recommendations for approaches to managing processes and automating workflows. It can be difficult to take an objective approach to changing processes and just because you have always done something a certain way, does not mean that it is the best way. Be open to suggestions the vendor has and dedicate the time to properly learn and implement their suggestions.