in: Company News, Cloud Computing, Accounting
By now, you’ve probably seen the term “digital transformation” used in professional journals, websites, and articles. The term has probably been overused, but it’s still a viable concept for ensuring that your company’s technology stack is fully optimized to support continued growth and improvement.
A major step in digital transforming is shifting many technology resources, including accounting software, to the cloud. Gartner Research indicates that 85% of companies expect to have a cloud-first strategy by 2025. Cloud accounting forms an important part of many digital transformation strategies and offers secure, easy access from any internet-connected device, and much more. If you are considering shifting your accounting platform from on-premises to cloud accounting, the following outlines the general steps to take to make this important transition smooth sailing.
10 Steps to Transition to Cloud Accounting
- Create the transition team: Ensure that all departments are represented on the digital transformation team. Although you may assume that IT should take the lead on the project (because, after all, it is about a technology platform), in truth the finance or accounting team should lead since they will be the ones using the platform daily. A representative from each major stakeholder group should have a place on the team including operations, accounting, marketing, and more to ensure full representation.
- Identify an executive sponsor: The executive sponsor is someone on the executive level who truly believes in the project and is willing to help with shepherding approvals through the executive group, guiding the team, and lending support.
- Block adequate time: Make sure that everyone on the team blocks adequate time in their calendars to work on the project. This may mean shifting work responsiblities to ensure they have the necessary availability to assist with the project.
- Make the wish list: What items do you wish to see in a new cloud accounting system? Now is the time to create your list, including any automations and reports that would truly save time and improve decision making.
- Remember to think big: It’s easy to limit your wish list to things you already know about but keep an open mind. When discussing cloud accounting systems with vendors, explore their recommendations—you may be surprised by what is available and within your budget.
- Note system dependencies: Cloud accounting systems do not function in a vacuum. Often, they’ll need to work with other legacy systems in the company. Ensure your IT team is fully aware of any interdependencies and discuss with the cloud accounting platform vendor or consultant.
- Explore reporting needs: When evaluating cloud accounting platforms, request a demonstration of common reports. Explore all the reporting functions you and your team may need. Be sure to note any customizations that may be needed; a system that requires extensive customizations may not be the best choice if it hints at a future of constant tweaks.
- Review security features: Most cloud systems offer exceptional security, including two-factor authentication, role-based permissions, offsite backups, and more. Take the time to discuss any security needs with the vendors and with your team. Review all security features in the new system, especially those that protect personally identifiable information such as credit card information, etc.
- Establish training schedules: It’s important that all system users of the new cloud accounting platform have adequate training. Schedule training sessions for teams in advance and ask for one volunteer to be trained as a “super user” or someone with more in-depth training to answer team questions as needed.
- Clean the data: One step that’s often overlooked when moving from on-premises to cloud systems is cleaning the existing data. Before moving data from one system to another, take the time to clean up old records, remove duplicates, and fix incomplete records. You want your new cloud accounting system to have accurate data—remember the old adage, “garbage in, garbage out,” still applies.
Making the Shift to Cloud Accounting
One last bit of advice: when making the shift to cloud accounting, do so all at once. Some companies are tempted to leave a period of transition with both systems running simultaneously, but this defeats the purpose of moving to the cloud. The data between the systems will differ, causing confusion and duplicate records. Set a cutover date, make the move, and enjoy your new system!
Mindover—Your Digital Transformation Partner
If it’s time to embrace digital transformation for your company, a good partner is an important part of a successful shift. Mindover’s consultants can help you assess your digital transformation and software needs and create an action plan for your digital transformation. Contact us or call 512-990-3994.