Change management tips from the AE team

We promised a blog post about changing accounting software a while back… well here it is at last.

Companies implement new accounting software either through necessity (because the old system could not handle volumes or complexity of transactions) or from the desire to enhance reporting capabilities, improve efficiencies or both.

Irrespective of the reason for the change,  sound planning of the process (without cutting corners) can mean the difference between a successful implementation – or failing to achieve the aims of the change.

Here are some essential pointers to help you plan your change process & avoid costly mistakes or omissions:

  1. If you decide not to use the same account codes in the new accounting system as in the old, make sure you prepare a mapping of old codes to new codes.
    This will help you reconcile the closing trial balance (TB) in the old system to the opening trial balance in the new system so you can confirm that it is 100% correct (important as mistakes can and do happen in transferring data).
  2. If at all possible, prepare a single opening balance journal to import the old system closing TB into the new system.
    If this isn’t possible, keep a log of the journals used to move data across so that they can be separately identified – again so you can reconcile old-to-new to verify accuracy.
  3. Where additional journals are required (e.g. for individual creditors & debtors) then preparing a reconciliation for each account of the closing balances to the opening transactions is essential.
    This is especially the case if you have multi-currency transactions; doing this will avoid issues going forwards in closing down creditor or debtor accounts once payments are complete and any valuation mis-matches on currency balances.
  4. Where you have currency transactions, make sure you import the opening TB using the same exchange rates as used in the closing TB in the old system.
    This is because, with multi-currency transactions, you will need to match old-to-new in all currencies to ensure that you avoid any valuation errors arising.
  5. Read the user manual for the new software, preferably before it is installed.
    This sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how often it doesn’t happen through lack of time – or even simply being omitted in the task-allocation process. Read the manual before installation & you will likely find user tips that will make the process less painful, quicker and make use of the system post-installation more efficient and less frustrating.
  6. Ensure users are trained on the new software immediately, not just in how to process different types of transaction, but also – importantly – in how to create and run reports.
    Usually with an accounting system change you are upgrading to a better reporting capability, therefore having users learn how to create and run reports in the new software will save time and increase efficiency – and aid accuracy in reporting.
  7. Finally, ensure users understand early on how to use time-saving features such as uploading from Excel and downloading information to Excel in a useable format.
    This may, again, seem obvious but when time is pressured it is all too easy to “do the change and worry about it later” – “later” can then end up being months or even years down the line, during which period, efficiency is impaired and time, and therefore money, is wasted.

Aspiration Europe’s team are experienced in change management and accounting software implementations – please do contact us if you need extra support in this area.