ERP Wizards 5. Vesa Aaltonen & Tomi Holmberg: What a CFO should know about ERP?

In an ERP project, CFO is the person who creates the circumstances for the team to succeed and sets the budget as well as targets for the project. CFO also works traditionally as the project sponsor and is a keen part of the steering group. Our experts collected their best tips for a CFO willing to create a successful ERP project.

In the fifth episode of the ERP Wizards podcast, Greenstep’s Partner and experienced CFO, Vesa Aaltonen together with Senior Manager Tomi Holmberg, cut deep into the role of a CFO in a successful ERP implementation. In this article, we put up a handy checklist of the best tips they shared in the episode. Listen to the episode and check the tips!

What kind of responsibilities does a CFO have during an ERP project?

The role and the responsibilities of the CFOs in ERP projects can vary a lot. Sometimes a CFO works only as a project sponsor and a member of a steering group, while some CFOs take part even in the coding process as a part of the implementation team. Especially in smaller companies, CFOs tend to be more hands-on in the implementation daily.

Regardless of the company size, CFO’s role traditionally includes being a project sponsor and a member of a steering committee. CFO’s other task in an ERP project is to set the case for the business project itself and make sure that there are certain targets for the project and that they are being followed. A CFO also needs to evaluate possible risks during the project and create circumstances for the implementation team to succeed.

What are the most common challenges a CFO may face during ERP projects, and how to win them?

One of the most common challenges that a CFO may face during an ERP project concerns resourcing. Even though resources might look good on paper, it is important to be prepared for unexpected changes such as people changing employers or getting sick.

Another common challenge that CFOs might face during an ERP project is sticking to the overall schedule. The problem usually relates to deviating from the planned project scope. To avoid this challenge, it is crucial to manage the project scope. Also, keeping within the set budget limits may be challenging for many companies. That is why setting a realistic budget already in the beginning is so important.

ERP changes the ways people work in an organization, and it is also good to be prepared for some resistance with the change. One good way to tackle this issue is to have a clear communication plan. A CFO is traditionally the decision-maker in a project when it comes to allocating more budget and resources or extending the project scope and schedule. To make clever decisions, a CFO needs insights from both the internal and the external implementation teams, and it is crucial to keep actively in contact with them.

6 important tips for a CFO in an ERP project

  1. Before starting the project, think about the most critical requirements you have for the system and try to ponder how different alternatives fulfill your criteria.
  2. Be realistic when setting the budget for the project and add some buffer.
  3. Secure the required resources (time, money, and good people) already before the project starts.
  4. Don’t underestimate the time needed to complete the project with the set schedule and quality.
  5. Keep the set targets in your mind during the whole project, not only in the end. Try to answer the question “Why did we buy the ERP system in the first place?” in the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the project.
  6. To hold and manage the schedule, budget, and quality targets set for the project, don’t save on project management because that is the area that holds all these things together.

Would you like to learn more about the topic?

On the fifth episode of the ERP Wizards podcast season, Greenstep’s Partner and experienced CFO, Vesa Aaltonen, and our Senior Manager Tomi Holmberg will cut into the topic in more detail. Go to the episode on Spotify!

You can also find the three previous episodes on Spotify!