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Making the switch over: key considerations when changing accounting software

Changing accounting software could be the best decision you make for your business, but it’s important to get it right. With the right software you could automate many functions and really boost productivity across your organisation, so it’s a project to take seriously. Let’s take a look at some of the key things to think about before going ahead and switching your software.

Why switch accounting software at all?

It’s a valid question, and one to consider carefully before making a decision to change. Doing nothing is always an option – but often it’s taken by default, especially in smaller businesses, because it’s the easiest path. If you’re genuinely unsure of the benefits of changing accounting software for your organisation, consider:

  • Staff resources currently used to fulfil your basic accounting functions. Could this time and resource be put to better use if these tasks were automated?
  • Hacks and workarounds – is your software really working for you, or are you spending time fiddling in Excel to create accounts to fit your requirements?
  • Data and analytics – are you getting the information you need from your existing accounts system, or could changing accounting software provide better insights to inform your business decisions?

How to go about making the change

So you’ve decided that changing accounting software is the best business option for you. Next, you need to work out which software to migrate to, plan the big switch over, and project manage the process.

  • Take time to assess your current accounting software and procedures. Speak to staff across the business to understand everyone’s experience of your existing system. Note down all the weak points and areas that need improvement.
  • Draw up a shortlist of accounting packages, and compare their functionality. Don’t be afraid to ask companies for a demonstration, seek word of mouth testimonials, and speak to real clients about how the software works for them.
  • Not sure what to look for? Check out these 7 things to consider before changing accounting systems.

Implementing the new system

Once you’ve selected the best accounting system for your business needs, it’s time to work with the software provider to migrate your existing data over to the new system. Your chosen company should advise you on the technical aspects of the process, but there are lots of internal decisions for you to make with your staff.

  • Decide on the date of your switch, and make sure everyone is made aware of what they need to do before and after. You don’t want people entering data onto two different systems when your migration has begun!
  • Make sure you reconcile your accounts before the big switch.
  • Think about what you’re actually going to transfer to the new system. This is a great opportunity to give your data a spring clean, update your information and ditch any old information that’s simply not needed.
  • Work with your software provider to automate the process as much as possible and ensure that your data is clean once it’s been transferred over.
  • Make sure everyone is fully trained to use the new accounting software, and that your business processes are updated to reflect the new way of working.
  • If in doubt – seek support from the experts! Take advantage of the advice offered by your software providers when changing accounting software, to ensure that you’re using the new system to its best effect.