Cost System Software Training Is Essential

Oct 12, 2015

Last week, Bill Horst and I taught an 8-hour costing seminar in Michigan. We had a great mix of attendees who made the day very enjoyable and educational for everyone. I have no problem talking about costing all day, but it certainly makes the day better when we have participation from our audience. One of our participants was a software representative. When he introduced himself, I thought to myself, well this may be interesting as we often talk about how software cannot solve various costing issues. All too often software representatives offer solutions they may not be best practices, nor what is needed. Fortunately, this individual agreed with my viewpoint.

I do not promote nor discourage any particular software program. I do believe software can make life easier, but is not necessary to have a quality cost system. Correctly installed software, with accurate parameters such as drivers and the allocation bases, can prove to make a positive impact. Data manipulation and reporting can be completed efficiently and accurately. Without such software, the manipulation has to be done in Excel. Excel can be a useful tool. However, there is a large opportunity for error and it is definitely more cumbersome to create a report in Excel compared to a click of a button in a software program.

Almost everyone with whom I Office_Computerhave come into contact, whether clients or seminar attendees, still continue to utilize Excel even with the availability of a high-end software program! Why is this true? Do you fall into that category? Or, have you decided to not get a new software program because you believe it will increase the cost of your Excel spreadsheets?

In our seminar, I argued that software programs are not fully utilized due to a lack of training. I asked the software representative if training is included in their quote. Not just training at the onset, but the availability of continuous training as software upgraded or changed. I believe you are unable to fully grasping the concepts and potentials of your new system at the onset. Once you have time to experience the system firsthand you will have additional questions and may require additional training months later.

The software representative informed me that such ongoing education is available! He agreed to the importance of such. As you may already know, software is not cheap. After receiving a quote, a customer’s first inclination is to cut costs. Almost always, the customer questions the need for additional training sessions in the future? As a result, these sessions are quickly removed from the agenda to reduce costs.

I recognize the significant costs, but without spending the necessary time and money, you will not obtain the optimum results! Additional education and development are a must! I wish this portion of the software quote was not optional. I really encourage you if you decide to get a new software system, then be fully committed and see the whole program through, which means all of the training.

Categories: Cost Accounting