Hudled Blog

What you must know before Migrating to NetSuite

Are you considering upgrading your accounting system? It’s a good problem to have, it normally means you’re growing. It’s a huge decision to migrate from QuickBooks or Xero and cost aside, it can be a lengthy and expensive process if approached incorrectly. This guide explores why you would migrate to NetSuite and if you do, the best practices to ensure your implementation runs smoothly.

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Alex Millar, CPA
May 11, 2021
What you must know before Migrating to NetSuite

Why would you upgrade?

Better reporting

  • Centralise reporting, rather than having multiple QuickBooks + Xero accounts for different regions
  • Automate your consolidation process
  • Process higher volume of transactions with ease
  • Custom dashboard and deeper analysis for FP&A teams
  • Handle multi-currency of different entities 

Centralized system

  • Consolidate finance, supply-chain and logistics into one system
  • Data integrity and improve internal controls

Powerful automation 

  • Create custom permissions and controls
  • Ease of integration with other third party apps
  • Flexible - nearly anything can be done

How to ensure your migration runs smoothly

Be clear on why you are changing systems - what are you hoping to achieve? Examples are increase in revenue, increase efficiency, reduced costs. This will help communicate internally why changes are occurring.

1. Staff preparation

When migrating to NetSuite, it’s critical that every stakeholder has a clear understanding of what needs to be done. Whether you’re managing the migration directly, or going through a NetSuite partner,  it’s critical that you prepare thoroughly by:

Who will this impact:

  • List every employee affected by the migration
  • Identify employee and agency roles in the implementation
  • Create a budget for the key stakeholders
  • Create a timetable with key milestones

Identify the technical requirements:

  • Data exports
  • GL mapping and review chart of accounts
  • Data preparation and formatting
  • Form customization

Define roles of key stakeholders in the migration:

  • Advisory – provides feedback, recommendations, and ideas button directly involved in implantation
  • Advisory and technical – Contributes ideas and recommendations and also helps with technical  processes such as data preparation, formatting and importing
  • Technical only – offering help with technical analysis such as management and data analysis

Identify risk items that may impact the migration:

  • Will it overlap with quarterly or year end reporting

  • Make sure you choose a reliable NetSuite implementation partner. Apart from the implementation itself, the post go-live support and ongoing customisations are vital to extracting the most value.
  • Certain partners have special arrangements with NetSuite and are able to score huge subscription discounts for their clients.
  • Have a change plan - what will change for the business, for the users?

2. Create a project plan

How will this work?

  • Create a communication schedule of all meetings with your implementation partners  and department leads
  • What are the expectations of all team members on the project
  • What systems are being migrated
  • What data sources will be migrated

Do you need to customise anything?

Know the the timeline for custom features and engage with your NetSuite partner to agree on:

  • Kick off date
  • Data sources
  • Customization required
  • User testing
  • When you will be going live
  • Post go-live support

  • NetSuite stores all your data tables and you can reference all data points to build custom live reports either directly in NetSuite or using a 3rd party BI platform. 

3. Create a migration plan

The migration plan includes the roles and responsibilities of internal and external team members and identifies the timelines and requirements for each data source to be migrated.

The plan would need to consider customer and vendor records, marketing, payroll, fundraising, inventory and your CRM

  • Entities incorporated in different countries may require additional licences for those countries.
  • NetSuite stores all your data tables and you can reference all data points to build custom live reports either directly in NetSuite or using a 3rd party BI platform. 

4. Project Implementation

The time required to migrate largely varies due to the number of applications and customisation that’s being done. Here’s how the implementation would work:

1. NetSuite system build

  • Building and setting up your NetSuite system without customization
  • System customization

2. Data migration preparation

  • Data Migration plan
  • Data cleansing and preparation
  • Admin Training
  • Training Key users
  • User Acceptance testing - Test different use cases to make sure all the systems and customizations included behave as expected. The implementation team conducts a QA

3. Data migration

  • Conduct QA and final testing

4. Go live

  • End user training

  • Implementation and system testing is a lengthy process so making deadlines flexible or building slack into the project will help avoid cutting corners which can backfire down the track.  
  • It can also be useful to hire an internal resource to look after the general system administration as it can be quite complex for anyone without prior NetSuite experience to handle efficiently.
  • Take the time to review processes prior to engaging with the implementation team. 
  • Biggest mistake is sticking to existing processes that were created around old systems. Take the opportunity to see what best practice is and see if that would be more efficient or better for you.

5. Project performance monitoring

Finally, closely monitor the progress of the implementation of the project. This allows you to see and quickly adjust the project accordingly, when the scope or certain operations do not adhere to your plan.

 It is also important to constantly check on the performance of the project so you can identify and act on any issues before they become too large. 

  • Speed - can be slow, especially when transaction volumes are high or there are many custom scripts running in the background. 
  • NetSuite allows purchasing additional bandwidth which comes at an extra cost.

The process of migrating will certainly take some time, but it will be worth it in the long run. And don't forget, as a Hudled customer you're entitled to an exclusive discount if you migrate to NetSuite which will save you thousands!

Illustration by Freepik Storyset

Written By

Alex Millar, CPA

CEO & Cofounder of Hudled. A real-time platform for teams in growing companies to track and optimise their software stack

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