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Eight steps to changing accounting software

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Last editedMar 20233 min read

Changing accounting software is an ambitious, time-consuming project that requires a fair amount of planning. Whether your SaaS business has outgrown the functionality of free accounting software, your current system is too complicated for your business’s needs, or you’re simply looking for an upgrade, it’s important to have a clear plan for implementing your new accounting system. We’ve put together an eight-step plan for changing accounting software mid-year. Check out everything you need to know about selecting a new provider, accounting data migration, and more.

1. Choose a new provider

First off, you need to choose a new accounting system. There are a wide range of considerations, including cost savings and ROI, scalability, functionality and technical fit, customer service, and integration. Do your research, and narrow it down to a couple of different options that offer the accounting features you need. Before you make your final decision, be sure to talk through your options with an accountant, as they may be able to provide you with a more hands-on insight into potential new accounting systems.

2. Check for issues around integration

It’s super-important to ensure that your current hardware is compatible with your new accountingsystem. It may end up being the case that you have to upgrade or optimize your specs, and depending on price, this can be a challenge. If upgrading your hardware slowly over a longer period of time is a possibility, this can be an effective way to amortize the cost of preparing your IT infrastructure for integration with the new accounting system.

3. Set a date for switching to the new accounting system

Next, you should select a date on which your business will officially move over to the new accounting system. Depending on the size of your business, changing accounting software could take anywhere from days to months, so you’ll need to think about this when selecting the cutoff date. It’s best to pick a slower time of the year to switch to a new system. Year-end is probably the worst time to make the switch, as your finance team is likely to be busy with quarter-end, year-end, and audit-related tasks.

4. Select data to important and prepare data for migration

Selecting what data to import is a key part of changing accounting software. If you have issues with inaccurate or useless data, it’s important to fix this before migrating it to your new system. Make sure that you’re migrating information like chart of accounts, clients and vendors, accounts, invoices and bills, employee data and payroll history, and inventory item records. You can remove unwanted information, but it’s vital to create a backup of all your data before making the switch.

5. Import data to new accounting system

Next, you’ll need to complete the accounting data migration step. You should be able to import data using CSV files, but depending on your new accounting software, you may have to import your data in a specific format. Be sure not to rush this process, as you don’t want to make a fundamental mistake that undoes all the good work you’ve already completed.

6. Test migrated data

Finally, one of the most vital steps to transition to new accounting software is to actually test the migrated data to check that the software works as it’s supposed to. Check for discrepancies within your chart of accounts, trial balance, and other financial reports. If you find any misfires, you’ll need to work out the root cause and fix it manually before you’re able to make the changeover.

7. Train users on your new software

It may sound obvious, but if your team isn't sure how to use your new accounting system, it’s as good as useless. Be sure to onboard everyone who needs to have access to the system well in advance of the switchover date. Because training new users is such an important step, it’s critical to think about the customer support team and training resources your new accounting system can offer when choosing a new provider in the first place.

8. Continue running both systems in parallel for a short period

Even if everything feels like it’s running smoothly after making the big switch, it’s important to run both systems in parallel for a certain period of time. This will help to highlight any differences in workflow that need to be fixed and iron out any annoying kinks before you’re sure that your new accounting system can run independently. Depending on the complexity of your business, you could be running both systems in parallel for as long as an entire quarter.

And there you have it – changing accounting software mid-year can seem like a major challenge, but taking the necessary precautions with your data and following these steps to transition to new accounting software can help ensure that you’re able to make the switch in a safe and efficient way, giving you the foundation to succeed with your new accounting system. GoCardless integrates seamlessly with over 300 partners, including major accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks. So, whether you’re a construction business, a nonprofit, or a sports club, GoCardless is a great payments solution to integrate with your new accounting software.

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