Ensure a Smooth Transition: A Pre-Migration Checklist For Accounting Data Migration
March 16, 2023
March 16, 2023
Data migration is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. It is a critical part of any business transition, whether an organization is moving to new software or simply transferring data between systems.
Accounting data is particularly sensitive and requires special consideration. You’ll need to prepare certain elements ahead of time to ensure a successful transfer of financial information. Here’s a pre-migration checklist that can help guide you through the process:
Identify Reasons for Accounting Data Migration
Before beginning the data migration, it’s important to review why you’re doing it in the first place. Understanding the reasons can help inform decisions about how best to migrate the data.
Here are common reasons for migrating accounting data:
- Switching to a new system, such as an ERP or cloud-based accounting solution
- Consolidating multiple systems into a single platform
- Consolidating multiple company files or splitting company files due to M&A
- An accounting system upgrades to improve functionality and security
- Reducing manual processes to improve productivity
- Complying with new regulations and standards.
Gather Info on Both Old and New Systems of Migration
Studying the existing system and the new one can help ensure a smooth transition. Understand the data structure of each system, as well as any constraints or limitations that may be present.
Additionally, consider whether there are any technical differences between them. If you’re switching from an on-premise system to a cloud-based one, you’ll likely need to format your data accordingly.
Some details to check before combining account data:
- Does the new system have any limitations regarding storage capacity, total items or the number of users?
- Are there differences in data types that will require special handling?
- Do you need to convert legacy files into a compatible format or do you have an easy way to export files from existing legacy systems?
- Is there a DIY tool and what are the associated risks of using them?
Conduct a Data Audit
Before migrating accounting systems, it’s important to run an audit of the existing system. This includes taking inventory of what kinds of accounting records are stored and where they are located.
You will also need to assess the quality and accuracy of current information. The process will help reveal any duplicate or unnecessary records, which can then be purged prior to migration in order to save time and resources.
When reviewing the data, make sure these questions are answered:
- Are there any duplicate records that can be eliminated?
- Are all the necessary fields present in each record?
- Is the data organized in an efficient way for transfer?
- Does the existing system have any errors or inconsistencies that need to be corrected?
- Is there any sensitive information, such as customer credit card numbers, that needs special attention during migration?
- Are there custom fields or values that are not stored the same way on the new system? Flag these for further review.
Secure Company Approvals
A data migration checklist should include securing approval from the company’s stakeholders. It’s imperative that everyone is on board with the plans and understands the implications of the transition.
Make sure they are aware of these factors:
- The timeline for the migration process
- Any potential risks associated with the transition
- The budget and resources required to complete it
- If using an outside vendor, make sure the quote details all the data that will be transferred, where it will be stored and what may not be included.
- Discuss all inclusions and exclusions with the stakeholders.
The approval process should include sign-off from all relevant personnel, such as IT staff, finance teams, and executive leadership. This will help ensure a smooth transition and reduce any potential disruption or confusion down the line.
Test the Process
Before committing fully, test out the data migration process on smaller datasets. This will help identify any potential issues or problems that may arise during the transition and allow you to make adjustments accordingly. A professional accounting data migration partner could do this for you by hosting the image of your data on a virtual server, running tests and comparing the data on both old and new systems. This helps reduce the chances of errors or gaps.
It also gives you an opportunity to review how well the migrated data matches up with existing records and ensure accuracy before completing the switch.
After the test, review these aspects:
- Are all data fields properly migrated?
- Is there an error rate that needs to be addressed?
- Are any additional steps needed to clean up or reformat the data before it can be used in the new system?
How Much Do Accounting Data Conversions Cost?
The cost of an accounting data conversion can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the complexity of your existing systems, the nature of the target system, and the time frames.
Part of data migration best practices is to get a good estimate before committing to anything, so you know what kind of budget you’ll need to set aside for this project. A reliable accounting data migration partner would provide a detailed quote with all the inclusions and exclusions providing you with a clear set of deliverables and anticipated outcomes. Accepting blind quotes isn’t ideal and could cause delays or cost creeps.
How to Migrate Accounting Data Successfully?
DIY tools manage to do a decent job of transferring data between a small subset of accounting software. These tools are built for simple, turnkey data conversions. However, as the data gets complex, and businesses have very specific needs, these tools fall short. Such data migrations need custom scripts and a more involved process of migration. Before deciding between a DIY automated tool vs approaching a professional accounting data migration partner, read this article on what risks you must consider when using a DIY tool – more here.