Sherry Craighill, the CFO at government services provider Higgins, Hermansen, Banikas, LLC (HHB), has selected, implemented, and managed many project accounting and financial management solutions for companies, non-profits and government contractors. We posed the following questions to her.
PVBS: Why are companies still using project accounting and financial management software solutions that do not meet their needs?
Sherry Craighill: There are many reasons why companies possess software solutions that do not match their business needs:
1. Company outgrows software that cannot scale.
2. Company changes business direction and software no longer matches the model.
3. Software is antiquated, with few revisions, too many bugs, too inflexible, and poor reporting capabilities.
4. Companies merge and maintain multiple systems rather than integrate.
5. Persuasive sales people oversell for the need. In these cases, the software may be too complicated for the business.
6. The software might otherwise fit but the implementation was poorly or incompletely executed.
PVBS: What advice do you have for companies to help them select the best solution to meet their needs?
Sherry Craighill: The first step in identifying a best fit is to map a company’s business processes. You need to examine how things get done and why and then how you’d like to get things done. Then you need to win acceptance from the management and accounting and finance teams on the best fit solution, and map a plan to get from A to B before purchasing a system. Acceptance is important for successful, committed change.
PVBS: What other critical things should be considered?
Sherry Craighill: You need to know that the right implementation team is equally as important as accounting software. You’re buying a solution, not a package. The best software in the world is only as good as the fit for your particular purpose. Select a solutions provider that understands your business needs and can design the backbone of the software to meet the requirements.