Three tips for the manager / manager of preparation for accounting automation
“Accounting system - an information system for the collection, processing and presentation of data on the assets and business operations of the organization”
Mikhail Drobitko, Tecman
You are the owner of the company. You realized that it’s time to look at your business in numbers. Find bottlenecks, leaks of money and information, organize and calculate everything.
Or you, the middle manager of the company, and finally informed the Big Boss that accounting and business automation is not only cool, but vital.
And now you go to the IT company, so that the experts will help you implement the accounting system. You go and are afraid: “What if they charge me now 100500 million dollars, but I won’t even understand - for what? What if they’ll divorce me, like during a technical inspection, instead of a planned oil and brake fluid replacement, new blocks and engine exhaustion will be boiled up? ”
Especially so that owners and middle managers understand what to expect, we will start from the beginning - we will tell you what IT companies come from when they offer different accounting solutions.
Three task levels for accounting systems
The main tasks that accounting systems for business solve are divided into three levels. Each subsequent level is more advanced in relation to the previous one.Level 1.
Collect all the data in one big pile, creating a single information space. Most often this problem is solved without regard to user convenience. Employees of companies spit, swear, and somehow master new functions - although they consider them unnecessary and redundant. But still master, and a single information space begins to be filled with meaning and numbers.Level 2.
The task of the second level is to make the accounting system “with a human face”, a user-friendly interface and clear functionality. With such a system should be easy to work for each user. The effect of solving tasks of the second level can be different - from reducing labor costs and the number of personnel, to starting work with tasks that, in principle, could not be reached before automation.Level 3.
At this level, the tasks of the business owner begin to be solved - increasing transparency and manageability of the business. Accounting systems help to form data slices, on the basis of which the owner or manager can make specific management decisions. For this, the costs and benefits of many specific operations should be presented in numerical terms. This will help to see leaks, inefficient spending or theft, or vice versa - to identify the most effective areas, and strengthen them.
Specialists working with accounting systems focus on your tasks. If you just need a unified information space, the responsible pro will not have any cool tools to make managerial decisions. Because it is longer, more expensive, more complicated, and most likely you will not be able to use it - it requires qualifications. If you want to get a convenient tool, for example, for “making quick sales,” and management decisions are not your diocese, specialists will take this into account.Bottom line:
the business accounting system solves three main tasks.
- Creation of a single information space.
- Identification of bottlenecks, growth points.
- Help in making managerial decisions.
look around, shudder soberly (c) and identify those tasks that the accounting system should solve. How will your company change as a result of the introduction of the system? And if you are not an experienced user of accounting systems, perhaps you should find this and ask - “What can the system give in general? Show me yours? ”
Imagine that three comrades live in the same city - Mitya, Gennady and Oleg.
Mitya muddied the business of selling balloons and decorating holidays and events. Gennady opened a taxi service, and Oleg began to issue microloans to the afflicted.
Mitya keeps records in a simple way, in Google Docs and partly in Excel, and he counts something at all on his fingers (pros sometimes call it the accounting system of shit and sticks). When (and if) its sales volumes increase, such accounting may become problematic.
Gennady identified those areas of business where automation is most important, and bought a boxed solution specifically designed for the taxi industry. It has a limited set of modules - a driver’s workstation, a dispatcher’s workstation and a mobile application for users. For tax and personnel accounting, Gennady uses traditional 1C products. Such a set is well suited specifically for taxis, but if Gennady is engaged in cargo transportation, then he will not be able to pull this owl onto the globe - he will have to look for other tools.
The work of Oleg's grasp requires the most severe accounting and control. If he does not manage financial flows well, his business will end as loud and fast as Drevprom, Elephant Finance and Home Money. Oleg built several ready-made accounting systems into his business, but quickly outgrew the box solutions, and thought about something more finely tuned, less typical — about a system that was 100% exactly relevant to its specifics.
I have no answer to the question “Here in these three businesses - which of the solutions is right, ideal?” All options have a right to exist, they all work and help solve the business problems of their owners. The difference between them is only in cost and amount of comfort for users. Therefore, when three businessman neighbors come to IT developers for accounting tools, they will be offered different solutions - and that will be right.Tip two:
Prepare information for the IT specialists on the scope of the company; about who will use the system and how; how you keep records now; about what you don’t like now and what you want from the system in the future.Here is the brief
I am sending to customers. On the one hand, it will facilitate the search for a common language with IT specialists who will develop the product, on the other hand, it will help you better understand the purpose of the future system.
Money and restrictions “from above” and “from below”
Two key parameters that will affect the choice of accounting systems for the company are the budget and competencies of the decision maker.
Today on the market there are a bunch of tools that will help to establish accounting, from shareware to worth several million rubles a month. The larger your budget for the development / implementation of an accounting system for business, the more solutions are available to you. But both the budget and the number of suitable options depend not only on the availability of money for your company, but also on your understanding of the tasks that your system should solve.
If Mitya, who is partly naive in business, is offered to develop a sophisticated, cool, super-convenient and accounting system for all business processes in general, he will not agree. Firstly, he has no money for it. And secondly, if he has money, then he doesn’t need it anyway - the system of “crap and sticks” at his level works quite well! And he will be offered - what? - Yes, just the refinement and improvement of this working system. This can be called a restriction “from above”: there are solutions that are too good for Mitya, obviously too much.
If Gennady is not going to start, in addition to a taxi, car sharing or cargo transportation, he will hardly need to develop an individual accounting system. He needs help in selecting more convenient, modern, and informative boxed solutions designed specifically for his business. And, of course, in their implementation and integration among themselves. That is what good experts will offer him.
But when Oleg comes to IT developers, the situation will be fundamentally different. Oleg is a prosperous businessman; he perfectly understands that accounting and control are a good half of the success of his microloan business. Without tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of all business processes, he does not represent the work of his company. He needs to develop an accounting system from scratch and specifically for his needs. Therefore, Oleg will note that part of the decisions that he can afford can be considered as not flexible and informative enough - and this is a limitation on the number of accounting solutions available “from the bottom”.Tip three:
Decide how much, based on the financial situation and your understanding of business tasks, are you willing to spend on accounting tools. Often, it’s from the discussion of the budget that experienced IT specialists begin to communicate with you (they know dozens of solutions to your problem, and choose from those that you can afford).
Why bother so? Excel is the coolest solution!
I have an opinion: automation and accounting systems in business are not just a fashion.
This is a necessity and an opportunity for business to reach a new level.
Let me give you an example: I am familiar with the owner of company X, which was engaged in the online sale of children's goods. In just 4 years of operation, this company has become a market leader. How did they do it? They initially made a very ambitious statement: "We will deliver your order to anywhere in Russia in 24 hours." For a day to anywhere in a huge country - this is very cool! And it requires great accuracy and efficiency of each business process. Having debugged, standardized, and automated everything they could in their work, they managed - and, as a result, entered the top 3 of their industry.
There are hundreds of other online stores for children's products - which are quite satisfied with their market share and their profits: they invest a minimum in accounting and control of business processes, getting the same
Can “others” function and profit without the sophisticated system developed by company X? Of course yes! But can they become top-end using Excel? I suppose you yourself know the answer.
To summarizeTo understand what and why IT professionals offer you
, use our three tips. Decide on your tasks, think about where and how you will grow, and decide how much you are willing to invest in the development of your personal accounting systems.
Where to begin?
Experienced business analysts have a saying: chaos automation breeds automated chaos. If you are wondering “where to start” - perhaps this saying is about you. In such cases, the first step often becomes the setting of managerial accounting. This is more about procedures and processes than about programming. The business analyst or financial director does this work, it helps the owner understand what tasks can, in principle, be solved by the accounting system. And even see her work opportunities before programming and investing in acquiring a system. Try it - and perhaps next in the top 3 we will see you. Good luck