Tech Makeover is a reality show – viewable at www.woodard.com/broadasts - that details an intensive small business technology implementation conducted by me, host of the show, and by Patricia Hendrix, a QuickBooks ProAdvisor from Atlanta Georgia.
In Episode 1 of the series (released on February 22, 2016), Patricia and I perform the discovery process – a critical pre-engagement step through which we determine which solutions are the best fit for the client, and how to deploy those solutions in a way that maximizes the client’s return on their investment.
A thorough discovery process for a technology implementation usually includes:
An analysis of the client’s accounting system to determine:
- If the existing data is accurate and complete
- If the system is capable of meeting the client’s needs long term
- If the business’ users are adequately trained to use the solution
- If the solution integrates with solutions the business currently uses or intends to adopt in the future
- If the solution is currently supported by the developer
- If the solution provides the level of reporting and report customization the business needs to thrive
An analysis of the client’s current bookkeeping and operational process to identify:
- Increased risk of loss due to fraud (e.g. failure to separate key bookkeeping duties, to manage cash drawers, to verify employee expense reports, etc.)
- Redundant and unnecessary processes
- Gaps in process
- Inefficiencies of process
- Opportunities to automate processes
An analysis of the client’s information technology and technological infrastructure to identify:
- If the client is using obsolete systems
- Security concerns
- Internet access/bandwidth issues
- An unhealthy reliance on localized networks and software solutions
- Risky data backup systems, the inconsistent use of backup systems or even a total lack of backup systems/processes
- Ineffective or non-existent virus and malware protection
- Weak passwords and/or password standards
- Privacy concerns (e.g. sensitive company data stored on employee’s personal computers and/or devices)
An analysis of the client’s operational solutions to determine:
- Manual/paper processes that should be automated/digitized
- Lack of integration between systems
- Obsolete solutions and/or hardware used in the operation of the business
- Silos of data/information due to localized, non-collaborative systems stored on hard drives on individual workstations
- Areas where the client should automate or streamline processes through the adoption of new solutions
Note: If you want to conduct a broader analysis of the client’s business you can include also include financial analysis/reporting, a human resource audit, measuring the company’s performance against industry benchmarks, etc., but these fall more within the category of management consulting and are therefore not applicable to Episode 1 of Technology Makeover.
After Patricia and I conducted our analysis of the small business’s technology and accounting process, we met with the owners to:
- Discuss our findings
- Recommend technologies that will improve business performance and efficiency
- Connect the recommended technologies to the financial benefits the client will receive, their return on investment should they decide to move forward with the process.
As you can see in Episode 1, the client will have concerns and fears. Change is always disruptive (in the short term), frustrating for the owners and their employees, and even a little intimidating. But, as Patricia exemplifies in this episode, if you connect the short-term pain and cost to the long-term positive impact, the client will usually take the plunge.
Patricia and I have a very difficult road ahead of us in this process (especially with the bombshell the client dropped on us at the end of Episode 1), but we are up for the challenge. The journey continues with Episode 2 where we will get started on the hardware work for their QuickBooks Point of Sale implementation, convert the company’s QuickBooks Desktop file to QuickBooks Online and begin training the owners how to use their new accounting system.
Tune in for Episode 2 this Monday, February 29!