5 ERP Best Practices for the CFO

June 7, 2018 Greg Williams

As a CFO, you understand the importance of good project management to ensure the best possible results. No one wants to make an investment without a significant payback.  Here are a few lessons learned from Western Computer’s hundreds of ERP implementations over the years. These best practices have been chosen with the CFO in mind as they directly correlate to the bottom line of the project and the business.


  1. Set expectations

As CFO, you are well positioned to factor in all needed resources for a successful ERP implementation.  It is imperative to have realistic forecasts for both time and budget. It is also important to have the buy-in of all senior leadership, even if you are the project sponsor.  Keep your colleagues involved with decision making and informed of all major milestones. A great implementation partner can really help, but will need your continued input on things like resource and budget allocations, project timeline, and the overall implementation plan.  


  1. Determine requirements

The goal is to document all new ERP system processes and requirements before implementation begins. The earlier you do this the better since it can positively impact your solution choice and outcomes, and help you begin working on any needed process improvements even before the new system is implemented. Your IT staff might be tempted to start the technical aspects of the project right away, but you must place the business priorities above and before the technical specifications.


  1. Invest in your people

Many organizations make the mistake of considering the technical aspects of the project plan over the business needs. A successful ERP implementation requires that you invest in change management including people, training, support, and communications. It is our experience that ERP implementation failures usually have more to do with organizational change mismanagement rather than the actual technical components.


  1. Course correct as needed

Most large projects present a few surprises along the way.  It is your job to manage risk which can sometimes mean making tough decisions. Don’t let predetermined deadlines cloud your vision when choosing to go live. And don’t let budget pressures dominate common sense or cause you to underinvest in key areas. Strong project managers know how and when to make changes.  


  1. Don’t Overlook Compliance

Tax and reporting requirements play an important role in your ERP choices including base system, modules, and third-party add-ons. It is important to choose an ERP solution that will support your specific compliance needs for audit controls, tax calculations, and exemption certificate management.  Make sure you understand how your ERP system can help file, remit, and report on taxable transactions, and what functionality is available to simplify that process.  


At Western Computer, we understand that this is your company and your project.  At the end of the day, you own the result. We want to help you achieve the best possible results and one way we do that is by sharing 30 years of knowledge, expertise and best practices. You can contact us any time with questions.  


About the Author

Greg Williams

As Western Computer's VP of Strategy, Greg Williams is responsible for aligning the company's product and service offerings with the specific needs of its customers. Greg's 20+ years of experience in the manufacturing and distribution industries allows him to identify current solutions that will help companies implement the right technology for long-term growth, profitability and security.

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