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Is it time to replace your old accounting system?

05 February 2013 by FinancialForce.com

Many of the bookkeeping, accounting and financial management software packages deployed in businesses today were designed and developed more than two decades ago.

They were built for a different era, when the global economy was growing strongly and certainly long before the internet and e-commerce took hold. Their main purpose was to process accounting transactions efficiently; allow businesses to keep proper records and to keep the taxman happy. To this extent they have been very successful and indeed many ageing 'legacy' systems are still in operation, well beyond their anticipated useful life.

They initially lowered average transaction costs and allowed businesses to maintain control over the fundamentals of their trading position, such as cash flow, receivables, payables and profit. But in the last few years there has been a dramatic shift in the global economy, accompanied by significant structural change that has altered the way that the modern businesses operate and go to market.

The advent of the internet and e-commerce has 'levelled the playing field' between small businesses and their larger competitors, reducing the barriers to entry to new markets and giving equal access to new sources of supply, labour and international trade. But this era of unbridled opportunity has also ushered in unwelcome complexity, volatility and uncertainty, as businesses of all sizes grapple with the increasing burden of accounting regulation and compliance set against the background of the most difficult trading conditions for more than 60 years.

As such, the mandate for business systems has changed from basic record keeping to the automation of entire processes, better collaboration across departments and virtual teams and the production of insightful management information. So is your business held back by old systems?

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