The world of finance and technology is changing. But what if your supplier isn’t? What if they’re timidly clinging on to the old ways of doing things? Legacy technology, dated business models and ancient processes?
The fact of the matter is, doing things the old way won’t just hold things up for your business, it’s downright dangerous too. If you’re not working at maximum efficiency… your competitors will be, which means you’ll start to look as behind the curve as your supplier. Then there’s the added worry that if your supplier is so stuck in the past then eventually they’ll become a thing of the past. Suddenly you’re left with no IT supplier and a load of legacy kit.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Modern technology and modern business processes really put you in the driving seat. There are plenty of tools now to make your life a whole lot easier and make your relationship with your supplier much more transparent.
Any supplier worth doing business with should be constantly investing in new processes and technology. They’ll also understand that you don’t want to be blinded by jargon, you just want to be told how it is. Easy-to-use kit, plug and play solutions and transparency all the way.
Here are seven quick questions to help you keep an eye on whether your supplier is keeping up…
1. Are their processes just a little bit last year?
Look for the tell-tale signs. Mountains of paperwork, jargon and techy language. You simply don’t need any of that stuff anymore. If your supplier is working this way, it can mean one of only two things. Either they are too stuck in their ways to invest in newer and better ways of working. Or, and let’s hope it’s not this, they’re trying to hide something. Either way, it’s not good news for your business.
2. Are they just hopping on the cloud bandwagon?
If you haven’t started using cloud yet, you may want to take a peek at it. But if your supplier doesn’t have many customers using cloud (if at all!), that’s when the alarm bells start ringing. A survey by the Cloud Industry Forum found that 78% of all UK businesses have at least one service in the cloud computing area. If you’re not one of them but you’re considering it for the future, you’ll need to make absolutely sure your supplier’s cloud accounting platform is one you can trust.
3. Do they have difficulty sharing?
Take a look at your Smartphone. If it’s an Apple device, it can open Microsoft emails and Word docs. If it’s an Android, it can sync with iTunes. We live in a beautiful world where devices and systems can talk to each other, the technology is known as interoperability. So if you love using one supplier’s finance solution, but they’re telling you it won’t talk to another supplier’s HR system, ask them why not. You should be able to use the systems you like, without being dictated to by your supplier. The technology is there already, so why are they trying to tie you in knots? Is it because they’re putting their needs before yours?
4. Are they in sync?
These days, any change to any part of your data can instantly be updated everywhere else across your systems. In real-time. If your supplier can’t do this, you’re making do with second best. Forget old school integration, we’re talking complete transactional interoperability, in real-time, in a really user-friendly way.
5. How quickly can they get things moving?
You’ve got 101 things to do. Business, family, in-tray, emails etc. But if you put everything to one side and said, right, let’s get this system implemented, would your supplier be ready and willing?
Ask them outright. How long would it take to get everything up and running? The answer really shouldn’t be months. Of course, the longer they take, the more they bill. But it’s not just that. They’re probably going at a dinosaur’s pace because they haven’t invested in their processes. Are you really getting a fair deal?
6. Who’s on the guest list?
Can everyone who needs to… actually see reports and input data? Can your senior managers and teams see reports and dashboards at-a-glance? Can managers keep a tab on their own budgets... can teams take care of their own admin needs? After all, you want to make sure everyone in your business gets the info they need when they need it. Once you’ve got that sorted, the finance team can focus on their own job without having to compile reports for everybody else.
Giving everyone access is one thing, but it has to be easy to use too. Would it take ages to train so, that’s really not helping. What’s the point of having a solution if people end up thinking “You know what, it’s quicker if I just do it myself”? People outside your department should be able to use screens and pick up info really easily.
7. Do they pass the five-year test?
Where will your supplier be in five years? And where will you be? Are those places the same, or different? If you think you might be using more web-based software, let’s hope your supplier is investing in developing new solutions. Because if they’re not, you could soon be dying for an alternative. And your supplier could soon be dying out.
So put your supplier under the spotlight to check out whether they’re going places, or going the way of the dodo.
If you’ve got any questions about staying ahead of the curve, get in contact with us... Alternatively, if you've already made the decision to make the move... take a look at this helpful guide outlining the best finance System for you and your organisation.