I work with clients that are implementing new software or major process changes. If you asked me this question a year ago, I would have responded with one or more of the following:
- Although accountants love starting new things on January 1, it is a terrible time to go live on new software. Data migration and user training during the holidays can be very difficult. Between vacations and year-end activities, I would avoid planning any major changes effective for the new year.
- What is your busy season? Just like holidays, seasonal peaks will interfere with your ability to get things done. Regardless of how many consultants you hire, your internal resources will have responsibilities with any major initiative. Busy season is a key consideration in the project timeline.
- Do you have a compelling deadline? If you are making a change because your software is becoming obsolete, you might be motivated to complete the project before your current software goes out of support. Are you under a service contract that ends on a specific date where the migration must occur before the contract ends? If so, it may be best to start the project well in advance of this deadline.
- How much is it costing you to do nothing? In a previous blog post, I discuss the 4 Ways “Doing Nothing” is Costing You Money, but to summarize, not doing a project that you need to do can be costly in time, money, people and additional resources.
The responses above are still valid, and I would eventually talk through them with a client who is looking to start a major project, but today I would start the conversation differently by exploring the following:
- Do you have extra capacity while business operations are experiencing interferences? Projects require capability and capacity. If your organization is not operating at full speed, you may have both. This could be a good time to invest in the business.
- Do you have some idea of what your future will look like? No, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do know that some things will never be the same as they were, and some things will go back to the “normal” we knew in 2019. Adapting to survive is not a new concept, and it frequently requires process and software to support it.
- Are you leveraging technology to maximize productivity, especially where it makes sense to support a remote workforce? The sudden transition of many employees to working from home was much less painful for organizations using cloud-based applications. Gaining efficiency could be key to survival and long-term success.
Projects that involve changing software or a major process will take an investment of time and money but can be necessary for keeping your business going. So, maybe now is the right time for a project. Each business situation is unique, but careful consideration should be taken for all companies looking to implement a big change.
Shelly Bitter is a Software Consulting Senior Manager in Moore Colson’s Corporate Accounting Practice. She provides support to our clients wherever software expertise is required. Typical projects include system requirements analysis, software and vendor selection assistance, project management and report design.