The current COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly putting a huge strain on businesses across the world.

I often speak to finance directors, and for many, the current lockdown will be causing additional disruption because of their legacy accounting software.

In this article, I’ve outlined six pieces of advice for surviving the lockdown with the accounting software you have.

1) Keep up-to-date and accurate:

One of the most important things to do is ensure you are always in control of the finances. Ideally, it should be the first job of the day - for someone in your finance team to keep on top of the situation, and keep:

  • Bank transactions up-to-date
  • Up-to-date on who you owe
  • Up-to-date on who owes you
  • Your cash flow forecast up-to-date
  • Everything accurate

By taking these daily actions staying in control will be quicker in the long run.

You should also double-check that your data is being regularly backed up, and that you have a downloaded snapshot of your data including documents such as stored pdf purchase invoices.

2) Make good use of the technology you have available:

Hopefully, you will be using an accounting software application that is cloud-based, reliable, robust and fast.

During the disruption, your customers may mislay your invoices and things may get in the way of making payments at the correct times.

By making use of features within your system, such as tracking that sales invoices have been received using ‘send & track’ options, you can make processes within your finance team as efficient as possible.

Many accounting solutions also include options to allow you to e-mail debtor statements and reminders frequently, and monitor payment agreements made with customers.

3) Think about your security:

With most, if not all, of your team working from home, there may be a lot of people accessing your accounting application using different devices. So from a security point of view, if it is not already enabled, switch on two-factor-authentication for everyone.

4) Think about cutting costs where you can:

Today’s flexible licensing options allow for an immediate increase or reduction in the number of users you pay for, so if you have to cut back don’t forget to adjust your license as every little helps.

5) Deal with the frustrations:

The vast majority of my clients have support contracts in place so that they can get in touch when any issues arise, if they have any questions, or if they need some additional training.

Do not put up with frustrations - if you are not happy about the connectivity or speed or something else, make sure you ask for assistance from your support partner.

6) Think about if it is time to change:

The reliance on spreadsheets can be an indicator that an accounting system is not being used either to its full potential or does not have suitable capabilities for your organisation. Perhaps this is the time to start considering modernising to an innovative and unified solution that benefits all team members.

You may even be using this time to consider cutting infrastructure and legacy license costs, or to look to streamline your processes and make them more efficient. You can do this by modernising and switching to a true cloud solution.

From my experience with clients, switching from legacy software to a cloud-based solution often saves significant amounts just within the first year - even after taking into consideration your initial investment to implement the new software.

With more than three decades supporting businesses with IT, accounting software and change-management, I have helped lots of financial directors to smoothly transition from their legacy accounting software to a cloud accounting solution that best suits their needs.