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Engineering Accounting Software

Dear Dave
I wanted to thank you again for the great presentation you gave recently for the Engineer’s Club of Philadelphia. It was such an eye opener for me just starting my own business, and I hope the Club invites you back soon to deliver the 2nd half of your presentation!

I took your advice to heart about upgrading from generic financial software. After your seminar, I see the value and need for having industry specific software, even as I start-up my new business. You mentioned both Axuim and Deltek as being options for me. I have reviewed each of their web-sites, saw some canned demos, had the reps do web-demos for me, checked with my accountant to see if he was comfortable switching and received quotes. I just wanted your input one last time before I made the purchase. I understand that your opinion is only that, but I was impressed with your knowledge and experience, and since this will be a relatively significant purchase, I want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you!

Dear JH
Thank you for the kind comments. I’m glad I was able to inspire you and get you moving ahead with developing your management tools.

As I mentioned in the seminar (or should have if I did not), I try very hard not to favor one software over the other. Each package has its own “personality” and it’s important for each user to look at all the choices to find the one package that feels most comfortable to you. Unfortunately, due to significant consolidation among providers over the past few years the firms you checked out are the only two viable choices available to smaller firms at this time.

As a caution, be aware that numerous firms (regardless) of which package they may choose will likely become frustrated by the process of getting their software set-up and doing what they want it to do. The level of complexity of either of these software programs can be daunting. Often firms rush through implementation and fail to discover and take advantage of the wide array of features they have paid for, or they fail to set the software up in a fully functional way.

Before beginning the implementation process it is critically important to take the time from 30,000 feet to figure out how best to organize and run your firm. Decision making during implementation should involve senior level firm management as well as project management personnel at each stage of the process. It should not be seen as purely a task to be left to the administrative folks to complete. Knowing up front how you wish to track projects, assign responsibilities and exact accountability will help to ensure the software will be set-up to report back in a way which compliments how you intend to manage your firm. Often firms take great pains to blindly make the new software reflect exactly the way they currently operate without first stepping back, taking a deep breath, and reflectively asking the truly key question if perhaps there would not be a better and more effective way to organize and manage the firm in the first place.

There is a steep learning curve with either package. Be SURE to take the time to thoroughly understand the set-up process and don’t cut any corners getting yourself up and running and you will be fine. Use your CPA throughout the process to guide you in making decisions pertaining to how you will organize your financial statement formats and reports. Take advantage of the vendor’s training classes, demos, telephone support, etc. at every opportunity you can find. Finally, check with your vendor to see if there is a user’s group of firms for their software in your area. If so, become an active participant. User’s groups can be very valuable in the sharing of tips and ideas to help you get the maximum return for your investment.

Wahby and Associates