4.2.2020

Accountant’s guide to surviving ERP migration

As organisations are preparing for an ERP migration, these are some of the pragmatic implementation concerns accounting leaders are facing.

  • How will we ensure record-to-report (R2R) processes in the new ERP system will be implemented correctly.
  • How can we stabilise our R2R process during the ERP migration, working in multiple systems side by side?
  • Can we assure the integrity and access to financial data at all stages of the migration project?
  • Will we be able to keep the financial reporting schedules despite key people being tied up by the migration?
  • What kind of new skills my finance team needs going forward?

On top of that, finance teams have to make sure the new ERP system will provide the critical functionalities and fluent end-to-end process flows. Over the years at Aico we have helped accounting leaders deal with these questions and here are few tips for surviving your ERP migration project.

1. Validate your new ERP for critical R2R process functionalities.  

Often ERP functionalities supporting R2R processes can be very limited. Hence many large organisations don’t settle with the ERP alone and seek for additional applications to improve process management and automation. According to Gartner, over 85% of organisations will continue to deploy add-on applications for financial close processes on top of their ERP system.

  • Make sure your must-have R2R functionalities are available in the new ERP system.
  • Validate if the new ERP supports all required regional accounting standards (i.e. GAAP and IFRS).
  • Pay attention to the user experience, and end-to-end process flows of the new ERP.

2.  Consider add-on applications to support your R2R processes. 

When choosing add-on applications for financial close consider – what type of integration they provide to other R2R applications and to your ERP systems. Conventional applications operate in silos and utilise some kind of batch file upload connectors for fetching data back-and-forth from your  ERP system. This accumulates too long wait times and your team working with potentially outdated data or invalid rules. Most likely your team can’t afford this kind of obstacles at the busiest time of the month? Instead, you should be looking for solutions to bring all financial close applications into one process and connect them live to all ERPs. This is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page and that resources are utilised optimally.

3. Choose solutions, which match your processes. 

Once you have defined your ideal R2R process, configure your ERP system or add-on application to match it, not the other way around. Your tools should support your business lines, regions, time zones and currencies. Ideally, technology should enable you to enter data only once and have it approved before it arrives to your accounting team.

4. Mitigate risks. 

  • Change is never easy, so make sure that you get buy-in from your accounting team for the new solution.  
  • Pay attention to the user experience and simplicity of the new applications, as that will shorten the time needed to learn to use them. 
  • Establish safe intermediary like Aico between the old and the new ERP system to ensure an audit trail during the ERP migration process. 

The list above summarises some key learnings from financial ERP migration projects and hopefully helps R2R managers and accounting team leaders anticipate potential pitfalls. To highlight a customer success story in this area, read how Neste is managing their migration from Oracle to SAP. Lastly, as organisations shift their focus from technology to outcomes and experiences, the need for a solid core of enterprise business capabilities is more critical than ever. Do not make cost reductions the key driver of a cloud finance transformation.

About Aico

Aico helps large organisations with multiple legal entities and a large amount of manual finance activities to complete their financial close faster and more accurately.

Aico platform is a suite of financial close automation and management applications, which automates manual and repetitive work and connects finance teams, applications and ERP systems into one workflow. Aico platform enables finance teams to complete period-end closing tasks, manual journal entries and account reconciliations from one user interface with live connection to the ERP systems.

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