Managing the complex and ever-changing calculations for the depreciation and amortization of assets is a difficult challenge. Finding the best solution among all the fixed asset software products available on the market today can be equally complicated. Each product offers a wide variety of features and the purpose of this document is to help you with the challenges of software evaluation. Selecting the right package for your organization has to be based on the unique needs of your company.
Step 1: Define Your Requirements
In order to determine the requirements, review your current fixed asset system or spreadsheet(s):
1. How many assets are you currently tracking?
2. How many assets will you be adding by month/year?
3. What depreciation methods and conventions do you use?
4. Do you need to summarize groups of assets?
5. What reports are you currently generating?
6. Do you need to track multiple companies?
7. Do you need to exchange data with other systems?
8. Are there any unique functions or features in your present package?
9. Do you need a security module to limit access?
10. How much are you willing to spend for a fixed asset solution?
Step 2: Measure Potential Solutions
An essential part of such an undertaking is evaluating the commercial products that are available to determine their suitability for use in your company. Virtually all organizations perform an evaluation of fixed asset software products before using them, but still some projects fail. It is critically important that the features of the system match your unique requirements. Here are some important areas to review.
1. Conversion Flexibility, Software Help & Support.
2. Asset Entry Customization, Automation & Error Checking.
3. Methods &Conventions, calculations for different periods.
4. Asset Filtering/Sorting capability.
5. Standard & Custom Report writer availability.
6. Multiple Database/Client.
7. Data Exchange flexibility.
8. Features like: CIP,445, G/L Interface, Barcode Inventory.
9. Security Access, Limitations, Restrictions, Rights & Groups.
10. Price & Value.
Step 3: Test Drive Product Demos
Once you have narrowed your selection to two or three products, you should take each for a test drive. The diagram below shows simple steps on how you can start your Test Drive.
Most packages offer a demo copy of their software on a cd or as a download from their web site. Contact each vendor and put the package through its paces. This emphasizes a “hands-on” technique that allows you to collect results by actually running the different fixed asset packages using the same test data.
1. Is the software easy to install?
2. Compare the Tutorial, User’s Guide and on-line Help of each package.
3. Set your client preferences & try to configure some user definable fields.
4. Enter several test assets Run some sample calculations for different periods.
5. View multiple assets.
6. Print & review the most important reports.
7. Export some data to Excel Look at any optional modules that you need.
8. Try the security module.
9. Call Technical Support and ask a few questions.
Step 4: Compare & Analyze Your Results to Make Your Purchasing Decision
Now that you have actually tried the available software packages, you can make an educated purchasing decision. Go back over your notes in the comparison chart and rank the products. At this point, you should have a clear leading choice. If you are still undecided and find two packages very close, request proposals from the vendors and compare their pricing. Speak with the sales representatives and ask for references. As you go through the proposals and speak with references, one of the packages should emerge as the right fit for your company.
This modified version of a White Paper is intended to give you an overview of how to calculate the ROI for a new fixed asset software package. You can find a more detailed version, including how to’s on each of the four steps and a handy ROI calculator, on the Bassets White Papers page.