Realm Digital

The transition to any cloud-based solution can be a daunting one for a business. We explore the factors that need to be considered when moving to cloud-based accounting software solution, Xero.

We sat down with Francois Joubert (CA, SA) from Zuydam Konsult, audit, tax and accounting experts based in Cape Town. They provide financial advice and insight in the financial services industry. If you are considering moving to Xero, but don’t know where to start, read further.

Q: Why would a business consider moving to Xero?

A: As an accountant, Xero has not only revolutionised the way accounts are processed, but also the way accountants or bookkeepers can interact with their clients. As a cloud-based accounting program it allows for automation and access to all parties from anywhere in the world.

Xero has opened up new ways of running your business. You no longer have to wait 30 days or longer to see what your business is currently doing because it’s real-time and easily accessible.

By using your phone, tablet or laptop, you can be on top of your debtors, creditors and bank with a click or swipe.

What processes can be automated with Xero?

A: Xero has some great automation features. In our firm, we strive to use as many of the features as possible to assist our clients effectively.

Some of these features include automatic bank updates every 24 hours, bank rules that ease the processing burden on all your bank accounts and auto invoicing, just to name a few.

Xero offers the normal run-of-the-mill accounting software functionalities, however as it is cloud-based, it allows for endless integrations.

Some of these integrations includes sophisticated inventory and warehouse management software, to simple time sheet management.  

Q: What does the migration process entail?

A: When we assist our clients with the migration process, it entails the transfer of historic data into Xero. This would ordinarily be for two financial years, into Xero. That means that when you start to use Xero, all the historic information is readily available. You do not need to keep the old software license active to access your old data.

We also included some unique features in the migration process such as custom invoice templates, linking your bank account directly to Xero, import of stock, link to additional peripheral add-on’s, custom reporting and other specialised features.

We strive to provide a solution where we can assist a client to seamlessly transition over from there legacy software, to Xero, fully trained and ready to go!

Q: What should be considered before moving over?

A: As with all software changes, timing and preparation is key. Moving can happen at any time of the year, however in the middle of a VAT period is not advisable. It creates unnecessary pressure on the accountants post-migration. You will also have to allow for 3-5 days of downtime, depending on the complexity of the migration. In this period no processing can be done on the old system or all process will have to be re-done on Xero.

The data on the legacy system is transferred “like-for-like”, therefore processing should be up to a point where it can be easily picked up from.

The other major factor is the availability of staff for training. We usually recommend combining the downtime with the training of the staff.

Q: What do you need to have in place before moving to Xero?

A: The Xero journey is very easy to start with. All good business owners have a plan.

We, as a rule, firstly sit down with our clients to understand their business and what it is they require from their accounting system. We assist in navigating the capabilities of Xero and to customise the setup, access and reporting accordingly. 

Furthermore, I would suggest that the staff is properly trained. This eases the transition into a new software.

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