A medium-sized accountancy practice can provide a unique service.
It combines the technical innovation of a larger practice with the personable service of a smaller organisation. Nevertheless, switching software invites a number of important questions. How long will the system take to implement? How long will the data transfer take? How long will it take to train up our employees to use the system?
Moreover, the more applications that a practice seeks to implement, the more important these questions become. A switch should be swift, efficient and well-planned. At each stage of the process, the practice should understand what is going on, and why. Let’s examine how this works.
A practice of between ten and fifty employees may well have its own in-house IT expert, or team of experts, to lead the way from their side. If so, they can play an important role not only as a liaison, but also offering insight into the practice’s IT infrastructure. This enables a software provider to recommend a process appropriate for your practice, including a breakdown of required steps and associated dates. Nevertheless, a software provider should always provide you with a dedicated project coordinator. They should be well-placed to answer questions on areas such as:
system requirements, in terms of both hardware and software
upcoming software modifications
any relevant third-party additions
security: authentication, authorisation and firewall configuration
The next step is data conversion, followed by the installation of your new software and database. It’s vital that communication between the practice and the project coordinator is regular and consistent during these stages. A subsequent post-implementation review should then confirm whether the agreed deliverables have been achieved.
A responsible accounting software provider will not leave the practice high and dry after implementation! Even with the in-house expertise that a medium-sized practice may have, it’s important for the provider to train the practice’s employees. This helps to avoid initial misunderstandings of the system.
A fully-fledged customer community is the best source for this. Joining such a community allows employees in the practice to educate themselves and ask necessary questions with relative ease. Solutions from your industry peers, especially those working for similar practices in terms of size and clientele, can be invaluable. For that reason, the more users within a medium-sized practice that are members of that community, the better.
Further methods of effective support can include:
self-service knowledge base articles
online support programmes
These can equip that customer community with the tools to succeed in using their new software. Mobilising the customer community to interact with each other can also yield lucrative insights. For example, your new provider may be an expert on their own software – but not necessarily an expert on the key differences between their software and the software your practice previously used. Others in the accounting sector may be better placed to answer such questions.
Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK have worked with accountancy practices of all sizes for many years. We know that switching accounting software is often a lengthy and bumpy process. Some practices decide that switching is too much of a drag to be worth it. We provide project coordination and online training sessions to make the switching process smooth and hassle-free.
Our employees work side by side with our customers so that your practice receives all the support it needs. Wolters Kluwer also created the all-inclusive CCH Accelerate software bundle for a smooth and speedy switch. Devised to support practices of between ten and fifty employees, it is comprised of various tried and tested CCH solutions.
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