CS3 began the implementation of Acumatica as our internal ERP solution this year. We decided to do a phased implementation at a slow pace that accommodated other initiatives that we were also working on.
Accounting has completed the first phase. I plan to give you updates for the remainder of the year on how the implementation is going, sharing some insights of the product and process.
The implementation of our accounting modules is complete. Well, at least all the functions that we had in our old system have been addressed with this part of our implementation. We are still going to implement Credit Card Management and ACH for accounts payable. As VP of Sales and Marketing, this part of our implementation has the least impact on me and my team. However, the ground work was laid for some future modules that will benefit my team.
We created a new product and services coding scheme that is much simpler. This went in place with accounts receivable and will be leveraged with Sales Order and Sales Opportunities. We want to streamline the process from “opportunity to invoice.” Today sales work in a different product than accounting, so a fully integrated solution should reduce many duplicate data entry points. This new coding scheme looked at both the reporting requirements for accounting and for sales.
Sales also helped with the reconciliation of the customer master conversion. Again, we were maintaining two separate customer masters between our accounting and CRM products. This will be fully resolved when executing the final implementation of Acumatica CRM.
This is the first module of our implementation where I am participating in the configuration of the module. Each module has “rules” or configuration setting that will govern how the software will respond, what features will be available, and what features will be masked from the end users.
Ours is a simple implementation because we don’t carry inventory. We are only going to use the “Non-Stock-Item” list that is available in Acumatica. So we are turning off features related to picking tickets, sales order confirmations, and shipping. For us, Sales Orders will allow us to get detailed reporting of all products and services sold. It will also allow our sales team to create the order that will convert ultimately to the client invoice.
Accounts Payable Approvals
There is a great feature in accounts payable that we are going to use in a different way than one might think. Of course, we want to route AP invoices to the appropriate manager for approval before paying. But, we also have several invoices that come to us for services and non-inventory items that we need to bill to the client. So, we have set up an approval step on certain vendors that will notify our billing department.
The billing department can then review the bill(invoices) from the vendor and invoice the client as appropriate. Sound simple? It is! And that is the beauty of this feature of Acumatica. We will no longer miss have billable expenses that get overlooked for invoicing.
I probably should have made this my first blog. But like all clients, we went into this project hopeful about what the end result will yield. As we have progressed through the implementation, the reality of the extra load of work on top of our already busy schedules hits us. Plus, everyone has a vision of what success looks like for their department. Those visions sometimes conflict. We have had some very highly charged conversations about the correct way to do things. Who would think that an accounting process could stir up such emotion? But, when you have a committed staff that is working on a project with a large dollar investment this will occur.
It is important to document current processes that are complex, all the associated exceptions, and the considerations for implementation. Then the conversation can be guided with more facts and less emotion.
Remember, the struggle for quality during the implementation will yield a better solution at go-live day!\
We are several weeks into the implementation of sales orders and we are running a couple of weeks behind from our targeted date. We are wanting to have some customizations done to our AR and Sales Order processing screens. As with all customizations, testing and program adjustments, followed by more testing, was not budgeting properly on our time line. This will be that not only sales orders will fall behind schedule, but purchase order and contract management modules will be coming in late also.
Moral of the story: Customizations will serve you well in the long run, but plan them carefully with plenty of time for testing.
Conference Room Pilot
Yesterday we did a “Conference Room Pilot” for our Sales Order process. We brought together one representative from each of the functional areas that is involved with getting a sales order entered to the printing and mailing steps of the invoice. Then we went the entire process discussing the changes to our business processes as a result of the new software. As usual (and fully expected) the longer discussions had little to do with the software and to do with the process.
The Sales Order process to Accounts Receivable is intuitive. But, “who does what” and “how to we confirm” and “what are our audit points” took the majority of our time. It was a great exercise and has us well prepared now to teach the rest of the team. We have the roll out training next week.