Accounting systems, as “enterprise resource planning software” is often referred to in the Philippines, have been in general use by most medium to large enterprises businesses for the past 30 years, and many smaller businesses in the past 20. Larger businesses have been using some type of accounting software since at least the 1970s.
While these systems are certainly not new in the country, the adoption of any new accounting system in the Philippines is often overcome by many roadblocks. These issues can cause unnecessary delays and cost overruns during transition periods as well as lost opportunities during regular use of the system.
Here are a few challenges businesses may face when shopping for and implementing an accounting system in the Philippines.
1.) An insistence on on-site access
Even though internet infrastructure these days allows for real-time reporting and remote access from the cloud with software suites like SAP Business One, many business owners and managers are still wary of the idea of employees remotely accessing their accounting systems.
There is sometimes an antagonistic relationship between business owners and employees when it comes to system access, and it’s not uncommon for business owners to specify that their accounting system is accessible from local servers or specific computers only.
While this can theoretically reduce the security threat from hackers, it greatly increases the threat of data loss from local hardware failures and IT errors while denying the business of any of the advantages of having a system that can be easily accessed on any device.
2.) Feature and scope creep
The nature of Philippine interoffice politics often means that different departments try to assert their importance. These struggles often manifest themselves in the procurement process for accounting systems.
Accounting systems today do more than just accounting. They are a way to make data generated by one department immediately available in another, thus reducing effort duplication and streamlining different business processes.
However, different the available choices of accounting system in the Philippines are all subtly different in terms of their focus. Some are more optimized for smaller startups while others might be targeted at medium-to-large enterprises. Others might be more industry or department-specific. A piece of software that’s excellent for the HR and accounting department might not be to the liking of the customer service and marketing departments.
What can happen as a result of this is that departments within the business may ask for unnecessary modifications to meet a theoretical need. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, these modifications may be unnecessary and just add to the development costs of the system transition project.
3.) A lack of end-user training
The fact is, most accounting systems offered by vendors in the Philippines are probably perfectly adequate for the vast majority of businesses — provided end users are trained properly in their use. The lack of clear, objective training can cause pushback from employees and reduce the utility of any adopted software suite.
Unfortunately, employees are often forced to learn how to use new systems virtually on their own. While many accounting systems might be straightforward enough to understand without training, it often means that the company is not able to make full use of any system they purchase.
These are just a few of the challenges in adopting and implementing accounting systems in the country. The challenges are overwhelmingly human factors, rather than technical. This means thoughtful management should go hand in glove with any system upgrade you might be considering.