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A brief Intro to Acumatica Cloud ERP

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud, ERP | No Comments

Acumatica Cloud ERP wins multiple awards for it’s cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). It is considered one of the best business management solutions for mid-sized and small companies. Acumatica is built to run your entire company, including finance, accounting, operations, the supply chain, field services, and more.

Nucleus Research ERP Value Matric June 2020According to Nucleus Research, Acumatica is the leader for greater usability and better functionality. It is a cloud-native SaaS business management solution with industry editions for manufacturing, distribution, field service, professional service, construction, and more. Acumatica focuses on product development, innovation, and customer support. It relies on its partners, like NexTec Group, for selling and implementation.

Acumatica helps your business to grow by:

  • Empowering your employees to work anywhere at any time via their web browser-based accounting, inventory management, and financial management applications
  • Enabling you to take control of your business with increased visibility into your business management processes from end-to-end
  • Streamlining your core business functions so you can concentrate on your strengths and find areas of opportunity and growth

With Acumatica, both in-office workers and remote teams will get data in real-time because Acumatica can be used on any of the following platforms and Internet-enabled devices:

  • Apple iPad or iPhone
  • Google Android tablet or smartphone
  • Windows OS
  • Mac OS
  • Linux OS

To learn more about how Acumatica Cloud ERP can streamline business processes and increase profitability, check out these additional resources:

Video: Acumatica Cloud ERP Product Tour

Forrester Report: The Total Economic Impact™ of Acumatica

Looking for industry-specific Acumatica information?  Simply choose your industry from the list below:

As a gold-certified Acumatica partner, NexTec has been implementing Acumatica for years. Our dedication to our customers has given us a 95% client retention rate. Contact NexTec today and let us become your Acumatica partner.

PMI

Manage project communication and documentation easily with Acumatica

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Project accounting | No Comments

(Source: PMI)

Effective project communication with all involved stakeholders is one of the most crucial drivers of successful project management in field services.

Oft-cited research from the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed that among companies with highly effective communication, 80 percent of projects met their goals, compared to a 52 percent success rate for those with minimally effective communication. Further, the degree of effectiveness of communications significantly impacted whether projects were delivered on time and within budget.

Field service managers who use multiple applications for project communications may find it challenging to achieve the level of communication needed to ensure project success, especially when key stakeholders are distributed across different geographical areas. Without the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in place, project management and communication can become a labor-intensive, frustrating chore riddled with inaccuracies, outdated information, and poorly communicated objectives that lead to costly project delays and budget overages.

Acumatica Cloud ERP enables you to manage all aspects of your projects in one place! Access the information from any internet-enabled mobile device including your laptop, tablet, or smartphone anytime, anywhere. Your project managers and teams will be well-informed and up-to-date at every stage of the project cycle.

How Acumatica facilitates project communication

Acumatica enables you to manage your projects from start to finish with the following functionalities:

Notifications that require action

These notifications typically include the URL link of the item that requires action, making the process easy and user-friendly. Examples include:

  • Workflows
  • Approvals
  • Revisions

Simple informational communication

The purpose of simple informational communication is to maintain a well-informed team. Stakeholders in the field can then take action and/or make decisions when needed. Examples include:

  • Assignment of tasks or projects – “A new Project has been assigned to you”
  • Sales have increased by 10%
  • Project budget spending has reached 75%

Communication logs

Communication logs allow users to maintain a history of internal/external communications. They can manage project communication, documentation, and forms from the office or the field. Examples include:

  • Client communications
  • Internal communications/collaborations
  • Document management (e.g., attached project contracts, requisitions, purchase orders, contractor’s insurance information, field services documentation)

Automatic report delivery

Schedule report delivery with Acumatica based on a pre-defined schedule and/or when certain criteria have been met. This is an efficient way to provide stakeholders with an up-to-date status of the project. Examples include:

  • Monthly delivery of project profit and loss
  • Periodic delivery of expense/revenue analysis
  • Monthly delivery of project budget
  • Delivery of AR aging when Invoice(s) Past Due is greater than 30 days
  • Delivery of AP aging when Voucher(s) Past Due is greater than 30 days

The right project communication tools are key to successful collaboration and team decision-making. Acumatica is the right ERP application to help you efficiently manage project communications while achieving organizational goals.

Learn more about Acumatica Cloud ERP and fill out the form at right for more information on how Acumatica can streamline your project communication and management today.

The implementation process: Staying organized, motivated, and on path

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
ERP implementation process

Completing an ERP implementation project requires you to stay organized, keep your people motivated, and ensure the project stays on path. Here are a few tips to make that happen.

So you’ve made it to the final stages of your ERP journey—you’re just an implementation project and a go-live away from a business management solution able to facilitate your next decade or more of growth.

After realizing that your outdated or entry-level solution can no longer meet your needs, communicating the change, securing buy-in, and completing a vendor analysis, you’ve selected a solution and partner and are now entering the home stretch. Congratulations, after months of planning your move beyond QuickBooks, this long journey is coming to its conclusion.

However, if you’ve ever completed an endurance sport, you know that there’s a big difference between ‘almost finished’ and ‘completed.’

The same goes for your ERP implementation. You’ve gotten so far—why stop now? It’s time to buckle down and make it to the finish line.

Will there be a bit of a headwind or a couple hills? Yes. However, you’ve prepared for this and understand that even if an ERP implementation may not be “easy,” it can be manageable. Plus, if you’ve followed our advice, you’ve chosen a partner who has done this many times before.

The home stretch: Getting from implementation to go live.

As the title of our article implies, completing an ERP implementation project requires you to stay organized, keep your people motivated, and ensure the project stays on path. Here are a few tips to make that happen.

Planning for the process

Before completing an endurance race, you’re going to at least look at the map. Should you conserve energy for a big climb? Is there a stretch heading southeast in which you can expect a bit of sweet, sweet tailwind? At which mile markers should you break out your energy gel? Are you aiming for simply completing the race or are you going for time?

The same goes for your implementation. Prior to starting, you will work with your partner to determine which type of implementation project you will need, discuss your vision, needs, and project scope before writing up an implementation strategy. During this phase, you will discuss more about how your business works and work with your partner to establish timelines, benchmarks, and goals.

Maintain pace

You’ve planned for the hills. You’ve set a goal time. Now you have to follow your plan. When completing an endurance event, it’s important to stay focused on the finish line. But the old adage, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” exists for a reason. It’s imperative that you maintain a pace that allows you to get to the end.

The planning process tells you a timeline. Project management is what gets you to the end. Project management is all about comparing the progress made against the original plan and thereby updating the plan.” To accomplish this, assembling a Project Management Team to guide the project from beginning to end is necessary.

This team includes an executive sponsor, a person high on your organizational hierarchy who is there to discuss expectations, answer questions, settle disputes, and keep spirits high. It also includes a project leader, someone who is knowledgeable about your business, has previous management experience, and can communicate clearly. This person is also in charge of setting team member responsibilities and keeping people on task within your organization.

Stay organized

When you make the move to implement ERP it’s easy to get distracted. Maybe you start to thinkof adding more nice-to-have features. Is it doable? Of course—today’s ERP is customizable, and your partner will be glad to take on the additional work.

However, you need to know each addition will shift the timeline and ‘additional work’ means more billable hours to build the product to your new needs. It’s much cheaper and much less risky to discuss every element before the project starts.

Keep your spirits up

Getting to the finish line is hard. There will be trying times and frustrating moments in both implementation projects and endurance races. Keeping spirits high throughout the process can help you get through. For ERP implementations, this means effective communication.

If you’ve followed our series, you know that proper communication prior to implementation helped you document your needs and instill a sense of ownership among the employees who will be affected most. However, now you need to expand this communication across the organization.

It’s also important to note that communicating exactly what is happening, why it’s happening, and when it’s happening throughout the process will keep everyone in the loop and mitigate the anxiety ERP implementations can bring.

Surprises can be both good and bad. If your employees – the end users – understand from the beginning that adopting ERP technology is a business initiative and strategy and not just a new software package or an IT project, then they are more likely to support the entire process.

The journey to ERP starts with the right advice

Since 1994, NexTec Group has been in the business of software, and as a leading reseller of Acumatica, we have helped customers just like you to realize the benefits of the product and implement the solution without any hiccups. Get to know more about our work herefind your local office, and contact us for a free consultation.

A single version of the truth: Why today’s CFO can’t waste the next decade herding reports

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Dashboards and KPIs, ERP | No Comments
CFOs real time numbers

Today’s CFO can’t wait days for an “accurate” report—information needs to be accessible today and it needs to be infallible.

The term ‘herding cats’ has long been used in the management world to denote the futile attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are inherently uncontrollable. Have you ever tried to get one unwilling cat into its carrier? Now multiply that by hundreds.

It’s entertaining to think about, and is why the “Cat Herders” ad still appears on the list of most memorable “Big Game” advertisements two decades later. However, the phrase still holds true: some things are harder to control than others—especially when put into large, dispersed groups.

For today’s CFO, the roles may change, but some remain the same.

As we discussed in our last blog, today’s CFO has a more important, diverse, and exciting role than he or she did even a decade ago. Knowing this, even as the role evolves from ‘head number cruncher’ to core influencer and organizational catalyst, some of the responsibilities remain. It’s still on you to build a financially sound strategy built on historical data, current results, and projections.

However, say you’re trying to build out the budget for 2020 right now. How would you define the process of sifting through email chains and watching your team trying to piece together reports? Is everyone on the same page? How long will it take to complete, how accurate is the information, and if there is a disparity, how can you find out whose information is right? Is it akin to herding a certain feline?

The speed of business is increasing, and opportunities pop up and fall by the wayside faster than ever. Today’s CFO can’t wait days for an “accurate” report—information needs to be accessible today and it needs to be infallible.

Centralize your system, see changes in real time, and take charge of your strategy

Now more than ever, CFOs are expected to have real-time numbers at their fingertips. In fact, they must also be able to generate reports and offer their insights on that data in near real-time, as well.

The key is to have the flexibility to access the data you need from your ERP database in whatever manner is most convenient to you—whether it be for export to an Excel file, as a graphical display on your dashboard, as part of a report, or even as data that will be passed to another application for more analysis.

The right ERP system can deliver this, empowering organizational leaders to understand where the business was, is, and will be. Armed with the right ERP system and analytical tools, you can get to your data and make sense of it, giving your organization the insights it needs to not only survive, but to thrive.

Ready to learn more? We invite you to download two free guides from our friends at Acumatica: Top technology challenges for the modern CFO and cloud ERP buyer’s guide for the modern CFO.

Few solutions provide today’s CFOs with the flexibility and adaptability they need as well as Acumatica, and as a leading Acumatica Partner, we can help you on your journey to this powerful software. Let’s get in touch.

Outgrowing QuickBooks: Training employees, going live, and using a new ERP solution

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
outgrowing quickbooks training

Based on the scope of your project, you’ll work with your partner to develop an implementation project plan for your project team.

It’s been a journey. But at long last, it’s coming to an end. It may feel a bit hectic at the moment, but the finish line—your ERP go-live date—is in sight. One last hill to get over and you can officially say that your company has completed the ERP implementation marathon and has a solution able to facilitate years of growth.

The path to ERP: A recap of our outgrowing QuickBooks series.

Before getting into the final steps—training, the go-live, and the ongoing use—we invite you to read the entire series:

  • Realizing that it’s time to make a change: This article explores the first steps you should take when your long-trusted QuickBooks application starts to show wear and tear, and answers how to tell that your business is ready for fully functional ERP.
  • Communicating a change: If you’ve used QuickBooks for years, convincing users that it’s time for an upgrade may present challenges, but by talking with users, you can allay fears and understand what users want and need.
  • Determining and documenting your needs: Getting from communication to decision requires you to know what you need. In this article, we explore how to determine where you are, outline a project strategy, and decide on what features you will use.
  • Securing executive commitment: ERP is a big investment, and getting your C-suite on board for a move from an ‘incredibly affordable’ product to a much needed one could require a bit of convincing. We explore some key talking points and tactics.
  • Completing an ROI and vendor analysis: An ROI analysis identifies both direct and indirect benefits of an upgrade to determine if you can afford a move, how quickly a move will pay off, and how much the investment will generate over its life.
  • Finalizing your software decision and selecting an implementation partner: Getting from numbers to decision requires an innate understanding of how each product will affect employees. This article answers how to get from shortlist to selection.
  • Getting through the implementation process: With the decision made, the final step in this marathon is often the hardest. In this, we explore the steps to complete an implementation and the best practices to get to where you are today.

Training your employees

Based on the scope of your project, you’ll work with your partner to develop an implementation project plan for your project team. During this phase, you’ll develop a training plan alongside the implementation plan.

As the go-live date approaches, the training process begins. Depending on the tech-savviness of your team, the preferences and learning styles, and the budget, you will have a variety of options available including but not limited to:

  • On-site/face-to-face: The most customizable, hands-on, and flexible training, face-to-face is structured around the learning styles of your employees.
  • Classroom: Like it sounds, in-person classroom training can work for the right people, in which a trainer can educate your employees in groups.
  • ELearning: Likely the most cost-effective training method, eLearning can range from videos to learning paths or online classrooms.
  • Train the trainer: A final step in which users demonstrate their knowledge by showing a trainer how to use the software.

An ERP deployment may be the most intense IT project your company ever undergoes, and at times it can be overwhelming. Be sure to allocate plenty of time for training and prepare for the associated costs.

Added to this, many ERP vendors offer free ‘open university’ programs where users can learn the basics at their own pace.

Preparing for go-live

The culmination of your ERP implementation project is when you “go live” and actually start using the system to support day-to-day operations. This is the day (or process) the product is ready for use. Data is converted, users are trained, tests are completed, and your IT team is ready for a vacation. How do you intend to get from theory to reality? With the help of your implementation partner, you will choose an option that works for your company, often one of these three:

  • The Big Bang: Your employees walk out Friday and your IT team gets to work. Walk in Monday, and everything is new. This is the “big bang” go-live, and it’s perfect with the right preparation, training, and alignment.
  • The phased roll out: Changeover occurs in phases over an extended period of time. Users move onto new system in a series of steps. While it avoids the risk and system shock by replacing one big bang with a series of small ones, it also creates an environment where you’re trying to work with two different systems.
  • The parallel operation: Both the legacy and new system run at the same time. Users learn the new system while working on the old. While low risk, it’s also the most labor intensive—approximately twice the work. As a result, neither system will get the proper attention.

Using, maintaining, and expanding your system

With day one out of the way, you’ve done it. Users will begin to get more comfortable with the software, operate faster and more accurately, and hopefully realize that they have a few more hours each week.

If everything was done properly, you will begin to recognize value quickly. However, you can’t rest on your laurels, in today’s world of technology, new products, new techniques, and new business processes are emerging at a breakneck pace. Most vendors will introduce functionality twice per year, and if you feel something is missing, you should remain active on the boards to request functionality.

In addition, we recommend the following:

  • Keep your software up to date: Internally, be sure your system remains up-to-date with new applications, new capabilities, and new “releases” that the developer will issue on a regular basis (or will be continually released in some cases) to make sure that your system continues to grow and adapt to changing needs.
  • Expand when needed: As discussed in previous blogs, ERP is flexible. In fact, it’s one of the selling points and the reason we recommended you don’t need everything on day one. As your business grows, you can easily add more functionality.
  • Keep employees in the know: Your system changes, but so do your people. There is a continuing need for user training and education – think of it as CPA’s CEU requirements – to enhance skills and understanding, prepare users to exploit and benefit from new functionality or new responsibilities, and continue to expand the utility and benefits from your new ERP system.

Your ERP partner: NexTec

Whether you’ve been anxiously awaiting each new installment of our implementation series or stumbled upon this article, know this: the ERP implementation process is complex and it pays to have a partner who has been there and done that.

Since 1994, NexTec Group has been in the business of software, and as a leading reseller of Acumatica, we have helped customers just like you to realize the benefits of the product and implement the solution without any hiccups. Get to know more about our work herefind your local office, and contact us for a free consultation.

5 Challenges faced by the chief financial officer in 2020

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP | No Comments
top cfo challenges 2020

Knowing just how fast-paced the business landscape is, the finance department needs to be more agile than ever.

It’s an interesting, exciting, and somewhat challenging time to be at the head of the finance department. In only a few decades, you’ve seen the role evolve. To get where you are today, you’ve helped your firm weather recessions, led your department through an evolving list of regulations and compliance challenges, and have built a team despite a shortage of talent.

Now, think back to the role of your company’s CFO when you were just starting out in the field, wide-eyed and a year or so out of college. What comes to mind? Now, compare it to your role today. Could you do what that CFO did? Yes. The question is, what would you do with the other 30 hours each week.

As a modern CFO, you have a bigger role than ever in the future of the organization. More departments answer to you, fewer people think of your role as “head of the no department,” and you’ve taken on new responsibilities, moving from ‘head number cruncher’ to core influencer and organizational catalyst.

Today’s finance chief: Balancing traditional roles with new

Today’s CFO understands how to create value for the organization and has taken a more active role in the operations of the business. Whether you’ve been in this position for 18 months or 18 years, you know that it’s a position that continues to present you with new challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities.

Looking back five years, and this was already predicted—IFAC noted that the parameters of the job are getting blurred in 2014 and Deloitte introduced the four faces of the CFO model a year later. Both of these still hold true, the role of Steward, Operator, Strategist, and Catalyst have never been more important than they are today.

As we enter a new decade, the roles of the finance department and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) have been elevated and broadened, a trend that will continue moving forward. If you haven’t seen it already, plan for more focus on operations and leadership, higher risk management expectations, and a bigger role in IT decisions and digital transformation leadership.

What will be expected? Top focuses of the CFO in 2020 and beyond.

Knowing just how fast-paced the business landscape is, the finance department needs to be more agile than ever. Information needs to be available at your fingertips, security and risk management need to be under control, and your team needs to be prepared to make decisions. Here are just some of the issues and questions you will need to face in the coming years:

1) Having the right information available—before you need it.

As little as a decade ago, companies could rely on a standard process. Need a report? It’ll take a bit of time, but you’ll have it by the end of the week. Need to run budgeting and planning? It’ll require a few emails, but it gets done. No longer is this the case.

Getting set back a couple days is detrimental. This gets even harder, because depending on how technologically mature your industry is, your competition could be leaving you behind. Now more than ever, CFOs are expected to have real-time numbers at their fingertips and generate reports that offer insights on that data.

For today’s finance leaders, the right information needs to be available before its needed. Automation, integration, and business intelligence need to combine in a user-friendly dashboard that presents the right information to the right people at the right time.

With this, you can understand, report, and discuss where your company stands with ease, ultimately making faster, smarter decisions.

2) Making sure the information you have is accurate and auditable.

Accurate internal and managerial information is expected; accurate and auditable financial information is critical. Auditors of financial statements dream of quick, easy, and uneventful audit engagements just as much as CFOs do, and being able to provide a clean and accurate financial statement will make this process easier for everyone involved.

Auditability depends on a business’s financial recording policies and procedures, effective internal controls, and the willingness of a company’s executives to provide its external auditors with requested data and information.

3) Solving for compliance challenges.

Audits are hard enough, but compliance is another thing altogether. Today’s companies must be more vigilant against the threats to their financial solvency due to violations of laws, regulations, and industry standards.

From RevRec to leases, accounting standards have become more robust and challenging. Keeping up with the challenges these present requires effective internal controls, complete accuracy, and the same efficiency expected by internal stakeholders and auditors.

CFOs must ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to provide all stakeholders—including IT, HR, and C-level executives —the tools they need to meet compliance requirements and still perform their duties effectively.

4) Keeping your data locked down.

You don’t need to look hard to find examples of companies who have been impacted by technology failures or data breaches. Risk management is becoming an even bigger part of the CFO’s role: fifty-seven percent of CFOs report that risk management will become a critical part of their role in the future, a number that jumps to 66% among CFOs of companies with over $5 billion in revenue.

With risk management among the top priorities for CFOs, knowing where the security gaps exist in your organization is a top priority. As the primary individual responsible for your company’s financial and other sensitive data, you, the CFO, are on the front lines trying to keep your data safe.

To address this, you need to work with those in the rest of the organization to identify these gaps, take steps to educate employees, reevaluate access rights to sensitive information, and look for ways to improve.

5) Knowing what’s next.

As a CFO, you already know that part of your job is to predict the future—you do this in every single budgeting, planning, and strategy session. However, when paired with an evolving role that includes technology investments, operations decisions, and risk management, you will need to lead digital transformation initiatives.

We’ve discussed the importance of digital transformation initiatives in the past, and have looked into the role of technology to make this a reality, but for the CFO today, finding out what technological advancements can make his or her team’s job easier will set the company ahead and facilitate the move into the next decade.

One of these areas for improvement is an evolving business management solution that incorporates business intelligence, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more to deliver the right information and increase the speed and accuracy of decisions.

Start the new decade with the right technology partner.

As your decisions become harder to make, you can’t rely on outdated, underperforming, legacy applications. If you’re looking to understand how the right technology can deliver for your business and make your job as a CFO easier, we invite you to download two free guides from our friends at Acumatica: Top technology challenges for the modern CFO and cloud ERP buyer’s guide for the modern CFO.

Few solutions provide today’s CFOs with the flexibility and adaptability they need as well as Acumatica, and as a leading Acumatica Partner, we can help you on your journey to this powerful software. Let’s get in touch.

Zeroing in: How to finalize your ERP decision after outgrowing QuickBooks

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
Outgrowing QuickBooks Finalizing Decision

With your shortlist in place, now it’s time to dig in. In this phase, you want to know how the software works, stack up vendors against your expectations, and hear from users similar to you.

The path to selecting a new business management solution is never an easy one. From realizing that your current product can’t deliver to convincing your team it’s time to make a switch to evaluating the dozens of potential vendors who could serve you, everything starts to blend together.

As we start to approach our final articles in our series on outgrowing QuickBooks, we would like to discuss today one of the most challenging parts of the process—making your decision.

Request proposals.

Request proposals from the suppliers on your short list. Share your requirements definition and any other information they might need to prepare a proper proposal for you.

Make sure that they include all implementation costs including data migration, user training, consultation help, and on-going costs so you can develop a true TOTAL cost of ownership for the time period you designated in your ROI analysis.

Stack your vendors up: Criteria, hands-on demos, and references.

With your shortlist in place, now it’s time to dig in. In this phase, you want to know how the software works, stack up vendors against your expectations, and hear from users similar to you.

Evaluate side-by-side.

One of the best ways to get here is to evaluate your potential vendors by the priorities you’ve set earlier. You already know what you need, what you want, and what you may need in the future from your early-stage discussions with end users. You’ve likely cut vendors out because of these criteria.

Now it’s time to reevaluate and finalize your priorities and compare each vendor side by side on their ability to deliver. Looking for an easier way to do this?

Check out this helpful checklist that allows you to compare vendors on their ability to deliver productivity, functionality, technology, value, and minimized risk. Be sure to keep this list on hand—and print a few dozen copies—for the next step as well.

See what you’re getting.

As you evaluate your finalists (both vendors and implementation partners), you need to see what you’re getting. The demonstration process is built to help you understand this and will provide a lot of necessary information for your executives and end users.

Prepare a list that includes everything you need to see and be sure to include departments and user communities in the process so end users can get an introduction to the look-and-feel, process flow, and usability of each system.

A couple pieces of advice:

  • Stick to the script. Don’t get wowed by features and functions that your company does not need.
  • It’s a comparison of who’s best for you. Remember the demo is not a competition of what product is better than the other, it is a test to see if the product meets your needs.

Learn more about who you’ll be working with.

Perhaps the best way to understand each of the vendors on your shortlist is to hear from the people who already know how they work—the current customers. While case studies are great and vetted and verified reviews are even better, hearing directly from a current customer is a way to hear an unfiltered and honest analysis. Many reviews are written during the honeymoon phase, so it’s ideal to see if they still feel the same way a few years later.

Ask them about the software functionality and usability, the supplier’s support and responsiveness, and what they would do differently if they were just starting with this system. Ask about their successes and challenges during implementation and how well their chosen partners supported their needs during the implementation.

Take another look at ROI.

In our earlier blog on securing the initial go-ahead from the C-suite, we mentioned that “calculating ROI should be done at a couple points in the ERP decision.” The initial analysis was designed to prove that an ERP move would be worthwhile, that it’s more costly to do nothing, and that your executives should back the investment.

While your initial analysis was completed without a quote in hand, now that you are closing in on your final selection, you have real numbers in hand, and can complete a more accurate ROI analysis.

Another note on ROI? Plan your costs accordingly. Depending on licensing and whether you are choosing the cloud or on-premises, costs may be recognized at different points or you may have to factor in hardware replacements.

Make sure that you are getting what was promised.

In our last blog in out outgrowing QuickBooks series, we looked at two key concepts important to developing your shortlist. First, we discussed the three-legged stool of ERP—functionality, ease of use, and support—noting that without one of these three legs, the entire solution falters. Second, we explored five criteria for evaluating vendors.

This is always an important idea, but often, it’s not enough. Too often, vendors and their implementation partners will put out a deal that’s too good to be true.

Whether it’s discussing functionality that doesn’t exist, misrepresenting the risks, promising impossible implementation schedules, or undercutting costs, it’s easy to fall into a trap set by unscrupulous vendors.

How to get an honest answer.

Sometimes, getting an honest answer from your vendor isn’t as easy as you’d expect.

There’s a difference between companies who promise ‘easy implementations’ and competent implementers. The former glosses over details, the latter tells you it’s going to be hard and will walk your people through the pitfalls.

Learn more about some of the most common traps set, including the bait and switch, the unbelievably fast and easy implementation, the ‘unbeatable’ price (that fails to account for training), and the ‘sign and milk’ in the Acumatica blog, How to Protect Your Company Against Unscrupulous Cloud Business Application Vendor Practices & EULA Games.

Choose, negotiate, and finalize.

Getting from finalist to finalized is never an easy task, but with the right advice and partner, you can settle on a solution that matches your price, value, and risk expectations. You have the proposals, you’ve seen the products, and you’ve heard from customers—now it’s time to select.

If the proposal is within your budget and delivers everything you want and need, you are very fortunate. Negotiations can be done within reason, but remember that you can’t sacrifice needed functionality, support, or ease of use to save money. Remember, this is an investment in the future of your company, and a little bit of cost savings today could lead to years of lost revenue.

Whether you’re just starting out or are already on the cusp of a decision, we’re here to help. NexTec Group started out over a quarter-century ago because we saw that few companies were able to deliver successful software implementations.

Get to know more about our work with Acumatica, our recommended solution for companies outgrowing QuickBooks, check out the following resources below, can contact us for more information.

How to choose a software and implementation partner when you outgrow QuickBooks

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
outgrow QuickBooks implementation partner

The right partner is often one who is big and diverse enough to handle your needs, who has proven they can innovate, and who is ultimately honest about the challenges you will go through.

The process of outgrowing QuickBooks is both an exciting and challenging time, and it’s something that happens to nearly every business at some point. As you grow and realize that the product has become less of a solution and more of a challenge, knowing when and how to make the move is critical for your business.

Following previous blogs on the path to moving beyond QuickBooks—recognizing that the product isn’t able to deliver for your business, communicating a change and asking questions, securing executive buy-in, and comparing vendors by return on investment—we would today like to turn our attention to the process and best practices that go into finalizing the software choice and selecting an implementation partner.

These two concepts are intimately intertwined. The right software is the most obvious consideration, but the implementation partner can enhance or diminish what the software can do. Not all partners are created equal, and even the best solution for your business—if implemented poorly—can fail to provide the value you expect. So today, we’d like to explore the most necessary things to look for in a vendor and discuss a few secrets for finding a partner who puts your business first.

Choosing the right ERP solution for your needs.

ERP has been around for decades, so expect that nearly all ERP products have essentially the same core functionality, more or less. So, with that being the case, how does one choose the best system for a company’s specific needs? It all starts with understanding the “three-legged stool” of ERP.

Balancing three necessary criteria.

Like a real three-legged stool, a product will only stand if each leg is in working order. Lose one and it falls over. For ERP, these three legs are functionality, ease of use, and support:

  • Functionality: Match the specific functionality that you need today (per your requirements definition) with the ability to adapt the system to change when your needs change.
  • Ease of use: Evaluate the design of the user interface in how familiar and intuitive it is – it must be simple to learn and easy to use.
  • Support: Finally, the system developer and/or implementation partner must be reliable, trustworthy, and compatible with your needs and company culture.

Five most important elements of ERP.

In narrowing down your list, selecting the top three or so vendors you want to hear from, there are many things to look for. However, successful implementations can be distilled into the following criteria:

  • Functionality: While also one of the three legs of the ERP stool, functionality really just means, “does it do what it’s supposed to do, and if not, can it be customized to make it work?” Focus on software that fits your business. That is, it is successfully installed and in use at companies in your industry, preferably companies of about your size.
  • Maturity: While the beauty of the cloud is in its rapid update process, allowing your business to get new features twice per year, it’s important to work with a vendor who has been there before. It’s nice to have the “latest and greatest,” but it’s risky to be on the “bleeding edge” of technology. You should look for a system that has been field tested and proven in actual use… in your industry.
  • The Vendor Itself: Your ERP provider will be a partner for the long term, not just a supplier of a product. Be as sure as you can be that they will be around for the long haul. Check their financial stability – do they have the resources to support the product in the coming years?
  • User groups and software community: You need to be able to ask questions and get answers. Ideally, you should be able to find customers like yourself who have solved similar challenges. Whether they can help you find a customization or can answer a not-so-frequently asked question, the user community should be a good resource.

Choosing an implementation partner: A proposition that can make or break your ERP project.

As mentioned above, a vendor can provide the best product, but a poorly selected implementation partner could cause it all to fail. A good vendor will create a good partner program (ranked by CRN), but knowing what to look for from a partner will go a long way in ensuring your project is a success.

As a company who has been in this business for a quarter century, we have found that the right partner is often one who is big and diverse enough to handle your needs, who has proven they can innovate, and who is ultimately honest about the challenges you will go through.

  • Proven innovation in the VAR community: Becoming ‘certified’ is one thing; but having the experience to back it up is another. Bob Scott’s Insights VAR Stars is an annual listing of these value-added resellers who lead all others in growth, innovation, and industry leadership. NexTec is proud to be a mainstay on both the VAR Star list and the Top 100 VARs list.
  • Big enough to meet your scope, not too big to forget about you: While innovation is one thing, size is another—especially for midsized to large companies. A partner who has the scale, scope, and size to deliver services no matter how big you are, what you do, or where you are, but not someone too big that they treat you like just another project.
  • Experience and honesty: This is what makes it so important to find a partner who has been around the block, who has the skills to adapt to changes, and who can walk you through the process. When we launched NexTec, we did so because we noticed that software sellers that had never walked a mile in the customers’ shoes. Over the last 25 years of growth, we brought on some of the greatest minds in the business and kept them happy—our average consultant has 25 years’ experience in software, consulting, and industry.

When you begin to outgrow QuickBooks, you are facing one of the most exciting challenges that exists. It means that your business has grown, and you are ready for a solution that can take you to the next level. NexTec helps organizations just like you to move beyond QuickBooks and into a more robust accounting and ERP software designed to meet the needs of your business today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.

For our growing small and mid-size (SMB) clients, we recommend Acumatica, a solution that features flexible deployment, scalable resource-based pricing, and the functionality and usability you need. We invite you to learn more about our workcompare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.

Get to know NexTec

We chose NexTec because they were the only provider that spent the time getting to know and understand our business and our employees.” – Janet O’Neal, Planning and Control Manager (Kellogg Garden Products)

Since 1994, NexTec Group has been in the business of software, and as a leading reseller of Acumatica, we have helped customers just like you to realize the benefits of the product and implement the solution without any hiccups. Get to know more about our work herefind your local office, and contact us for a free consultation.

ERP solutions

Outgrowing QuickBooks: completing an ROI and vendor analysis

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
QuickBooks migration ROI analysis

One of the hardest parts of an ERP decision is whether or not you can afford to make a move now. However, if your business is growing rapidly, you may notice that even if the cost of your current product is extremely low—if you continue to push accounting software past its sell-by date, you are putting the future of your company at risk.

When you’re outgrowing an entry-level accounting software like QuickBooks, you begin to see the signs. The days get longer, the software starts processing a bit slower, and you begin to worry if your reports are as accurate as they should be.

If you’ve begun to notice any of these signs, congratulations, it means your business is growing! However, it also signals that your business needs to take its next steps, moving from accounting software to true enterprise resource planning software.

This is a time when inaction and haste are both risky. Move too slow and the migration process becomes more complex and costly. Move too fast with the wrong vendor or partner and you could face implementation failure—a situation in which you never recoup the investment promised.

Following our last blogs on communicating a change and securing buy-in from your executive team and end users, we would today like to turn our attention to the next step in your ERP journey: ROI and vendor analysis.

Getting the return you need: completing a return on investment (ROI) analysis.

One of the most important stages in the ERP decision journey, the ROI calculation process takes place at two stages for many companies. Early on, many companies will use an ROI calculator to decide whether an ERP upgrade makes sense. Later, you will take the information you receive from vendors in a quote to determine which one will provide you with a product that will pay for itself quickly.

Often, you may need to complete a capital expense justification (return on investment or ROI analysis) before committing to an ERP system. An ROI analysis identifies both direct and indirect benefits of an upgrade to give you a metrics-based argument on whether you can afford to make a move, how quickly such a move will pay for itself, and how much the investment will generate over its life.

This identifies the upfront costs pertaining to the investment, compares ongoing costs for your current and replacement product, and highlights the benefits associated with a decision.

Upfront costs: how much will it cost to purchase and implement a product?

One of the hardest parts of an ERP decision is whether or not you can afford to make a move now. However, if your business is growing rapidly, you may notice that even if the cost of your current product is extremely low—if you continue to push accounting software past its sell-by date, you are putting the future of your company at risk.

Calculating upfront costs will provide you information in pitching executives on a product and will allow you to compare vendors. When looking at ERP costs, include the following:

  • Computer hardware, operating system, database, networking, and tools including installation, startup and testing
  • Application software (ERP) license, installation, tailoring, data conversion/loading
  • Procedure development, testing and documentation
  • User training
  • Vendor and consultation assistance with implementation

A common mistake, however, is the assumption that hardware and licensing costs need to be paid up front. Not anymore. The cloud has lowered the initial costs of an ERP upgrade, greatly reducing the capital expenses that come from a move. Rather, businesses can pay a subscription fee over the life of the product.

Ongoing costs: how do different options stack up?

With an understanding of the implementation costs, now you need to turn your attention to the ongoing costs. A good basis for comparison between potential products, this analysis determines how much it will cost to run an IT department under both, how much each will cost in terms of licensing and maintenance fees, and how much it will cost to expand or extend the system.

Direct benefits of implementing ERP

Often the real selling point of a new ERP system comes from the benefits it provides. An ERP implementation offers direct benefits like cost savings, cost avoidance, revenue and profit. These come from four key areas:

  • Having greater visibility to demand and schedules.
  • Closer management of materials, equipment and personnel.
  • The ability to better manage workflow and production schedules.
  • Greater coordination of resources to efficiently deliver the right products in the right quantities at the right time.

For example, better management of inventory reduces cost of goods sold. It also prevents costs associated with last minute changes.

Indirect benefits of implementing ERP

It also offers a variety of indirect benefits. While productivity, integration, and minimal overtime are great in a cost-savings analysis, they also provide peace of mind for employees. An employee who doesn’t need to toil away for hours on a spreadsheet is going to feel more comfortable. Better accuracy is going to help you make more levelheaded decisions, and anytime access could even reduce the number of workers coming in sick this winter. Learn more about some of the peace of mind benefits of ERP here.

Talking to the right people: finding the right vendor for you.

With dozens of ERP options available, it can be overwhelming to sort through the pros and cons of all of them. Additionally, many vendors provide the same core functionality, making it challenging to find the right vendor.

Functionality may seem like the most basic requirement when looking for a solution. However, it can’t be the only requirement. Software needs to be usable, mature, and able to work with other products—all while offering a support network that can help you.

Functionality: does it do what it’s supposed to do?

One of the most important steps is to speak with users and document the must-have features, the ones you will need in the future, and the ones that are merely nice to have. Understanding what your people need is vital to adoption and necessary for documenting needs.

If you’ve already documented your needs, you will save a lot of time during this stage and be able to focus it on the other four categories.

Maturity: how long have they been in the business?

It’s nice to have the “latest and greatest,” but it’s risky to be on the “bleeding edge” of technology. You should look for a system that has been field tested and proven in actual use… in your industry. Finding a vendor who is both a proven commodity in the industry and one who has continually put its efforts into innovation is necessary for getting what you need—now and in the future. Look for a proven vendor who offers big updates consistently, often twice a year.

A vendor who is in it for the long run.

Your ERP provider will be a partner for the long term, not just a supplier of a product. Be as sure as you can be that they will be around for the long haul. Check their financial stability – do they have the resources to support the product in the coming years? Look at their track record for clues about how well they support customers and improve the product over time. A good place to look for this is through the Gartner Magic Quadrant, an analysis of market presence and ability to execute.

A community of partners ready to make the product work for you.

Look for a community consisting of implementation and consulting partners, satisfied users, as well as user groups, discussion threads and conferences. These resources provide considerable added value beyond what you get from the supplier.

Look for a vendor who has a highly-rated partner program, who puts a lot of effort into empowering partners, and find a partner who has the size and scope to help you. Read this blog to learn more.

Honesty and credibility.

If something sounds too good to be true, it just might be. In today’s cloud market, many vendors have repurposed their products to call them “cloud.” Often, however, these fake cloud products end up providing less than they promise, surprising you with less than adequate support, higher implementation costs, insufficient user training or additional costs for necessary software, services or assistance.

Do your due diligence and get to know the difference between true cloud and fake cloud here.

The journey beyond QuickBooks is a long but rewarding one.

When you begin to outgrow QuickBooks, you are facing one of the most exciting challenges that exists. However, knowing when and how to make a move is often a challenge, and as mentioned above, both haste and delay are dangerous. However, with the right information and advice, your move from QuickBooks to ERP could be a smooth transition that benefits your business for years or decades.

NexTec can help you understand your options. For our growing small and mid-size (SMB) clients, we recommend Acumatica, a solution that features flexible deployment, scalable resource-based pricing, and the functionality and usability you need. We invite you to learn more about our workcompare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.