Is Your Accounting ERP Software Provider Just Another Vendor or a Partner?

Ilmie Sham Ku

Whether it’s filling up your gas tank or ordering your morning coffee, we don’t often give a lot of thought to the vendors we purchase our everyday items from. This is because these are simple and instant transactions. You pay the vendor for a particular product at a set cost and that’s that. However, when it comes to accounting ERP software providers, it’s important to think of these companies as more than just another "everyday" vendor. An accounting ERP software implementation impacts your entire organization  not just accounting and impacts your order entry and processing, warehouse management, CRM and, more and these solutions are meant to be a long-term investment in your business.  It is therefore essential that you choose an accounting ERP software provider who you can trust and one that has the values of a partner rather than a vendor. They should share the mutual goal of growing your business and offer unbiased advice and solutions that work for your unique situation and not just for their personal gain.

Read more to see if your accounting ERP software provider or software candidate stands up to the test!

How to Recognize an Accounting ERP Software Partner

As with most good relationships in our lives, there needs to be a level of mutual trust, understanding, and good communication to maintain an enduring partnership and avoid having to switch systems on a periodic basis. Essentially, an accounting ERP software partner will invest the time to really understand your business in-depth, before assuming they have a solution to meet your needs. Many good software partners will actually slow down the sales process in order to make the necessary time to ensure a good fit and will go through each of your requirements instead of jumping straight into demos and try to impress you with the bells and whistles.

Unlike most vendors, a partner will not be afraid to say “no”. If a vendor promises you the world and claims they are a 100% fit, it is often too good to be true. Accounting ERP software partners are typically not “yes people”. Think of your personal relationships with loved ones. It’s very likely that most of these people have said no or advised against something you wanted to do at some point in the relationship. They told you the truth instead of what you wanted to hear because they are looking out for your best interest. ERP partners are not afraid to let you know right away during the sales process if they are unable to meet a requirement or if a process in your business should be done differently. This type of honesty and accountability should be central to the providers’ sales processes and should also reflect in their customer service long after the sale has been made.

Warning Signs

Be cautious of vendors who try to sell a cookie cutter solution and push technology or strategies that simply do not fit your unique situation or industry in order to make the sale. This is a good clue that they’re not really listening or in-tune with your needs. The last thing you want is to sit in on frequent sales calls where the other party is trying to sell to you the entire time – especially when they’ve taken very little time to actually understand what you require.

Think about how your current provider handled your post-implementation issues. How long did they take to get back to you or resolve the problem? Do you get bounced from one person to the other when you call in for support? A true accounting ERP software partner has dedicated resources for their customers. They also don't limit their recommendations and advice to just their system - they will often have trusted 3rd party companies they work with that integrate with their solution to provide you with the most cost-effective and efficient solution. Some of these integrations may include 3rd party payroll services, electronic document management, credit card services and more.  These integrations can eliminate the need for costly customizations and workarounds for your business, resulting in greater success at a lower cost.

What Role Do You Play In the Partnership?

While accounting ERP software providers should deliver solutions on time and on budget, and be completely transparent in the implementation process as well as after go-live support, the customer also needs to manage the key milestones internally to ensure the business is doing everything they can to ensure the best results.  It is practically impossible for any software solution provider to successfully deliver an ERP implementation without the participation and cooperation of the customer on the other side of the equation.

It is also important to include your accounting ERP software partner in the organization’s strategic plans. How do you see the business growing 5 years from now? 10 years from now? What do you think should be done to get you there? It is very likely that these plans will have an impact on the ERP system you are using. By opening the communication channels with your ERP partner, they will be more prepared to offer you the best advice and solutions to help you attain those goals.

Should You Trust Your Accounting ERP Software Provider?

Any good partnership requires trust but how is trust measured in the accounting ERP software world? There are two main ways. First, take a look at the past credentials of your ERP software provider or candidate. This can be in the form of testimonials, case studies and, speaking with their customers. This will give you a clear idea of their reputation, reliability, turnaround times, data integrity etc.

Secondly, it's important to also look at the present capabilities and security features, especially with cloud-based services. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Data center trust -  ERP partners will often have exhaustive and extensive data center security measures to ensure your data is in good hands.
    • Automatic failover and high level of redundancy/backup power infrastructure
    • Cooling systems
    • Fire suppression
    • Security such as multi-factor access authentication to the center, 24/7 monitoring
  • Detailed Service Level Agreements (SLA) that includes clear verbiage around
    • Delivery measures
    • Data confidentiality
    • Data ownership policies

Remember, you're not just choosing technology, you're also choosing the people behind the technology so don’t be afraid to put your potential ERP software partner through the paces as this is the best way to find out what your customer experience will be like.

Thank you Blue Link Customers!

Blue Link leverages decades of industry expertise to provide the best advice to our customers that work for their unique business needs. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal customers who have allowed us to become their trusted ERP software partner over the years! We are proud to have long-term partnerships with many of our customers and look forward to continuing to be a part of their business growth for many years to come. Check out some of our testimonials below and contact us today to learn what we can do for your business!