This question is one Red Wing Software is asked frequently, being an accounting software company. Making the decision to move to a different software package can be tough, especially taking into consideration all the additional work in transferring data and learning the new system. Even so, your business needs change; software becomes outdated, and sometimes switching software is best for your business. So, when is the best time to switch?
You might think the best time to switch accounting software software is at the start of the calendar year. This is when the fiscal year begins for many companies, so this is an appealing choice. Switching at the start of the year can be the best way to go because if your fiscal year has just ended, you can still get all of your reports in the prior package, and start fresh with the new one. It’s a clean break. Do keep in mind though, that many other companies also think that way. Therefore, it’s the busiest time of year for accounting software companies. Their support staff is extremely busy answering phone calls because of year-end. Because it’s such a busy time, training options might be limited, and phone support will be in high-demand. This presents a good reason to consider switching software at a different time of year. Year-end might also be a hectic time for your company, simply because of the fact that you are wrapping everything up.
Perhaps the best alternative to switching software at year-end is to plan for the switch during a time your business is the least busy. (If there is not any less busy time, congratulations—rejoice for that fact!) Make sure all of the employees who need to learn the system will be present when training occurs. Also, try to minimize distractions as much as possible during the switch, making sure things like huge product deliveries or physical inventory counts are not scheduled during the transition time.
Making a plan for switching to a new accounting system will make all the difference in the success of the transition. Create a well-thought out plan, with a timeline, detailing who will do what, and approximately when they will do it. That way each person knows what is expected. Also, the leader of the project can send updates to those involved regularly, letting them know the status and whether any delays have occurred. In fact, having a plan and a project manager can make all the difference, and will make the transition more comfortable for all involved.
Most importantly, make use of the software company’s support team. They have surely helped others in your situation with software switches, and can help you too.