There’s never a good time to “buy software,” but it’s always a great time to make a rewarding investment!
Over the years our team has had the privilege of working with some of the brightest audit, governance, risk, compliance and finance professionals in the world. All too often they hear that there is no budget to buy software. We respect that this is often the case; however, how often are budgets handed out on a silver platter? In our experience, this is rarely the case.
It doesn’t matter if the exchange rate is through the roof or at rock bottom; if the economy is doing well or poorly; or if the price of a proposed software investment is R10,000 or R10,000,000. When the rubber hits the road, the individual holding the purse strings wants to know:
- When they will get their money back?
- What will the return on their investment be?
If your business case is compelling enough, budget will be made available in virtually any economic condition.
When is the right time to invest in change?
When is the optimal time to invest in a stock: when it is overpriced or when it’s a steal? Do you buy your house when the market is peaking, or when your hand earned Rands go twice as far? When a professional athlete becomes a hero, is it when he scores when the team is already winning, or when he has pulled back the deficit and scored the winning points?
Why is it that we look at it differently when it comes to investing in the software needed to make any audit, risk, compliance of financial professional look like a rockstar?
How to write a rock-solid business case for VATSURE
When constructing your business case, we advocate for partnering with your VATSURE account manager. You know where the risks and opportunities to add value exist in your business are. Your account manager will intimately know our software and how similar companies have benefitted from it.
The business cases that have worked best for the customers, consist of the following components:
1. Executive summary
A brief summary of your current state and the challenges you are facing.
2. Problem statement
Your challenges, and why they are difficult or time consuming with the status-quo. Until now, you’ve survived without purpose-built software. Outline how this is holding you and your organisation back, and why you can’t solve the challenges with the tools at hand.
3. Cost impact of current challenges
What is the cost of doing nothing? Bucket the costs into two sections, outlining both quantitative and qualitative costs. Itemise your estimates of each cost, considering:
- Time wasted on manual activities x, y and z
- Cost of revenue loose or cash flow erosion
- Risk exposure
- Quality, consistency and accuracy of VAT submissions
- Team moral levels / attracting top talent (tip: top talent is not often attracted to organizations with antiquated tools, processes or software)
4. Proposed solution: Why VATSURE?
Why is VATSURE uniquely qualified to solve your challenges and/or help you reach your goals? Consider:
- technology capabilities (tip: weighted technology evaluation criteria checklists can help you identify and assess specific capabilities for your use case.)
- time to value
5. Breakdown of return on investment (ROI) and net present value (NPV)
Estimate quantitative, hard Rand savings, such as:
- What is the cost to operate your internal finance department each year?
- What percentage of your team’s time is exhausted on manual efforts why calculating and submitting VAT?
Calculate the cost of this percentage and compare it to the VATSURE investment cost. Outline qualitative, softer savings, such as:
- If VATSURE could automate your manual processes, what value add projects would you take on with this newly available time?
- Calculate the NPV of the proposed solution vs. investing this budget elsewhere.
Include infographics: CFOs love graphs and charts! We have many of these on-hand to share and help you.
6. Project timeline & breakeven point
Break down the project implementation timeline into chronological milestones, and present it as a linear diagram, marking the breakeven point where ROI pays its dividends. What is important is to be conservative when forecasting ROI, and to clearly identify the milestones that need to be achieved in order to maximise ROI.
7. Two-minute demo video
Change agents often ask “Can you arrange for a demo for my CFO? He wants to see your software.” My experiences say otherwise: a two-minute video will suffice. CFOs are busy. He or she will likely want a quick visual of what the proposed solution looks like in action.
8. Solution options & pricing scenarios
Present your CFO with two (or maybe even three) solution option/pricing scenarios, and clearly convey the pros and cons of each. There will naturally be consequences for selecting the most inexpensive solution, however, we suggest you at least present a more economical alternative. (And if your only recourse is the most inexpensive solution, consider using this information later to build a one-, two- or three-year future expansion plan).
9. Example ACL customer case studies
It is likely that someone your CFO knows, or at least a company they know and respect, uses our software. Reduce your CFO’s concerns by helping him or her understand that it is a safe choice. Your account manager will be able to assist you with customer success stories.
10. Final point
End your business case with believable ROI and NPV targets that you both can get behind.
There’s never a good time to buy software, but it’s always a great time to make a rewarding investment.
Even when your company’s revenues are soaring, your technology investments will be competing for budget with other things: new locations, fancier office furniture, acquisitions, product enhancements, additional staff and so on.
Don’t underestimate the need for and benefits of building a strong business case to invest in technology, at any time. Worst case scenario, you will build knowledge, gain respect within your organisation and be front of mind when budget does become available.