Guest Blog: Dreading that Impending Accounting System Conversion? Breeze Through Your Implementation with These Key Tips

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Guest Blog: Dreading that Impending Accounting System Conversion? Breeze Through Your Implementation with These Key Tips

Lynne Taylor, is an actively licensed California Certified Public Accountant and is an MBA with a Finance concentration from San Diego State University. Lynne is currently the Principal at Cloud Applications and Accounting Services for Enterprises (CASE) and Chief Administrative Officer of Relocation Services International (RSI Relo). Changing accounting systems ranks right up there with root canals in the minds of most accountants.  They dread converting to an unknown application, the accounting team typically hates change and no one believes they have the time and resources to pull an implementation off.  It’s no wonder companies defer making a change to their accounting systems for years! By the time organizations decide to move to the cloud and implement a “back end” accounting solution like FinancialForce, the CEO and/or the CFO have usually determined that the return on investment more than justifies a new system with enhanced functionality.  This is important because no implementation can be successful without commitment from the top-down. Assuming key management has defined the requirements and set goals, objectives and expectations, there are 3 key points that further help insure a successful implementation:
  1. Choosing the right implementation partner
  2. Getting your data “in shape” for the conversion
  3. Allocating time and resources for training and support
Choosing Your Implementation Partner The selection process for your services vendor should include the requisite reference checks and research, but it’s also important that your implementation partner demonstrate through the scoping process that they understand your business and care about your outcomes.  Scoping involves using a formal assessment document that covers the key areas of your accounting application and its current use.  It is invaluable not only as a reference document throughout the life of the project, but more importantly the scoping exercise allows you to evaluate the vendor’s philosophy and approach to project management.  Trust your intuition on this as it sometimes the only differentiation point between vendors.  Your project will run more smoothly managed by an implementation partner whose values and work ethic align more closely with you and your organization. Data Accuracy “Ugly” (i.e. inaccurate) data does not become a “swan” by virtue of moving to a new accounting system!  It may seem obvious but cleaning up your data before migrating it to the new application saves time and insures this part of the project goes smoothly.  It also insures that the data in your “Sandbox” has value for training and testing purposes.  “Cleaning” data involves tasks like making sure there are no duplicate customers or vendor accounts, sub ledgers like accounts receivable and accounts payable agree to the general ledger reporting balances, and your Chart of Accounts is in order.  In addition, making sure that the data is provided in the format and manner required by your implementation partner for configuring your FinancialForce application is critical. Training and Support Training and education rarely get the attention they deserve in terms of planning the implementation, but training is important to help manage change and the expectations of users.  While IT is often intimately involved in the configuration details of the FinancialForce implementation project , the actual accounting users need to be involved in training and their questions and concerns when training need to be addressed.   At the end of the day, FinancialForce is an application that will be used by the accounting team so they need to train, test and use the application in order to be successful. FinancialForce is a cloud-based application, and has excellent training videos and documentation, but many users learn best when shown by someone personally, and also when they can get their questions answered at the time of learning.  All training can be done in the “cloud” and from anywhere at any time, but ask your implementation partner if they are open to on-site training if that is more effective for you – and your budget and time allows for it. Conclusion Accounting implementations don’t have to be a nightmare or cause for concern.   FinancialForce implementations leverage the Salesforce Platform and are designed to get you up and running in weeks,  not months or years.  These important best practices – planning, communicating and training – will accomplish this accelerated timeline, and insure that you have access to better business intelligence to help grow your business. To read more best practices from our partners, check out these related posts.
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