Most companies start out with accounting software designed specifically for small businesses. Invariably, as your business grows and becomes more complex, entry-level accounting systems and ad-hoc processes can become a deterrent to business growth and profitability.

Change isn’t easy, and it’s common for businesses to become so immersed in the processes that run their operations that they may not notice that the accounting system isn’t as useful as it was when first installed. Cost and downtime concerns add to the tendency to put off upgrading and try to “get by” with current, inefficient systems.

Financials are the most critical data that a business can track and analyse.

All major business decisions, from hiring to expansions, are based on accurate, up-to-date, financial data. If you want to grow your business, whether it’s by the number of employees or product lines and services, then it’s inevitable that you will outgrow entry-level accounting software.

Take a step back and evaluate whether your business is showing any of these signs that you may need to upgrade to a more powerful ERP system:

1. Transaction volume is increasing, and regular business processes are eating up more and more staff time.

As transaction volumes grow, manual data entry and processing become time-consuming, leading to a decrease in overall efficiency. Staff may spend a significant portion of their day on repetitive tasks, leaving less time for value-added activities like financial analysis and strategic planning.

Gippsland Lakes Complete Health (GLCH) experienced growth and expansion into additional health services over time and it became apparent that their system could not keep up with the volumes. According to chief financial officer, Chloe Watson, “When I started in 2011, our turnover was about $15-16 million – this year it will be closer to $40 million. Our systems just weren’t keeping up with that growth, due to all the manual processes. When you double your volume, obviously time becomes a factor.”

With the Implementation of Dynamics 365 Business Central they have been able to automate their manual processes and move to online customer payments.

“We’ve got our provider payments all being uploaded. It’s been a big saving – more than 250 lines in a journal a month, all previously having to be keyed manually. We didn’t know that was going to be achievable.”

To improve customer payments, GLCH chose Ezidebit, to set up direct debit, and BPay for emailed invoices coupled with payment links. “Now customers can click on the link, and it takes them to the payment options. A lot of our clients are using that, and it’s been really well utilised.”

2. You have to wait for employees to audit the data and close the books to get the information you need.

What a time suck and source of frustration for team! Your accounting system’s functionality should be flexible –providing staff with the information they need, when they need it, in real-time.

This is something that Ai Group were experiencing firsthand that has been alleviated by the upgrade from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central:  “We get to a point during the end of month process where all the accounts payable (AP) is in the system and we can check that, post the invoices and then shut AP entry for that month. Then AP just continues working forward, but the accountants can enter their accruals, do their reviews and finalise the appropriate pieces of work. We’ve changed subtly some of the structures the way we do our fixed assets reporting.  We’ve now got a whole process that just rolls up.”

3. You need to ask your IT department to build reports to get what you need.

With any accounting system, it’s important to have the right structure from the beginning to reduce the reliance on IT teams in the long-term. Darren Cotton at The Pancake Parlour recalls, “Previously, we had to spend thousands of dollars for a consultant to rewrite reports. Now we have a system that gives us that flexibility and has saved us time and money too.”

By taking the time to understand what reports your business needs and having a system flexible enough to deliver the insights you require now and into the future is imperative.

Australian Childhood Foundation chose Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to improve their financial reporting and explained the value of having the right structure. “The reports we can prepare now are so diverse, and it’s around how we built the dimensions. The consultants at EBS spent a lot of time during the scoping phase making sure we had the right structure to ensure we could generate the reports we required. We had been trying to get reports by State for some time, now we just run a report and we know how the state’s financial position. Program reports, per department were quite difficult before, as we had to combine a lot of Excel documents to get those together. We can run these reports now within seconds.”

4. You are planning to add locations or facilities.

Without the right setup, reporting and measuring additional locations can be tricky and time-consuming. Melba Support Services manages seven residential care homes, via its Community Living Support Services, which assist 42 people, many with significant health and physical needs 24/7. Melba also owns a fleet of 17 buses, enabling them to get around and actively participate in the community. Over the past decade, Melba has seen significant changes in the disability sector, with the implementation of NDIS, the focus on disability care and delivering on a more personalised and individual level.

Melba engaged EBS to deploy Microsoft Dynamics which has delivered real-time insights: “With families and their funding, they need to know how their money is being spent, how much funding they have and how much they have left at a given point in time. To do that, we need to report on an individual level. One of the main differences of an integrated system is that our information is now up-to-date, and we know exactly where we are every day. We can get out our reporting in a really quick manner. If people have a query, we’re able to get into the system, right down to the invoice level, to what transactions are happening.”

5. Employees are reconciling accounts outside of the accounting system or are creating other workarounds.

Nobody’s got time for that! The added time spent over a week, month and year culminate to make huge inefficiencies in your organisation. Not to mention the compliance headache.

GLCH started seeing the benefits of having data all-in-one-place immediately, Ms Watson recalls: “The finance team love it. There’s six units that we’re running reports for and instead of sitting there for two days entering things into Excel spreadsheets and then realising something’s wrong, and having to run reports, make adjustments, and do it again – it now takes half an hour to get reports out.”

Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation has found value in bringing all their data into Business Central as a single source of truth. According to Nancy Binotto, financial controller, “A big time-saver is the integration available with Business Central. We use external systems at the dental clinic and the medical clinic and at a small gallery with a point-of-sale system. They are now integrated, so the system pulls reports from those three systems into Business Central.”

6. Data entry and reporting errors are increasing.

As your business grows without reviewing your processes, it can be easy to run into trouble as the volume of transactions increase. The likelihood of errors in data entry and processing tends to rise with higher transaction volumes. Mistakes can lead to financial discrepancies, compliance issues, and the need for time-consuming error correction. Using an extension tool such as ebs-plus for Business Central ensures that importing data is easy and less prone to errors.

The Uniting Church of Australia Synod NSW/ACT have found big improvements in the bulk upload of sales invoices using ebs-plus, one end-user shared: “I just had the best experience with bulk invoice upload, something that would normally take me 40 minutes to put together and send out was completed in just 15 minutes. I could also upload and add multiple documents and select which ones I wanted to be mailed with the invoice. BC is fantastic!”

7. Reports don’t include the level of detail needed to make important business decisions.

An organisation’s ability to make informed choices and optimise its operations is held back by poor reporting – impacting planning, resource allocation, creating inaccurate financial projections and difficulty identifying trends.

Melbourne’s largest community health organisation, cohealth recognised that its ageing accounting software system was holding them back, they undertook a detailed investigation to find a comprehensive, cost-effective replacement that met its current needs and strategic objectives.

cohealth Director Finance and Reporting, Cathy Williams said, “It was hard to get any reporting from the old system and the link into reporting software required a lot of maintenance. I would run a Trial Balance report only to find it did not balance.

“Business Central allows us to liberate data to use with other systems for reporting or warehousing data. The objective is to understand our clients and our business better. Having commonality among datasets helps get a rich understanding of how they interact with each other. The aim is to provide better information to inform better decisions.”

“For example, at a recent board meeting, we discussed the important issue of the breadth of our sources of revenue, gaining transparency and understanding the sustainability of each source. As a community health organisation, we are moving from block funding to more consumer-directed fee-for-service payments. Previously, it was a lot of work to effectively analyse sources of funding and their contribution to organisational sustainability, but now it’s straightforward with Business Central.”

Move forward with Business Central.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one business management solution that’s easy to use and adapt, helping you connect your business and make smarter decisions. Business Central gives you an end-to-end view of your business, keeps projects on time and under budget, optimises your operations, automates and secures your supply chain and delivers value at every touch point.

We wanted a system that was future-proof so we could adapt to the times and not fall back like we did with NAV. That really was one of our key criteria. Thanks to EBS, we now have a system that allows us to move with the times.” Jura Australia

Don’t be held back by your current accounting system. Business Central is quick to implement and easy to use, with the power to support your business growth plans. Working with EBS ensures you can implement what’s necessary today to scale tomorrow.

Looking to grow your business?

Talk to the experts in ERP and business management software. 

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