Switching accounting software - how many years?

How many years of data should you transfer into the new accounting system?

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A client wants to switch from one accounting software to another.

The question I have how many years do you convert, what is best practice? Historically we have done current and prior, basically two years. We've not had any problems as a result of this. However the absence of issues doens't mean its best practice!

How many years do you transfer when doing a switch as a matter of course?

On Movemybooks the cost for additional years is not an issue for this client. 


Replies (13)

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By Truthsayer
05th Dec 2023 10:43

I've never known a system give a choice. Anyway, what's wrong with converting all years? The datafile is tiny unless you are dealing with a large company.

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Replying to Truthsayer:
By rmillaree
05th Dec 2023 10:57

I've never known a system give a choice.

movemybooks offer all the extra options at an added cosst - so its very much the fact that one need to choose exactly what bells and whistles one wants

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By rmillaree
05th Dec 2023 10:55

its pretty obvious that each client has different needs - i would always want as much data as possible personally - sometimes its highly useful to be able to cros check back 3 years for last order or whatever so it could potentially be even more useful for client.

at the end of thre day it costs though so thats up to client if they want to pay

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Routemaster image
By tom123
05th Dec 2023 11:39

In my recent experience, we just get to import the opening TB and the ageing associated with any sub ledgers - and then pay through the nose for read only licences for a few years.

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Replying to tom123:
By rmillaree
05th Dec 2023 13:19

you might be missing a trick if you are not pimping out the free movemybooks options - it depends on software you are moving to though. Your software of choice and movemybooks may not get on together.

Note ref movemybooks its all about military precison to get thh best out of it

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By RobbieT
05th Dec 2023 12:51

I ask the client. Some want to see what they were doing 5 years ago and are happy to pay for a few year-end journals; some don't care about what they were doing last week. I'll always put one year's comparatives as a minimum so the software can replicate this year's annual accounts. I encourage them to go back 4 years or more unless their business has pivoted significantly in the interim.

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By pdtaylor78
05th Dec 2023 13:29

Have a look are movemybooks limitations in relation to the software you are moving from and to and the post coversion tasks. I once moved 6 years of data only to find that created quite a lot of post converstion tasks, mainly in relation to having to manually reconile a large number transactions in Xero. I now tend to stick the the free current and previous year offering unless a client has a specific need to access historic data.

You also need to take into account what access you will have to the old software, will that be read only or no access at all. Taking into account the need to keep that data for a HMRC enquiry.

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Replying to pdtaylor78:
By exceljockey
06th Dec 2023 14:49

Client moving from QBO to Xero. Client has opted for the standard two years with movemybooks.

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John Toon
By John Toon
05th Dec 2023 17:25

It's not a matter of what movemybooks can/can't do. It's really about whether or not it's worth moving all that data in the first place. There is no best practice either, but a business does need to comply with record keeping requirements.

Usually when we have this discussion with clients (and you're obvs talking a Sage to Xero conversion) they want everything moving across for that just in case moment when they sold that widget to that one off customer 15 years ago and want to check what price it was.

That's clearly a nonsense so you revert back to what can the existing system do in terms of data access vs what's the cost of moving all the data (or at least 6 years worth)? If you can get away with read only access at relative low cost then keep it there. The likelihood is that any business will have accumulated a reasonable chunk of data over a period of time and much of it (maybe surprisingly) is often totally irrelevant to current operations.

If you can't have read only access at relative low cost then you either have to lump the cost, export everything into excel (hopefully with some sort of backup) and hope that HMRC don't come knocking or lift and shift to the new system with the associated cost based on the various trade offs.

Whatever you do with the historic, or more recent, data I'd always recommend a data cleanse on the COA, customer details etc - it's often missed :(

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paddle steamer
05th Dec 2023 17:32

What these days is the legal requirement for say companies to retain accounting records, used to be 6 years but something niggles in my head that this has been changed. If no electronic records presume lots of daybook and ledger printouts will be needed.

Must admit I like keeping books and records, then again we still have properties we have owned since the 1970s so technically need post 82 records to support costs to be claimed if we sell these.

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By paul.k2
05th Dec 2023 20:17

I have lost count of the amount of historic data I have converted over the years for no obvious benefit to the people who are paying for the service.

People like the idea of having it there, but I rarely if ever see them making any use of it.
So the important questions are: what do you plan to do with this data and how much of it do you really need.

One question I do hear from users is do they need to convert data for the purposes of HMRC or are there other more appropriate ways of retaining this data.

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
07th Dec 2023 10:16

Convert 2 to 3 years using Movemybooks. Take an Excel download of prior years (TB, Transaction listing, Aged Drs, Aged Crs, Journals, Audit Trail (if it exists), FAR, etc.

Password protect the Excel as Read Only!

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By paulwakefield1
07th Dec 2023 10:43

I have been surprised how often I have had to delve back into old records long after conversion. The conversions being for usually the standard 2 years.

Fortunately, in most cases, the previous records used to be on Sage and I can still access them (the versions are up to and including V21 so just before the "we will switch off access when you phone home" debacle).

Otherwise I think it is convert at a cost or loads of backed up downloads. I would probably go for the latter in addition anyway as I have no faith in any system, including cloud software, being immune from disaster.

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