"To effectively empower non-financial managers is not a case of giving them access to the financial systems, but giving them access to the information in those systems in a user-friendly and engaging environment," says Kevin Phillips, CEO of idu Software, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
Do you want to hear how idu Software can help improve efficiency in trying economic times? Do you want to be informed about the latest and greatest in finance? Then don't miss the Finance Indaba Africa 2016.
Why will you be present at the Finance Indaba?
"Because the Finance Indaba provides an important hub for the collective accounting professionals in the country, whether in practise or industry. The opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss common and all too familiar challenges, I feel, is invaluable."
What will you be talking about?
"My particular area of expertise is budgeting and reporting particularly for the non-financial managers in the business environment. Without adequate levels of ownership and empowerment around budgets there is likely to be very limited accountability for variations against that budget. To effectively empower non-financial managers is not a case of giving them access to the financial systems, but giving them access to the information in those systems in a user-friendly and engaging environment."
What are the challenges you can help finance professionals/firms with in 2016?
"Improving the buy in of non-financial managers to improve business efficiency in the challenging economic times in which we find ourselves. At the end of the day if we can empower 100 non-financial managers in a business to manage their areas as if they were their own businesses the business as a whole has got to see benefits rather than a handful of head office staff trying to manage those 100 business areas!"
Tell us about your flagship product, idu-Concept.
"Our flagship product, idu-Concept, is specifically designed to overcome issues that get in the way of effective budgeting, forecasting and reporting.
"Without the right tools, budgeting can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Our system eliminates the pitfalls of spreadsheet-based budgeting and reduces the number of iterations involved in the budget cycle. By using idu-Concept, companies have been able to reduce their budget cycle by up to 70%.
"Instead of consolidating, correcting and disseminating spreadsheets, your finance department can focus on important issues such as the budget process, financial anomalies and providing financial guidance and direction to non-financial managers.
"Our core modules are Financial Budgeting & Reporting, there are however several complementary modules available including Assets, Revenue Budgeting & Reporting, and Spend Management.
"The system was created by accountants and financial systems specialists to deliver smart software solutions for budgeting and financial reporting across all standard ERP and financial systems.
"idu-Concept is web based, and easy to use and understand for non-financial managers. It encourages ownership and accountability throughout the business.
"idu-Concept is a wholly integrated, highly efficient and cost-effective business software solution for all your corporate financial management needs. It can be implemented quickly, requires little or no ongoing consulting fees and reduces budgeting cycles from months to weeks. Over 300 satisfied clients and counting Our ever-growing list of satisfied clients spans a vast range of industries and sectors across the globe.
"Typically, our clients have been large to medium sized organisations with many cost centres. We have however recently launched a Cloud offering via Amazon Web Services enabling SME’s to access the power of IDU where previously this may have been cost prohibitive."
Please give us some tips on successful software adoption.
"One of the things we are proudest of at idu Software is the high level of successful software adoption.
"Some tips to successful software adoption as laid out by our clients:
1. Ensure you have buy in at all levels
Before trying to sell a product or service to upper management, you need to make sure they agree that change is necessary. When spreadsheets become your personal hell as an FD, and they are riddled with mistakes - it is time to introduce the concept of change as fast as possible. If the need is clear, adoption will be driven from the top down.
2. Finding a match
If the software provider you choose is a natural fit with your organisation, and the owners and employees you deal with all have the same passion and understanding for their product; there is a higher likelihood that adoption by your organisation will be successful.
3. Demonstrate the value
Your software provider should understand your business, be able to look at what you do and how you are doing it and clearly demonstrate the value their software will bring to your business. From upper management saving money to the man on the ground saving time, if the value is obvious, adoption will be too.
4. Clear Project Plan
A complete project plan should come out of the initial strategy meeting. Everything from defining what success looks like for both parties, a clear schedule with timelines, to implementation, training and follow up support. Knowing exactly what to expect and when goes a long way to smoothing the adoption process for all parties.
5. Phased Implementation
Although not the way forward for everybody, recognising when a limited or phased approach is necessary, can go a long way into making a successful software adoption. Allowing users to familiarise themselves with the system and what it can do in time frames that suit them and their business requirements, let’s them test drive the system in stages and want to learn more of what it can do.
Even the most user-friendly software is a change, and it is human nature to resist change with everything we’ve got. On-site training, before leaving the users to their own devices, is a must if you want the adoption to be 100%. Showing people how to use the software without them having to try and fail on their own and then follow up with questions that they may or may not feel are “stupid”, empowers them to use the system right from the get-go.
While it may seem obvious that knowing they have the support they need after the implementation will allow them to accept and adopt the new software more easily, post-implementation support is not always a given. Ensuring the support will be there when needed will go a long way to ensuring you have successful software adoption.
"There is nothing more frustrating than spending a fortune revamping your financial software systems and having your people ignore it and keep trying to do things their own way. If you lay the groundwork properly and ensure you have the right partners on board, successful software adoption can be one of your top selling points."
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