Migrating Your Financial Accounting Software To The Cloud: A 5-Point Checklist For SMBs
Is your small- to medium-sized business (SMB) finally moving your financial accounting software from your server in the basement to the cloud? If so, that’s a great decision!
However, successful migrations aren’t easy without help. Here are five tips on how to seamlessly move through this critical process and start enjoying the benefits of a cloud ERP solution.
- Build the perfect timeline for the migration: Planning the right time of the year is critical. Determine your own busy periods and avoid them. If you’re starting an implementation, give yourself 90 to 120 days to pick a kickoff date for the project. From there, work backward to time evaluations and decision-making. Assume a 45- to 60-day sales process to work toward that deadline. This allows time before completing the contracts for an evaluation period.
- Pick the right vendor by asking around: Evaluate possible vendors as much as possible before engaging in the sales process. Referrals are highly important. And remember, you can learn a lot from a company and its solution before you ever commit to entering the sales process. In other words, know what you want and need, and make sure the system provides those features. Some companies make the mistake of jumping into the conversion process and must learn about the software along the way. This is a bad idea because you might get directed into a point of view that’s not in your best interest. Vendors that provide evaluation tools and white papers are most likely to have a good sales process, because they expect you to evaluate them. Peer evaluation can provide authentic “from-the-trenches” views on the software.
- Avoid hidden costs and fees: Make sure you clearly understand what you’re paying for. The value of the cloud is that it removes a great deal of costs — hardware, support, maintenance, etc. — that are ongoing but not always considered appropriately. Often, the biggest problems occur when companies don’t understand a contract or deliverable. Scope creep happens because companies keep asking for features not included in the original price. Deployments will last longer and cost more if you don’t read the fine print. This is why you must demand a fixed bid.
- Don’t undervalue the cloud: Don’t dismiss the value that the cloud brings. Avoid getting hung up on license or monthly subscription fees. Instead, look into the lowest total cost of ownership. Your on-premises financial accounting software solution won’t seem so cheap if you calculate all the costs to maintain and upgrade the system. And remember, a cloud ERP system includes updates to the tax code, service packs, tech support and many other additional services within an application that you need but will never have to ask for.
- Always review deliverables: Be clear about the deliverables. Include these expectations in excruciating detail. Otherwise, you’ll hear this phrase: “That wasn’t included in our estimate. It’s extra.” Get everything in writing as part of the statement of work (SOW) before you sign any contracts. If something you expect isn’t contained in the SOW, make sure it gets added and that the provider tells you if it’s not.
You’ve made the right move! You’ve decided to empower your financial accounting efforts by moving to the cloud. Just make sure you comb through the fine print and put everything in writing. If you do, your migration to the cloud should be a great experience.