Switching to a New Financial Software: Five Steps to Guarantee Success

When moving to a new financial system, planning a seamless changeover or ‘cutover’ between your old and new system becomes a key component for success, and can have a significant effect on user adoption and speed of return on investment.

 

You can invest in modern, state-of-the art technology, but without your essential and accurate data, the system may not provide more of a headache than added value. So how do you plan for this crucial activity effectively?

 

This blog aims to provide finance and accounting stakeholders with the five key areas to consider when performing a financial cutover. Addressing these areas will set you well on the way to achieving a successful financial software implementation.

 

  1. Restructuring the Chart of Accounts (CoA)

Moving to a new system is often a great opportunity to take stock of your existing Chart of Accounts, clean up old and inactive accounts, and restructure to get the most out of your new financial solution. For example, a modern platform should offer dynamic and multiple segmentation options, therefore negating the need for unnecessary accounts just to be able to report on what you need to. You can start planning this activity very early in the process, with just a basic understanding of the new platform. The closer you keep in touch with your partner the better throughout this process.

 

Single Entity vs. Multiple Entities

 

If you have multiple operating entities, your planning may need to include additional factors, such as your existing set up.

  • Are you currently on multiple financial or disparate financial systems (for example, if you have acquired a company who uses a different system than the parent)?
  • Do any of your entities have separate CoA or any statutory needs for such?
  • Does your new system support a single platform and single consistent CoA for consolidation and reporting?

 

Planning to bring over data in an integrated, consistent manner across all your companies is essential depending on your project goals and objectives. Again, an experienced partner will guide you through this.

 

  1. Closed vs. Open Transactions

To go live with your new system, the most straight-forward approach to a financial cutover is to only bring in opening balances and your open transactions. Closing off as many transactions as you can in your legacy system helps limit the number of open transactions to be migrated. The simpler the data, the easier the changeover. If your organisation has specific business needs to bring in closed transactions details for a certain period in the past, then assess the impact of this with your partner early, to make sure your implementation plan has adequate budget and time factored in to support this requirement.

 

  1. Historical Transactions vs. Trial Balances

Another key consideration is how much historical data there is to migrate from your legacy system to your new system. While the idea of having an exhaustive data history in your new system can be attractive and comforting, there are a few factors worth considering: budget, timescale and complexity.

  • Do you have a tight timeline and budget to go live on the new system?
  • Will you still have access to your legacy financial instance for historical reports?
  • Do you have an option to store your historical details in a separate system or a database?

 

Discuss these issues with your software partner – you may wish to consider bringing in monthly trial balances for the past couple of years, for comparative reports, rather than detailed historical transactions.

 

  1. Currency Exchange and Consolidation

If your organisation is currently operating internationally, recording multiple types of foreign currency exchange rates can create a myriad of requirements from a financial system. Ensure that the system you select offers the continual update of exchange rates that is crucial to maintaining proper books that can have the appropriate foreign tax rates applied during financial closing.

 

  1. Go Live Timing

Choosing the optimal time to go live is the final crucial aspect to consider. The first day of a month or quarter or year can often seem like the logical choice, but that means closing books in your old system at the last day of the previous year or quarter, which isn’t always practical. Assess your business and choose a timing that works strategically and practically for you and your team. An experienced partner will work with you to agree a detailed project plan to achieve the target date. Understand your current close process and what a cutover will mean for your users and operations and ensure these are factored into the plan for a seamless and successful transition.

 

By considering these steps, you will have increased peace of mind knowing that your organisation is following tried and tested best practices. At Eureka Solutions we pride ourselves on sharing learnings and best practice from the hundreds of successful transitions we have implemented for our customers, moving them from legacy systems to future-proof technology and managed by our experienced project management and implementation teams.

 

A well planned and well timed financial cutover will allow you to focus on getting the most out of your new system straight away, speeding up ROI and user adoption and allowing you to focus on business growth and strategy.

 

Contact us today if you would like to find out more about our experience in moving organisations seamlessly from legacy systems, or about our tried and tested project management and approach.