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Winning CFOs: Implementing and Applying Better Practices, with Website by David Parmenter

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CHAPTER 20

Where to Invest in Your Accounting Systems for Maximum Benefit

Far too much money is reinvested in upgrading the general ledger (G/L). In a modern company, the G/L does only the basic task of holding the financial numbers for the year. Monthly reporting, latest forecast numbers, budget numbers, and even the drill-down facility available to budget holders often reside outside the G/L package, so why reinvest?

Avoiding the Hard Sell

The impression I have is that all the major G/L systems are designed by freshly minted MBAs who have never been a CFO in their lives. This is the only explanation I can think of for the unnecessary complexity that is embedded in most of the major G/L applications. The major G/L systems like SAP have now made implementing a G/L as complex as setting off to the moon. You need consultants, truckloads of them, to implement the systems.

If you are ever in a hotel lobby and you see a team arrive, smiling, beautifully dressed, with very expensive shoes and of course scratch-free leather briefcases as the members have always flown business class, go up to them and ask, “By chance are you SAP implementers?” You will be right 50 percent of the time.

It is important for the CFO to avoid the hard sell that the G/L providers make. They are experts at selling the systems through your emotional drivers. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has made millions for their bottom line. Instead, the CFO has to look carefully at the options that are available if you keep ...

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