When a business is considering making a change in its accounting services, many factors are given consideration and due diligence. One of the most critical areas of focus at a time of significant change is how to manage the transition effectively—and doing so can ultimately mean the difference between a successful and positive experience and failure of even the most basic accounting functions.
Outline Current Accounting Processes and Procedures
The company leaders and accounting managers know better than anyone else what is currently happening inside the company accounting. However, that doesn’t always mean the RIGHT things are happening. But before you make the switch to something that is ostensibly meant to improve financial data and accounting processes, you still have to document your current accounting.
Why? Well, because you have to make sure that you don’t drop the ball on anything you live by. From outlining how you manage deferred revenue or payroll to transitioning expense management protocols, everything starts with cataloging everything you currently do. Your online accounting services provider may be able to assist you by going through your files and helping point out all of the different processes and procedures you likely require.
Connect the Dots to New Online Accounting Services
If your new online accounting service offers file analysis and documentation, take them up on it. This will often relieve you of the burden of outline all of your current accounting processes and help you ensure that each old task to transitioned to a new tasks without anything falling through the cracks. If you have any accounting staff departing before the transition, this will also help you make sure that you don’t overlook anything important.
Ask Probing Questions About Security and Startup Time
Proposals, demos and agreements always look bright and shiny. Full of promises and better ways to do things, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of new services taking over. However, if you don’t ask probing questions about what to expect after you sign, you might be in for some heartache.
Make sure you know who will be directly managing your account, their qualifications and credentials, and their tenure with the company. Ask about how long the onboarding process is, whether they will be responsible for your accounting on day one or whether there will be any gaps, and what you need to do alongside to support them. It is often the case that you will be more involved rather than less in the early stages of the transition—but you don’t want to end up blindsided two weeks into your engagement when you don’t know the details.
Know Who Is Responsible For Every Bookkeeping and Controller Function
Your old way of doing things may have included multiple internal staff members or a single accountant wearing too many hats. An online accounting service will likely be assigning multiple staff to your account—and their responsibilities may vary. Make sure you know who will be responsible for what tasks and who to reach out to for what and when. It will make your life much easier.
Have a Transition Roadmap in Place At The Very Beginning
If you have done all of the aforementioned, you likely naturally started to draft a roadmap for your transition. From old company processes to new team members, there are a lot of moving parts to transitioning to online accounting services. The right service can help you create this roadmap and take the burden off you as much as possible. Just make sure you have a clear picture of expectations, deliverables and requirements before you start the transition and you will be successful.