Gappify asked Natasha Castelli from Apta Consulting Group some questions that all companies should consider when debating whether to purchase a Revenue System.
Question: Why buy a revenue system?
Answer: When you talk to anyone on an accounting team where revenue is a big concern, which is many of the clients in the bay area, you will find that you spend a lot of time just getting through the details. You don’t have enough time to focus on the big meaty issues because you are so bogged down in the details of getting through the transactions. A revenue system allows people to automate 80% of their transactions and allows people to spend their resources and brain power on the 20%. It allows people to focus on the more complex areas and allows the more simple transactions to flow through in a more automated way. Without all those additional manual steps involved in the process, there is less risk for error in areas that are just easy. There is nothing worse than doing a review or having your auditor find a error that was so easily avoidable when you are spending all this time trying to get the technical accounting right. That is the biggest pro to a Revenue System: eliminate the noise and make sure you get the easy stuff right and free up your time and resources to really focus on the technical questions and the more complex transactions.
Question: If someone has a revenue system, are there some common pitfalls for those implementations?
Answer: As with any system there is that good ol’ saying - “garbage in is garbage out.” A lot of people get excited about a revenue system but the reality is if your upstream systems aren’t ready or if your upstream systems aren’t in a good position, then your revenue system isn’t going to work. That is one thing to pay attention to and that is a relatively well-known system pitfall in general and it is certainly something to pay attention to here. Also, in terms of getting through the project, a lot of times the project can get unnecessarily dragged out because people just don’t have the time or the resources. Plenty of revenue accountants are just so busy and can’t find time for anything. So try to find a focused period of time and dedicate some internal resources and figure out how you backfill your revenue accounting close. This will help you focus on it for a period of time and figure out how to just get through it. I have seen these projects get dragged out and deadlines get pushed back over and over again. In reality, you need some internal resources to focus the time and there is really only so much external resources can do without the input from the internal team.
Question: What is one revenue system tip?
Answer: Revenue implementation projects start with going through your existing revenue accounting process and what are your requirements going forward. First of all, it is really important to not spend too much time on that step which may prevent you from moving forward. Second, it is very important to prioritize and figure out from a requirements perspective: What are your goals? What are the transactions that need to work within this revenue system? For example, I have clients where 90% of their revenue transactions are straightforward and that is what you want to automate. For the 10% that is not straightforward, then you figure out what needs to be automated and what is easy to automate because you have the necessary data, etc. It is important not to get too bogged down in trying to automate everything because that will drag out the project or over-customize things. The key is to prioritize and determine: What do I want to automate, what is nice to have and what is absolutely necessary? Moving forward it is important to keep that in mind so that when you are in a meeting or working on a document you can take a step back and ask, “Is this going to be a show stopper? Will this drag the project down? Is this a priority?” If the answer is “No” and you can come up with an Excel solution or a work-around, whether it is permanent or even temporary, maybe that is the right answer because you don’t want to stop the entire project for a nice-to-have.