Change is the toughest thing we humans must do. Thousands of professional services firms face the dilemma of change. In these economic times, the risks and costs looming down on them include:
- High cost of upgrade associated with your existing software
- Upgrades to your old software have not added value or are unstable
- Your accounting software does not provide adequate management information
- Your old software was acquired and will be sun-setted soon
- Your software comes with poor technical support
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
A tactical approach to this dilemma might be “Do nothing and hold on”. You could continue to depend on people's memories to track items. You could continue to spend hours cutting-and-pasting or re-entering data from your accounting software into Excel, hopeful that burned budgets, spent contracts and other information will be useful when you get it days later.
And if you face an upgrade from Deltek Advantage, Sema4 or FMS/Wind2, the weight to do nothing is stronger. What you have works. But you are still facing the high costs of being dependent on a few people and untimely information within one office or among multiple offices.
Finally with unstable software or poor support, doing nothing carries exceptional risk. Backing up 10 times a day and trying to figure out workarounds on your own, eats hour after hour. Staff and managers keep more and more information in Excel, on Post-It notes or in their heads. How many times do you tarnish your business and professional reputation with a silent or stuttering shrug before you lose a client?
The dilemma many firms face illustrates the situation for owners and partners. Essentially, the choices are:
- Upgrade to a new software at a cost of thousands of dollars. You must also pay for data conversion from your old software to its new software solution.
- Stay with your current solution. Risk increases because there will be no software updates. And if you encounter a problem, support is or soon will be unavailable. If you find a consultant, the Law of Scarcity says you will pay about $200 per hour for assistance.
BillQuick or ArchiOffice.
Doing nothing is an emotional reaction that is high in cost and on risk. You KNOW your firm can't continue like this and needs to invest wisely so you not only survive but thrive.
Staying or going is NOT a problem. It is an OPPORTUNITY.
Yes, we would love you to use our software solutions. But more important, we want you to view your Stay or Go situation as an opportunity.
What Happens When I Change?
When you change from one solution to another, your firm will incur direct and indirect costs such as:
- Software and data conversion
- Lower productivity during the transition
- Training and consulting
- Rethinking company procedures and policies
Your firm will also experience many new benefits, including:
- Improved efficiency and more billable hours
- Higher revenue from more billable hours
- Higher profits from reduced operating costs
- Faster billing and cash flow
- Improved professional image
When you change your solution, don't accept hyped statements; run the numbers yourself. If the vendor has one, use the ROI tool and then ask for a detailed explanation of the assumptions. Everything must be clear and unambiguous. If the sales rep can't explain the basis of the ROI values in terms you understand, then don't waste any more time on it. What to do then? Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series...
About the Author: Bob Wolff is an accountant-turned-Channel Manager at BQE who helps to offer consulting and software solutions for BQE customers. He likes to share his business expertise here on the blog whenever he can.