How to project manage a mass conversion of MYOB files to Xero
I was recently tasked with the opportunity to convert 55 MYOB files to Xero.
This was a large number of files to move across to Xero and prior planning, batch processing, task allocation, training and an amazing team of support from the client, Xero and JetConvert ensured the project ran smoothly.
Here’s an overview of how the project ran, and tips and tricks I picked up along the way. Whether you’re a business owner thinking of converting to Xero, a Xero Partner looking to do your first conversion, or a Xero Partner planning to your own mass conversion – you’re sure to pick up something that will help you in your own preparations. If you’ve been through a few conversions already – let me know if you think there’s anything I’ve missed.
This is a long article and to split it up there are a few hyperlinks, which if you click through on, I go into further detail on that specific topic – so don’t overlook them.
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Grab a cuppa and buckle in…
Start off with a summary spreadsheet
To keep track of the progress of each file during the conversion create an excel spreadsheet. Details on the spreadsheet at a minimum should include:
- MYOB file name
- MYOB zip file name
- JetConvert ID # – provided by JC
- Conversion Status
- Bank account details
- Credit Card details
Review your chart of accounts
If we have 55 organisations under a single banner its desirable that a similar format for the chart of accounts is used across all organisations, to aid in comparisons and data analysis. When it comes to designing a Chart of Accounts I think you should start with a whiteboard and add to it what you really want, what information you would like to get out of the business that can help you drive the business in the direction you want it to go.
Read here about the differences between MYOB and Xero in terms of the chart of accounts structure. The chart of accounts can be updated in Xero so designing it does not stop the conversion project progressing, but I believe it is good to be thinking about this from the very start.
Using a conversion service
I know how to manually convert an MYOB file to Xero, and doing it that way does let you start with a clean slate especially if the business has reinvented itself a number of times, and wants to start afresh. But with 55 MYOB files needing to move through this process, it is not something we could realistically consider. Fortunately there are a number of conversion services available to move accounting solutions to other accounting solutions
I use JetConvert to assist me with conversion processes. Read here how to prepare the MYOB files for conversion to Xero using Jet Convert.
Activating the bank feeds
Any delay in activating bank feeds has a knock on effect in getting Xero up and running. If I’m converting you to Xero, I want you to experience the full benefits as soon as possible. To do this I need to get the bank authorisation sorted out, and the authorisation part of this process relies heavily on the client
Ahead of time, I alerted Xero Support and my account manager Andrew Hirst of my plans to undertake a significantly large conversion of MYOB files to Xero. Xero support advised me that I could prepare all the bank feed application forms, and submit them up to ten days before the conversion. We did this, but I think this caused a bit of preliminary confusion. But after some interactions with support Andy from Xero support UK committed himself to the project. He created a spreadsheet summary of all bank feed applications we’d submitted and provided regular updates during the conversion.
Some matters we needed to unravel along the way included ensuring that the bank account numbers entered in Xero exactly matched what was in the Xero organisation. Sometimes banks have two completely different divisions, for example NAB has Internet Banking and NAB Connect, and the application process seems to be different for both of them. So you think you’re applying for just a NAB bank feed, but you have to choose the right one. We also found CBA changed the way they accepted bank feed applications midway through the process, and we had to snail mail an application to them, which slowed the process. Any issue with the bank feeds was given highest priority attention during the project. Sorting something out quickly could ensure the process kept working behind the scenes.
With hindsight, I’d encourage the creation of an individual scanned bank feed application forms for every bank. The application pdf should be saved with a recognisable name, like: BankAcronym_FileName_AccountNumber. I’d also prepare a summary spreadsheet of the bank feed forms that were being sent to Xero (use an extract from the spreadsheet mentioned at the start), send everything together, and ensure it finds its way to a super support hero like Andy in the UK.
- Alert Xero support you shall be submitting a large number of applications ahead of time
- Individually scan bank feed application forms
- Save each scanned pdf with a recognisable name
- Create a spreadsheet summary of all application forms to be submitted
- Submit everything together.
- Find a superhero at Xero support to liaise with, and follow them on a regular basis.
You’re jugging a lot of bank feed activations, and with planning, preparation and attention to detail, this can be smoothly transitioned to active bank feeds flowing into Xero, and the client experiencing the full benefits of the secret sauce!
Decide on the order of the MYOB files to convert to Xero
When deciding on the order of which MYOB files to convert to Xero factors you need to consider include;
- How many files JetConvert are prepared to convert in a single batch –consult directly with JetConvert on this.
- How will daily work be affected without processing access to the MYOB files?
- What size are the MYOB files? Think in terms of complexity, number of daily transactions, payroll, inventory, and multi-currency, could all impact the size.
- What resources are available to check and process the Xero files, once the conversion has happened, noting the turn-around time could be up to five days
A mass conversion is a big undertaking for any business. Before committing to the wedding cake, you have a taste test. So when undertaking a full mass conversion I suggest a try a taster. Convert a small typical sample of MYOB file to Xero to experience the new interface, and work through some daily transactions so you and your team have a chance to feel comfortable with it, and identify any anomalies that can be dealt with prior to the mass conversion.