If you are “Pushing the Envelope”, are you putting your business at risk?

4Signs you might need to upgrade you current business accounting software

It’s happens again and again. The phone rings and we get a call from a prospective client who sees the writing on the wall. Actually, not so much the writing, more the clock on the wall as they tell tales of the hours ticking away and their monthly close seeming like it will never end. Or perhaps the financial report that the CEO requested is taking hours to produce instead of minutes. Their current business accounting software is becoming the bottleneck to overnight success for their organization. The owners and CFO’s patience has reached critical mass – they’re as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!

If you can empathize with this scenario, then you may be ready to join the growing numbers who need to take the next step, and upgrade to a more robust solution that will grow as the business grows. The economy is picking up and smart companies are looking to change, but alas, resistance is still strong.Many firms are still making the excuse that they can’t afford to move to something bigger due to cost, or perhaps there’s a little fear factor involved. After all, upgrading your accounting system can be a daunting prospect.

Here are four signs that you may be pushing your luck if you try to push the system envelope a little further:

1. Growing Customer Needs
Starting your business with a single location and a couple of sales reps meant your back-end systems accommodated small volumes of data, and customer lists were probably tracked and kept using spreadsheets, or basic contact management systems. The sales were good and your customer base increased; enough that the business decided to add new sales channels and plan out marketing campaigns. The ability to understand the buying patterns of your customer base and access the information from a central database was a core requirement, but the sales resisted and were happy and comfortable working with their current methods.

Don’t allow the tail to wag the dog – your customers are what have grown your company, so you need to have the ability to service your market and ensure customer relations are paramount. If you need to add a customer service organization, and more sales reps, then you must have the ability to manage the processes and data associated with these activities. That means you will need good order management and inventory control systems, and eventually a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

If your current system doesn’t accommodate these growth factors, then you will be losing sales to your competitors.

2. Collaboration Challenges
It’s a fact that small organizations will always try to extend the use of their management tools as much as possible.It’s also typical that over time new applications were introduced that solved their growth requirements, such as in-house custom development, or multiple spreadsheets. This solved the short-term need, but with the growth and complexity of the business came an increase in the support or management requirements. This limited their ability to see a picture of their overall business because there were so many islands of information that needed to be combined.

This proliferation of applications or custom solutions limits the ability to make well-informed decisions. By the time you have combined the data into a business report that can answer the question you are asking, the market has changed and you’ll need to start again. Your staff may now be wasting more time finding the right data instead of using the data to make the decisions necessary to beat the market.

If your current system doesn’t provide a way to give you an integrated and comprehensive picture across all your business units, your chances of making that informed decision are limited.

3. Spreadsheet Hell
As stated, a common way to solve new growth reporting requirements is to create a spreadsheet. Although the spreadsheet is an amazing tool that is simple to use and readily accessible, companies will often use them to supplement basic accounting systems.In a recent survey, 57% of small and medium sized firms said they still use spreadsheets to run their business. This has inherent elements of danger: little or no audit trail, calculation errors and ability to change the data easily, they lack collaboration, and low security.

If your current processes include heavy reliance on spreadsheets because you don’t get what you need from your software, then take a look at the benefits of upgrading to a more integrated system and realize reductions in operating and administrative costs.

4. Performance and Functionality Degradation
As your transaction volumes increases, so does the size of your database. If your volume is increasing, then you are probably adding staff to handle the orders and the number of users logged in to the system is increasing. As you add inventory, there will probably be a need to add additional descriptive fields, and so the complexity increases. The first time you notice there is an issue is when it takes forever to create a simple report, or perhaps some users get locked up in the system. You’ve hit the performance blockade, and solving this isn’t always simple.

If your current system has ‘maxed’ out, you will be losing sales because it takes too much time to take an order, or you have started to experience increased outages. Take a look at how many orders you are losing this way and you will be surprised at how much revenue just got lost in in that performance bottleneck.

The financial side of growing your business is critical to profitability and success, but today’s economy demands that this aspect is combined with real-time visibility across the entire company. Even a minimum amount of business process automation and integration can provide high productivity gains.

Still not convinced? If you would like to discuss your specific situation in more detail, then call the Axis Global Partners office closest to you and we’d love to hear from you!

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