A Checklist for Small Businesses: Migrating Your Financial Accounting Software to the Cloud

Are you ready to take your small business to the next level by migrating your financial accounting software from your server in an office closet to a cloud-based solution? If so, you're making a smart choice! But that decision can be a daunting one so we've made it easy with a checklist to keep you on track. 

However, navigating successful migrations can be challenging without assistance. Here are some key insights to guide you through this pivotal process and begin reaping the rewards of a cloud-based ERP solution, such as Dynamics Business Central and similar platforms.

 

  • Build the perfect timeline for the migration. 
    Timing is crucial when planning for the migration process. Identify your peak periods and avoid them to ensure a smooth transition. Allocate yourself a window of 90 to 120 days to select a kickoff date for the project. Work backward from there to schedule evaluations and decision-making, allowing for a 45- to 60-day sales process to meet your deadline. This timeframe also provides room for an evaluation period before finalizing contracts.

  • Pick the right vendor by asking around
    Before diving into the sales process, take the time to thoroughly evaluate potential vendors. Referrals are key in this process, as they provide valuable insights into a company and its offerings. Understanding your business needs and desired features is crucial to finding a system that aligns with your goals. Avoid the pitfall of rushing into a conversion process without proper research, as this could lead you down a path that doesn't serve your best interests. Look for vendors that offer evaluation tools and informative white papers, as they are likely to have a well-structured sales process that encourages thorough evaluation. Peer reviews can also offer valuable perspectives from those who have firsthand experience with the software.

  • Avoid hidden costs and fees.
    Ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you are investing in. The beauty of cloud-based solutions lies in their ability to eliminate various costs such as hardware, support, and maintenance, which are often overlooked. One of the common pitfalls is when companies fail to grasp the terms of a contract or the scope of deliverables. Scope creep can arise when additional features are requested beyond the initial agreement, leading to extended timelines and increased costs. To avoid any surprises, it is essential to insist on establishing clear expectations from the start.

  • Don’t undervalue the cloud.
    Recognize the invaluable benefits that the cloud offers. Don't get hung up in the details of licensing or monthly fees. Instead, focus on the overall cost-effectiveness. When you factor in the expenses of maintaining and updating your on-premises financial software, the cloud solution emerges as a more cost-efficient option. Additionally, cloud ERP systems like Dynamics Business Central includes automatic updates, tax code revisions, technical support, and various other services seamlessly integrated into the platform, eliminating the need for constant requests.

  • Always review deliverables.
    Ensure that you outline the deliverables with meticulous detail. Failure to do so may result in unexpected surprises, with the classic response being, "That wasn't part of the original agreement. It's an additional cost." It's imperative to have everything documented in the Statement of Work (SOW) before finalizing any contracts. If there are any elements missing from the SOW that you were anticipating, make sure they are included and have the provider confirm their inclusion.

 

Congratulations on taking the next step to elevate your small business! By transitioning your financial accounting to the cloud, you are setting yourself up for success. Be sure to thoroughly review all details and document everything to ensure a smooth and rewarding migration experience. Your journey to the cloud is sure to be a positive one if you pay attention to the fine print and keep everything in writing.

Centre Technologies is committed to helping and supporting small businesses transition to secure by design cloud-based ERP solutions, like Microsoft Business Central. Contact Centre for a free tour and consultation. of Microsoft Business Central.

Originally published on March 13, 2024

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About the Author

Emily Kirk Emily Kirk

Creative content writer and producer for Centre Technologies. I joined Centre after 5 years in Education where I fostered my great love for making learning easier for everyone. While my background may not be in IT, I am driven to engage with others and build lasting relationships on multiple fronts. My greatest passions are helping and showing others that with commitment and a little spark, you can understand foundational concepts and grasp complex ideas no matter their application (because I get to do it every day!). I am a lifelong learner with a genuine zeal to educate, inspire, and motivate all I engage with. I value transparency and community so lean in with me—it’s a good day to start learning something new! Learn more about Emily Kirk »

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