In the previous two articles we have discussed why family offices require an accounting tool that enables them to efficiently respond to the current market environment and why the unified general ledge with real-time accounting is the solution to do that. Here we will look at the method of implementing this solution in a cost-effective way.
In the past we made the analogy that the implementation process is akin to building a house. When building something to last for the long run, the first stage consists of fruitful conversations between the software vendor and the client. This process builds trust and enables the vendor to learn about the client’s needs and worries, as well as allowing the client to understand whether the accounting solution in question will be suitable for their business.
Every institutional investor is different. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to workflow processes or setting up system parameters. Vendors and clients must work together to get it right. Only through this collaborative approach can family offices avoid the four common pitfalls of implementation of a new accounting solution: the deployment conundrum, data security risks, the unpredictable journey of project management, and hidden costs.
Avoiding the First Implementation Pitfall: The Deployment Conundrum
Family offices are sophisticated investors with bespoke business needs and asset allocation approaches. As such, the primary concern for all family offices when it comes to implementing new accounting software has to do with technology, or the IT infrastructure.
We have worked with clients that preferred to have the accounting solution on their own private, or in-house, servers so that the data could be accessed even when offline. Other family offices, however, opted for the accounting solution to be deployed on the cloud.
Where the cloud was preferred as the appropriate IT infrastructure to deploy our accounting solution, we found that clients often prefer private cloud. While public cloud platforms can offer some level of security, a private cloud provides more robust data safety capabilities.
There are very few solutions on the market right now which can be implemented on any IT infrastructure. We can help our clients avoid this technological pitfall through our deployment-agnostic approach. This method enables us to deploy our accounting solution in any IT infrastructure, ensuring that the required levels of client’s data security are fully met.
Avoiding the Second Implementation Pitfall: Data Security is Paramount
Many family offices worry that if they implement a unified general ledger, the IT professionals working on the project will know too much about their assets and partnerships. Understandably, this is not acceptable.
Family offices are complex businesses operating with highly sensitive data. Moreover, if the family office has been in business for a long time, it’s likely that it has a trove of legacy investor information, income statements, balance sheets and more. Institutional investors do not want to worry about unauthorised access to key information.
Indeed, the crux of any accounting tool is data accuracy and the integrity of information built into its reporting facilities. This is why FundCount offers full cycle encryption: we do not have access to any client data unless we receive authorisation from the client themselves.
Avoiding the Third Implementation Pitfall: Streamlining the Unpredictable Journey
The specialized and complex nature of back-office accounting software requires a team effort. The software vendor takes on the bulk of the work, but ultimately success is accomplished when the client has an active role in the process.
A project manager – fully dedicated to this job – is allocated to oversee the whole process. This person makes sure that the entire schedule is kept, bringing both flexibility and rigour to the implementation process. A team of experts is then selected to proceed with the accounting solution’s implementation.
However, throughout this entire process communication is key. Without transparent and ongoing conversation between the vendor and the client, no implementation approach can succeed.
Avoiding the Fourth Implementation Pitfall: Eliminating Hidden Costs
While tempting to stay with an old accounting system as to avoid a project that may end up costing more than the initial budget, there are multiple steps a family office can take to ensure that implementing a new and more efficient accounting solution is not pricey.
From our experience, one of the biggest factors in determining whether the implementation process ends up costing higher than expected is the degree of involvement of the family office. If the institutional investor is involved from the start, through open communications and a team effort, the implementation process need not be pricey.
We understand that family offices have a wide range of investment and business needs. We have developed our accounting tool with those requirements in mind. To bring all of this together through our deployment-agnostic approach, trust needs to be built and maintained. Open communication throughout the implementation period can ensure its success.
Our implementation process ensures that the family office’s data will be secure, that the accounting solution will meet the client’s needs and that the whole process will run smoothly with manageable costs.
Questions, bug reports, feedback? – Our team of experts is here to help!