For a successful deployment of a new accounting package, it is vital to a company’s success the accounting department be fully trained and ready to process their daily tasks in the software. When devising a plan to go live, we break the process into four different stages. These stages are categorized as Implementation Planning, Software Installation, Accounting System Configuration, and Software Training. Here is how we will define the stages.
Estimated Time: 2 Weeks
This most important step and key to implementation success is to plan. Skipping this step can make or break your transition to Total Office Manager. The expertise of knowing how all the pieces need to flow, the order of the steps, what needs to be addressed and when will impact how successful your new system is for your business.
Implementation planning is where decisions on the Chart of Accounts, customer numbers, vendors numbers, inventory items, integration, who gets trained, how to go live in a timely and safe manner all occur. During this phase, our office will meet with the key decision makers in what is referred to as a Planning Meeting. This meeting is typically conducted within 48-72 hours of joining the Aptora family. We like to see training begin within 60-120 days of the targeted “Go Live” date.
Discussion and determination of what information from your old system is needed in the new system. Be careful not to try to do more than you need or more than you find cost effective. If you invested in a data migration, our office will move some of this information for you. During the Planning Meeting, we discuss the information you are looking to migrate for setup and historical access.
Estimated Time: 1 Day
If you purchase our hosted solution, we will configure your environment for you within ten (10) business days of purchase. If you purchase the on-premise solution, you will make sure your hardware and network system is adequately configured to support the new accounting software. As several of today’s programs also offer mobile applications, additional hardware needs, installations, and/or configurations may be required.
Load the software from the installation media onto the proper workstation(s) and server(s). Installation and/or adjustments to the operating system and ancillary software such as Microsoft Windows Server, IIS, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office, etc. may be necessary.
PLEASE NOTE: Total Office Manager is a software application that connects to a SQL Server database. The SQL Server software is a Microsoft product and requires additional configuration and database monitoring. It is highly recommended the IT professional you select is knowledgeable about SQL Server configuration and database management. Configuration and database management include, but is not limited to:
- Managing data and transaction log files
- Eliminating index fragmentation
- Ensuring accurate, up-to-date statistics
- Detecting corrupted database pages
- Establishing an effective backup strategy
Ensure the proper network security and access privileges are configured for accessing various directories within your network. Network security must be incorporated into the software installation for Total Office Manager, Aptora Mobile II, and/or Aptora Mobile Form Builder. Establish any additional configuration for sister applications like Aptora Mobile II and Aptora Mobile Form Builder.
PLEASE NOTE: Aptora Mobile II is a website application that connects to a SQL Server database. It is highly recommended the IT professional you select is knowledgeable about Internet Information Systems (IIS), TCP/IP networking, domain registration and deployment, SSL Certificate configuration and deployment, and routing external web traffic to internal network computers.
Accounting Software Configuration
Estimated Time: 4-6 weeks
If your office has invested in a data migration, some information may be setup for you.
Setup of company type lists and preferences help with classification and database “rules” for various forms throughout the software. Some lists may be included if you have a migration. These lists types help to categorize data in the software. You will also customize software documents to suit your needs such as:
- Customer invoices, estimates, sales
- Customer statements
- Checks (Vendor, Payroll, Company)
- Purchase Orders
- Work Orders, etc.
Ensure all vendor contact information is correct and setup for use within the software.
Ensure all employee contact information is accurate. This would include, but not be limited to:
- Employee Payroll Setup contains the Date of Hire, SSN, and Time Sheet indicators
- Enter in Direct Deposit information, if any
- Using the Payroll Setup Wizard to create payroll items
- Setting Unemployment Tax Rates
- Creating various lists to use throughout the software
- Processing a mock payroll with Direct Deposit file for submittal to the Bank prior to first payroll run
Ensure all customer contact information is correct and setup for use within the software. If this information is migrated, you may consolidate, alter names, merge records, etc.
If you are implementing the sales lead tracking with the Sales Opportunity Manager, you will want to customize Sales Opportunity through to track sales leads within the software.
Setup of customer type lists and preferences help with classification and database “rules” for various forms throughout the software. These list types include, but may not be limited to:
- Customer Messages
- Customer Type List
- Equipment Manufacturer and Type Lists
- Job Type List
- Payment Method List
- Industry Code List
- Sales Tax Codes and Sales Tax Items
Establish and verify your company chart of accounts for assets, liabilities, equity, sales and expenses. If this information is migrated, you may consolidate, alter names, add accounts, etc. This will be your final Chart of Accounts to use for the program.
After completing your basic setup of list information and you are ready to start using the Total Office Manager program, you will enter the opening balances for the value of what you own (Assets), what you’re owed (Receivables), and what you owe (Payables, Liabilities).
Ideally, Total Office Manager needs to know your company’s financial stance as of your “Go Live” start date (the date you begin day to day entry). For accounting purposes, you will enter into Total Office Manager the value of the assets your company has, the liabilities owed, your equity (net worth), income received, and COGS/expenses incurred for the current fiscal period. This information will come from your prior software’s Balance Sheet and Income Statement.
It is strongly advised that you consult with your accountant or tax preparation specialist to ensure you are using the correct reports with the accurate balances.
Estimated Time: 4-6 weeks
Our office does provide training on software usage. Our proven 12-Step Training Program will help students learn the essentials needed to go live with their new Aptora software. The lessons are “bite sized” and can easy fit within any employee’s tight schedule. These trainings are typically conducted during a Live Online one on one session with your team, can be completed through self led training, or through investment of onsite training visits. While these trainings are not tailored to train on your company business model and your staff’s area of responsibilities, they do provide training on the fundamentals of the desktop and mobile application. Examples include but are not limited to; training the payroll department employees to add employee, HR changes and terminations, recording employee payroll data, creating work orders to dispatch technicians, running departmentalized financial reports, reviewing payables and receivables reports, reordering inventory, entering invoices and receiving payments, creating list filters, etc.
Training needs to be timed correctly so it is long enough ahead of “Go Live” to learn and complete homework, but not so far ahead your staff will forget what they learned. Although most companies employ smart people, they are not experts on the new system(s) they are implementing. The importance of training cannot be stressed enough. During the onboarding process, or team is here to ensure your are directed to the appropriate resources to aide your implementation. Additional training and consulting services are available for scheduling in the event you need further guidance and assistance to work through your specific process to ensure your transition is a success.
When you go live with Total Office Manager, we envision each department having an understanding of their daily job functions within Aptora’s Total Office Manager program. For this outline, we will define the knowledge expectations without a mobile integration.
- Look up and enter new customers
- Schedule a service call and dispatch to a technician
- Complete a call once work is done
- Navigate a customer history to locate equipment, service history, etc.
- Run employee schedules and scheduling reports
- Look up and enter new customers
- Navigate a customer’s history to locate equipment, service history, etc.
- Enter invoices
- Receive and apply payments
- Issue and apply credits
- Print and/or email invoices
- Run aging reports
- Create statements
- Assess Finance Charges, if applicable
- Lookup and enter new vendors
- Navigate a vendor history to locate checks, bills, charges, purchase orders, etc.
- Enter bills for purchases and expenses
- Pay bills and apply discounts
- Enter and apply vendor credits
- Run aging reports
- Create purchase orders
- Enter in item receipts to receive against purchase orders
- Locate and enter new items
- Run inventory replenishment reports
- Reorder inventory
- Create inventory adjustments
- Enter and track serial numbers
- Enter and review employees
- Create payroll items
- Enter and modify timesheets
- Create, review, post, and print paychecks
- Run payroll summary reports
- Pay payroll liabilities
- Create a deposit
- Write checks
- Create adjusting journal entries
- Enter credit card transactions
- Reconcile bank and credit cards
- Run financial reports
With mobile integration, technicians will need to know how to retrieve and complete their calls, enter in time, create invoices, capture signatures, and receive payment for work completed. Accounts Receivable will also need to understand how to process the mobile invoices and payments internally for financial reporting.
If your staff can complete the outline above, you are ready to go live. We have seen many software implementations. Everything from buy it and go live hell or high water 30 days later to spend 12-18 months learning, practicing, adapting, restructuring, documenting, etc. Some companies struggled, some soared. If we told you they were all the same, we would be lying to you. Every one of them were different. The only thing consistent in each case was they owned our software. The culture, business practices, training processes, and necessities were all different. Some companies did no training at all, where some had four onsite visits in a year prior to going live. There are a lot of variables in implementation.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Our office does its best to make sure we allow time for “Go Live” support, both for the regular system and for payroll. We know you are anxious and may even get frustrated. Whether it is to bounce and idea off of us, sit and listen while you talk yourself through your process, troubleshoot that pesky bug, or just catch up on the local sports or the weather, we are always here to help and listen.
Conference room training sessions within your organization are not frowned upon. In fact, we recommend group training and practice dry runs. These types of sessions have proven successful for previous software implementations. Utilize these types of activities to test out more complex solutions and resolve processes and needs before rolling out training to your entire staff.
Iron out your workflow processes!! It is important and will prove beneficial in the long run if your staff define their workday processes. Once there is a clear understanding of “what I do”, it is always easier to define “what I need to do to get my job done”. With our proven 12-Step Training Program, our onboarding team will help navigate you within the software to teach you how to accomplish your daily tasks. Through advanced training and/or consulting services, we are here to help your business improve their processes and be as efficient as possible.
If you feel your team is not ready and does not have an understanding of the transition outlined above, it will be recommended you postpone your live date until the team is ready.