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Keeping the Lights On: Accounting & Finance Support for ERP Implementations

Updated: Mar 15


Building a "keep the lights on" team for accounting and finance functions during an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation is crucial to keeping financial operations running smoothly amidst the transition. ERP implementations are highly complex, resource-intensive projects that have visibility within an organization at the highest levels and have a waterfall effect on all departments within the organization. When planning for the implementation, significant consideration is given to selecting the key players from the finance and accounting functions who will play a vital role in defining and documenting processes and workflows. They will also be working as subject matter experts with respect to how the business works.

Because implementations are highly complex, resource intensive, and visible at the C level, these key players are consumed with the effort of getting the implementation done and done right within a reasonable timeframe. What room does that leave for key personnel to do their day jobs? The answer is, none.

ERP Implementation: Accounting and Finance Priorities

So, what steps can you take to develop an effective KLO team? From hiring top consultants for key personnel to providing the appropriate training and communication, here are some steps you can take today.

  1. Identify Key Personnel: Determine the core team members within the organization responsible for maintaining day-to-day financial operations. This typically includes senior accountants, financial analysts, and IT support staff with expertise in finance systems. If they are earmarked for the project, consider temporarily backfilling their role with resources who can help “keep the lights on” during the implementation. Bringing in seasoned consultants to work with the internal implementation team can also benefit your project. These consultants are experienced in the tasks needed for a successful ERP implementation and can provide critical perspectives from outside the organization.

  2. Consider a Project Management Office (PMO): Consider adding a seasoned PMO to ensure all key ERP implementation tasks and corresponding deadlines are met. They can also coordinate with key team members and provide critical status updates to management.

  3. Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member during the ERP implementation. Ensure that everyone understands their tasks in maintaining ongoing financial operations while the implementation is underway. This will help identify any gaps that may exist and allow you to shore up your team with temporary resources.

  4. Provide Training and Support: Invest in training programs to equip team members with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the new ERP system effectively. Offer ongoing support and resources to address any challenges they may encounter during the transition.

  5. Implement Strong Communication Channels: Establish regular communication channels to facilitate collaboration among team members and promptly address any issues or concerns. This may include daily check-ins, weekly meetings, or an online collaboration platform.

  6. Document Processes and Procedures: Review existing financial processes and procedures to ensure continuity during the ERP implementation. Document future state processes and procedures that reflect changes resulting from the new system.

  7. Develop Contingency Plans: Anticipate potential disruptions to financial operations during the ERP implementation and develop contingency plans to mitigate risks. Identify backup systems and alternative procedures to keep essential functions running smoothly.

  8. Coordinate with the ERP Implementation Team: Maintain close coordination with the ERP implementation team to align timelines, address dependencies, and ensure a seamless transition between the KLO team and the implementation team.

  9. Monitor Progress and Performance: Regularly monitor the progress and performance of the KLO team to identify any issues or areas for improvement. Adjust strategies and resource allocation as necessary to optimize efficiency and effectiveness.

Maintaining the Day-To-Day

Ultimately, the success of an ERP implementation hinges not only on the efficiency of the project team but also on the resilience and adaptability of the team responsible for maintaining day-to-day financial operations. By striking a balance between these two critical functions, organizations can navigate the complexities of ERP implementation with confidence, ensuring a seamless transition and positioning themselves for long-term success and growth.

Our extensive network of finance and accounting consultants are readily available to help you navigate any function you need during an ERP implementation. Contact us today to learn more!

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