Converting Sage Pro Databases – Old News vs New News?
I am always surprised that one of the first questions my clients usually ask, after I introduce the idea of ‘migrating’ to another accounting solution is “but what about my old data?” Intuitively, I get it. I understand the concern. Who wants to re-key system-set-ups such as Customers, Vendors, and Inventory or Billing Line items into the new system? Unless there are only a couple hundred records in the maintenance files, it is hard to defend the notion of viewing it as a “training lesson.” And, unless you have an army of high school students (preferably your own kith and kin), who would want to pay for such an exercise?
But after Maintenance files, what else do you want to bring over? Our attention usually turns to opening balances; Aged Accounts Receivable, Aged Accounts Payable, Inventory On Hand, Open/Partially shipped/Received Sales Orders and Purchase Orders. These decisions are not so easy. Nowadays, everyone can export a data file, but having unmapped data is not enough to easily reconcile an opening balance from one system to another. In every Sage Pro ERP migration we have done to date (more than 17!), we engage with our clients on the value of the information, and alternative solutions are discussed. For instance, can we simply ‘pay down’ our open payables and leave those larger checks in our top drawer until we have the funds to pay them? Or, is it good enough to bring over ‘remaining open balance by transaction’ rather than re-creating all the receipts or payments against one particular AR/AP line item.
The darkest cloud in our migration discussion usually begins with, “I need to have all of my old data in the new accounting system.” I ask, “But why? The old system can retrieve historical data for years to come. Even if the version of Pro requires an older operating system, most businesses can suborn keeping an old machine around just for recovering old transactions. (The one exception came from a Fortune 100 company that cannot, by matter of IT policy support any vestigial systems.)
One interesting exception may be found in the General Ledger. Some of our customers rightly want to see their financial statements, particularly Trial Balances, side-by-side with the current comparative period. We’ve been able to accommodate them through a variety of views, including setting the Sage Business Intelligence tool or Crystal reports, to pull data from the Sage Pro GL or even a simple Excel trial balance report, and peg it against the current period, quarter or year.
Today, we have choices for bringing over old information. First, the Publisher (in this case Sage Software) is working on delivering an import program. We are hoping to see something this summer of 2011. And, we at Net at Work, already have developed some of our own entry systems to successor ERP’s.
Our clients are enterprising. They are taking a hard look at what they really need to run their businesses, opting for a strong future with great systems for information gathering at a glance, and leave the past behind them.