When it’s time to implement a new accounting software, launching on the first day of a new fiscal year may seem like the obvious choice. But whether that falls on January 1 or your company’s unique Day 1 date, going live at that time with an entirely new system may not be ideal.
Government contractors looking to start or upgrade their accounting systems to a new software application have much to consider to make going live a smooth and successful event.
Typically, a company will start the process of determining their needs and requirements for a new accounting system in their third or fourth quarters or even a year ahead of time. They spend a generous amount of time exploring options, going through demonstrations, and researching the legal components (like licensing).
So, it may seem like choosing a launch date may seem like an easy part of this process – but many factors can impact the success of implementation, both good and bad.
Considerations for accounting software launch dates
Any change can be difficult for a team to navigate. Making sure everyone is fully prepared and ready to adapt will dramatically improve the process and ensure a smoother transition.
Concrete deadlines (3-6 months before launch)
It’s important to have specific dates set to achieve system implementation goals. Deadlines keep everyone accountable for their responsibilities. New software launches involve multiple steps with dependencies – miss one and everything following will be delayed, potentially at a cost in both time and dollars.
Leadership communication (entire process)
Transparency is vital during all phases of launching a new accounting software. Leadership should communicate to all team members early in the process to verify involvement, provide time for planning, and alleviate concerns.
“We’re looking into a new accounting system … here are the options we are looking at … we’ve decided on this software … we aim to go live on this date …”
Be open to the valuable thoughts and opinions others may bring to the table during this time. Even if there are differences in opinion and stubborn resistance to change, employees will know they have been heard and will appreciate the two-way communication.
Employee buy-in (3-6 months before launch)
Keeping your team in the loop will contribute to employee buy-in and support for this big change. It can be hard to convince others that change is for the better – even if you are promising to make their work more efficient and simpler.
Comprehensive training and ensuring they are not over-burdened during the transition period will boost morale and help create a supportive network for the new system.
Training (1-3 months before launch)
Employees should be fully trained and feel confident to go live before the launch date. Make sure to choose a time that allows for everyone to be prepared – and not forced to sink or swim.
Keep track of your team’s progress and make sure they have opportunities to ask questions or receive one-on-one training as needed.
Don’t cut corners by relying on video tutorials or do-it-yourself scripts to train your team. These are good resources to refer to later – but without the correct tools and training your team will be set up to fail.
Team availability and workload (3-6 months before launch)
Look ahead of time at calendars and staff availability. Avoid launch dates that fall during the holidays, higher workload periods, or popular vacation times. You want your team to be present and not overburdened during the implementation phase. Remember they will be working their normal job responsibilities on top of learning a new system.
Pros/Cons of launching on Fiscal Year Day 1
Going live on the first day of a fiscal year has its advantages and disadvantages.
By going live on day one you eliminate retroactive entries and the need to catch up on past transactions. It’s also an easier cutoff for timesheet entry and payroll processing.
But you also need to consider all that the beginning of a year brings in terms of workload and availability. If your day one is January 1, you are contending with holidays and vacations. And any start to a fiscal year involves weeks of closing the books from the prior year and the preparation of 1099s and W2s. Adding an accounting software launch to the mix can lead to overburdened workloads and the chance for costly mistakes.
Ensure a successful launch with expert support
Launching new accounting software doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Keep in mind all the considerations for deciding on a launch date and secure the support needed to keep the project on track.
Our team at WJ Technologies specializes in accounting software for government contractors and has all the tools you need to upgrade your system successfully.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you choose, plan, implement and support your new accounting software launch.
WJ Technologies is a leading provider of accounting software and services for Government Contractors. We tailor our services to meet your company’s needs offering accounting systems consulting, software evaluation and decision support, accounting services, staff augmentation, training, and government contracting services. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you!