Cloud accounting is rapidly becoming the de facto method of choice for many companies. Gartner Research indicates that 85% of companies expect to have a cloud-first strategy by 2025.
But shifting your business systems, including accounting, to the cloud can seem daunting. Many companies question whether they have the right people, skills, and technology in place for such a digital transformation. Others wonder if they can continue with what they have and hope for the best.
Here are some steps to help you transition to cloud accounting that may put your mind at ease. Like any big project, breaking it into many small steps makes it feel more manageable.
Cloud Accounting Transition Steps
Moving your accounting to the cloud will take time, effort, and research. Here are the basic steps to the project. It’s also helpful to engage the right consultant to assist your company through the steps of shifting accounting to the cloud.
- Assemble the right team: Although at first you may think only people from IT should be part of the cloud accounting selection process, it’s important that the project team includes representatives from all major departments who will use the system. This includes accounting and finance but also marketing, sales, and operations, as well as IT.
- Find an executive sponsor or champion: A project champion or executive sponsor is someone on the executive team who will support and push for things your team needs among the other executives. They will also help secure the budget for the eventual chosen cloud accounting system.
- Clear the team’s time: Ensure the people chosen for the selection team have enough time to work on the project. You may need to shift some of their work duties, so they have plenty of time to work together gathering requirements, interviewing vendors, attending demos, and more.
- Create a wish list: Make a list of all the items you would like to include in your new cloud accounting system. This list may include everything from standard general ledger, AP and AR functions to automation that streamlines reporting or reimbursements.
- Avoid limitations: When you’re creating your wish list, don’t limit your wishes to what you have in your current system. If you’re unsure what newer cloud accounting systems offer, explore various systems, and speak with colleagues at other companies to see what’s out there. A common mistake is choosing a cloud-based system that mirrors your existing system; this is the time when you can update and upgrade your system, not limit yourself to what you have.
- Understand system dependencies: This is where your IT team’s support is invaluable. They can help evaluate and understand any system dependencies, such as existing office productivity software or other systems that must interact with the new cloud accounting system.
- Consider reporting functionality: It’s also important to assess the type of reports you’ll need and determine whether the new system can support reporting requirements. If not, and you have custom requirements, some accounting systems can be customized easily with add-on software that builds custom reports or enables users to build reports as needed.
- Understand security: Cloud accounting platforms offer exceptional security, but you may need to understand the security options and prepare explanations for others in your company before they green light the new software.
- Allow training time: Set aside training time for everyone using the new system to get used to the new features. Ensure that someone who understands the software, either a team member or someone from the implementation company, is available to troubleshoot, teach, and answer questions as needed.
- Switch over: When you switch to cloud accounting, do so completely. Do not have two systems running simultaneously during the transition. Doing so is a recipe for disaster as the systems can quickly go out of sync, with potentially redundant or missing data. Cleaning it up is a worse pain than preventing it in the first place.
Moving to a cloud accounting system is both exciting and daunting. However, with the right support, you’ll find that once you begin using the new system, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Emerald TC provides software and consulting. We can help you choose the right ERP system for your needs. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 for more information.