You have made a decision to move to better accounting software because your current system no longer meets all your needs. Changing accounting software is a very delicate task and can affect your business operations, so it’s important that you have a plan in place before switching.
Here are a few questions to consider before you migrate to new accounting software.
What shortcomings do you face with your current accounting software?
Speak to your accountants, or the people who handle your accounting to gain better insight into what difficulties they face on a daily basis with the present accounting software. Challenges such as errors, technical difficulties, and support requirements should be prioritized when you look for a new accounting solution.
Before you zero in on your next accounting software, ensure you don’t miss out on basic requirements such as automating reports, generating invoices, or setting payment reminders.
How much does the new accounting software cost?
Verify how much you spend on your current accounting software and the features you get for the price. Check if the new accounting software will provide additional useful features or if you have to pay for features you may never use. If you find a suite or a bundle of software for a slightly higher price, it is definitely a bonus.
What do the reviews say?
When you decide on an accounting solution, visit review sites to understand what existing customers have to say about the product. The online presence along with reviews will give you a clear idea on the software’s performance and capabilities. Check the product’s blogs, forums, and release notes to learn how frequently they update their products and how attentive they are to their customers’ needs. Ensure to check if the new software will be able to accommodate your needs when your business grows, too.
Why should you migrate to a new accounting software?
A well-functioning accounting software must simplify your work and keep you compliant with the latest regional tax laws. However, businesses fail to realize the difficulties they face with an accounting system when they do not have an outsider’s view. Here are a few reasons why you should move to new accounting software.
1. Your current accounting solution provider no longer serves your region.
2. The solution you use now is not cloud based.
3. It does not let you operate across various devices.
4. It is not user-friendly or does not integrate with other applications.
5. It can no longer meet your growing business’s needs.
When to switch to a new accounting system?
The ideal time to move your data to new software is usually at the end of the fiscal year. For a smooth transfer, you must also plan for a transition phase. This will begin several months before the final migration date. Even before this transition, you will need to set aside time to back up existing data. This will act as a checkpoint for you to start over if things go wayward.
It’s important to conduct several checks and determine if there are any errors in your current data. This is also a good time to clean up unwanted data and rectify glitches so that you don’t carry them forward into the new system.
These preparations take time, but sticking to a final migration date will relieve some of the stress surrounding the change and cater to long-term results.
10 Simple Steps to Transition to New Accounting Software
So, you are settled on migrating, and you have chosen a date. Now, follow the below steps to transition to your new accounting software.
1. Finalize a cutoff date
Cutoff date is when you start using the new system and discontinue using your current accounting software. Although you can choose any date, it is good practice to reconcile your bank accounts for the end of one month and start using new software on the first day of the next month.
2. Inform your accountant
Keep your accountant updated on your decision. Their expertise may even help you choose the right software package for your business. They must be comfortable using the software or at least be able to export necessary information without much hassle.
3. Research and shortlist the right fit
Know your requirements before you start looking for software. Utilize free trials or demos if possible, and see how comfortable you are with the different products. Look out for specific needs like cloud storage, an integrated ecosystem, and similar features you might use as your business grows.
4. Audit your IT infrastructure
Software is only half of the equation. You need to check if the new software is compatible with your existing hardware. If your existing infrastructure can’t run the software you’d like, you might have to settle for the next best option or upgrade your hardware. Remember, just because software is expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best. There are likely better systems that work well on all browsers and don’t have specific hardware requirements.
5. Back up your data
Before you make a system shift, ensure that your data is backed up and readily available. If something goes wrong while migrating, you won’t lose important information.
6. Do a trial balance
Before shifting all your data to the new system database, run a trial balance or create a balance sheet, and save it. Doing so will ensure the information is computed properly by your chosen software.
7. Define quantifiable goals
Quantifiable goals are ones that regularly track business performance. Defining these goals will help management during the planning, implementation, and control phases of the software transition. It’s an important step because it helps you decide the best data format for achieving these objectives and planning future steps.
8. Format and map your current data
Different accounting systems support different data formats when recording information. Before transfer, your data must be error free and saved in the recommended format. A lot of businesses choose to create a backup on Excel, but the data on these spreadsheets is vulnerable to tampering and transcription errors. Creating a data map ensures a hassle-free transfer because you know how your information will look in the new format.
9. Test imported data
You must run tests on the imported data to check if the software works optimally with minimal errors. You can also compare the reports from your old system with the new ones to check for discrepancies.
10. Train your users
Allow enough time to train and test your users before completely moving to the new accounting system.
Provide standard system procedures to learn the new software, and make sure that users comply with it. This will help you avoid major glitches caused by small issues like inaccurate data entry.
Run your business smoothly
Now that you have an accounting system migration checklist in your possession, try following it step by step. Learn and understand more about the accounting software you shortlisted. Think about different software packages and choose the one that fits your needs. Zoho’s cloud accounting solution, Zoho Books, is a powerful cloud accounting platform that will help you manage your business accounting, saves time, is secure, and can help you view all your financial records in real time. Its flexibility allows you and your accountants to make informed decisions from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet. Take our accounting software for a spin for free, and learn how it can help your business.