Users unhappy with information from finance systems, finds NCC survey
From the National Computing Centre, Manchester UK. For issue 20th June 2011
The majority of organisations are dissatisfied with the quality of information that they are able to produce from their finance systems. This is according to new research commissioned by the National Computing Centre’s Evaluation Centre service. (www.evaluationcentre.com).
The survey reports that the need for improved management information is driving investment in financial and accounting systems. This is emphasised by the fact that, when asked how they feel about the quality of information produced by their current systems, no respondent said they were very satisfied and only 9% were satisfied. The majority expressed only moderate satisfaction levels, while a surprising 37% have little or no satisfaction with the information produced.
To try and overcome this shortfall, the majority of organisations (57%) have invested in specialist reporting tools linked into their finance system to produce the information they require. Despite this, spreadsheets are still widely used to produce reports outside of these systems. Over half the organisations (58%) say spreadsheets are used frequently to do this and occasionally by 31%. Only 8% say they are not used.
Respondents were asked to rate their current financial and accounting system in a number of key areas, using a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is ‘very poor’ and 5 is ‘excellent’. The quality and reliability of the finance and accounting systems is generally rated highly (3.9) as is its scope and functionality (3.6). Lower down the scale, the frequency of software upgrades (3.5), supplier help desk & support (3.4) and ease-of-use of the software (3.3) are all regarded as only moderate.
Steve Fox, Managing Director of the National Computing Centre said, “The areas causing most concern are the cost and impact of upgrades (3.0), the cost of maintenance and software upgrades (2.8) and the cost of implementing the software (2.7). So while companies are generally happy with the quality and functionality of their systems, they would like to see the on-going costs reduced.”
The main reasons for changing or upgrading financial software, given by 46% of respondents, is that the system no longer meets their business needs. This is followed by the need to respond to changes in the company’s business processes and procedures (43%). Noted by 38% of respondents is the necessity to provide greater integration with other operational systems, while 35% want to take advantage of new functionality.
For development projects in the finance area, the biggest challenge to their successful completion is the lack of budget or funds allocated to them, mentioned by 60% of respondents. Other challenges are seen as a shortage in the necessary skills (43%), overcoming resistance to change in the organisation (43%) and the failure to achieve senior management buy-in (29%).
For this survey, the NCC’s Evaluation Centre interviewed a cross-section of 100 organisations for their opinions on issues relating to the use and development of their financial, accounting and reporting software. The sample included companies from the public sector (17%), banking & finance (16%), business services (13%), insurance (11%) and manufacturing (9%).
The companies vary in size, with 9% in excess of £5 billion turnover, 12% in the £1 billion to £5 billion bracket and 18% in the £500 million to £1 billion range.
In the mid-range 23% have a turnover of between £100 million and £500 million and 14% £50 million to £100 million. At the smaller end, 13% turnover between £10 million and £50 million and 11% £5 million to £10 million.
The survey is available from www.evaluationcentre.co.uk/accounting_software_financial_reporting_software/home.go
NOTE TO EDITORS
About The National Computing Centre Ltd
The National Computing Centre (NCC) helps IT decision makers deliver effective solutions to business problems by bringing together users, experts and vendors to share experiences and develop best practices.
About the Evaluation Centre
The Evaluation Centre (www.evaluationcentre.com) is an interactive service for end users and consultants to assist them in the procurement process for software, services and technology.
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