Modern Accounts software – you don’t know how lucky you are!

Having helped a client migrate from a combination of very old software and modern cloud based software to a fully integrated and “high end” accounting software. And we have gone backwards at least 5 years in many areas, and in some areas back to the early days of software.

The bank reconciliation and bank data entry is a classic example. Having had bank feeds working for over 5 years, it came as a very nasty shock to have to go through all the bank statements and have to pick up all the direct debits, transfers, cheques etc and have to key them into the accounting software manually. This is something that has not had to be done for 5 years… suddenly there is a lot more work to do. Yes, they would have had to allocate the payments in that period, but with a combination of bank rules and memorised payments this was often a very quick procedure with suggested postings offered.

Entering the bank transactions was now a challenge too – none of the choices of bank payments or receipts, or even debits and credits ….we are now in the realms of + and -, quite a challenge for some!

It appears the training did not address all the practical issues. Payments to suppliers are in the main paid via BACS, many suppliers being paid with one transaction so we would expect to see say £75,000 on the bank account, which may have 20 -30 figures making this up. However, the bookkeeper had entered them all individually (as she had done before), but in the past, she had been able to enter a reference alongside them e.g the first batch of payments on 31 August would have a reference 3108/1. It was easy then to find the reference to match them up. No reference field exists, so no way of identifying which payments in a list of hundreds matches the total. And that is just the start of the problem….the bank reconciliation is a separate routine and the transactions on the bank statements screen needs to be populated. There is an ability to auto-populate this based on due dates of invoices, but this proved totally unusable. It is possible to import a csv file from the bank, but as identified above, there will be £75,000 on the bank statement reconciliation screen and a very laborious process is required to match the 20-30 payments which make it up.

And it gets worse…. When entering sales receipts there was also no reference field. Those paying by direct debit are no problem, but with several paying in books in use, this is going to be an absolute nightmare to sort out the last few weeks.

A reference field now exists, a bit of a workaround to be fair, but it is there, and with a change to the methodologies of posting, it should get a bit easier…..  but there are a few sleepless nights and a few days’ work coming up to sort the ‘mess’ and try to get on an even keel.

All this extra work and the transition to the new software has resulted in other areas not being kept up to date either. Petty cash for instance, whilst a small part of the overall picture, had not been posted for weeks.

The VAT return was an interesting experience too. Inputs and outputs are in separate codes, and posting the VAT moves the balances on these into an overall VAT Account. One would expect the payment to or receipt from HMRC to clear this balance, but the system would not allow postings to this “control” account. The settings had to be changed to allow this to happen.

This migration seems a classic example of apparently taking one step forward but in reality going two steps backward.

 Anyone have similar experiences?