There is a big movement happening within business at the moment. The Cloud software movement. Here Robson Laidler’s client cloud manager Nick Wilson shares his thoughts on the process of adopting the Cloud in 4 simple steps:
Step 1 – Selecting
The selection process is undoubtedly the most intense part. If you think about any situation in your life, lets take picking a new TV for example, you spend a lot of time looking for the best one to suit your needs. Make sure your chosen Cloud platform has all the latest features and ultimately is fit for purpose now and will be for upcoming years.
Obviously, you could jump straight in and get the all singing all dancing software, which will do what you require but about 90% of the features you will never use.
It is really important that this time is spent creating a shortlist of three suitable programmes and analysing the best for you. If you are collaborating or working with an advisor then this process will be reduced as they usually have a bank of suitable apps and knowledge to filter out those that are inappropriate.
There are 3 main steps in the selection process;
- Reviewing your current system (what works well, what can be improved and what do you need to help)
- Deciding on your budget (software now is generally good value for money but there is a wide range of prices) and
- Knowing where to look to make sure you have access to the best options. Our preffered provider is Xero, however there are others to choose from. I recommend looking in three places –
- Ask us or your advisor
- Ask your team as they may have some good ideas and suggestions
- Xero marketplace. Really cool and you can search by industry type or required function.
Step 2 – Converting
This step is less involved than selecting but just as important. It is the basis from which the financial information is formed in the future.
I will explain the process we take at Robson Laidler to ensure you get a full picture of the process.
Firstly, we hold a meeting (face to face, zoom or call) to determine what you want from the reporting side of Xero. It may be that you want the sales to be split across multiple types or you want the staff costs to be apportioned to direct cost and overheads.
You may also want to have different departments set up or if you are a charitable company, different funds.
Once we know what you want out of it we can build it around your requirements.
The next step is to ensure all of the previous financial data is brought into the system so that the balance sheet and other elements show a true reflection of the position or performance.
It is at this point we determine the best approach from the following;
- Take the current system set up and all historic information from the last 2 years and import it into Xero
- Take the current year to date and import it into Xero
- Start fresh with a new chart of accounts and a new way of working from this day going forward.
All options work well depending on what your needs are.
Part of the conversion process includes integrating any apps and making sure the automation from bank feeds or payment services is all set up.
Step 3 – Training
It is worth pointing out from the start that Xero has an amazing help community out there however, the training I am talking about here is to help you make sure you hit the ground running rather than trying to figure it out alone.
Learning something new is normally something you would rather not do, by nature you fall back into your comfort zone but with the right help and guidance you can’t even tell you’ve left it!
The usual process is to deliver the training in a few hours when you first get access to Xero. This is to stop you having a look and developing bad habits. We give you an overview of the features and then start to drill into the elements that are going to have the biggest impact first. For most people these are the invoicing and expenses functions.
After around 2 weeks another visit is arranged to just go over any additional questions you may have and steer you back on the right path if something didn’t quite click or you have developed a unique way of doing it.
The training is fairly flexible so that it interrupts your day as little as possible but between our visits we are always on the other end of the phone if you need us.
We also have people come to us who have not had the right guidance and would like some help too – we are happy to help you all.
The last step and most fun is Using.
Once the three steps above have been completed there is not much left to say about this other than start saving time, worry and hair!
Start benefitting from professional looking invoices, full traceability and a new accounting package that is ready for the future!
If you have any questions or concerns or just want to know more please drop Nick an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) give him a call (0191 281 8191) or get in touch on social media: @robsonlaidler