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September 30, 2012

Cloud Accounting: Speed of Implementation Video

Posted by Lindy Antonelli

Cloud accounting: Speed of ImplementationThe 2012 Techweek Chicago Conference and Expo was held June 22-26, and attracted 2,127 attendees including tech start-ups from around the world, along with exhibitors and media. Importantly, the Cloud Accounting Institute was represented with Lindy Antonelli as a panelist for the seminar entitled Transforming Finance in The Cloud, along with other panelists from tech start-ups (listed below) who shared how cloud accounting and finance helped their organizations.

The hour long session covered many topics, with an emphasis on cloud accounting for tech start-ups. This blog will share the portion of the seminar where panelists discussed the topic of implementing accounting and financial management systems using cloud or software as a service (SaaS).

Other blogs in the series will cover the topics of cloud accounting security, financial visibility and reporting, comparing cloud accounting and on-premise accounting systems, and more. Here we will share the video regarding implementation, followed by the transcribed (text) questions and answers:

Panelists in this video include:


Q&A on the video: Cloud Accounting: Speed of Implementation are below with direct quotes from the panelists:

Talk about the decision process. How long did it take to get a decision from management and what might have you done differently as you pitched management to buy off on this really significant transition?

Tanya – We’ve been thinking about it for a longer time than we’ve really been considering and looking at software. It didn’t really take us a whole lot of time to make a decision. We considered Great Plains versus Intacct and the biggest factors were customization, the ease of customization, the maintenance, the fact that everything is accessible from any type of portal, any computer, anywhere in the world that you are: that was very important. And, the fact that the software is very intuitive and allows you to modify it to fit your needs. So, we went with Intacct. It didn’t take us long to implement either and looking back at it, I don’t even know if we would have done anything differently. Maybe, we would like more time to be able to have our staff dig in the sandbox and just play around with it, because we ended up learning on the fly. We pretty much had a month and a half to implement,which is not a long time at all.

So, switching to implementation, Amy how did you resource the project, what roles did consultants play in your project?

Amy – We were at a phase of growth where we were buying a competitor at the same time. So, I knew I needed to use an outside party to assist us. Not to say that you won’t impact your technology staff in-house, because you will. So, we actually hired AccessTek to come in and help us, particularly around configuration. In fact, they helped us with selection. We looked at Great Plains, Netsuite, and Intacct: all three. We toyed around Peach Tree and some other packages, but found that what we needed, as a non-inventory accounting type of need, was more of the Intacct, Netsuite space. We also did not want to build the in-house server maintenance team on the technology side. So, that eliminated the on-premise piece and boiled it down pretty quickly into those two solutions. How did we resource it? Well, we had internal people that handled the integration work, working closely with the consultants from Intacct. We had an accountant and a controller that dealt with a lot of the configuration up front. We set up a steering committee, but frankly found that it was relatively smooth going. In the middle of a merger of two companies, we implemented a system inside of 6 weeks, on time and under budget. So, I felt like it worked very well for us.

In hindsight, what would you do differently on any of these projects? What lessons have you learned?

Lindy – Well that’s a good question. For 20 years I was implementing these on-premise systems and those projects were very, very expensive and time consuming, big big budget projects, and what we found with the Intacct cloud accounting is that, initially, and I think both Tanya and Amy said it, they went live very quickly. We put together a budget and we met our budget and timeline because they were able to do a lot of work. Even Scott, they used an outside consultant, and they did a lot of the work. So, I think what we’re redoing and retooling in our company is we’re scaling down our budgetary estimates for our implementation; we’re looking at more rapid implementation time frames, and a lower project scope for us. Which in the end, it is easier to get a lower total cost of ownership, return on investment on this solution. But it enables companies like you guys here to very rapidly get world class accounting software that can do all the dashboards and give you the visibility at a really good cost. So, that’s what we’re doing, revamping our whole thought process on our implementation scopes.

Please share this post with others interested in cloud accounting and how quickly you can implement such a system. We encourage you to ask questions below that were not mentioned above.

You can also view additional videos on cloud accounting based on the topics below:

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