In today's fast-paced business environment, financial systems are crucial for organizations of all sizes. Finance systems help businesses manage their financial operations, including budgeting, forecasting, accounting, and reporting. If you are a medium to large-sized business, selecting the right finance system can be a daunting task. With so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which system is the best fit for your business. In this blog, we will discuss the steps involved in selecting a new finance system for your business.
Before you start the process of selecting a new finance system, it's essential to research the vendor options available in the market. Some of the leading finance system vendors include SAP, Oracle, Workday, Microsoft, and Infor. However, there are many other vendors that specialize in finance systems, and it's important to identify the ones that are most suitable for your business.
One way to identify potential vendors is by conducting research online. Look for reviews, ratings, and comments from other businesses that have used the systems. You can also attend industry conferences and trade shows to learn about the latest finance systems and speak with vendors in person.
Another way to identify vendors is by working with a consultant or advisor. At Viewpoint Analysis, our Finance Technology Matchmaker is a great little service where we write up your challenge and then take the requirement to the key finance system vendors to then engage in your initial conversations.
Using an RFI and an RFP
Once you have identified potential vendors, the next step is to create a Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP). These documents will help you gather information about the vendors and their systems and compare them to your business needs.
An RFI is a preliminary document that is sent to vendors to gather information about their products, services, and pricing. A traditional RFI can be quite clunky - and it can take time to construct properly and to convince the vendors to participate in the process. Our approach to an RFI is to set out a problem statement - tell the vendor community what you are challenged with, and let them recommend how they can help you. It's much quicker than the traditional RFI - and you can get into more detail in the RFP stage (which comes next).
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential vendors, you can create an RFP. An RFP is a more detailed document that provides vendors with specific information about your business needs, goals, and objectives. The RFP should include a detailed description of your requirements, including the features and functionality you need, the timeline for implementation, and your budget.
The RFP should also include a section for vendors to respond with their proposals, including pricing, implementation timelines, and any customization options. The purpose of the RFP is to evaluate the proposals from the vendors and select the one that best meets your business needs.
An RFP can be a process in itself. They can be slow, involve an army of people, and really distract from the reason for buying the software. We run what we call a 'Rapid RFP' - designed to streamline the process and remove the stress and hassle from your team. It can reach a vendor decision in weeks rather than months - and is really liked (and therefore they participate) by the vendor community. You can find out about the RRFP here.
Considerations for your finance system vendor selection
When evaluating vendor proposals, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key considerations for vendor selection:
Functionality: The finance system should meet your business requirements and have the necessary functionality to manage your financial operations effectively. Make sure the system includes features such as accounting, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and analysis.
Scalability: The finance system should be scalable and able to grow with your business. Make sure the system can handle increased transaction volumes, additional users, and more complex reporting requirements as your business expands.
Integration: The finance system should be able to integrate with your existing systems, including your ERP, CRM, and other business applications. Integration can streamline your operations and improve data accuracy.
Support: The vendor should provide ongoing support and maintenance for the system. Make sure the vendor offers timely and responsive customer service, including technical support and training.
Security: The finance system should be secure and protect your financial data from unauthorized access. Make sure the system complies with industry standards and regulations, such as GDPR and PCI DSS.
Cost: The cost of the finance system is an important consideration. While it's tempting to choose the cheapest option, it's important to remember that you get what you pay for. A finance system is an investment in your business, and it's important to choose a system that provides value for money. Make sure you understand the pricing model and any hidden costs, such as implementation fees or ongoing maintenance costs.
User-friendliness: The finance system should be user-friendly and easy to use for both finance professionals and non-finance staff. Make sure the system has an intuitive user interface, and that staff can easily navigate the system to find the information they need.
Customization: The finance system should be customizable to meet your business needs. Make sure the system can be tailored to your specific requirements, including workflows, reporting, and data entry.
Vendor experience: The vendor's experience and reputation are important considerations. Choose a vendor with a proven track record of success in your industry, and check references to ensure the vendor has delivered similar projects successfully.
Implementation timeline: The implementation timeline is an important consideration. Make sure the vendor provides a realistic timeline for implementation, and that the implementation process does not disrupt your business operations.
Training: The vendor should provide training and support to ensure your staff can use the system effectively. Make sure the vendor offers comprehensive training, including both online and in-person training options.
Data migration: If you are migrating data from an existing finance system, make sure the vendor has experience with data migration and can provide guidance and support throughout the process.
Selecting a new finance system for your business is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. By researching vendors, creating an RFI and RFP (or working with us using our fixed-price finance matchmaker and RRFP), and evaluating vendor proposals based on key considerations, you can choose a finance system that meets your business needs and provides value for money.