Accounting Software Implementation Best Practices
For many organizations, the effective use of an accounting software system can mean the difference between rapid, problem-free execution of financial operations and other critical enterprise processes, and being plagued by inefficient business activities that can hinder corporate productivity and growth.
So, when implementing a new accounting software application, companies must ensure that every step of the process – from installation and deployment through training and roll-out – is handled properly from start to finish.
Here are some valuable tips and techniques that can help ensure the smoothest possible implementation of your new accounting software solution.
Take a Phased Approach
When implementing a new accounting software package, there will inevitably be some level of impact on your day-to-day financial operations and activities.
However, by opting for a phased approach to deployment (where the accounting software application is rolled-out one module or one department at a time), as opposed to a “big-bang” type of implementation (where all modules of the accounting software are deployed across the entire enterprise at once) you can significantly minimize any disruptions and ease the transition for your users.
Migrate Historical Data Carefully
Chances are that you’ll be incorporating financial data from a variety of other sources – such as Excel spreadsheets, or smaller-scale accounting software packages – into your new, automated financial management environment.
Be sure that this activity is handled by a technical professional, preferably an outside consultant or a staff member from your IT department who has some experience with data migration. And once the process is complete, check the data thoroughly to make sure it has loaded properly into the new accounting software system.
If your new accounting software is going to fail, you want to make sure this happens before it goes into full production.
That’s why it is critical to test your environment immediately after installation, and make tweaks and adjustments as needed before you complete your roll-out. Conduct a dry “run-through” of a typical day in your business, using the new system to replicate all standard transactions and procedures, and correct any issues that arise. This will ensure that the accounting software is fully optimized from the get-go, helping you avoid unnecessary breakdowns in core processes and workflows after your implementation.
Testing is particularly important if your accounting software will be integrated with other systems in your infrastructure. Have a technical professional thoroughly review all links and interfaces to your CRM solution, inventory management application, sales force automation package, and other systems during the implementation process to ensure fast and accurate bi-directional information flow.
Train in Advance
In order to minimize interruptions and slow downs to core financial operations, users across the organization must be ready to begin working with the new accounting software solution as soon as the implementation is complete. This means that training will need to begin during deployment – not after – so there is plenty of time for users to get completely familiar with all features and functions of the accounting software system.