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.
If you’d like help with your own conversion – please contact me here.
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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.
During the project we identified a few unexpected curve-balls that we were either able to rectify in advance, or were able to put in plans to deal with. Some of these included accounts linked unusually, multiple GST accounts in a single file, unused bank accounts, and password protected MYOB files. When preparing a MYOB file to Xero by JetConvert it is essential to incorporate this understanding into the groundwork.
The MYOB files that contained a lot of transactions and also contained payroll were identified, and the processing of them was planned over the period for the conversion. The MYOB files with minimal transactions fit into the processing schedule around them.
Migration from MYOB to Xero
Once the MYOB files are ready they are uploaded to the Jet Convert conversion service for a file analysis. This process time depends on your internet upload speed. You can test it here: http://www.speedtest.net/ You may want to let your IT guys/Internet service providers know that you will be doing a lot of uploads on the day.
When the file is uploaded you need to specify who the Xero subscription will be owned by – note they will be the first person notified that the conversion has happened. So if they are not around this could slow up the conversion and checking process. You need to factor in how you will deal with this.
The upload then takes a few moments to analyse the file. If it takes more than 5 minutes I suggest you contact JetConvert directly. They have a live chat bot on their site which can assist. One of the files got caught in a state of limbo, and would never have got to the next stage. For some technical reason I cannot recall – we would not have been notified about this, and what needed to happen was the upload had to be cancelled and submitted again. The next time it took a few moments.
At this stage you need to indicate which bank and credit card accounts you want to have active bank feeds for in the Xero organisation.
What happens to the MYOB file while the conversion is processing?
Once the MYOB file has been uploaded – no one should do any work on the pre-conversion MYOB file, however the MYOB file remains completely unchanged and totally usable. It is like converting a copy or a duplicate of the MYOB file – the original stays with the business, and you can refer to it for historical data. To ensure the Xero and MYOB file remain in alignment, no new activity should be entered in the MYOB file once it has started the conversion process. If deemed necessary however, any activity undertaken needed to be duplicated in the Xero file.
Checking Xero after the conversion by JetConvert
Below are tasks that need to be completed after the conversion.
Please note many of the activities listed below do come directly from the JetConvert site. Over time I have extended their list in a few places, to cover everything I’ve encountered.
When it comes to comparing Trial Balances – note the MYOB trial balance only produces as at the end of the month, so you need to compare figures as at the end of the month, not part of the way through the month – avoid that mini-meltdown!
- The conversion service sends an email notification that the conversion has been completed. Attached is an action checklist that identifies what needs to be checked in the Xero file, and highlighting anything specific. Check the action checklist – some of the ones we received the figures in some areas were blank, and we asked for them to be re-created.
Let’s talk about the action checklist
The action checklists are a great resource – however with my Xero consultant’s hat on it was frustrating that the checklist was provided in pdf form, branded JetConvert and every single page said “Contact Jet Convert for Training & Consulting”. On the second page of every checklist there was a colour picture of a Jet Convert staff member under the heading “Professional Training and Support” further encouraging the reader to take up the Jet Convert offer. These are the services I provide, so it was in direct competition to me. Don’t get me wrong – I really love the guys at JetConvert and I have discussed this issue with them, I’m already losing around 3 hours of income per conversion I pass to them, and then they promote services in direct competition to me – to the client I pass to them, it has definitely made me loose further consultancy work. For the client – it’s great they get the action checklist and knowledge of another service provider they can potentially deal with.
Here is a link to other conversion services in the Xero app marketplace. I’m not sure if any of them offer a white label service, but if I’m losing consulting income, then I’ll have to consider what my options are.
I will reiterate the team at JetConvert were very helpful and attentive during the whole process, and committed themselves to help us with this project.
- Identify the suitable Xero subscription level for each new organisation, considering whether any can be at a cashbook level. Ensure the person accepting the subscriptions assigns the Xero file to the correct subscription level.
- Check the BSB and bank account numbers have come across accurately, and if necessary enter the DE User ID to the Bank Accounts.
- Activate bank feeds as soon as possible. Bank feeds should activate over the next week period.
- Reorder bank accounts or take them off the home dashboard. Note the block order of other elements on the home dashboard is defined by the individual user – so you could agree how you would like it to look and then you would need to get each user to adapt it in line with the suggestions.
- Review Chart of Accounts (including GST accounts and Tax codes).
- Check bank balances (use bank reconciliation report) against actual bank statements as at MYOB Last Reconciled date.
- Import bank transactions to close the gap when bank feeds are active. This involves access to the bank account.
- Review dashboard and add useful accounts to the watchlist.
- Customise invoice setup.
- Add payment gateways (PayPal. Eway, Stripe etc.) as appropriate.
- Customise email settings.
- Review the financial settings.
- Publish all BASs starting from the conversion date to use the GST Reconciliation Report.
- Adjust the two lock dates in financial settings to limit other users’ ability to change old data.
- Add ratios from the Business Performance dashboard to the home dashboard as required. Establish if the client wants access to the Advanced Ratios and display them if they do – note only a Xero Partner, such as myself can do this.
- Define Report Layout for the business reports.
- The Auto Superannuation defaults to pay employees quarterly. If employees are paid superannuation on a monthly basis – the superannuation details needs to be updated in the employee template for all employees.
- Identify who the Users in the new Xero organisation will be and what level of access they should have? First name, last name and email address is required.
So we’re at the end the end of the conversion of 55 MYOB files to Xero and now what needs to happen is training, ongoing support, and report designing. I’ll update you on what I have been doing with the report designing goes in a later blog post.
Many thanks to the client, JetConvert support and Xero support.
JetConvert told me this was one of their largest mass conversions (there largest being 70). If you’d like help with your own conversion – please contact me here.
If you think this article has been useful – please share.