How to: plan for an accounting software upgrade
Whether you use generic accounting software or specific construction accounting software like Evolution M, your business relies on this software to operate smoothly and efficiently. This reliance means that many businesses delay upgrading software because of the potential disruption the process can cause. If you’ve decided it’s finally time for an accounting software upgrade, follow these guidelines to ensure a painless transition.
Plan as far ahead as you can for a software upgrade. Who know what unexpected obstacles will appear during the process? Have a ‘go live’ date in mind – preferably at least a couple of months from now. Your new software provider should help you fill out this timeline with other key milestones, such as staff training dates and data conversion deadlines. They will also advise you on the most suitable ‘go live’ date – many companies like to align this with a payroll run. You may also wish to ‘go live’ during a quieter period for your business. For many construction companies, this will be during winter. Inform relevant staff members of the timeline and their roles in the process to reduce the chance of any delays.
Training and testing
Ask your new provider about the training options they offer before you sign any contracts. A poor training programme often means that their customer support won’t be up to scratch either. Don’t skip training – all staff members should receive some degree of guidance, and your accounts team in particular must be entirely comfortable with the new software before it goes live.
Additionally, your software provider may offer you a ‘test area’ within the software. This feature is incredibly valuable. Essentially you are able to play around in the software using a copy of your own company data. Spending time with this ‘test company’ enables staff members to familiarise themselves with key features and processes with data that they recognise and relate to. Dabbling in the test environment doesn’t affect the ‘live’ version of your data, so take full advantage of this opportunity to learn the software.
Data conversion and migration
You won’t be able to simply copy and paste your old data into the new system. It’ll probably need reformatting and converting. You can also use this opportunity to clean up your data, removing any redundant items, filling in blank fields and discarding poor quality data. This technical process can be a challenge. Speak to your software provider to establish how the process works and give them access to your data when they need it for conversion purposes.
Knowing how to reach support
Before you ‘go live’ with the accounting software upgrade, double check with your provider about how and where to reach their support team. You might have on-site help during ‘go live’ day, or you might have to rely on phone or email support. Distribute support contact information to all staff members to minimise disruption when the software goes live.
If you’re considering upgrading to Integrity Software’s construction accounting software solutions, we’ll walk you through a seven-step upgrade process to ensure a smooth changeover. Get in touch to learn more.