Clean up before you move out.
Moving accounting systems is not something anyone wants to do if they can help it. But sometimes a business can work much more efficiently by using a more modern system.
Most of the questions I hear from accountants moving their first client to a cloud accounting program relate to preparing the data file. The better shape the accounts, the more likelihood of a smooth and painless transition.
BoxFreeIT is putting together a series of tips for businesses and their accountants and bookkeepers on how to move from desktop accounting software to the main cloud platforms.
First off the rank is Saasu. Saasu has already assembled some of the best tips from employees (or “Saasuvians”) and its best accounting partners for a successful migration. The list below comes from Saasu’s help page on the topic.
If you have moved your business or your clients to Saasu, feel free to share other tips in the comments below.
1. Finish off your accounts
Clean up the file you are leaving first by finishing off an accounting quarter or year end. Don’t attempt to migrate before doing this. One of the important steps of migration is comparing your trial balance in your old software to Saasu once the migration is complete. When they match you are ready to go live.
2. Clean up your lists
Make sure you don’t have inappropriate data in any fields in your Contacts and Inventory lists in your old accounting system. A common problem we see is people storing special information they need to track in unused fields, such as saving secondary emails in a home phone number field. This data won’t import into Saasu as it won’t save text (an email address) in a field that should only have numbers in it (i.e. phone numbers).
3. Get your old file matching your tax return
Run a trial balance in your old system as at your last financial year end and compare to your tax return for the same date. Find the differences and fix them. This might require a conversation with your adviser and some troubleshooting. If you don’t do this you could end up with your old system, your tax returns and Saasu out of sync, which could take much longer to fix later on.
4. Use the import tools
Saasu has great tools for bringing in your contacts, chart of accounts, inventory lists, unpaid sales and purchases, etc. Use them but most importantly understand what the format needs to be before importing. If you have made your own spreadsheet files for importing make sure you use the help notes in Saasu to understand the required fields we need. Try importing a file with just a few sample rows of data first to check your format works. If you have a very large data set then import data in blocks of 5,000 items. This allows Saasu to run checks on the data as we bring it in. Large data sets can’t be checked or might have too many errors so we might not process the file.
5. Historical years trap
Don’t bring in historical transactions prior to your changeover date. Leave this to professionals. Get an accounting partner to do the migration. Multiple years of financial data can be tricky to line up if you don’t know all the differences between the systems.
6. Run in parallel
Try it for a day, a week or a month depending on your comfort level. It will highlight any difference in workflow so you can change your ways or get answers from Saasu support.
7. Don’t stop at roadblocks
Every project has roadblocks. If you run into one, ring or email Saasu support for help. Mark as urgent so Saasu prioritises it. Getting past roadblocks fast will keep you motivated.
8. Understand your workflow
Sit down and think a bit about your business model workflow. Changing accounting systems is a great time to improve it. Saasu has features your old system won’t have that can really help. Automated statements, drop-shipping, a customer-relationship management database. These things may trigger new and simpler ways of completing regular tasks.
A typical way to do work flow planning is to write the steps in a numbered order for your old system, write the steps you would do in Saasu, and then test it in Saasu. The last step is essential to get the most from Saasu.
9. Keep it simple
Quite often customers want to use the full power of Saasu. Enthusiasm is great but it’s worth holding back a little and easing into it. Get used to the program first and then build up usage. For example, don’t attempt to do a highly complex, customised invoice template on day one. Get the minimum things in you need in your move for the old system and then later you can start embedding ads for products, Google maps directions and other cool stuff into your invoices.
10. Learn then do
It’s tempting to just jump in and do things but it is worth quickly reviewing the help for a screen or area first. It might only take five minutes but could save you hours of time in backtracking if you start using Saasu in the wrong way. A good example of this is the bank reconciliation process which is different in Saasu to older software products.