Costing Software: Start With Specific Details

Oct 23, 2015

While teaching a recent seminar, a common topic of discussion was reporting specifically related to creating dashboards. In today’s costing world, this is a popular topic focus. Not only are manufacturers worried about topical information related to current operations, but now these businesses are seeking real-time data about their current operations. Advanced technology and the benefits of the cloud have since replaced historical reporting methods. Owners desire short, succinct electronic information on key performance indicators, in real time.

manufacturing_softwareSeveral of our seminar attendees contended that the process to design and implement this type of reporting is all to often started backwards. That is, a company will search for a software package with dashboard capabilities and then attempt to modify what their business prerequisites to fit the criteria of the software package purchased.

The attendees agreed management should first identify the kinds of information desired from a dashboard. This should be done at the least, by area of responsibility. I agree. Accounting will want specific information while production managers will require completely different data. If each group of the management team can be specific about their needs, then the IT department can search for software to deliver such details. Each department must understand their own data and what it takes to adequately run their areas of responsibility.

From my experience, this is the most difficult part of the process. If you are a department manager and used to getting information in a given format, it is sometimes difficult to think about what else may be available. The consensus of our group was it is well worth the effort and clearly the best way to embark upon this journey.

There are numerous software packages available. Each offers a variety of features which may be valuable to informational reporting. However, the less detail with which you begin, the more you will be disappointed in the end. There is no software package I’m aware of which includes every possible solution for every business. The needs of your business are specific and must be addressed in a specific way for you to get the maximum benefit available from your software investment.

Categories: Cost Accounting