What CFOs need to know about an ERP implementation

Brendan Tanner left his role as divisional CFO at KPMG to join specialist advisory and restructuring firm McGrathNicol as head of finance in 2016. Within six months, he had concluded that his new employer’s ERP was wholly inefficient. Expense claims had paper-based components and were time-consuming for the firm’s hundreds of consultants. It took between 12 and 15 minutes of touchpoints to enter and approve a single supplier invoice. Timesheets, which are the lifeblood of professional services firms, were onerous and rigid. Reporting was inflexible and aspects of project management, such as billing clients, was incredibly slow. In a world where time is money, he summed up the inefficiencies as “horrifying.”

“It was a one-size-fits-all solution that had been developed ten years earlier, when McGrathNicol was primarily an insolvency firm,” says Tanner. “It had since grown into being a multidisciplinary practice but there had been next to no changes made to the ERP.”

As a fresh set of eyes with solid experience in systems, Tanner put forward a successful case for change. However, he recalls beginning the project with a certain amount of trepidation.

“I’d run projects before, but nothing of this size,” he says. “The S/4HANA public cloud version was very new and there were only a couple of organisations in ANZ who were using it. There wasn’t a lot of reference checks available and implementation partner knowledge was quite slim.”

Brendan Tanner oversaw the implementation of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system SAP S/4HANA at a time when few organisations in the region had done so. He shares his learnings about the major undertaking with CFO Magazine. Read more at CFO Magazine here.