Buying software can be like starting a new relationship. You may have been disappointed in the past and eager to make sure it works this time round. Therefore, you want to get to know each other but, should it not work, be in a position to split up with as little drama as possible!Buying software using the traditional licensing model, however, is a long-term commitment, which you may not be quite ready for yet. A cloud-based solution is much more flexible, but you should still cover your bases and make sure of a few things.
In this blog, I will list six important things you should check out before committing to a cash forecasting solution.
- Make sure the solution has the required key features
Ensure that the cash forecasting application supports your key processes. Make a list of the key features you need and prioritize them. This way you can have a requirements specification that you can use to score the suitability of different solutions.
Some features are must-haves in all cash forecasting solutions and there is little point in listing and scoring them. These include multiple currency support, automatic forecast consolidation, day/week/month view, etc.
Instead, concentrate on listing features that have a major impact on the quality of your cash forecasting that may not be found in all solutions, such as:
- idle cash tracking
- actuals tracking
- cash flow statuses
- payment date policy
- overdue payment support
- Ensure the solution has (satisfied) users
You should be somewhat skeptical about the superlatives the vendor spits out. What matters is that the solution has an existing user base. If users endorse the solution and are willing to put their picture beside the quotes, it is quite likely they are actual real-life satisfied users.
- Make sure you can test drive the solution
Even though the solution has all the necessary key features and it has satisfied users, you want to be able to test-drive it.
When you start your test deployment, pay attention to whether the deployment process has been well planned. The solution should guide you through the deployment steps logically and in the correct order.
During the actual trial period, make sure all the features you listed exist and are easy to use. The more user-friendly the solution is, the less resistance you’ll face during company-wide deployment.
Remember to check that the required integrations are easy to create.
- Make sure you know the full price
It is sometimes difficult to see the full price of a solution, especially when dealing with the traditional licensing model where the price can consist of several individual components. You may pay separately for the application, maintenance, updates, and consulting. Some vendors even charge you every time you call their help desk!
If the application is installed on your servers, there are a variety of internal costs to consider including; hosting-related hardware and software costs and maintenance-related personnel costs.
You should only pay a fixed monthly fee that includes everything – no surprises!
Cloud-based pricing is much more simple. You should only pay a fixed monthly fee that includes the usage of the solution, support services, help desk, and version updates. Additionally, you should be able to purchase a fixed-price deployment consulting package.
- Ensure sufficient support
During a trial period, you get a good idea of how well the deployment support is handled. Also, make sure that day-to-day support is at an adequate level.
The vendor should have a help desk to support the users either via email or telephone. Also make sure the help desk does not incur extra costs. Sometimes traditional software houses may charge extra for support even though they are nominally offering a cloud service.
You should also find out how the vendor handles issues and how often customers are informed, if hiccups occur.
- Ensure you can dump the solution easily
No matter how well you do your homework, you may still occasionally find out that your choice could have been better. Your vendor may be investing more in winning new clients than keeping old ones.
If you take these six things into account, you can safely rush into a relationship with a new cash forecasting solution. Choosing a modern cloud-based solution is a bit like having a strong prenuptial agreement that ensures you won’t be too disappointed should the relationship not work!
Timo Hämäläinen, CFO of Analyste
25+ years experience overcoming the challenges of cash forecasting.
Would you like some help in selecting the right cash-forecasting software for your organisation? Contact us and let's arrange some time to speak further at firstname.lastname@example.org